Level Select Thursdays: Mega Man X2
It’s that time once again boys and girls for yet another Megaman X game review! This time it’s X2, and for some reason there seems to be this weird hate for the game. When I was younger I never had a chance to play this game, but when I purchased the X Collection I came across reviews for X2. Let’s just say they weren’t exactly flattering. So I became curious and wanted to see if this game does what a true sequel should do. Take the basic formula of success while also adding innovations to push the series along. So does Mega Man X2 do that? Well grab your SNES controllers and lets find out.
From a structure point of view, Mega Man X2 still allows to buster only more Mavericks than X1, allowing for different routes a player can take and it helps when accounting replay ability for this title. I’ll go so bold as to say that the player could buster five of the eight Mavericks that are presented after the intro stage.
So, what about the X Hunters? I will say that I personally did not find them to be inconvenient at all. I took the route of weakness order for the bosses I was able to beat two out the three via buster only. They do pad the games length and I can understand why some gamers don’t like this addition, but it’s certainly not the worse the X series will have to endure (see next for that goodness)!
So since I brought up the X Hunters that leads me into the story for this particular game. Yes this game does have a loose narrative wrapped around the bright stages and Mavericks. It seems to me that with X1 it was all about the technical side of and showing off it’s sixteen bit glory. We actually get a bit of lore building for this game!
With Zero dying at the end of X1, it seems that three proclaimed “X Hunters” have stolen Zero’s parts and are attempting to rebuild him and it’s up to X to defeat not only the eight Mavericks but also the X Hunters. At the end of the game, the player is given a hint at Zero’s past and his connection to Sigma but it’s only a tease. I did say loose narrative didn’t I? It’s not much but I can appreciate the attempt made by Capcom. It definitely started the ball rolling for X4 and X5.
So with all that out of the way, how much has the game changed and or improved since X1? Well first off X can still do what he could do, with the exception that he can now dash right away instead of getting an upgrade. That’s what I’m talking about innovating a game series, taking an improvement from the previous game and making it a staple in the next.
Once again it’s X’s armor upgrades that make him oh so special. This time I will that his upgrades are the best in the entire series. Yes even better thant X1. Instead of the leg upgrade allowing you to dash, now you with it you can dash in the air. Allowing the player to get around enemies easier and gain access to secrets. I personally felt that I got more out of the upgrades in this game than previous or future installments of the X series. None of them are a detriment to X, they truly enhance him and the game itself.
The stages in X2 are just as memorable in X1. It’s either the changing weather in Wire Sponge’s stage or the gleaming crystals in Crystal Snai stage, or the ride bike section in Overdrive Ostritch’s stage. All the stages are different and provide unique challenges for the player to traverse. The magic retained in X1 still makes it’s way into X2. Which leads into the overall music.
The music in X2 has slowly become my favorite in the X series, yes I did just type that. The instruments just had a little bit more variety than in X1. Less reliance on the pure rock and more ambiance to the stages. The music feels more atmospheric than X1 or any other X game.
It appears that I love this game right? That I can find no flaws in it’s level design or gameplay or the other components of this game. Well the only negative aspect of this game is that it’s too damn easy. Enemies are more spread out so you can’t be swamped in one area, and areas are big enough so you won’t succumb to bottomless pits or other traps.
The bosses are the biggest letdown in this game. Unlike X1, when you use the mavericks weakness against them it sets them into a lock. Making battles against Mavericks and even Sigma a bore to fight against. You could do buster only run but a player shouldn’t be deprived of a great boss battle. To conclude I will say that the Shoryuken (while harder to find) is much more satisfactory to use against bosses and it’s a well earned secret No better visual than seeing X performing the shoryuken and one hit killing bosses.
Mega Man X2 is a solid game from top to bottom and despite it’s difficulty drop, it still stands up to X1. I will say that X2 is the perfect game for any newcomers to the X series to come in and play. The bosses are easy and the secrets are not that cryptic (especially with the helmet upgrade). Don’t dismiss Mega Man X2. Tune in next week where I dive right into Mega Man X3…..oh boy……
Mega Man X2 earns a 8/10