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Megaman X Collection

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When I think of what comes to mind when talking about video games, plenty of characters pop into my head.  Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot; you name it, I think of it.  However, there is one specific character that will stick in the hearts and callused thumbs of gamers forever.  That character is Mega Man.  No matter how much time goes by, the blue bomber doesn't seem to want to leave us anytime soon (whether we want him to or not).  Mega Man has spawned more than a handful of games, toys, and other collectibles throughout its run and usually with great success (excluding the horrid event known as its "Tenth Anniversary."  Let's just pretend that never happened...).

Mega Man X Collection is, you guessed it, a collection of the first six titles in the X series.  Why not all 8?  Well, Capcom figured there was no reason to include them since X7 and X8 were released on the PS2 already and they didn't deem it necessary to emulate them again (not to mention that X7 was so poorly made that I wouldn't have put it in this collection myself).  Alright, enough rambling.  Let's get to the review.

The storyline in the X is series is simple enough.  It takes place in the future and revolves around Mega Man, known as X in this series, going after evil Reploid robots known as Mavericks.  Reploids are a friendly group of robots that work alongside mankind to help make a better future for everyone.  Sigma, the main villain of this series, leads a revolt against the Reploids with his team of Mavericks.  X has to, yes, you guessed it again, enter each selectable boss stage, complete it, and defeat the robot at the end to obtain their weapon.  Each entry in the series has its own specific storyline, but this is the basis for just about every title here.

Gameplay is as simple as it always has been.  It's in the style of the old Mega Man titles, with the exception of a few additions.  You get your basic side-scrolling elements with your good old-fashioned blaster, also capable of charging up as always (Some futuristic weaponry, huh?).  Aside from the old school Mega Man controls, X has the ability to dash and climb up walls by jumping onto them and pushing off again and again until he reaches whatever he's trying to reach, as well as an air-dash maneuver in which X can dash in mid-air.  Hidden throughout each game are pieces of armor upgrades for X (consisting of a helmet, body armor, boots, and a blaster upgrade).  These enhancements make X's quest a lot easier and make him stronger and faster overall.  As you progress through titles (namely when you get to X4), you will now have the ability to play as Zero, X's partner in Maverick hunting, instead of just being limited to X.  Zero's gameplay adds a lot to the formula.  While X relies on shooting and use of other long-range weaponry, Zero uses his trusty Z-Saber with which he slashes his enemies and instead of gaining new powers from bosses, learns new abilities from them, which contain almost unlimited use.  Each character can also benefit from collected heart containers, which increase both character's health by a little bit.  There's one in each stage and the more that you find, the more your maximum health gauge will go up.

When it comes to graphics, you should already know what to expect.  The first two X titles were from the SNES era, so there's nothing terribly special to look at here.  X2 had a few enhancements using a new 3-D chip that allowed for some unique gameplay elements.  The reason I didn't mention X3 with the previous two is because, despite the fact that it was originally released on the SNES, the version included in this game was a slightly enhanced version that was put on the Sega Saturn and the PS1 with added anime cutscenes.  The graphics in this title were still on par with the SNES version.  X4-X6 were all released on the PS1, so their graphical capabilities are all about the same.  While considerably better looking than the previous titles, the gameplay didn't stray from the original formula.  This allows for the same classic feel that Mega Man fans (including myself) just can't get enough of.

Sound can be a positive or a negative depending on your preference.  If you liked the music from the old titles, you'll be happy to know that it wasn't altered at all and is still in its original format.  Others may be disappointed that the tracks weren't remixed in any way (though one of the extras for this collection is in fact some remixed music from the various games which you can listen to from the game selection menu).  Personally, I prefer the old sounds as it gives this game the feeling it was meant for when it was first released.

It's pretty safe to say that the replay value on this collection is high in that you are given six different games to play through, each with their own set of secrets and hidden areas.  My main complaint lies in the lack of extra content included on this collection. After playing the Mega Man Anniversary Collection (which was chock full of goodies), I was very disappointed to see that the only things added to this collection were some art gallery shots, remixed music, and a little racer called "Mega Man Battle and Chase," which was never released in the states until this point (and honestly, after seeing this title in action, that won't come as much of a surprise).

To sum it all up, if you are a diehard Mega Man fan, then you owe it to yourself to pick up this piece of nostalgia, even if only for the first three X titles.  I consider the three titles following those to be decent as well, but in no way comparable to the goodness that the older titles provided us with.  Even if you're just a side-scroller fan in general, the tough gameplay and relentless action is enough to warrant a purchase, as it contains enough core gameplay to satisfy just about any fans of this particular genre.



- Justin Dickstein (JDOmnislash)