Saturday, September 17, 2011

Megaman ZX

Megaman X + Z = BEASTLY

Long time no see, dear MegaMan. The gameplay still the same, side-scrolling, which brings back memory nowaday, back to when I played the older MegaMan Version (MegaMan X) at PS2. It's still the same, just a little bit different storyline. When the first time MegaMan ZX was released, I was eager to get my hand on it, and then played it. And now? I love it even more. I really love these series. So much fun.

THE STORY: It's a new series of Megaman, so it has to introduce some new material instead of giving us another "Robotic Hero stops mavericks and saves reploids, humans, and the Earth". Fortunately, this story does that. The game takes place anywhere between 100-200 years after Zero defeated Omega and Space Station Ragnarok was destroyed. No longer are there any brilliant scientists left to create invincible reploids. It's all about these devices known as biometals. Biometals contain the conscieousnouss of a hero from the past, along with some of their power. Only a certain few can transform with the use of the biometal, giving them unimaginable power. The game starts off with you working for Giro Express after losing your parents in a maverick raid ten years ago. Your job is to transport packages safely for clients who are concerned with the well-being of their cargo. You are transporting a biometal when you're attacked by a maverick. This is where the story begins.
The story is pretty good, and it moves you through the game efficiently, but it's not like Final Fantasy or anything.

THE GRAPHICS: Megaman ZX doesn't exactly have ground-breaking graphics, but they're fairly nice and the sprites are clear and crisp, similar to the PS1 Megaman X3-6 graphics. The saber combos are fluid and animated quite well, and the environments look good in comparison as well. The game takes you to a vast amount of locations, similar to the Zero series, all with their own unique tastes. From burning buildings, to fields of lava, abandoned power plants, and even the sea, the areas are well done, and the enemy sprites have the same techno-killer machine feel as they always do. One thing that stands out is the excellent animation portrayed in the anime scenes in the game, they're drawn beautifully, and remind me of Dragon Ball Z with a robotic, hi-tech theme. All in all, the graphics are nice and they are quite well done for a DS title.

THE GAMEPLAY: Megaman games have always been known for their 2-D platform-jumping classical experience. This game is no exception. All of your excellent bosses, enemies, and levels are back, but since all of the areas are intertwined, exploration is a new element involved.

The bosses in this game come in all different shapes and sizes, and in this game the enemy's shape plays a larger role than you might think. Each boss has a weak-point where its biometal is located. Different bosses have different weak points. It could be the head, leg, wings, or even an air tank! However, you can get a LVL 4 victory (LVL 1-3 are achieved by abusing the biometal) by not hitting the biometal at all. Not only does this give you the plush doll in Prairie's room, (I know how exciting that can be…) but you get the biometal in perfect condition, meaning no additional, EXPENSIVE repair is needed. So, in short, the bosses in Megaman ZX are creative, (some larger than the screen) intuitive, and can provide a challenge if you don't know just how to avoid their attacks.

The level designs in this game are all excellent and well done. There are plenty of hidden data disks, and each area allows access to secret sections of the level if you have the correct biometal (e.g., using Fire Smash to break an ice block with FX.) The environments are all intuitive, with plenty of interactive areas. The cities are large and expansive, the levels intuitive and interactive, and are an excellent part of the game.

The enemies in this game are also well done. There are two types of standard enemies: Security Forces, and Mavericks. Security forces can be the same form of a maverick enemy, but will not attack a human- well, a civilian at least. If you transform with a biometal, they'll assume you have gone maverick and open fire to neutralize the “threat.” Simply stay in human form to stay clear of them, (most of the early enemies are security guards, but you'll need the biometal to progress in the stage) but you can use a biometal and defeat them, since most are weaker enemy forms. You'll know if you've been spotted by a guard by if its green light turns red. Mavericks aren't located in or near the city. They are typically found in the many areas that house a boss enemy. They attack you regardless of your form, and, tend to be stronger. That aside, the enemies are very creative, from jet-pack troopers (called “Galleons”) to Killer Pop-corn Machines, (OMG!!!) the enemies are excellent and fit their environments well.

Then there's the fighting. It plays similarly to the Megaman Zero Series in the fact that your primary weapon is a saber (except for the exclusive “X” form). Different forms have different weapons. LX uses an aqua lance, (or a double-sided staff, whatever you think it is) FX fire busters with a blast direction that can be controlled, and PX uses rapid fire Kunai Knives (and Giant Shurikens for special). There are much more forms, but that's just to wet your appetite.
There are plenty of Life-Ups and Subtanks hidden around the world. Some obvious, others EXTREMELY out-of-the-way, they'll keep you searching for awhile.
Bottom Line, the gameplay is excellent, and keeps you playing for hours.

THE SOUND: Okay, I know Megaman games have pretty good music, but this just didn't do it for me. The only real theme I liked was the music from the first area of the game. It has that, "a new hero has risen, a new adventure has begun" feel to it. Now the other areas have music that compliment them well, it's just not the same as the original X series. The sounds in the game are pretty good, and I found them to fit in rather well. All of the gun sounds remind me of Star Wars, and the saber, although it has a bit different sound than it used to, is nice and flows well inside of its combos. There are some voices in this game other than the random battle cries, it's Japanese,(with subtitles of course) but you know Japanese voice acting- it's not all that good. But hey, you've got to love the sound of dying with Aile- hearing that little girl scream is worth it!

THE CONTROLS: The controls are easy and mirror other Megaman Zero games. There's been some complaints on the DS' button setup, since A and B are no longer side by side with the addition of the X and Y buttons, but it still feels like you are playing Megaman X on a Playstation 1. There's nothing special about them, nor is the touch screen used for anything more than a radar, (also controls blast direction for FX's buster) but there isn't a learning curve and it's easy to pick up. With X for primary weapons and R for secondary weapons, you'll be able to use multiple weapons without the hassle of switching to them, making it easier on us.

DIFFICULTY: Why the two scores? It depends on the selected difficulty. Well, first of all, Megaman ZX may be easier than the Zero Series for the purpose of getting new gamers to play it, it is by no means easier. If you can't dodge attacks in a boss fight, hope you have a Subtank. All of the bosses have killer attacks that make them difficult, especially the final boss' Gravity Virus, rendering you immobile, making it impossible to dodge all attacks. If you think that's hard, try HARD Mode. There is only one Life-Up, only one Subtank, (the one gotten through a VERY LONG sidequest) and the secret boss can kill you in one hit if he uses his saber combo.

OVERALL: An excellent game, ZX is worthy for any DS owner.

SYSTEM: Nintendo DS



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