Review: Before X meant "Xtreme!!!11!1!!" it meant Mega Man X
Mega Man has been going strong for nineteen years at this point and he appears to be in no hurry of slowing down. The "final" two Mega Man Battle Network games are in the pipeline for a summer release. And the Mega one's first DS game (which will start a fourth continuity in the franchise) is set for this fall. So it's of little surprise that Capcom has continued their hoarding nature by stuffing the first six games in the X series into a new compilation titled the Mega Man X Collection.
The X series takes place one hundred years after the original series (which spanned nine games on the NES, Super NES and PSX). Dr. Light and Dr. Wily have long died and Mega Man is just scrap metal that is found in an abandoned lab. But like the Terminator before him, those that find his body use the technology inside to create their own race of robots, known as Reploids. But sometimes the programming doesn't take, and a Reploid goes Maverick. These Mavericks cause death and destruction and have given birth to the Maverick Hunters, Reploids that have pledged to stop these raucous robots. Mega Man X, after seeing what has become of the world, has taken up his arm cannon again to stop the Mavericks. In the process he becomes the greatest Maverick Hunter ever.
If you're at all familiar with the Mega Man series, the six games of the X Collection will be old hat. Mega Man runs to the left and fires his arm cannon at very mechanized marauders while jumping on platforms. He powers up his arm cannon with a powerful Buster shot. He collects energy tanks and battles bosses. When he wins, he steals their weaponry to use on the next boss. And then he begins the long trek through Sigma's castle (the X stand-in for Dr. Wily) to do battle with the head Maverick.
Because the games appeared on the Super NES and PlayStation, the X series added some new twists to the old formula. Mega Man could collect body enhancements that make it so he runs faster, can take more damage or has a more powerful standard arm cannon. He also has the ability to dash and make long jumps with ease. The final new ability, the wall kick, will come in handy countless times over all of the games as it allows Mega Man to scale walls and save himself from bottomless pits. Some later games in the collection even give Mega Man a "laser sword" to take out enemies at close range.
So while no game really stands out among any of the others (except perhaps for the first one, which is still a Classic with a capital C), that also means there's no clunkers in the collection either. If you're a Mega Man fan, you owe it to yourself to drop the thirty bones on this title. They're just as good as you remember, and if you've never played them before (and consider you're a platformer fan) then what are you waiting for? These games are 2D platforming at their best. However, if you're not a fan, then a collection of games from the Blue Bomber's 16/32-bit years probably won't convince you.
The other main selling point of the X Collection is the inclusion of the never-before-released-America kart racer Mega Man: Battle and Chase. Rumor has it that Sony killed the game's American release because of a wacky control scheme but I have yet to find out. You see, the game is locked up and the only way to unlock it is to beat Mega Man X1, 2 and 3. The Mega Man X games are hard, really hard, and I think it's a shame that Capcom has locked the one thing many Mega fans were most looking forward to most in a vault. Many of Mega Man's biggest fans are those of us who grew up with him. So we have jobs and significant others and not as much time for games as we did before. Throw us a bone Capcom.