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 game in the Mega Man X series. The first subseries of the popular Mega Man series, it was made primarily as a stepping stone between the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and SNES incarnations of the original series, as Mega Man games were released on the NES as late as 1994.
The game was first released on the SNES; it was published for the console by Capcom in the US and Japan, and later published in Europe by Nintendo that same year. It was then ported to the PC in 1995, remade in 2006 as Mega Man Maverick Hunter X (Irregular Hunter X in Japan), for the PlayStation Portable, and re-released on January 10, 2006 as part of the Mega Man X Collection for the Nintendo GameCube and the PlayStation 2.
The instruction manual for Mega Man X contains "The Journal of Dr. Cain", in which the story leading up to the events depicted in the game is narrated through excerpts of Dr. Cain's personal journal. According to the journal, Dr. Cain, an archaeologist searching in the year 21XX for fossil records relating to Mesozoic plant life, accidentally discovered 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 found a large capsule which contained a highly advanced robot the likes of which the world had never seen before. This robot, Mega Man X, had human-level intelligence and emotion. Fascinated by the genius of Dr. Light's design, Dr. Cain studied X and Dr. Light's few remaining notes. With X's help, some months later, the first "replicate android" or Reploid, a robot who can think, feel, learn, and grow exactly like a human, was made. Within the year, the design had been standardized and Reploids were being mass-produced.
However, with the free will given to a Reploid came the possibility of criminal activity previously unknown to robots; such rogue Reploids were said to have "gone maverick" and were later referred to as Mavericks (in Japan, Irregulars). As the public outcry against the few Maverick incidents became too great to deny, the government stepped in, and under the advice of Dr. Cain, formed an elite military police organization called the Maverick Hunters. The Hunters would capture or disable any Reploids that posed a danger to humans, provide damage control at Maverick uprisings, help with disaster recovery, and perform other tasks as needed.
For the leader of the Maverick Hunters, Dr. Cain designed a very special Reploid, one with a very advanced thought system. This Reploid, thought to be immune to whatever defect of manufacture, design, or social conditioning caused Mavericks, was named Sigma. Sigma headed the Hunters for about three years before the very head of the Maverick Hunters himself became a Maverick, taking the vast majority of the other Hunters with him. Sigma seized control of a small island and drove all human occupants out. Claiming that the humans were "inferior" and that they were limiting the growth and potential of Reploids, he called for his followers to begin a massive extinction effort. It seemed, with only one remaining Hunter able to fight (the mysterious Zero of Unit 17), that all would be lost and human extinction would become inevitable. But X, guilt-ridden at having helped design such a ruthless and warlike race, decided to join forces with Zero and attempt to stop Sigma at any cost.
Mega Man X
X is heralded as being the first robot to think for himself, as well as having his own feelings and emotions. He was discovered by Dr. Cain in a capsule sealed by Dr. Light to be opened thirty years later after he was encapsulated (although X was in actuality sealed for 100 years). Using X as an inspiration, Dr. Cain created a new race of robots called Reploids. Some of these robots turned "maverick" and began to threaten the existence of the human race. X feels it is his duty to protect humans, which serves as the main conflict between the Reploids and the Mavericks.
He was once a maverick as shown in Mega Man X4, yet was defeated by Sigma and studied by Doctor Cain and joined the Maverick hunters. It is believed that it was that particular battle that infected Sigma. Zero allied himself with X in his fight to defeat the Mavericks and Sigma, showing up from time to time to help X out of tough situations and eventually becoming X's closest friend.
Dr. Thomas Light
As the creator of X, Dr. Light felt it necessary to seal him away until his capabilities and reliability could be confirmed so that he would not harm any humans. Dr. Light appears as a holographic image inside upgrade capsules that contain enhancements for X's armor.
Vile is the top commander of Sigma's Maverick army who does everything he can to crush X's and Zero's efforts to topple the Mavericks. Vile was shut down due to his violent behavior, but was reactivated when Sigma started the rebellion. This recurring enemy shows up twice in his mobile armor suit in order to get the advantage over X, although he is very maneuverable on foot.
Sigma plans to start a new civilization of Mavericks without the presence of humans. Because of his intentions, he is hunted down relentlessly, but is guarded by his Mavericks to impede the efforts of the Maverick Hunters. Sigma is one of the Reploids Dr. Cain built from information gleaned from X himself. After going Maverick, Sigma has apparently determined that the human race is inferior to Reploids and must either be enslaved or killed.
The Mega Man series has always consisted of 2D platformer games that focus on run-and-gun gameplay. The player takes control of Mega Man X ("X" for short), a Maverick Hunter who seeks to stop Sigma's rebellion against the humans. After an introductory stage, the player is presented with a stage selection screen that depicts eight Maverick boss characters. The player may attempt these levels in any order, using weapons and abilities gained in one level to overcome challenges in the others. Each level ends with a 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.
X's abilities are similar to those in previous Mega Man games, such as running, jumping, and a chargeable weapon. The slide move has been replaced by a dash upgrade, which can be used in conjunction with a jump to propel X forwards rapidly. New to Mega Man X is the ability to jump off and climb up walls, a feature that has become a mainstay of the series.
Mega Man X also introduces hidden upgrade capsules to the Mega Man franchise. These appear in several stages in this game, 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. The player can also increase X's life energy by collecting a total of 8 "Heart" upgrades, one in each Maverick stage, and four sub-tanks that can store extra energy. By collecting all upgrades available, a fifth, secret capsule can be unlocked which gives X the ability to perform the Hadouken, the same special attack used by main characters Ken and Ryu from the Street Fighter series. The hadouken can only be used when X's life bar is full, but can defeat any enemy (including bosses) instantly.
Mega Man X was first announced 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 ― definitely something new for the series". However, the game uses a password system similar to its NES counterparts.
Mega Man X was very well received, with an average score of 87% on Game Rankings. 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." WeDoLists.com ranked Mega Man X as the 4th best video game soundtrack of all time.
As of May 2008, Mega Man X has sold 1.16 million copies worldwide.
The IBM PC version
After the Super Nintendo version was released in 1993, Capcom had the game ported to the IBM PC in 1995. The port was worked on by a group called Rozner Labs, who had also ported Super Street Fighter II to the PC in 1994, as well as creating the original computer version of Mega Man 3 in 1992. The PC version, however, differed slightly from its Super NES counterpart. It used MIDI music instead of a digital soundtrack and also had support for the Roland MT-32. Game play differences included the Ride Armors in Chill Penguin's stage, Sting Chameleon's stage, and the second Sigma stage being missing. This version uses saved data instead of passwords. The PC version also features the infamous "Xstuf" code; typing the letters "XSTUF" at any point in the game will grant X every item in the game and replenish his health. A bonus six-button game pad was also included in the box that was fully supported by the MS-DOS version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo. At the time, this was the only game pad-type controller for the PC that had support for more than four buttons.
Mega Man Maverick Hunter X
Mega Man Maverick Hunter X (イレギュラーハンターX, Irregular Hunter X) is an enhanced remake of Mega Man X developed by Capcom for the PlayStation Portable. Originally released on December 2005 in Japan and 2006 in US and Europe, it was re-released 3 years later for the PlayStation Network on October 29, 2009 as a downloadable title. Major differences include:
- 3D graphics
- Enhanced and remixed soundtrack featuring new versions of all songs found in the original game (except the password song)
- Re-arranged parts capsules, swapping what levels they appeared in. None of them are mandatory
- The Buster gained from capsule and Zero differ. The capsule version works like the SNES version, while the Zero version fires a larger red burst, rather than a chain of smaller ones.
- A reworked script and backstory.
- VAs for the characters.
- An anime OVA prequel titled, "The Day of Sigma".
- Anime FMV sequences.
- The ability to play as Vile, which includes over 40 new weapons, new music, slightly adjusted stage layouts, and re-worked enemy placement.
- The secret capsule that gives you the Hadoken ability from Street Fighter has been slightly changed in this version. It can also be saved.
- "Super Mega Man ― So What's the Deal?". Game Players (Imagine Media) (26): p. 20. March 1993.
- Mega Man X for SNES. GameRankings (2009-06-02). Retrieved on 2009-10-29
- Words by Adam Gulliver (1994-03-05). Review: Mega Man X. Gamestyle. Retrieved on 2009-10-29
- Top 5 Video Game Soundtracks of all Time. WeDoLists (2010-07-08). Retrieved on 2010-07-28
- Roper, Chris (May 23, 2008). Capcom Releases Lifetime Sales Numbers. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-05-07