Mega Man X4, known as Rockman X4 (ロックマンX4), is a video game developed by Capcom. It is the fourth game in the Mega Man X series. The Sega Saturn and PlayStation versions were released simultaneously in Japan on August 1, 1997. A North America release followed in September, while Europe received only the PlayStation version on October 13, 1997. A PC version was released worldwide in 1998.
The plot for Mega Man X4 is presented by both fully-animated full motion video (FMV) cutscenes and in-game text. The storyline differs slightly depending on whether the player chooses Mega Man X or Zero. Taking place in an ambiguous year in the 22nd century (21XX) and following the third defeat of the "Maverick" robot Sigma, Cain Labs issues an initiative to create a supplementary military force to complement the "Maverick Hunters". The army, called the "Repliforce", is a strict regime led by General and his second-in-command, Colonel. Six months following the inception of the group, Cain Labs finds its methods to be ineffective, questionable, and potentially dangerous in the Maverick defense. To make matters worse, behind the scenes, General has been meeting with a mysterious figure who plots the Hunters' demise, insinuating that they are a significant threat to the jurisdiction of the Maverick Hunters. Mayhem breaks out when the Sky Lagoon, a massive floating city, is sent crashing down onto the city below it, killing millions of civilians, humans and Reploids alike. The game begins here where either X or Zero is dispatched to investigate possible causes of the disaster only to become entangled, once again, in a struggle against Sigma to save the world.
The gameplay in Mega Man X4 is similar to the previous installments of the Mega Man X series. The player is presented with a series of action-platforming stages that can be cleared in any order desired. In these stages, the player must avoid obstacles like falling debris and spikes, and destroy enemy robots to reach the end of the stages. The player character retains the capabilities from previous entries in the Mega Man X series like dashing and scaling walls. Some levels contain ridable vehicles such as hover bikes and armored-mecha. Each of the eight initial stages contains one Maverick boss, and defeating this boss gives the player a new ability. Every boss is weak to a particular ability, adding an element of strategy to the order in which the player completes the stages.
At the beginning of Mega Man X4, the player chooses to play through the game either as X or Zero. The two characters cannot be switched. Though both of them go through the same stages, they operate differently and are challenged differently from the terrain. X wields the "X-Buster", a plasma cannon on his arm that he uses to attack foes from a distance. It can be charged to fire stronger shots. A new weapon is given to the player with each boss defeated while playing as X. These weapons have limited ammunition, displayed by a meter next to one's health, both of which can be refilled by picking up power-ups dropped by destroyed enemies. In some stages, the player can find hidden capsules that contain armor upgrades that greatly enhance X's capabilities. Zero is more melee-oriented than X by using a "Z-Saber" sword. The Z-Saber's power and accuracy compensate for its lack of range. Rather than acquiring weapons from bosses, Zero learns special techniques such as the "Hienkyaku" air-dash and "Kuuenbu" double-jump. However, Zero cannot upgrade any of his body parts in this game.
The player character's maximum health can be extended by obtaining a "Heart Tank" in each of the eight stages. Two "Sub Tanks" can also be found, which can be filled with life energy and then be used to replenish the player's health at any time. Two new Tanks have been added: a "Weapon Tank (W-Tank)", which will fill up all of X's special weapons; and an "EX Tank", which increases the character's default lives from two to four whenever the player continues from a save point.
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Both console versions of Mega Man X4 were released in Japan on August 1, 1997. A "Special Limited Pack" edition of the game included a Mega Man X action figure. Originally, the American localization of the PlayStation version was put on hold after Sony Computer Entertainment America denied Capcom permission to release it in the United States. Neither Mega Man 8 nor Mega Man Battle & Chase were initially approved by Sony as well. However, after persistant talks with the company, Capcom finally convinced Sony to allow Mega Man X4 a localization on the PlayStation. The reasoning behind the delay was that it "had just gotten lost in Sony's back log of games waiting for approval". The PlayStation version was released on September 25, 1997; the Saturn version came out in the early part of the following week. Customers who preordered either version of the game through Capcom's online store were given a Mega Man X4-themed t-shirt.
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||8.25/10|
|PlayStation: The Official Magazine||PS: |
|Next Generation Magazine|||
|Computer Games Magazine||PC: |
|Computer Gaming World||PC: |
Capcom expressed satisfaction with the commercial performance of Mega Man X4, which it attributed to the company's marketing campaign for the franchise's 10th anniversary. According to Famitsu sales information, the PlayStation version of the game sold 197,385 copies in Japan alone in 1997, making it the 61st best-selling game in the region for that year. The game has been re-released in multiple budget versions including the Japanese PlayStation the Best, PSOne Books, and the Sega Saturn Collection; and the North American PlayStation Greatest Hits line.
Critics praised the added option to play through the game as either X or Zero, noting that the drastic differences in the way the characters played the same levels added to the game's replay value. However, the same critics concurred that Mega Man X4's 2D side-scrolling gameplay was tired and overdone well before the game was released. GameSpot concluded that "All in all, a few more 3D effects would have been nice, but the decision to stick with a true 2D environment is bold, if somewhat outmoded. Aesthetically, Mega Man X4 is a sizeable improvement over its predecessors, but you must remember that it's only a side scroller." Electronic Gaming Monthly listed the game at number 78 on its "100 Best Games of All Time" in the 100th issue of the magazine in 1997. Despite derision for retaining the same gameplay formula that the Mega Man franchise had been using for a full decade, Capcom continued to use 2D side-scrolling for another two installments of the series, Mega Man X5 and Mega Man X6. These three games, as well as the three installments that precede them, were included on the North American Mega Man X Collection for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 in 2006.
|English voice||Japanese voice||Role|
|Ruth Shiraishi||Kentaro Ito||Mega Man X|
|Wayne Doster||Ryotaro Okiayu||Zero|
|Matthew Meersbergen||Jin Yamanoi||Colonel|
|Michelle Gazepis||Yuko Mizutani||Iris|
|Mark Hagan||Ryūzaburō Ōtomo||General|
|Jeremy Felton||Yasunori Matsumoto||Double|
|Issei Futamoto||Web Spider, Cyber Peacock|
|Kazuo Oka||Frost Walrus, Storm Owl|
|Takashi Nagasako||Magma Dragoon, Slash Beast|
|Mari Maruta||Split Mushroom|
|Osamu Hosoi||Jet Stingray|
|John O'Corner||Takeshi Aono||Doctor Wily|
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