Ratchet & Clank Quest for Booty – Future Series

The Ratchet Retrospective continues with this smaller downloadable adventure starting the iconic Lombax and some of the new characters introduced in Tools of Destruction.

This game was one of the first ‘big’ downloadable titles during the PS3 Generation and was an interesting case of Insomniac making two titles in a single year; this and Resistance 2. Very impressive game and hope you all enjoy this Retrospective.

This game started production right after work on Tools of Destruction wrapped up and Insomniac ran into a bit of trouble. They were working on Resistance 2 while Tools of Destruction was being made and needed more hands on deck to get the game released. So, this meant the full sequel to Tools of Destructionwould release in 2009.

However, Insomniac wanted to try something new; a small-scaled Ratchet game using the engine Tools of Destruction used as a base. Add in some small mechanics that would be used more in a later game and you have a good excuse to release a small Ratchet title.

This is a landmark case for the studio, as it was the first time Insomniac released two games made by them in a single year; Resistance 2 and this. When the game came out, it got great reviews with the only major issue being the games length. Overall, it was a nice ‘taste’ for what we later experience with A Crack in Time.

This game takes place after the cliffhanger ending from Tools of Destruction, with Clank being taken by the Zoni, forcing Ratchet & Talwyn to hunt down Clank. They end up butting heads with the colorful pirate characters from Tools of Destruction and it ends up escalating into Ratchet taking out the pirate foes yet again.

What makes this story enjoyable despite its short length is how it allows everyone to ‘breath’ a bit more. The tone is much lighter compared to Tools and we get to experience more of the world of Ratchet here. He has the option to engage in dialog trees with people, make some moral choices (but not many) and bond more with Talwyn, as she will not appear in A Crack in Time.

The pirate characters shine a lot here as does the general setting of the game. They are funny and Stinky Pete (one of the pirates) narrates the game, not unlike Quark’s narration in the recent Ratchet 2016 reboot.

Overall, I really enjoyed this plot, even if its simple and not much happens in the grand scheme of things. We do learn where Clank is and find out that we will be seeing a familiar face that we all enjoyed in Ratchet 3/Up Your Arsenal.

This is interesting, as I could just copy-and-paste what I wrote about Ratchet in the Tools Retrospective. But I won’t as despite the gameplay being very similar to Tools, a decent amount has been added.

One thing is the lack of focus on combat, as Ratchet loses most of his weapons after the intro level. This leads to the game having a greater focus on core platforming and this is a great move. Tools had the series return to platforming and this game pushing that fact was a smart choice.

The level designs supports this, with more difficult platforming challenges to face, simple puzzles to solve and doing some new things with Ratchets Wrench. It has been his stable tool since day-zero and it finally getting some upgrades was great to see. It has a tether that can pull down objects/move platforms and can pick up small objects/throw them.

One example is that you are exploring a dark cave and you pick up a lighting bug with your wrench, allowing you to see what is ahead of you. This small change mixes up the gameplay in fun ways. The game does have weapon-based combat but its far more limited. You don’t level things up anymore and you do not have new-game plus like every other title.

But that isn’t needed here, as the game is very short. I beat this in 2 hours and while you have the ability to play on Hard a second go around, its kinda pointless.

This game looks just as great as Tools of Destruction looked but I noticed a lot of smaller upgrades over that game. Ratchet’s movement feels ‘smoother’ and his animations are more refined. Not to mention the frame rate feels more stable, hitting a 60FPS more often then Tools of Destruction or A Crack in Time. The style of the game is fantastic too, with the pirate motif being a great excuse to have different-styled locations for the series. More dark caves, haunted locations and rougher islands to explore for example. I love that and a later game ‘Into the Nexus’ does something similar that I appreciated there too.

David Bergeaud returns to compose the games score and it is solid. Enjoyed a lot of the games tracks and they added to the atmosphere of the different levels.

Main Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOPi…swf7DF&index=2
The Azorean Sea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jASC…swf7DF&index=3
Hoolefar Turbines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCX4…mTzZlvB8swf7DF
Mysteries of Hoolefar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQLK…swf7DF&index=6
Slag’s Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx4a…mTzZlvB8swf7DF
Climbing Darkwater’s Fleet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9bV…wf7DF&index=16
Sprocket’s Rage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTmq…wf7DF&index=28
Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcPB…mTzZlvB8swf7DF

This game is a good case for giving a mouse a cookie. You take it and really enjoy it, but you want more. Here, you DON’T get more, but what you DO get is very enjoyable and a great way to kill a few hours.

I enjoyed this smaller Ratchet adventure a lot and if you never got it on its own, it comes bundled with the retail version of Into the Nexus via Download voucher. Fitting that the two really outlandish Ratchet adventures in one ‘collection’ but point still stands. The US only got the game via Digital Release, while other regions got limited retail runs of the title. Thank you NeoGaf Member televator for pointing this out to me, as I knew this but forgot to mention that before this point.

It is a fun adventure and a great lead-in for the future game, A Crack in Time. Many regard that is one of the best Ratchet games of all time and very excited to tackle that very soon.


Ratchet & Clank Tools of Destruction – Future Series

Today was hectic with Retrospective stuff but that is not stopping me covering the dynamic Lombax and Robot from going on another adventure! As of 4/29/2016, the series had its first movie air in western markets and going to celebrate that with a Retrospective covering this game; Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction.

The game is part of my on-going Ratchet & Clank Retrospective series!

This game is the very first PS3 game for the series and one that really made me want a PS3 back in 2007 when it came out. Lets go into the galaxy of space and see where the hunt for the Lombax’s takes us.

Development History:
The game started development not long after the 2005 release of Ratchet Deadlocked and Insomniac had two studios at this point in time; one making an upcoming PS3 Launch title that will help sell the system (Resistance Fall of Man) and another making the Ratchet & Clank series.

Now that Deadlocked finished production, the Ratchet Team started work on the series jump to the PlayStation 3. They really wanted to make the hardware sing and from current work with Sony on the at the time upcoming Resistance, they had a good idea how to make games for the system.

They pushed for a ‘Pixar’ look for Ratchet & Clank and this affected the direction of the storytelling; instead of the game being focused on being a comedy with some fun story beats, we get a more tone-downed adventure that has the series humor but the main point is the plot. They wanted to give Ratchet & Clank important backstory from their origins never covered before and the PS3 series, dubbed ‘Future’ was a sign that they wanted the Ratchet series to have major story telling elements.

That wasn’t the only focus though, as they wanted to return to having a tight ballence between action combat (shooting) and the platforming that the original game & Ratchet 2/Going Commando had. The idea of having powerful gadgets used in combat called ‘Devices’, some fun gimmicks that would use the motion controls of the PS3 controller well and bring back space travel from Ratchet 2; all of these were goals the team had in mind.

The game finally released in Fall 2007 for the PlayStation 3, with Naughty Dog’s own title “Uncharted: Drakes Fortune” coming out not long after. Both games did very well sales and review wise and started a new trilogy of games for both franchises. Ratchet continued on PlayStation 3 with two other games in the Future Series, two spin-off titles and an Epilogue to the Future Series; all of which will be covered in the future.

The story is very important to the series, as the franchise is known for being a fantastic Pixar-like adventure for a long time. But here, they really try hard to acomplish telling an epic tale for Ratchet & Clank.

The story begins with the Lombax and his robotic pal working on building some hoverbike and then they hear Quark sending a message that he is being attacked. After crash landing in the middle of a city, Ratchet & Clank blast their way from waves of foes until they get cornered by Emperor Taceon who wants to kill Ratchet due to him being the last Lombax.

They high-jack his ship and crash land on another planet. As the adventure continues, Ratchet begins to learn more about his race as a Lombax and Clank starts seeing these odd creatures that have strange powers.

The story here is good, with Ratchet & Clank bouncing off each other well all the while the new characters like Cronk and Zeffer being great additions to the cast. Really love the Smugger, as he is more or less a funner version of Moneybags from Insomniac’s own Spyro series. The last character I want to highlight is Talwyn Apogee, as she is a great addition to the series. She is funny, smart and gets into the action often (fighting alongside Ratchet, Clank, and her warbots Cronk & Zeffer). She appears in later games and I hope she appears in this new reboot series that Ratchet 2016 starts.

My only gripe with the story is that the comedic ‘edge’ is softer then before. I mean, the game is still funny at points but you can clearly tell that the humor is used more sparingly compared to past games in the series. And that is fine as long as the story is good, and it mostly is. But the ending concluding on a cliffhanger and Ratchet being a jerk to Clank (like the first game) but only without a decent reason was destracting for the few times that happened.

Good story overall though.

Its a return to the style of gameplay we got with Ratchet & Clank 2; tight controls, great line-up of weapons to play around with and some great platforming sections that remind me of parts of the first Ratchet & Clank at points.

In many respects. Tools of Destruction feels like a ‘proper’ sequel to Ratchet 2 more so then Ratchet 3. Ratchet 3 focused very heavily on its gun play while Tools of Destruction has a larger focus on platforming (though you still do a lot of shooting). My main point, is that the balance is done stronger here.

But the gameplay can be broken down into a few sections:

Ratchet has the great gameplay from Ratchet 2 and Ratchet 3. The gun play is a lot of fun and the set pieces that Ratchet goes through are very impressive. Grinding on long rail sections avoiding trains and the camera panning all over the place, the camera going top-down and side-ways during the intro stage, and the levels having a lot of location theme choice (planet with dinos, large city that has a ton of flying cars all over the place, a lost jungle that has you fighting various creatures, navigating across floating asteroids, and fighting across two pirate bases. Will cover the weapons and other stuff in another part but Ratchet controls great here and for greater reference to the specifics to his control, give my Ratchet 2 and 3 Retrospectives a read.

Clank has a lot of new abilities in this game but his solo-gameplay is a bit weak. His new Zoni powers allow him to fly in the sky, slow down time and break down walls with a powerful laser. Ratchet can use two of these powers at different points in some planets and they are very fun. But Clank’s solo gameplay is weak compared to past games. He controls the same and still controls an army but this time, its of Zoni. They can repair things, attack foes, hover in the air, and even allow Clank to slow down time with holding the R1 button.

That sounds like a lot of fun, but it really isn’t anything that special. If anything, it lacks the charm of Clank controlling little robots in Ratchet 2 or the odd concept of working with a AI controlled monkey. Also no Giant Clank this time out too. Overall, his functions are fun, but not on the level of past games.

Ship Combat is where things get interesting. Unlike in Ratchet 2, its not all-range mode Star Fox but linear Star Fox like some stages in SF64. And they are a visual highlight with amazing effects filling the screen and the controls working very well. If you are a fan of Star Fox, you might have some great fun with these sections. Otherwise, they are a nice inclusion but don’t really add or take away from the game.

The gadgets Ratchet has a few new gadgets like the Gyro Bike, New hacking tool and the Pirate-Guise. Gyro Bike is a Monkey Ball-like mode that has you rolling around and its fun. Its mainly used for some tricky platforming sections and its underused but when it is used, it can be quite fun to play with it. The Hacking Tool allows you to get through locked doors or activate things and you do this from either moving the left stick or tilting the controller. You control this little ball and have to help a ‘power surge’ move to the end goal. I had a lot of fun with this motion controls or not honestly.

The Pirate-Guise is very simple but very funny; Ratchet turns into a little pirate that dances to open some doors and its fun! Used more for laughs then anything else but still, a nice addition to the game and a cool successor to the Tera-Guise.

The line up of weapons are great here, but we get some recycling of old ideas in past Ratchet games. We have another whip item but its electric this time. We have a shot gun but this time it shoots crystals. We have a pistol but this time it shoots fireballs. They play with traditional weapons we see all the time ‘slightly’ different and that is cool.

But the creative weapons, that is where things get nuts. We have a bee nest we can plant on the ground to sends little insects to kill everything, a Disco Ball called the Groveatron that makes EVERYTHING dance, health absorbing grenades that can give you needed Nanotech and the Plasma Beasts that are little blobs that can follow you when fully upgraded and slam into other creatures. And of course, Mr. Zerkon. This lovely robot spouts one-liners as he kills everything in his path. Love this guy and he appears in many future games.

But some weapons are not ‘really’ weapons; they are called ‘devices’ due to being very overpowered and can only buy X amount of them (none of them upgrade outside the Groveatron but you need a lot of money to get that). That is a smart move on Insomniacs part.

You also have an upgrade tree where you use a new currency called Rareatainum that is very common and can give added upgrades to your weapons. If you loved the custom mods from Deadlocked, this is a similar deal here but more indepth. It gives you options on how to upgrade your weapons and later games like Into the Nexus and Ratchet 2016 refine this upgrade system further.

This game looks amazing, it still looks great in 2016 like it did back in 2007. The game has such a bright and vivid art direction that screams ‘Pixar’ or ‘Disney’ in many cases and the squash-and-stretch that the PS2 games had comes across here but thanks to the stronger PS3 hardware, the game looks much better then the PS2 games. And the PS2 games looked fantastic.

The musical score though, takes a step down compared to the PS2 games. Its still great stuff, but not on the level of Ratchet 2’s or Ratchet 3’s soundtrack. I really enjoy it though and its one of the final times the series musical composer took reigns of the soundtrack. David Bergeaud made the soundtracks for every Ratchet game at this point and did amazing work on the PS2 titles. While his work here is more ‘movie’ like, is still sounds great.

Kerwan – Metropolis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yKG…pzev02&index=3
Kerwan – Grind Rail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQX-…e1Z2IeLgpzev02
Kortog – The Docks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxuk…zev02&index=12
Voron Asteroid Belt – Space Pirate Territory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6C3…zev02&index=17
Mukow – Imperial Fight Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIXx…zev02&index=20
Apogee Space Station: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or5-…e1Z2IeLgpzev02
Ardolis – Pirate Base 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZieK…zev02&index=31
Viceron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0M3…zev02&index=45

Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction is one of the stronger games in the series and it does a lot right. Great gameplay, amazing production values and tight controls all make it a treat to play. And this is only the first PS3 adventure of the series, with two more being covered very soon.

Ratchet Deadlocked – PS2 Series

I know I said that I am taking a break with gaming Retrospectives, but want to cover this first before I go on my week break; have fresh thoughts on the title and do not want to forget about it. Besides, the Ratchet Retrospective has been on-and-off for a while now and things got back on track with the Going Commando/Ratchet 2 Retrospective; want to keep up consistency.

Now all of that is out of the way, Ratchet Deadlocked. This game released in 2005 and it appears to be a radical departure for the iconic series. Harsher tone, gritty visual style and complete disregard for the series platforming roots becoming full-on Unreal Tournament but with cartoony aliens. Appearances can be deceiving though and what we have here is a natural conclusion from what we got with Up Your Arsenal/Ratchet 3.

Development History:
After the grand success of Ratchet 3, how can you top that? I mean, when you make perfection, what do you do next….. Insomniac decided to push the series to its natural conclusion; a third person team-based shooter.

They introduced shooting mechanics with Going Commando/Ratchet 2 and perfected it with Up Your Arsenal/Ratchet 3, with Ratchet 3 going further by having base missions, introducing online multi-player and more traditional shooting controls (FPS and TPS control styles).

Taking the Base levels, they made a game centered around Ratchet fighting waves and waves of foes in more arena styled locations but with the trademark Insomniac charm and polish. Meaning we get crazy weapons, tight controls, great humor and fun set pieces to go through.

Releasing Fall 2005 alongside Jak X Combat Racing, both showed the developers Insomniac Games and Naughty Dog going in more serious directions for their platforming IP. Despite this, both got strong reviews but Deadlocked got higher scores compared to Jak X and Insomniac went back to more light-hearted Ratchet & Clank with two future games; Tools of Destruction and over seeing production of High Impact Games’ Size Matters (Ha).

The plot set up is that after the events of Ratchet 3, the gang is relaxing on Starship Phoenix with Sasha (a major character Ratchet 3) phoning in Ratchet, Clank and Big Al that heroes are being captured and killed. She warns Ratchet that he and Clank might be next but right as she finishes her message, robots invade the ship and capture the three.

After a humorous cut-scene with Ratchet commenting on his new battle armor, he learns that he is part of a underground Gladiator sector called the ‘Shadow Sector’ with the show ‘Dreadzone’ being the biggest show being covered. Gleeman Vox is the head of the show and tells Ratchet that if he doesn’t compete, the collar Ratchet is wearing will kill him.

Ratchet agrees to fight and with Clank being the guided voice & Big Al being the tech support (fixing up two awesome combat bots for Ratchet), Ratchet climbs to the top while he is bad-mouthed by some of the funniest co-hosts I ever saw in a game.

The plot here appears darker, and it is. People get hurt and its tone is more harsher compared to Ratchet 3. But the game really is light hearted and in many respects, a commentary on reality shows on TV back then and today. It is really funny and the game still has a lot of heart despite the more grim direction the games seems to go in.

This is where things change a lot, but not really. Remember, Ratchet 3 had big shooting elements despite being a proper platformer. So, the series fully investing itself as a shooter is logical and was a direction Insomniac did right with. Ratchet’s default control style is the TPS (move with left stick, aim with right stick, shoot with R1, jump with L1, R2 swaps weapons, L2 controls ducking/wretch throwing) and it works very well.

What makes combat fun is how tight the controls really are. They feel perfect and Ratchet moves smooth like butter. But what makes the game really fun is how powerful the guns are. Deadzone offers Ratchet with 10 different weapons and while that sound small, it really isn’t.

You have a mine gun that launches mines toward your foes and explodes when people go near them. A shot gun that is very powerful. Dual Pistols that can be used when grinding on rails and can bounce all over the place when upgraded. Ball & Chain weapon that has a lot of impact. Sniper Rifle that packs quite the punch.

The weapons are more traditional but they are a lot of fun to use and the game has an interesting way of giving them unique abilities. Ratchet can use the bolts he finds to not only buy weapons but buy weapon MODS. These allow you to give your gun elemental properties like Ice, Lighting, Poison or even non-elemental ones like Confusion and Sheep.

This makes your load out very flexible, as you can give your ball & chain the Ice Mod to have more splash damage with Ice being everywhere when it hits the ground or give your rifle shock mod to stun them from far distances.

The gameplay is further enhanced with AI partners, co-op support and ride-able crafts. The AI robots you have following you around are very useful, as they can toss EMP Blasts to take away force fields, create a shield around you for when you are turning bolt cranks and even heal themselves when they take too much damage.

The game fully supports co-op local and online, so you can play the entire game with a buddy and with the large amount of skins you can unlock, it will be fun for you and a buddy playing as Ratchet & Clank. The crafts you can ride include an upgraded hovercraft from Ratchet 3, spider-walker that shooters missiles & bullets (it rocks) and a jet-bike that is tough to control at first but very fun to use not long after you get the hang of it.

Note how I ignore any platforming, as that is mostly gone here. And that is fine, as the game still is a blast being a shooter, so the lack of major platforming is okay.

This game, like past Ratchet games, looks great on the PlayStation 2. Animated character models, beautiful locations to visit, strong voice acting and stable performance.

One thing I really take away from the game is the soundtrack, as it really is great. Haunting but action packed. Dangerous but still heroic. It matches the somewhat confused tone of the game itself, with it ‘looking’ edgy but really still having the heart that makes Ratchet & Clank what it is.

Dreadzone Training Course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppeE…-OugbhEEyAIImG
Dreadzone Station: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpZg…-OugbhEEyAIImG
Sarathos – King of the Leviathans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXzI…-OugbhEEyAIImG
Kronos – Infiltrate the Cathedral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8Xv…-OugbhEEyAIImG
The Valix Belt – Lost and Found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIdD…-OugbhEEyAIImG
DreadZone Station Interior – Destroy the East Generator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3Wd…AIImG&index=47
DreadZone Station Interior – Defeat Gleeman Vox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5Xw…-OugbhEEyAIImG
Challenge Failed – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72HNp8ZyMAY

This is a fantastic shooter and is a game any fan of the genre should give a look. It might push away gamers looking for a platformer but if you are open to getting a shooter, this is a fantastic one. Insomniac knocks it out of the park yet again.

You can get the game via original PS2 version or from the 2013 PSN remaster but that has some odd graphical issues with cut-scenes and the like. But it has the online modes from the original game (didn’t talk about them due to never playing online on my PS2 back then).

Mega Man X4 – X Series


This continues my ongoing Mega Man Retrospective and since I covered MM4, lets move to the fourth Mega Man X title! Man, this game is a massive one. It brings a lot to the X series in major ways; new gameplay style, updated presentation, and anime cut-scenes. We even get insight on backstory of Zero!

Mega Man X4 is my favorite Mega Man X title and I can’t wait to explain why this is such a fun action platformer.

This game has a simple history, with the developers trying to make a great sequel to the fun Mega Man X3. One thing they set out to do was make Zero playable, but work different compared to X. In Mega Man X3, he was more of an ‘extra’ character with larger health and a stronger Mega Buster.

In X4, they made him play COMPLETELY different from X and it shows, but will get to that in the gameplay portion.

The rest of the history follows here thanks to the game’s Wikipedia Page:
“Mega Man X4 was developed by Capcom. Instead of designing the game’s various pieces of artwork as he had done in the past, Keiji Inafune focused his attention on being a producer. He was also involved in creating the game’s storyline, a role he described as “only slightly less than it was for X1”. Instead of presenting Repliforce as blatantly evil villains like Sigma, the writing staff decided to leave them some “moral leeway. They did not want the ideals of Repliforce and the Maverick Hunters to be so black-and-white. Inafune left his former design responsibilities up to other artists that had previously worked on the Mega Man X series. Artist Haruki Suetsugu did not design its characters as he would do for later games in the series, but was given drafts in order to draw illustrations for promotional purposes. Hitoshi Ariga was responsible for designing X’s secret “Ultimate Armor” featured in both the game and as a Japanese Bandai action figure. He spent four days coming up with the initial blueprint, but was told by his supervisor to go back and try again. After tinkering with the Mega Man X3 armor parts, he noticed that attaching them in specific ways made it look like an airplane. Ariga recounted creating the armor as an extremely difficult yet fun task. He also revealed that Zero was intended to have his own Ultimate Armor, but the development team chose to not finalize it.”

So the focus on making a more realistic story with the Repliforce and not making things so black-and-white was important for the development team. The game released in August 1, 1997 to critical success with high reviews and people loving the game. The cut-scenes were made fun of in the western versions though…..but we will get to that soon enough.

The game also saw release on other platformers, like the Sega Saturn the same year, 2006’s MMX Collection on PS2/GC, and most recently in 2014 on North American PlayStation Network (with support on PS3, PSP and PS Vita).

The plot has X and Zero head out to protect a city from attack with it sadly being destroyed by unknown forces. A army of Repolids called the Repliforce come storming in to help but then get labelled as Mavericks due to people thinking they caused the attack.

They revolt and send members of their armies across the world to take over the world. In the shadows, a familiar face is pulling the strings *cough* Sigma *cough* and X & Zero have to save the world yet again.

But things are different this time out……while X just goes out to stop Sigma from ruining things as usually, Zero has a much more larger tale. We get insight on his history before becoming a Maverick Hunter, his relation to Sigma, WHY Sigma became so evil and most importantly, hints toward Zero’s true origins as the game progresses.

Even Marvericks have more personality, with X & Zero having fun dialog’s with the different hunters when they meet them. Overall the story is enjoyable and I really like how strong it is. But, what makes it gold, is the voice acting. The NA voice actors for the game are…..amazing.

We have a young boy voice X, some whinny guy voice Zero and we get the infamous statement.
“What am I fighting FOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRR!?!?” – Zero

Love the story in the game and the bad voice acting makes it even better.

But toward the ends of the thread, I saw this amazing post breaking down everything for the story in both X’s and Zero’s plot lines, so will be putting that in the OP. Thank you so much Edson for the detailed breakdown on the plot! Great work!

Originally Posted by Edson Farley

Megaman X4’s plot captures that perfectly. Inafune wanted X4 to place importance or Zero and his backstory along with Iris and Colonel, yet everything around that is basically nothing. 80% of the plot of the game is on X’s side of the story. The ending of X’s story, though both playthroughs before the end seem to be canonical in certain ways, seem to be the canon as well.

First off stage design seem to favor Zero for progression (in most cases) while favoring X for everything else like hidden paths short cuts, etc.

The Boss Battles were built with X in mind. Outside maybe Colonel.

Sigma seems to be built with Zero in mind as well.

But the main thing is that X’s Dialogue with everyone in the game and Zeros are completely different. And seems to be based on Capcoms own spin based on the writers and the double producers.

  • In Megaman X’s story, X mentioned that humans may die and people die after Sky lagoon falls.
  • Split Mushroom actually tells X he’s under orders to Destroy Him and X says “who” and Split says “Take a wild guess” indicating Sigma is involved and half the Repliforce are mavericks. While Split is just there to fight Zero.
  • Cyber Peacock actually tells X he was ordered to test X’s abilities through his level. Also that X had limitless power.
  • Only to X does Magma Dragoon say HE made the Sky Lagoon fall. Said basically Sigma offered him a chance to fight X if he pretended to join Repliforce. Literally, just to fight X.
  • Double cements the Sigma intrusion by killing hunters and revealing he’s a spy.
  • The difference between the X and Double fight and the Zero and Iris fight is amazing. Zero find Iris and just is like “hey” and Iris is like “You killed my brother it’s over” and then Zero kills her and she’s like “I wanted to believe” and Zero is like “what am i fighting foorrrrrrrrrr!” and that’s it. While Double actually confirms that there are Actually mavericks, that them, hunters, and Repliforce were intentionally pitted against each other, and again, he was a spy.
  • The General is another one. With Zero he’s just like “General people died” then General says “I have no regrets less fight” Then the weapon activates on the satellite. While in X’s story General actually tells X the goal is to build a utopia for Reploids and any interference will be stopped. X says that the fighting is mindless, which it is, and General says that they have no choice but to fight because they have been labeled mavericks. The General even tells X when the laserr activates that HE should hurry up and stop it and X says he’ll stop it. While Zero just ends with General saying “oh no someones controlling the laser”
  • Sigma is the biggest issue, you get a cutscene with Zero and Sigma showing Zero was a maverick even though that he transferred the Virus to Sigma and then it just ends and you go to the final boss room, while Sigma literally tells X, “Double did a good job we got the Hunters and Repliforce to kill each other”, which makes Double more important to the plot than Iris, Sigma also tell you Repliforce built the weapon and he intended to use it to destroy the Earth.

I mean that’s like 80% of the plot. If you play as Zero all you get is literally Zero knows the Colonel and Iris is his sister, he likes his sister, Repliforce goes on a coup, He kills Colonel and Iris, Sigma reveal some info about Zeros’ past and that’s it.

X’s story literally has the whole main plot of the game you are currently playing. You would have Zero idea of what’s going on.

This happened in X5 as well

  • Grizzly Slash (yes I’m going to use the Gun and roses names) Actually tells X he is slowly being infected by the virus, and that he wants to fight before he has no control over his mind, while he just wants to attack Zero just because.
  • Squid guy’s actual motivation for quitting the hunters is because X killed Launch octopus and then he slowly goes crazy. While he mentions quitting the hunters to Zero but for no reason.
  • Izzy Glow tells Zero he wants to analyze Zero and X through battle since he is about to be taken over by the Virus. But actually makes a comment about the rough entrance you had to make since the start of the level blowing up bridges and doors, and X says it’s because the whole lab is infected. He then says he won’t cooperate with hunters, and says that he may be wrong but he won’t make up his mind and fights X.
  • Duff Mcwhalen tells Zero to fight him because why not. While he tells X either if you haven’t launched the laser that he won’t let you take control of the sea without fighting him. or if you already launched the laser, that the sea is infected by the Virus and he wants to meet the same fate.
  • Both X vs. Zero fights have info you won’t ever see if you are not Zero in this fight.
  • Sigma in the final boss tells X that an old man who i would assume is Wily but we see no from of him at all, Not only built his body, but also that the virus at the start of the game taking over the world was not significant enough and that he had to make the colony hit the ground. oddly he says this if you actually destroy the Colony to. He even tells X, unlike Zero, that the old man build multiple robots, that they knew eachother and they both hate X.

Well, its more Mega Man X. Iconic jumping, dashing and shooting robots and Mavericks that get in your way across colorful and well designed stages. But, what makes this different is how the little things work.

X has two different types of arm cannons he can pick up from Dr. Light and his special weapons are mapped to /\. Outside of that, his upwards Air-Dash is sadly gone from X3 and the Ride Armors only come in one style. Though the Jet-Bikes are back from X2 and they are a lot more fun to use compared to that game!

Zero is where everything changes, with his gameplay being completely unique from X. Zero has his Z-Saber and can learn different abilities when beating robot masters, not outright having new ‘cannon weapons’. So, instead of shooting a fireball upward, you have a fire sword uppercut. Instead of shooting a electric web, you have a powerful forward lighting strike. This continues and it makes Zero more of a fighting game character then a platforming hero.

The best part about the game is that every level is designed for BOTH X and Zero. Nothing is that different for each character and it allows the game to work on a Sonic 3 & Knuckles style level. You have these different styles to play as, but they function evenly.

Level Design:
Very strong with great usage of themes. You have the fire level but flaming rocks keep getting close to you, they are destroying your grounding and pillars of flames are over your head. The Ice stage works great too, with ice blocks, well, blocking your path and the ice making movement more slippery.

This continues with a cyber space stage that pushes you to have a literal time attack and by doing so, you can get more goodies for X (heart tank, Dr. Light Armor upgrade).

Love these stages as both characters. The bosses have great designs and patterns too. While they are easy with the weakness, they are very hard with Zero and this makes fights fun. A new play style & classic Mega Man challenge? I’m game!

My favorite fights are with Split Mushroom and Jet Stingray. Not to mention, the game has its own Street Fighter character. Yes, Magma Dragoon might as well be a dragon version of Ryu with fireballs and uppercuts making him quite the foe to fight for either character.

X knows some of those moves though, as X and X2 prove.

Sigma Fortress:
This section of the game is fun, they are hard but fair. You have options to take the upper or lower paths, great visual design and some great fights against a number of foes. Fighting the Repliforce Leader, Ires (Zero) or Double (X) are some of the most fun fights in the X series.

The final fight against Sigma is quite hard too but was fun.

The game looks great with really detailed sprites, strong animation work and great designs for characters old and new. Love the little details in every stage and the Ice Level has some nice nods to X1 and X3.

Then we get the anime cut-scenes and history on that is here:
“The FMV cutscenes in Mega Man X4 were produced by IG Port’s subsidiary XEBEC. The game’s musical score was composed by Toshihiko Horiyama. The score also features the opening theme Makenai Ai ga Kitto aru (負けない愛がきっとある?, lit. “Unbeatable Love I Surely Have”) and the closing theme One More Chance, both sung by Yukie Nakama.”

Musically, the game rocks, man. You have wonderful Intro Stage theme for X and the other stages have catchy themes too. Not as memorable as X1 or X2, but still really great sounding tracks.

Player Select: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V96N…d9KadNadVR6koK
Opening Level (X): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EceE…d9KadNadVR6koK
EREGION THEME: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMI3…d9KadNadVR6koK
Stage Select: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3YF…VR6koK&index=3
Colonel And General: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzB4…R6koK&index=18
Final Weapon Stage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzZI…R6koK&index=23
Web Spider: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHu9…VR6koK&index=8
Cyber Peacock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlGU…VR6koK&index=9
Magma Dragoon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odgb…d9KadNadVR6koK
Frost Walrus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYb1…d9KadNadVR6koK

This is a wonderful Mega Man X adventure and one I highly recommend any fan of the series give a look. Zero gives the game a lot of replay value and the core game is fun as X OR Zero.

I’m hammering this point home as X6 will make this a major talking point. Overall, lovely game and recommend everyone gives this a shot!

Mega Man 4 – Classic Series

This game started development not long after Mega Man 3 released and Capcom wanted to pump out as much Mega Man games as they can to the market, as it became a killer and flagship IP after the release of Mega Man 2.

Other important information on the games development stems from its entree on the games Wikipedia Page:

“Mega Man series artist Keiji Inafune, credited as “Inafking”, stated that the development team had very few problems while working on Mega Man 4. Inafune designed Dr. Cossack and Kalinka as two new storyline characters for the game. Cossack, who was originally named “Dr. Vice”, was made much younger than Dr. Light and Dr. Wily. Inafune also considered giving him American traits, but decided upon influences from Russia instead. Kalinka was created because so many male characters already existed in the series at this point. However, Inafune did not intend for players to compare her to Mega Man’s sister Roll. The idea for Eddie originally came about during the development of Mega Man 2. Eddie was designed as a supporting character that “would behave like a lottery”, either pleasantly surprising or disappointing the player with the item he gives Mega Man.

Mega Man 4 was the first game in the series for Hayato Kaji, credited as “K. Hayato”, a prominent designer for many later Mega Man games. Kaji was responsible for the chargeable Mega Buster, a gameplay mechanic that would become a staple of the series. “We knew adding a two-level or three-level charge would change the whole flavor of the game in some respects, and we were very mindful of that,” Inafune explained. The Robot Masters in Mega Man 4 are a result of a design contest for fans held in Japan. With over 70,000 character submissions, the development team spent an extended period of time narrowing them down to only eight bosses. According to Kaji, the team was very satisfied with many of the chosen designs and almost no changes were made to their original illustrations. They were so impressed with Skull Man that they scrapped an entire level being created just so they could restart it and devote it to that Robot Master. The winning eight contestants of the design contest were each issued a special “golden cartridge” edition of Mega Man 4. As there are only eight of these cartridges in existence, they are extremely rare and fetch a large collector’s price today. The musical score for Mega Man 4 was composed by Minae Fujii, credited as “Ojalin”, while the sound programming and sound effects were handled by Yasuaki Fujita, credited as “Bun Bun”, who had composed the soundtrack for Mega Man 3 the previous year.”

This history is interesting, as it was nice seeing a new developer Hayato Kaji, give some new gameplay mechanics to Mega Man and the concept of fans pitching Robot Master concepts is something that continued in later Mega Man Classic titles. Mega Man 4 released in December 6, 1991 to strong critical reviews and development on Mega Man 5 soon followed.

Gameplay & Level Design:
The gameplay is strong, mirroring Mega Man 3 on many levels. The slide returns, as does the core Rush features. But the new addition is the Charged shot, which allows you to fire two types of blasts (small charge and full charge); that is very helpful for the robot master fights. The game appears to be very hard, which was the case for me making this Retrospective, but its in the end, one of the easier Mega Man games.

Mega Man 4 has a lot of spikes placed in its level design and that could appear to be lazy, but thanks to creative gimmicks like the grasshopers in Bright Man’s stage or moving platforms, they can become a fun challenge to overcome. Items you get like the hook shot and balloon also make these annoying parts more manageable.

I mean that, as Toad Man is a good example of this. His fight has a simple pattern and is a great first robot master to fight…..but his stage is initially quite hard. You fight two snail-like robots at points in the stage and it can be annoying. You have to dodge bombs that have a wide blast radius and his eye attack can be annoying. Not to mention the second fight where you have a waterfall in-between a platform that gimps your jump if you are under it. But once you get the pattern, it feels so rewarding to get through it with enough practice.

The level design has some great points, like Pharaoh Man’s quick sand being a great stage gimmick and Bright Man’s moving grasshoppers being a great platforming gimmick. Others stages like Dive Man’s water moon jumping and Ring Man’s rainbow platforms also present fun challenges to over come too.

Lastly for gameplay, we have two towers to run through. Yes, not one but TWO towers to fight through and this is a first for the series. You fight three-four stages against Cosec but after Protoman saves his daughter, he stops fighting Mega Man and we head to a few Wily Stages. This was a great reward and felt like an improvement over the Doc Robot stages in Mega Man 3; it IS padding to make the game longer, but done in a better fashion. This continued in Mega Man 5-6 as well.

Will comment on other gameplay mechanics though. You have new Items (like in Mega Man 2) such as the hook shot that can pull Mega Man up on walls above him and a balloon platform that can be stacked. These make some platforming elements more easier to deal with (large pit in Bright Man’s stage……really needed this item for me). Rush returns with Rush Jet, Underwater Craft and Rush Coil too.

Not to mention Mega Man’s new power; the charged buster. This is a very powerful tool that can be used even when you get hit. Once you charge it enough, it can take out powerful foes with less shots and make some robot masters very fun to fight.

The new robot master items you get are fun to play around with too. Like Ring Man’s weapon a lot and the rain storm power you get is a great screen nuke.

Game looks great like past Mega Man games with bright colors and very detailed stages. Toad Man’s rain and Pharaoh Man’s stars shining in the sky really stand out to me.

Musically, its a great soundtrack like the other Classic Mega Man games and I like it quite a bit.

Bright Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OJ-…6692B4&index=7
Toad Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zncV…6692B4&index=8
Pharaoh Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T11J…692B4&index=10
Ring Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtZU…692B4&index=11
Skull Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy-2…692B4&index=14

I enjoyed my time with this game when I went back to play it again; it has fun gameplay, offers rewarding challenge and overall, does a lot right. But please, play this on a NES, Wii (VC), Wii U (VC), or Nintendo 3DS (Legacy Collection/VC). The original version I played for the initial Retrospective? The Complete Works PS1 version on my Vita. That version reportedly has bad input lag, leading to all the frustrations I had with my initial playthrough for this Retrospective.

In the end, many love the game and it is a quality Mega Man title.

Mega Man Battle Network Retrospective

This game for the Mega Man Retrospective is special, as this sub series I had no exposure to at all outside of a spin-off game in its own sub-series. So jumping into this game for the retrospective was a real treat considering its legacy.

Battle Network set completely new ground rules for the Mega Man series but it also smartly took elements from Mega Man Classic and Mega Man Legends in some really clever ways.

Development History:
The team at Capcom wanted to take Mega Man in a new direction for his GBA launch and while we got Mega Man Zero in 2002, this was something completely different. Instead of trying to refine Classic Mega Man in a new way, they looked into Pokemon and other popular handheld role playing games, and put Mega Man into that.

So, what does this mean? The game was going to be a light role playing game with heavy action elements to mirror the Mega Man series. Here is more insight on the games development from Wikipedia:

“Mega Man Battle Network was developed by Capcom Production Studio 2 amidst the success of Nintendo’s portable RPG franchise Pokémon. Rather than extend upon the traditional action-platform formula for the Mega Man series as they had done with the 3D Mega Man Legends, Capcom followed Nintendo’s example on the latter’s then-newest handheld console, the GBA. While creating Battle Network, director Masahiro Yasuma found difficulty in blending action attributes with “the kind of fun you get from a Pokémon game” in order to make it enjoyable, new, and fresh. Yasuma recalled that production was further challenged because no effective precursor of its type had been made before. Producer Keiji Inafune stated that the development team wanted to add a “real world” feel to the Mega Man series by placing the protagonist of Battle Network in a location where the internet is prevalent. With the release of the portable GBA, the team felt that they should target modern gamers, specifically children, as an audience for the new series. The developers thought such a theme would be both successful and relevant because these younger gamers grew up with and utilized such technology on a daily basis. To ensure the game’s popularity, Capcom marketed Battle Network alongside an afternoon anime adaptation, emphasized head-to-head matches between players, and provided fans with exclusive content via special events.

Inafune credited himself for redesigning the protagonist Mega Man as MegaMan.EXE for the Battle Network series, though he recounted the character designers were reluctant to hand over the responsibility to him and even altered his illustrations afterwards.The character’s initial concept art went through a large number of changes before it was finalized to a much simpler design, so that even very young fans could easily draw it. Yuji Ishihara acted as a primary character artist for the game. Each of the game’s boss characters was designed so that their bodies would exude a certain motif; for example, StoneMan.EXE was meant to look like a huge castle made from stone masonry. Some bosses resembled their original Mega Man series counterparts while others were a large departure from these more humanoid appearances. Ishihara explained that the artists chose size and shape variety among the characters to “provide a little bit of surprise and excitement” to fans familiar with their classic forms.”

All this information suggests that Mega Man jumping into the world of the Internet was the most logical leap for the series. I agree, considering Mega Man has always showed different assets of technology across every sub-series, so why not explore the net?

Battle Network is also linked to a lot of media in both west and in Japan. For starters, it got its own anime called Mega Man: NT Warrior airing on the popular Kids WB (alongside Pokemon and Batman) and it started a long series of games across many platforms; GameCube with Network Transmission and even the Wondersawn!

The first game released in March 21st 2001 in Japan and October the same year in the west. The game got high scores and many enjoyed the game going in a different direction compared to past Mega Man games.

This is a big one considering this is a role playing game after all. So, its basically a more explained version of the Mega Man Classic series, just with the Net being the main setting for battles instead of various stages across the world.

A young boy named Lan (ha) has a PET that houses his Net Navi (digital partner) called Mega Man that his father created. They have battles with Lan’s other friends and have a nice calm life. But suddenly, viruses start causing havoc and Mega Man pushes Lan to Jack into the net to see what is going on.

Mega Man takes out Fire Man and learns of a organization called the WWW ran by this universes version of Dr. Wily (with Lan’s dad being this universes version of Dr. Light in some respects). Like clock-work, stuff happens to Lan and friends, so he sends Mega Man into the system to take the various viruses out.

What makes this so fun, is that the writing feels like it was pulled out of Mega Man Legends to me. Its likely from that being the most story focused version of Mega Man out their but still, got strong Legends vibes from a lot of Battle Network. The way the characters bounce off each other, how great the characterization of the villains are, and overall the story keeping me invested; it reminded me of the strong story telling from Legends. And I really appreciated that here.

The game even references Legends in Lan’s Room!

Mega Man is one of the most adaptable IP around and Battle Network proves that in this regard.

This also mirrors past Mega Man games heavily. You have the main hub areas to explore as both Lan and Mega Man.EXE that allow you to talk to people for fun dialog, learn more about the world and see how things work. You can also jack-into most things in the world, giving Mega Man freedom to explore various spots for more Zenny (money) and have a few fights to get some chips.

You also have the way upgrading works, and it function like Legends. Instead of just leveling up after every single random battle, you use the Zenny you get to buy ‘Power-Up’ parts. After buying them, you use them for one of three options; power, charge and speed. Once you use one, Mega Man gets a higher level. This also works for your health as well, with you buying health-upgrade pieces to apply to Mega Man.

Lastly, is the chips themselves. You have different chips that function like the different Pokemon that this game was inspired by. Each chip does unique actions and will cover that in the gameplay portion soon enough. But some chips are the Navi’s you fight/befriend and they offer different abilities. For example, this series version of Roll will give you some health while later games have Protoman.EXE or Bass.EXE do an attack for you. You also get Navi summon chips from the Robot Master Navi’s (called WWW Navi’s in the game) that function the same way.

Overall, its a really well set up game and world that you can really lose yourself in.

The core gameplay in Battle Network is what you would expect out of a Mega Man Role Playing game; action packed gameplay with tight reponsive controls. The way the game works is that the mentality behind the Classic series comes through with Mega Man moving around and shooting his Mega Buster but he cannot jump.

So instead of jumping and shooting, you are moving and shooting. This is further pushed with the chip system, which gives Mega Man a wide selection of attacks he can used. For example, you can use bomb chips that allow you to throw powerful bombs in an arc (three spaces on the grid) and they can be useful for taking out turrets. Another example is using a Sword Chip for a powerful slash against a gliding foe charging at you.

Mega Man can have a ‘hand’ of chips equipped at once, but only ones that have the same letter class or same type. This leads to you making smart choices when initially selecting your hand for the fight, but there is a lot more to this system.

You have a ‘custom’ meter that builds up over time (happens very quick, as least 20-30 seconds) and you can equip a new hand of chips……or select modify and enter the fight with no chips. This allows you to fight with only the Mega Buster and after the custom meter is full again, you have a new row of chips to select. This is a great risk-reward system that should allow you to have a choice; fight the battle hard with only your Mega Buster until you get a hand you like, or use whatever the game throws at you and base your battle set up around that.

But there is further depth to this system, as Mega Man can only have 30 chips in his folder at a given time. Thankfully, you can change this at any time when running in the map (same thing with saving). The higher the letter ranking, the stronger the chips.

Thanks to the Mega Man Wiki, found a detailed breakdown of a mechanic called Program Advance. Sorry if I originally glossed over this feature everyone. Here is what the Wiki stated about the mechanic. “A Program Advance (プログラムアドバンス Puroguramu Adobansu?), PA for short, is an incident in the Mega Man Battle Network series when certain Battle Chips are used in succession to form a very powerful to enormously powerful offense or defense. One of the most known examples would be the Life Sword PA, which uses the Battle Chips Sword, Wide Sword, and Long Sword, in that order with the same code.”

One final part of the combat system is the weakness system from MM Classic and MMX; its back but done differently. You fight various robot masters from the Classic series in new ways as WWW Navi’s and each one has a different set-up. Fire Man has fire attacks for example and these fights can be very challenging. Sometimes unfair but with the great save system, enough pushing and Zenny grinding (to power yourself up) can get through things with little issue.

If you have a water chip attack, you could use it on Fire man to cause more damage and this extends to the other Navi’s you fight across the game. This comes into my only issue with the game; the zenny grinding. You get enough of it to get by fine enough, but considering how expensive it is to power up Mega Man’s Buster, it can be tough at first getting through the game. But again, the game has a great save system, so this can be somewhat megated.

Overall, the gameplay is strong here and something I was honestly surprised by; really enjoyed my time battling on the net with Mega Man!

The game looks great on GBA hardware and it scales up nicely to larger screens. The game has a great stylized look and if you loved the art direction of the Legends series, you will enjoy the art here.

Battle animations are solid and the music like all Mega Man games is a treat to listen too here. It only gets better from what I heard from the other BN OST’s online, so looking forward to listening to more of the series soundtracks.

Main Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZocM…AC2F21&index=1
Home Town: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nSx…B9E941ADAC2F21
Incident Occurrence!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJZO…B9E941ADAC2F21
Fire Field: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cplR…B9E941ADAC2F21
Running Through the Cyber World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtX-…AC2F21&index=9
Boundless Network: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai3L…B9E941ADAC2F21
Cold and Silent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8aD…B9E941ADAC2F21
Electrical Crisis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuMD…C2F21&index=14

Really enjoyed my time playing this game, as it was an honest surprise for me. The game can get hard but its rewarding. The gameplay systems are very original and really like how creative Capcom got with the core combat system here. And while the game has issues with sometimes hard fights and making you grind Zenny at points, the good save system can make up for those issues.

I enjoyed this game a lot and from impressions online, it only gets better from here. Lets jack into the network and join Mega Man on more online adventures!

Crash Bandicoot Retrospective

Hello everyone.

While this isn’t launching yet, I plan on covering the Crash Bandicoot series and giving it the Retrospective treatment Late May/Early June. The games I plan on covering include the following:

Naughty Dog Era: Crash 1, Crash 2, Crash 3, Crash Team Racing, Crash Bash

PS2 Era: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Crash Twinsanity, Crash Nitro Kart, Crash Tag Team Racing

Handheld Era: Crash’s Big Adventure, Crash N. Traced

Titans Era: Crash of the Titans, Crash Mind over Mutant.

Hope you all look forward to this and it will start with the Naughty Dog Era before this year’s E3 convention (gaming expo). We might be in-store for some crashy news, so looking back on the series might be a nice idea.

Spyro the Dragon – PS1 Series

To kick off this romp through the history of the Purple Dragon, lets start with the very beginning! Spyro is a 3D Platforming hero for the original PlayStation and with it being hemmed by the developers at Insomniac Games, a trilogy of games was formed.

Going to cover all the Spyro games but the original Spyro is very interesting title that is a ‘mellow’ Collect-A-Ton. And that is a great thing, which I will go into soon enough. Lets get started with the history of the development first before we move on to the gameplay!

The origins of Insomniac date back to February 28, 1994, with Ted Price founding the studio at a very young age (I believe, 17-18 years old!). Their very first project was a first person shooter called ‘Disruptor’ and the game was at the time, a fantastic action shooter, but it failed to sell amazingly well. In the words of many reviewers, it was “the best game that nobody ever heard of”.

So, when development on that wrapped up, Ted Price and the team looked toward their buddies right next to them, Naughty Dog. Both worked in the same building (Universal Interactive) and saw Naughty Dog develop a little game called ‘Crash Bandicoot’. So, interested in shifting gears and making a cartoony action platforming adventure, they set sights on making a more open 3D Platformer compared to the linear hallways of Crash.

Mark Cerny produced the game with Insomniac, providing a similar role he did with Crash Bandicoot.

This created the early ideas of ‘Spyro’ and development of the game began. Here is a part of the development history of the game featured on its Wikipedia Entree:
“The idea of a dragon was introduced by Insomniac artist Craig Stitt, while Alex Hastings developed a 3D panoramic engine containing some of the first level of detail renderers used on the PlayStation. During the development of the game, Spyro was originally going to be green, but the developers thought it was a bad idea because he would blend in with grass, so they eventually changed him to purple. There were many released demos of Spyro, which did not have many differences from each other besides music and some areas being blocked off.”

Spyro released in Fall 1998, the same year Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back launched. And, the game was very successful! It holds a 85% on Metacritic and people praised the game. I even have a PS Magazine that reviewed the game, giving the game a 4 out of 5. People loved it and work on Spyro 2 soon began. In many ways, Spyro 2 was the time the torch was passed from Crash to Spyro regarding Sony’s major platforming icon.

The gameplay here is very simple; 3D Action Platformer where you run around, exploring large maps to find Frozen Dragons, Dragon Eggs and Tons of Gems scattered all over the place.

If this sounds fimiliar, then it should; the structure of Spyro is a more open take on Mario 64 or Banjo, with Spyro literally only having to run around and get X amount of things in each world before moving on to the next world.

But what makes Spyro so much fun to play, is how great he controls. This released with the PlayStation did NOT have analog control, so the game uses a D-Pad control set up (with no camera stick control) but Spyro still moves so natrual and smooth. Playing this with a D-Pad is just as great as playing it with a analog stick.

Jumping is interesting, as despite having wings, Spyro can only fly in very special Raceway Stages. Normal levels only has him gliding around with his wings and they work well enough. It is tricky to land correctly though, as Spyro does not have a good ‘hover’ mode when getting close to a ledge. So, you might just hit a ledge but Spyro misses it by a micro second, making you have to time your jump all over again. Spyro 2 fixes this with the Flutter move.

Spyro also has horns, so he can ram into people by holding down [] and man is it fun. He moves faster and if you run down special ramps, he speeds up quite a bit. Though during this, sometimes you can accidentally make sharp turns when trying to make a large jump.

Spyro’s main method of attacking is his charge move or his breath (used with the O button). His breath has large retch but combat gets interesting. If foes have silver armor, you cannot use your fire breath, so you use [] to ram into them and take them out that way. Makes combat encounters interesting.

The last element of Spyro’s gameplay is the Speedway Stages and the Dragon Egg Collecting. The former gives you the power to fly in the sky and it controls great! Lots of freedom to move all about all the while having clear objectives to complete (kill X amount of things, fly through X amount of rings, ect. These can be hard, as you are on a timer and you get higher time the more you get the items/kill the things needed. That makes these stages replayable and very rewarding.

The latter has you racing a little imp thing in any of the hub/main levels holding a Dragon Egg. You chase them down by Charging and when you get all the Eggs…..nothing happens. This mechanic is brought back with Spyro 3 but will touch on that when we get there.

Level Design:
The level design here is interesting, as its both something I like and something that bugs me.

What I like about it is how open the game is, with every location having so much to see and collect. This makes exploring each of the large worlds so rewarding. But…..you do the same mission for each level; Collect all the Gems, Free all the Dragons, Collect the Dragon Egg(s) if the level has them or not.

Nothing changes and that is a shame honestly. It makes the large levels, a bit empty and outside of the Dragons, Spyro does not interact with anyone else. So it can get a bit lonely. Again, like the gliding move, this changes dramatically with Spyro 2. So, will touch on that when we get there.

For a 1998 PlayStation game, this looks beautiful to this day. The character models are colorful and animated, with the game having a very ‘simple’ look but that adding to its charm.

The designs of each level creates this ‘otherworldly’ location for the games world and it is haunting to explore each location at points. The music adds to this, with this Wikipedia section covering that well:

“The game’s music was composed and produced by Stewart Copeland, the former drummer of The Police. The music is primarily progressive rock-themed. Many of the pieces from the game, or music motifs from them, have made their way into other Copeland pieces, such as the theme to The Amanda Show, Look Up, and Louis Hansa. The music for the level Jacques appears on Copeland’s compilation album The Stewart Copeland Anthology, referred to as Rain.”

Having a musician on board helps the game a lot, as the tracks here sound fantastic.

Title Screen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvFR…ECEC231DE28F97
Sunny Flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I76G…E28F97&index=4
Dark Hollow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhqN…E28F97&index=5
Toasty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THWs…E28F97&index=7
Dry Canyon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnRv…E28F97&index=9
Ice Cavern: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoIg…ECEC231DE28F97
Alpine Ridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAqo…28F97&index=15
Dark Passage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhtR…ECEC231DE28F97
Icy Flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyUL…ECEC231DE28F97

This is a great first shot at making a 3D Platformer for Insomniac, as the game really does a strong job making fun core gameplay, looks great and sounds amazing.

Spyro became a gaming icon not long after this games launch and its sequel is even better. Can’t wait to cover that, as I really love that game!

Mega Man X 2 & 3 – X Series

These two games are part of the Mega Man Retrospective, following the success of the outstanding Mega Man X. Mega Man X is one of the rare times in gaming where it is really close or is perfect, so it has to be hard to top such a great game.

The interesting thing about both X2 and X3, is that both do some really great things with the X gameplay style and introduce some really fun ideas, but execution of said ideas can be problematic. These are a set of great games but both have unique issues holding them back from being as good as Mega Man X.

Covering Both Games at Once:
Mega Man X2 and X3 will be covered via same thread, similarly like Mega Man 2 & 3’s Retrospective. I am doing that, as both of these games offer great compare/contrast opportunities. So how it is going to work is that I will be covering both games in unique sections, so it gives each game proper attention and respect.

Hope you all enjoy this and let’s get rocking!

This follows the events of Mega Man X1, with six months passing after Sigma’s defeat and Zero’s death. A new set of foes pop up, called the X-Hunters, with the main goal being to resurrect Sigma and defeat X once and for all. They also have plans to put back together Zero and have four of his parts. So as X, you are tasked with defeating 8 Mavericks all the while keeping an eye for the X-Hunters to find the parts of your friend.

The story here is a good excuse to shoot up some robots and earn new armor parts, get new weapons and so on. Before I touch on the bosses, which I have a lot to talk about there, lets go to the gameplay and level design first. One thing that surprised me upon reading this thread was that, Surges is Wily in disguise and the X vs. Zero (Light vs. Wily) fight is more meaningful then intended. Sigma calls Zero the last of the Wily numbers too. All of this critical information, is in the JP version of the game only. When localized, all of those elements were cut from the final game.

Here is the JP script translated into English: https://hondoori.wordpress.com/scrip…es/rockman-x2/

Thank you Syril for that information!

Gameplay is the same as X1, with X dashing, jumping, wall clinging/jumping and shooting. But you also get a great ability called the Air Dash after you collect the Leg Armor, and this really makes things interesting.

Mega Man has momentum, and using the Air Dash is very useful in keeping this. Mega Man X3 further improves on this but will touch on that when I cover that game in the next section. The level design is also more focused on playing with X’s wall jumping and sliding ability. One big example is Bubble Crab’s stage, where to get a heart tank, you have to carefully time your wall jumps underwater to cling to hovering platforms in the air.

I love level design like this and it pushes you to play around and look for secrets. Speaking of secrets, the weapons you earn are really fun to use and when you get X’s Arm Cannon Armor, you can play with some really fun charging abilities. The fire weapon’s charged stage is a blast to use for example and very useful with collecting items.

Stage design is also more dynamic compared to X1, with some stages having major set pieces. One example being Overdrive Ostridge, with his stage having a big focus on the new motor-bike (which can dash, shoot and jump….hard to control though) and when you reach the boss gate, you hop on a rocket, shoot the ship you are riding on, it explodes and you land in a large desert with Overdrive running into the background, and popping back into the screen. One of my personal favorite stages in the game.

The boss fights themselves against the Mavericks are good too, with them having fun patterns to figure out and they are very manageable to deal with you understand the weakness order. Overall, it sounds like I had a great time playing this game and love it as much as MMX, right?

Well, I have one major problem; The X-Hunter Fights. They are cheap, aggravating, frustrating, annoying……..hate these fights. They are very unfair and can really drain your health if you are struggling, like I was. So, one must think “Oh, these are super hard because you get a reward for beating them, right?”

Nope, all you get is avoiding one fight against Zero before you fight Sigma in the Castle Stage. How rewarding to tear your hair and throw your controller against the wall, only for the game to just say “You saved your best friend, good job! Why are you still here? You can move on to Sigma now, go now”. Like I said about the Air Dash though, this element is improved upon in X3 greatly.

X2 also has the Castle Stages and they are quite hard, with one interesting thing being the X-Hunters. You fight them at the end of each level and like in the main levels, they are very, very hard. Thankfully, they have weapon weakness like the main Mavericks, so they aren’t impossible to take out.

X2 also has something special; the very first X vs. Zero fight in the entire series. It is amazing, considering the history behind X and Zero’s creation (Light vs. Wily). This happens in a future game, and its just as fun as it is here.

The good thing about X2 is that you can avoid the X-Hunter Fights and play the game normally. And then, you get a really fun action/platformer that while annoying at points, is still a great time.

X3 take what X2 did but adds a few more things to the mix. Remember how I talked the Air Dash and the X-Hunter Fights? They are brought back, but done in interesting ways. The Air Dash can be used upwards too (in addition to right/left in the air) and you get it earlier in the game (Ice Stage). The X-Hunter fights come back too, but done differently. You have three guys to take out; Bit, Byte and a resurrected Vile. Each one is found across the stages, with Bit & Byte forced on you mid-level. They aren’t impossible to take out and Bit is weak against the Ice weapon, so makes sure to beat that Maverick first before moving on. Vile is found at different parts in the levels (via teleporter) and its best to fight him when you are close to beating all the Mavericks.

The games big gimmicks though are the inclusion of Zero being playable and Ride Armors being summoned via pads after you find special chips in the different stages. These are awesome additions, but they present annoying issues that make them worthless.

Zero can’t be used during bosses and cannot collect important items for X, meaning every time you play as him, it’s only to get through the level as fast as possible. This makes him completely worthless to play as due to the fact you might be missing out on important armor parts, heart/sub tanks and other items for X to collect. And you need them, as your defense is FAR lower compared to X1 and X2. The worst part is that you don’t get armor upgrades until very late in the game (if you go in weakness order).

The Ride Armors cannot be used until you find the very first one in the Wasp Maverick’s Stage, and his stage is not a great place to start the game. Overall, it sounds like I dislike X3 a lot, but despite these issues, it still is a good game.

The air dash rocks like it did in X2 and the level design is solid. I also like how if you go in weakness order, you get two sub-tanks very early in the game (making harder fights and damage in general being less rough). The boss fights are very hard and if you do not go in weakness order, they can be very hard to deal with.

I tried playing them on non-weakness order at first and died many, many times. But I had fun fighting them, as they were great fights. Weakness order is recommended though. The Castle stages are great to and this brings me one point I really like; if you take out Bit, Byte and Vile using their weakness, you do not fight them here.

Instead, you fight new bosses and some of the level design changes completely (mainly in Castle Stage 2, with it looking newer compared to it being in shambles if you let Vile live). I love this idea, as it makes replaying this place more enjoyable if you decide to not kill the sub-bosses without their weaknesses.

Overall, really enjoy X3 despite some small issues annoying me a bit.

Both games continue the great look and soundtrack of X1, with stages having bright colors and really interesting effects. X3 should be noted, as it used advanced tech for the SNES to have wire-frame models at various points in the game (weapon get screen, one of the bosses, ect). X3 also got a PS1 port in Japan and Europe, leading it having a different soundtrack and anime intros for every Maverick encounter. Overall, presentation for X2 and X3 is great.

X2 and X3 also were the first times Capcom’s Cx4 chip was used for a SNES Cart. Remember the wire-frame models I mentioned in X3? That was possible thanks to the Chip.

Here is the link to the PS1/X Collection version of X3’s cut-scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfHP…7C4F746080930F

Soundtracks for each game is less consistently amazing like X1’s but still rocks hard with some great tunes. The intro stages in each game and Zero’s theme in X3 are a delight to listen too.

MMX2 Into Stage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUok…fQF-5PlYuBvtUs
Zero’s Theme (MMX3): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO6s…650BA&index=30
Wire Sponge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbTL…uBvtUs&index=7
Bubble Crab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivJE…uBvtUs&index=9
Flame Stag: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqLs…BvtUs&index=10
Overdrive Ostritch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTJ_…BvtUs&index=14
Absolute Zero: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvsJ…BvtUs&index=22
Zero’s Rebirth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ1N…fQF-5PlYuBvtUs
Judgement Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG8a…fQF-5PlYuBvtUs
MMX3 Intro Stage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQYQ…EB3FCAD02650BA
Volt Catfish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHll…EB3FCAD02650BA
Tunnel Rhino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou_B…EB3FCAD02650BA
Toxic Seahorse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjGP…EB3FCAD02650BA
Gravity Beetle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsuc…EB3FCAD02650BA
Dr. Doppler Stage 01: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m50…EB3FCAD02650BA
Simga Battle 1 (MMX3): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yRT…EB3FCAD02650BA

The PlayStation version of X3 got its own soundtrack, so will link to a few tracks from that version here.

Intro Stage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Am1…C6676C&index=2
Zero’s Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U4D…C0CB98B5C6676C
Blizzard Buffalo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqMt…C6676C&index=5
Tunnel Rhino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG1z…C0CB98B5C6676C
Doppler Stage 1 & 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCMM…C0CB98B5C6676C
Vs. Vile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ysv…C0CB98B5C6676C

I enjoyed my time with both games quite a bit, with each game doing something interesting and in X3’s case, taking what X2 did and further expanding on it with new mechanics, ideas and concepts. Both are flawed, but they are still very enjoyable games in the Mega Man X series.

Mega Man X – X Series

This game is huge and is one of the greatest games ever made, so of course it would be part of this Mega Man Retrospective!

The Mega Man X series pushed the Mega Man IP into the future in a big way in 1993/1994 and is a game many site as one of the strongest games in the entire Mega Man series. So, what makes this game so good?

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We have to cover development history first and this went into development after sales of the NES Mega Man games started going down after Mega Man 3. They were doing well enough, but not nearly as well compared to MM2 and MM3. So, they told the core Mega Man team within Capcom to get to work on getting a new Mega Man ready for the Super Nintendo.

So as cited from the MMX Wikipedia page:

“Lead artist Keiji Inafune (credited as a planner as Inemuryar) recounted that the development of Mega Man X required a lot of brainstorming for its storyline and content where the team’s goal was to branch out from original Mega Man games while still maintaining their fundamentals. In the original Mega Man series, Inafune typically designed the protagonist while his protégé Hayato Kaji handled the supporting characters. However, their roles were reversed for Mega Man X. Kaji (credited as Rippa H.K) illustrated the protagonist X, but had a difficult time with the initial design. He was presented with much more freedom than he was accustomed with the SNES’s larger palette of colors when compared to the NES. Inafune and Kaji worked simultaneously on the various designs for X with different pieces of armor attached. The idea for the armor parts came about because the game was planned during a time when role-playing video games were becoming extremely popular. Inafune felt that Mega Man had always represented a classic action game formula in which the hero earns his defeated enemies’ abilities; the armor parts were added to supplement this concept.”

So, what does all of this mean? Well it means that Inafnue had a much larger role in terms of character design for MMX and it lead to Zero being created. Zero was supposed to be MMX, but due to his design being so different (and likely Capcom wanting Mega Man’s image to be consistent across the sub-series), pushed for Kaji’s MMX design over Inafune’s Zero design.

That is very interesting, considering future X games like X4, X6 and X7 when they are really Zero games in disguise, but will get to those when the time comes.

The team that made this game was much larger than MM1, which makes sense considering this beign a new take on the Mega Man IP!
Producer: Tokuro Fujiwara
Designers: Yoshinori Takenaka, Keiji Inafune, Sho Tsuge, Masayoshi Kurokawa
Programmers: Keiji Kubori, Kouichiro Nakamura
Artists: Keiji Inafune, Hayato Kaji, Kazunori Tazaki, Tatsuya Yoshikawa
Writer: Keiji Inafune, Sho Tsuge
Composers: Setsuo Yamamoto, Makoto Tomozawa, Yuki Iwai, Yuko Takehara, Toshihiko Horiyama

Either way, they made a whole new world and setting with MMX, taking place a very long time after the events in the Classic series. Will go over the story details in a bit but the general goal was to make things darker and more mature with the X series. They accomplished this with the MMX series well on the SNES series of games but when we get to the PS1/PS2 titles, it will be interesting to talk about that element there.

So, the game finally came out December 1993 in Japan with NA/EU getting the game a month later in January 1994. It was a critical and sales success, with Capcom comissioning a sequel game to follow MMX and the Classic series still continuing with MM7 a year latter. The Mega Man X Series was born, with more Sub-Series to follow as time went on.

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The story is set in the far future past the time of Mega Man Classic, with the world being composed of humans and robots living in peace. Dr. Cain finds a robot while exploring and using its core design, creates a new type of robot, the Reploids. These robots are living beings, with emotions and have free will. This is unlike the robots and robot masters in Mega Man Classic, where they have to listen to human commands despite showing personality and emotions.

The robot Dr. Cain uses to make the Reploids? Mega Man X of course! Dr. Light makes Mega Man X in old age and makes him to change the world of robotics. He hopes for a world of peace and feels Mega Man X will accomplish this dream. In the original game, we do not see X interact with Dr. Light at all, but in the PSP remake, this is touched upon. Will cover that when we get to Mega Man Maverick Hunter X.

So, what happened to ruin this peace? A virus; the Maverick Virus. The virus causes robots to go wild and have a warped perspective of the world around them, so like the robot masters before them, they attack humans and cause havoc. Sigma, a former commander of the Maverick Hunters gets infected himself after being affected from the Virus by a robot named Zero a very long time ago.

Zero is a partner robot to Mega Man X, using his Z-Saber and his Z-Buster to fight robots. But he isn’t a Reploid like others though, but he was made by the evil doctor himself, Dr. Wily. Its heavily implied that he caused the Classic Series to end, but not much is known about the series connections between Classic and X. Zero lost his memory and is a good guy though, so he works with X to take out troubled robots.

So, him and Zero work together to stop a now evil Sigma and take out the Eight Robot Mast….I mean Mavericks on the lose.

Strong set up for future games and the story does go in interesting directions.

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What makes MMX so great, is its gameplay. It is different from the Classic series on many levels thanks to two major abilities; wall jumping/sliding & dashing. These two abilities completely change how level design works with Mega Man and they are so much fun to use.

You can collect heart tanks (which increase you health bar), sub-tanks (which store health energy, think E-Tanks from the Classic series) and armor pieces. Dr. Light has these all over the map and they give you different abilities. The Leg Piece allows you to dash, the Arm Piece allows you to charge special attacks, the Plate Piece gives you more defense and the Head Piece allows you to avoid objects hitting you from above.

Later games make the armor system a bigger deal, with the PS1 X games giving you more armor options.

X can still use powers taken from defeated Mavericks, jump and shoot (with MM3’s charge shot also being a move you have from the start) but his dashing ability makes things more ‘faster’ paced. You can use the dash to get longer jumps, slide up ramps faster and most importantly, dodge foes better. This makes boss fights very fun, but will get to that in a bit.

What makes the game so rewarding though, is that it teaches you how to do everything, but with no messages on the screen. Not the biggest fan of Egoraptor, but his Mega Man X video is a really good example to look at if you want a complete break down why Mega Man X is such a good sequel series to MM Classic.

I recommend you map the Dash to R on the controller though; makes using it far more useful then double tapping dash with the D-Pad or pressing one of the face buttons.

The wall jump is very useful, as it allows you to slide down walls and jump higher & higher if you time you jumps well. This also allows for more vertical level design for te game, which leads to some really large levels for X to fight through.

Stage design itself is really rock solid, as you have a lot of great gimmicks to play with. Flame Mamoth’s stage for example has lava at points you have to dodge, Storm Eagle’s stage is very focused on tight platforming due to it being in the air, Sting Chameleon’s stage has TWO secret secrets to hunt for & introduces the ride armors (suits X can jump into). They are really fun to play through and depending on the order you beat bosses, they change other levels. Defeat Storm Eagle first? Then when you visit Spark Mandrill, you have to deal with his level having power surges that make the light flicker due to power going out from Eagle’s ship crashing on his power plant.

Makes replaying the game a joy, as things can change depending on your actions.

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The boss’s are a blast to fight through, as they each have unique set-ups. Flame Mammoth for example is a robot that you fight on a convator, with his fire breath having a long range of attack. If you use the Boomerang weapon, you can get his trunk off, making his fire breath have shorter range.

The designs of the bosses are great, with each one being based off different animals:

They have striking designs and the weapons they offer are even better. A boomerang that can pull objects toward you, flame thrower that is very powerful, storm blaster that decimates everything it passes, and charged versions of weapons that are even more effective? Awesome line up of weapons X can gain from defeating them.

I think one of the best examples of boss fights in the game are the two encounters you have with Vile, a Boba-Fet like character what is against X & Zero. You CAN’T beat him, at all. Every shot you have does no damage, but then, Zero shows up and pushes him off.

But when you face him again, the same thing happens, with you losing to him despite having more health, lots of weapons and as the player, more experience with the game. Then after a fatal blow to a helper, X gets pissed and more or less says “You’re done now”. Your shots count and you CAN damage Vile now. It is story through gameplay and I love that when games pull it off well.

Sonic did this great with Sonic 3&K, so its great to see the Blue Bomber pull that off well though the strong boss fights.

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Presentation for this game is outstanding, as they have more detailed sprite work, the levels have a lot going on, and the frame rate is lock solid. The only time the game has performance issue is in Armored Armadillo’s stage, where we get some slowdown at two points. Otherwise, rock stolid frame rate :).

The music though, has to be one of my favorites in the Mega Man series. Such a great set of tunes and I can still hum the intro stage to this day.

Intro Stage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YROV…&nohtml5=False
Chill Penguin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uCO…71ACABC3369010
Spark Mandrill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO1y…71ACABC3369010
Boomer Kuwanger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo8i…&nohtml5=False
Storm Eagle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngfn…&nohtml5=False
Sting Chameleon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0Vr…&nohtml5=False
Sigma Stage 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRCu…&nohtml5=False
Ending: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enH0…&nohtml5=False

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Overall, Mega Man X is a fantastic game and one of the series best titles. While it might be too easy compared to later X games and other Classic Mega Man games, it is still one hell of a ride and great way to re-introduce the series to SNES owners of the time period.

The series has a long legacy, with a sequel coming not long after. We will talk about that soon enough though.