Before you read:
I am very familiar with the Mega Man franchise, having played pretty much every mainline game at this point with very few exceptions. I’ve played through the original Mega Man X game quite a lot as well. Before making this review, I have completed both X’s and Vile’s story to 100% with every collectable found. I have also watched the anime short exclusive to this game Day of Sigma, though I won’t cover it in the review itself as it’s just a fun (but probably slightly inconsistent?) extra. The remake has been played on the PSP, but you can get it digitally on the PS Vita as well.
Mega Man X’s music rocks and you know it! There are some neat tunes in this remake as well, my favourite being Chill Penguin’s. Fun story about that one, it actually became my favourite robot master theme from the original game after listening to a remix by FamilyJules7X. Give that one a listen too!
It’s sort of strange to have my first Mega Man X review be about the first game, yet at the same time not. I’m specifically covering the remake because that’s the version I have played most recently, and it would probably get in the way of me reviewing the actual first game. Besides, I don’t think I have to review Mega Man X anytime soon because it is highly regarded as one of the best SNES games ever. I share the same opinion as the masses, and don’t really have a lot to add either. Don’t worry, one day I might still take a look at the original! The remake however, that’s a different story. It’s not necessarily praised- or hated by fans, just… nobody really talks about it. It could be because it was made on a platform not a lot of people cared about, or the opinion being that Mega Man X didn’t really need a remake. So I guess it’s up to me then to take a look at the remake to see if it’s worthy, and if fans should or shouldn’t play it themselves!
A faithful one-to-one remake… mostly
The most important thing that Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X had to do was… not change the gameplay too much. Mega Man X is still a timeless game, and any additions to the gameplay would be hit- or miss with the fans. On that front, I’m glad Capcom made the right decision and kept the gameplay pretty much exactly the same. X still controls very fluid and has access to all the power-ups and weapons he got in the original game–even a very top secret power-up nobody knows about from this almost 30-year-old game. The stages are also the same with the exception of the final stages which was a change I liked since it took the Mega Man 1 approach. Another neat- and harmless addition was giving each boss some dialogue before the battle, to give them a bit more personality. But I can hear you asking ”well Neppy, you wonderful fan of the Mega Man franchise, why does this paragraph say mostly?”, and there’s a good reason for that. Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X pulls a stunt that I’m still conflicted on whether I like it or not. Veterans of the franchise know that it’s common knowledge to go to Chill Penguin’s stage first because Dr. Light awaits you here with the dash boots, which are essential to X’s movement. But when you reach said place, he’s… not there? When I went to other stages to search for parts in places I remember power-ups being, sometimes I got a heart- or energy tank but mostly 1-ups. This made me really paranoid during my first playthrough of the game because I just had no idea what to do. My knowledge of the original was being used against me and I didn’t like it. Were upgrades handled differently in this game instead of being found in stages? The answer is no; the dash boots upgrade were actually in Flame Mammoth’s stage, in a spot you could not access in the original if you didn’t have the head part. I knew that spot required another upgrade that I didn’t own yet, so I didn’t bother looking there but alas, it was actually there. After I got the dash boots, finding the remaining power-ups was a piece of cake, but I think it’s easy to understand my confusion. On one hand, I wasn’t against this change since Capcom tried to give me a new experience by exploring the stages all over again. But on the other hand, it’s not like the collectables actually changed places; they were just switched around. To be honest, I’m still not sure what to think of this change but I believe I came up with a reason for it.
X is not the only.. hero in town?
After you beat the game as X, you actually unlock a different character to play as unlike the original! And surprisingly no, it’s not Zero or Sigma. It’s actually everyone’s love-to-hate tutorial boss Vile! I knew this was going to happen before I played the game as it’s already been about fifteen years, but if I played this at release I probably would not have expected Vile to become playable over easy choices such as Zero. Like X, Vile has a completely unique story to him with voiced dialogue against every major character. Also, his story can be summed up in 1 word: jealousy. Vile goes through the exact same stages as X with small changes, the major difference being himself of course but also the same freaking theme song playing for every stage. I’m not kidding with that last part; it’s the exact same theme song, and it never changes. It was good! …the first few times. And since I used a nice segue in the last paragraph: the reason I believe collectables are switched around is that most of the places where X’s upgrades were missing, they are to be found in Vile’s playthrough. Let’s first talk about Vile however before I continue talking about the minor differences in stages. Vile loses X’s dash, but is still able to wall jump. The minor differences are a result of this for places where a dash would be beneficial. Some other changes include replacing the carts in Armored Armadillo’s stage with Vile’s trusty Ride Armour, but due to that he is unable to cross the large pit at the end which is in turn replaced by floating platforms. The Ride Armour is occasionally used for finding collectables as well, as it can function as a jump boost or explode when a… timer ends. For whatever reason Vile’s Ride Armour has a timer, which goes down faster after taking damage. I have no idea why and I think it’s stupid to add a timer instead of having it just damage but whatever. But that’s nice and all, but the small changes in stages and his Ride Armour are not the main attraction to Vile’s gameplay. Vile has a huge arsenal of bombs, missiles, guns and so much more. This guy is a walking ammunition shop and is not afraid to use it. It does take some getting used to as he literally has nothing at the start, making the first stage ironically also one of the more difficult in the game. But with every robot master you defeat, you get several new weapons that you can equip before going into a stage. There is a limit to how much you can equip, also dependant on how many bosses you’ve beaten. It’s fun to mess around with them all, and a weakness chart does still apply. Eventually you probably found a weapon that does the job well enough even without being the weakness of the bosses, but that’s the fun part of playing as Vile; it’s completely fresh and new for the Mega Man X sub-franchise. I wouldn’t necessarily pick Vile over X, but I had fun playing as him and definitely wouldn’t mind playing as him again.
Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X is a remake in the truest sense of the word. It does not change a lot, neither is it a replacement of the original. Instead, it’s a love letter to the original game that fans of the franchise that enhances the experience even further. Fair warning in advance though: don’t expect your knowledge about chronological power-up locations to work here, because it won’t. I’m still sort-of conflicted on that point but for now, I’ll say it doesn’t do that much harm. Vile was very fun to play around with as well despite having the same theme song every. single. stage. His wide arsenal of different weapons does certainly make up for that. On top of that, some quality-of-life updates and a 30-minutes animated short make this a remake no Mega Man X fan should miss out on. For being a solid remake, Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X gets a solid 4.5 out of 5 Viles!
Thank you for joining me on this review! Some may argue that I’ve been pretty generous this review but I truly believe that not changing a lot to the core game only works out for the better. Even the tiniest of changes could tilt fans the wrong way for tarnishing their beloved game, and Capcom fortunately played it pretty safe and even added a good amount of extra content. Have you played this game, or did my review convince you to? Let me know down below! It’s pretty cheap on Playstation Network (only 10 bucks I believe), and the physical PSP version isn’t super rare either.
QUESTION OF THE REVIEW: This can technically be considered Mega Man X‘s last true game. There was the Legacy Collection not too long ago, and some stuff on mobile but aside from that, we haven’t seen anything Mega Man X related in a long while. So my question to you is: what would you like to see happen to the Mega Man X franchise? Would you like a new 2D- or 3D game, or do you prefer a whole new take on the games? Maybe even something completely different like an anime? Let me know down below or reply on my Twitter with new Questions of the Day every day!