- Mega Man X (video game)
This article is about the first game in the Mega Man X series. For the tenth game in the classic series, see Mega Man 10.
Mega Man X
North American SNES cover art
Developer(s) Capcom Publisher(s) Capcom
Producer(s) Tokuro Fujiwara Artist(s) Keiji Inafune
Writer(s) Keiji Inafune Composer(s) Setsuo Yamamoto
Platform(s) Super Nintendo Entertainment System, MS-DOS, mobile phones , Virtual Console Release date(s)December 17, 1993
- Mega Man X
Genre(s) Action, platform Mode(s) Single-player Rating(s)
- ESRB: E (Everyone)
Media/distribution 12-megabit cartridge, CD-ROM, UMD, download
Mega Man X, known in Japan as Rockman X (ロックマンX), is a video game developed by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It is the first Mega Man game for the 16-bit system and the first game in the Mega Man X series, a spin-off of the original Mega Man series which began on the SNES's 8-bit predecessor, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Mega Man X was first published in Japan on December 12, 1993 and was released in both North America and Europe shortly thereafter. Taking place a century after the original Mega Man series, Mega Man X is set in futuristic world populated by both humans and "Reploids", robots capable of thinking, feeling, and growing like their human creators. Because of these complex attributes, many Reploids are prone to destructive, criminal activity and are thereafter referred to as "Mavericks". The plot of the game follows the protagonist Mega Man X, a member of a military task force called the "Maverick Hunters". With the help of his partner Zero, X must thwart the plans of Sigma, a powerful Maverick leader attempting to bring about human extinction.
Much like the NES Mega Man games that came before it, Mega Man X is a standard action-platform game in which the player takes control of the titular character and attempts to complete a set of eight, initial stages in any order desired. Defeating the boss character at the end of each stage grants the player a special weapon that can then be toggled and used at will for the remainder of the game. However, Mega Man X adds a number of new features and makes radical changes to the original gameplay mechanics of previous releases. These include the ability of the player to dash along the ground, scale walls, and obtain armor attachments that grant special abilities. With the transition to more powerful gaming hardware, series artist Keiji Inafune explained that the development of Mega Man X involved reinventing Mega Man through gameplay and characters while still maintaining the basic concepts on which the franchise was built.
Mega Man X was met with extremely positive critical reviews upon its initial release on the SNES and has since been honored on numerous publications' "best games" lists. Also a commercial success, Mega Man X has since received ports to PCs and mobile phones, has been included in the North American Mega Man X Collection for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 (PS2), and was released on the Wii Virtual Console. The game also received an enhanced remake on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) titled Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, or Irregular Hunter X (イレギュラーハンターX) in Japan.
PlotSee also: List of Mega Man X characters
Mega Man X takes place in an unspecified time during the 22nd century (21XX) and approximately 100 years after the original Mega Man series. A human archaeologist named Dr. Cain accidentally discovers the ruins of a robotics research facility that had once been operated by the legendary robot designer Dr. Thomas Light. Among the ruins, Dr. Cain finds a large capsule which contains a highly advanced robot with human-level intelligence and emotions, and even free will; the likes of which the world has never seen before. Dr. Cain spends the next several months studying the robot, who is named Mega Man X, or simply "X". Some months later, Dr. Cain and X complete the first "replicate android" or "Reploid", a robot who can think, feel, learn, and grow exactly like a human. Within the year, the design is standardized and Reploids are mass-produced. However, with the free will given to a Reploid comes the possibility of criminal activity previously unknown to robots; such rogue Reploids are said to have "gone maverick" and are later referred to as "Mavericks". As the public outcry against the few Maverick incidents becomes too great to deny, the government steps in, and under the advice of Dr. Cain, forms an elite military police organization called the "Maverick Hunters". The Hunters are to capture or disable any Reploids that pose a danger to humans, provide damage control at Maverick uprisings, help with disaster recovery, and perform other tasks as needed.
To lead this group, Dr. Cain designs a very advanced Reploid, thought to be immune to whatever defect causes Mavericks. Named Sigma, this robot heads the Hunters some time before ultimately going Maverick himself, taking the vast majority of the other Hunters with him. Sigma seizes control of a small island, driving out all human occupants. Claiming that the humans are inferior and that they are limiting the growth and potential of Reploids, he calls for his followers to begin a massive extinction effort. X, guilt-ridden at having helped design such a ruthless and warlike race, decides to join forces with the only other remaining Hunter (the mysterious Zero) and attempt to stop Sigma at any cost.
While on a mission involving a Maverick attack on a highway, X meets Vile, a Maverick working for Sigma. Unable to defeat Vile, X is saved at a critical moment by Zero, forcing Vile to retreat. Zero then offers encouragement to the less combat-savvy X after the battle. X pursues and exterminates eight of Sigma's most powerful Mavericks then rendezvous with Zero outside Sigma's stronghold. Inside the compound, X finds that Zero has been captured by Vile. Another battle ensues, ending similar to their first encounter, with X at Vile's mercy. Zero suddenly breaks free of his restraints, latches onto Vile, and self-detonates, destroying himself and the Maverick's armored carrier. Shocked over Zero's sacrifice, X regains his strength and finishes off Vile. After encouraging his comrade once again, Zero dies. Now more determined than ever, X fights his way to Sigma, disables the Maverick leader's body, and escapes the island fortress as it explodes and sinks. X then reflects on the events that have unfolded before returning to base.
The original Mega Man series on the 8-bit NES has generally consisted of 2D platform games that focus on run-and-gun gameplay. Mega Man X uses the same basic principles as its precursors but with many added options. The player takes control of the protagonist X, and, after completing an introductory stage, is presented with a stage selection screen that depicts eight Maverick boss characters. Each stage is littered with various enemies and hazards and ends with a boss battle against its respective Maverick. Completing a stage rewards the player with a new weapon, and may subtly affect the layout of a different stage. The player may attempt these eight levels in any order, using weapons gained in one level to overcome challenges in the others. The player can return to the game at a later point using a password system; the password will retain any number of the eight stages cleared and most power-ups.
X's abilities are similar to those in previous Mega Man games, such as running, jumping, and a chargeable, projectile weapon named the "X-Buster". However, Mega Man X introduces a number of elements not present in the original Mega Man titles. One prominent feature is the ability to scale, slide down, or jump off nearly any wall. The game contains hidden armor part capsules, which can be found in several stages and display a holographic message from Dr. Light when approached. Each capsule upgrades one of X's body parts—his legs, armor, helmet, or X-Buster—granting the player improved firepower and defense, as well as new abilities, like a dash upgrade. The player can also collect up to eight "Heart Tanks" that extend X's maximum life energy, and four "Sub-Tanks" that can store extra energy for later use. When certain conditions are met, a secret capsule can be unlocked which gives X the ability to perform the "Hadouken", a special attack used by characters from Capcom's Street Fighter series. Lastly, some stages have "Ride Armor" mechs that X can pilot to fight enemies.
Mega Man series artist Keiji Inafune recounted that the development of Mega Man X required a lot of brainstorming for its characters and concepts. The team's goal was to branch out from original Mega Man series while still maintaining its 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 illustrated the protagonist X, but had a difficult time with the initial design. He was presented him with much more freedom than he was accustomed with the 16-bit 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. These games often involve improving a player character by gaining experience points and other power-ups according to experience level. 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.
Inafune created the secondary character Zero, whom he originally intended to be the game's main, playable protagonist. However, fearing a negative reaction from fans, Zero's role was reduced to merely complimenting the evolved yet still recognizable Mega Man. "When the X series came out, I really wanted to redesign Mega Man," Inafune explained. "I wanted a totally different Mega Man. I’m a designer, a creator; I wanted something new. I didn’t want to use the same old Mega Man." The development team additionally wanted the world of Mega Man X to be much more sophisticated than in the first Mega Man series. Inafune claimed that they attempted this with both Zero's "hardcore" personality and the game's villain Sigma. As stated by Inafune, the original series' villain Dr. Wily had "a side to him you couldn't really hate", whereas Sigma was written as a once-good character suffering an "unforseen error" that leads to complete evil. Mega Man X altered the franchise tradition of having themed boss characters with a "Man" moniker by replacing them with anthropomorphic, cyborg animals. The art and pixelization for these eight bosses were divided among three illustrators: Inafune did Storm Eagle and Chill Penguin; Kaji did Spark Mandrill, Launch Octopus, and Sting Chameleon; and Ikki Tazaki did Flame Mammoth, Armored Armadillo, and Boomer Kuwanger. The team was careful in making the bosses distinct from one another in both stature and coloring. Tatsuya Yoshikawa, a fourth artist who had recently been hired by Capcom, was given the task of assisting the rest of the team by designing, illustrating, and creating the sprites for the game's minor enemies. The musical score for Mega Man X was composed by Capcom's Alph Lyla group. The Japanese division of Sony Records published an arranged album featuring ten songs on March 9, 1994. Music using the SNES instrumentals was included as part of the Capcom Music Generation: Rockman X1 ~ X6 soundtrack released by Suleputer in 2003.
A teaser for an SNES incarnation of the Mega Man series first made its way into a preview of Mega Man 6 in the spring 1993 issue of the Japanese Club Capcom fan magazine. Mega Man X was announced in North America in a March 1993 Game Players magazine interview with Capcom's Senior Vice President Joseph Morici. The tentatively titled "Super Mega Man" was originally to feature a "fairly large memory configuration and a battery backup". The autumn 1993 issue of Club Capcom announced Rockman X for a December 1993 release in Japan, divulged several plot and gameplay details, and showed Zero as a silhouetted "Blues-like character". The game was also given significant North American press coverage from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the summer of 1993 and was previewed at the 1994 Winter CES in Las Vegas the following January.
Reception and legacy
Reception Review scores Publication Score Electronic Gaming Monthly 9 out of 10 GamePro  IGN 9 out of 10 Nintendo Power 3.9 out of 5 Game Players 95 out of 100 Super Play 88%
Mega Man X has received very positive critical reviews since its initial release. Gamestyle, giving the game a 9/10 score, said that the game revived the franchise, saying "While admittedly following on from Mega Man 3 the series had took a slight nosedive, the quality declined, but overall Capcom had still managed to inject some new ideas into the already established layout. What you get then is the finest Mega Man game ever created and something that all SNES owners should own and cherish."
Mega Man X was ranked number 58 in Nintendo Power's "100 Best Nintendo Games of All Time" in its 100th issue in September 1997, was ranked number 103 in the publication's "Top 200 Games" list for its 200th issue in February 2006, and was ranked as the 11th best SNES game of all time in its August 2008 issue. Both GamesRadar and ScrewAttack listed Mega Man X as the eighth best game in the SNES library. GamePro similarly listed it as the eighth greatest 16-bit video game. Game Informer considered it the 120th best game of all time in its own 200th issue. IGN named it the twelth-best on its own top 100 SNES games list in 2011.
Mega Man X was a commercial success. The SNES version has sold 1.16 million copies worldwide to date, making it the 41st best-selling Capcom game of all time. IGN's Jeremy Dunham noted that its more mature storyline and its inclusion of numerous gameplay extensions over the original Mega Man series helped create a "unique cadre of fans" for Mega Man X. The game was followed by seven direct sequels and three related titles: Mega Man Xtreme, Mega Man Xtreme 2, and Mega Man X Command Mission. Another video game spin-off series, Mega Man Zero, began in 2002 on the Game Boy Advance handheld as a result of the immense popularity of the character Zero.
Re-releases and remake
After the SNES version debuted in 1993, Capcom had the game ported to the IBM Personal Computer (PC) in 1995 via the company Rozner Labs. The game was released with a special six-button game controller. Mega Man X received a separate PC release in Japan in 1996. Majesco republished the SNES version of the game in 1997. Nintendo of Japan also made the game available on its SNES Nintendo Power cartridge service. Mega Man X, alongside its five direct sequels and Mega Man Battle & Chase, was compiled and released as the Mega Man X Collection in North America for the Nintendo GameCube and PS2 in 2006. Capcom released a port of the game onto FOMA and i-mode compatible mobile phones in Japan in 2007. Finally, Mega Man X has also been made available for purchase on the Wii Virtual Console service in Japan and North America in 2011.
An enhanced remake titled Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, or Irregular Hunter X (イレギュラーハンターX) in Japan, was first released for the PSP on December 15, 2005 and in other regions throughout the following three years. With the recent launch of the PSP, Keiji Inafune and his team debated on whether or not to create a Mega Man X9. "So, we decided that instead of going the X9 route, let's go back to the series' roots and rediscover what makes the X series so classic," Inafune concluded. "We felt that the best way to do that would be to make an X remake." Although the remake stays true to the original game in both gameplay and basic storyline, Mega Man Maverick Hunter X features a total graphical overhaul with 3D character models and backgrounds, a remixed soundtrack, voice acting, and anime cutscenes. According to Yoshikawa, the character illustrations were updated to both resemble toys and the designs of Mega Man X8.
In addition to these changes, many powerups, such as the armor capsules, are relocated to different levels. The remake also has a few extras including an original video animation titled "The Day of Σ" (which serves as a storyline prequel) and an unlockable mode to play through the game as the character Vile. Inafune implemented this mode to offer players a new perspective on the game through the eyes of a villain, feeling it would be "too obvious and boring" given an option to play as Zero. Reviews for Mega Man Maverick Hunter X were positive, accumulating aggregate scores of 82% on Game Rankings and 79 out of 100 on Metacritic. Although the game did not meet sales expectations, it was later made available as a download from the PlayStation Network. The Japanese and North American versions were also bundled in a special compilation with Mega Man Powered Up, a remake of the original Mega Man.
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- Official Irregular Hunter X website (Japanese)
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