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iPhone App Video Review: Mega Man X

by Andrew Koziara

Mega Man has had a long and diverse history in the gaming world. For many people, the golden age of that history came with the Mega Man X series on the Super Nintendo. It was a benchmark game of the franchise that really changed things up for better or worse. Now that experience has been ported to the app store, and while it’s still a well-made and enjoyable game, it’s not quite all there.

In this newer series of Mega Man games, it’s not Dr. Wily that’s trying to take over the world with his robot masters, but some dude named Sigma and his Reploids. After being trashed by one of Sigma’s henchmen, you’re saved by the ultra-powerful Zero. From this point forward, the player’s goal and X’s goal are one and the same; to gather enough power to stop these evil forces.

Mega Man’s gameplay has always been very simple. You could jump and shoot, and that was about it. Now you can also dash and wall jump, which drastically changes the way levels are designed. The virtual button placement is customizable, and there are some iOS specific settings to make the game easier to play with touch screen controls. For example, X will now automatically charge his shot without you holding the fire button, and you can auto fire your cannon by holding the fire button instead of tapping it. These really make the game much easier, but you can turn all of these options off in the cheats section if want to keep it old school.

All in all it still feels much like the same game, but several things have been left out of the transition. Many animations and certain music tracks from the SNES game have been left out. The art style has been updated too. Screen transitions have been added to the game, dividing the levels up into sections, making it impossible to backtrack and explore. This destroys the openness that the original created, and makes it much harder to seek out the various power ups and subtanks that you’ll want to collect. The game poses no real threat on the easy difficulty, but once you unlock higher difficulties you’ll really be hurting for full power. Beating levels in a certain order no longer has an effect on other levels either. Some new seemingly mandatory iOS additions include Game Center achievements and even in-app purchases. If you want, you can just buy every weapon, power up, subtank, and more for an extra fee.

The new animated art style really looks great, but I’m more partial to the classic 16-bit pixel art myself.  The music still sounds excellent, and the game is still a lot of fun overall. Completely extra additions, such as special challenges, difficulty levels, or the new ranking mode add a lot of content to the game. Your enjoyment will be largely dependent on how well you remember the old experience. If you’re a new player, or someone who maybe played the original game sparingly, you’ll probably not notice many of the things I pointed out. If you are a hardcore fan, they will be game breaking changes that just ruin everything forever. It all depends on your perspective really. It’s still a well-made and enjoyable game either way, and it can be yours for five dollars. I’d definitely say it’s worth it, despite any changes, just to have more of the blue bomber on your iPhone.

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