Iggy’s World: Mega Man X4
In all the rush and excitement over Mr.Dragon and I starting up this place, I completely forgot to tackle the next game in the Mega Man X series. Mega Man would leave the SNES and make the jump to the new it console known as the Playstation. Given the drastic down turn that X3 went, I couldn’t help but wonder how could the developers at Capcom rebound? By now most of you know that answer, but not all of us are schooled in the way of the X. So for the first time ever let’s play as both X and Zero in their latest attempt to bring down Sigma.
Mega Man X4 is so far the heaviest when it comes to a plot. Sure the overall goal is simple with X and Zero trying stop Sigma (who is somehow back again) from causing havoc. The writers this time around decided to focus it on Zero’s backstory and to a lesser extant the Repliforces fight for freedom. Sadly the plot and themes don’t go as far as they could have. This is a Mega Man game after all and the plot has never really been that great so in that sense I applaud them.
The big key difference to X4 and previous installments is that game is basically centered around Zero. Yes you can still play as X, but plot revolves around him. X is just there as a b plot within his own game. So for fans who have been begging to play as Zero in X1 and were severely disappointed with his outing in X3 will be happy to see that Capcom learned from their mistakes.
Zero serves as “hard mode” for his campaign as he doesn’t attain enemy skills to defeat certain bosses but he gains techniques. While some of them do act boss nullifiers, several of them enhance how Zero plays as he traverses each stage. To put it simply these upgrades are awesome as it takes the refined mechanics that started in X1 and adds a new dynamic to them. As stated earlier Zero’s campaign is where skills matter. The player will have to air dash, double jump. and slash to the best of their ability to beat this game.
X4 is not a depressing difficult game but given that Zero’s combat forces the player to get close to the enemy expect to get hit a lot. The flip side of the coin is X once again searching for armor pieces and using boss weapons to make mince of other bosses, but see that’s the problem. While it’s fun to play as X, he takes a back seat to Zero for this one. Lucky Capcom was gracious enough to give players a choice in the matter.
Strangely enough the only downsides to X4 is the music and the individual levels themselves. Sure they look amazing in their 32-bit glory on the ps1, and nothing is inherently wrong with them they simply feel uninspired. There’s nothing like Wheel Gator’s mobile fortress or Launch Octopus’s base. I know that this is a nitpick but it’s something I couldn’t help but noticed as I progressed further into the game. Similar to the music in that none of it stuck with me, outside of the intro stage for X himself or the boss screen right before the level loads.
It’s only a noticeable due to the excellence set before, but this could be my nostalgia glasses being put on for this.
Mega Man X4 was a right step into pushing the series on to another generation of gamers. Being able to play as X and Zero gives players replayability unheard of in previous Mega Man games. Yes it’s a Zero centered story, but fans of X can still have a great time despite the titular character being pushed to the back. A step up from that atrocity of Mega Man X3.
Mega Man X4 earns an 8/10