Here’s How to Play the Mega Man X Series Before the New Collection Releases

The Mega Man X series is being ported to Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC as one big collection. Capcom announced that soon you’ll be able to enjoy Mega Man X1-8 on current-gen systems. It’s a good thing too because unlike the original Mega Man series, the X franchise hasn’t been re-released on a ton of current formats.

Mega Man X, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, and X8 are getting ported to newer systems soon, but what if you want to play them sooner? We’ll detail the history of Mega Man X ports and re-releases and which you should play and which you should avoid, including Mega Man X Collection (GR Review).

Mega Man X Ports

Mega Man X1 Box

Mega Man X is the game that started the whole subseries, and it’s also the one that’s received the most ports. To date, you can find Mega Man X on:

  • Super Nintendo (Original Release): 1994
  • MS-DOS: 1995
  • PS2 (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • GameCube (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • iOS: 2011
  • Wii Virtual Console: 2011
  • Wii U Virtual Console: 2013
  • New Nintendo 3DS: 2016

If you’re wanting to play Mega Man X right now, you’ should avoid the iOS, MS-DOS versions like the plague. This is a Super Nintendo-era game, so the other platforms listed handle it pretty well. The best versions are the original Super Nintendo release and the one you can find on the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS eShops.

Mega Man X also got a remake for PSP titled Maverick Hunter X. This remake was enhanced with new 3D character models and backgrounds, voice acting and anime cutscenes, and a remixed soundtrack. The game also lets you play as Vile and rearranges many of the power-ups to new locations.

Mega Man X2 Ports

Mega Man X2 Box

Of the original three SNES games, Mega Man X2 has been on the least amount of platforms. You can find it on:

  • SNES (Original Release): 1995
  • PS2 (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • GameCube (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • Wii Virtual Console: 2012
  • Wii U Virtual Console: 2013
  • New Nintendo 3DS: 2016

Out of all these ports, you’ll likely find that the original Mega Man X2 release and those on Wii, Wii U, and 3DS will give the best performance. The SNES version commands a high price these days and was one of the few SNES carts to use the Cx4 chip to build wireframe effects, and that makes it a lot harder to reproduce. Because of that prices will only go higher in the future. The most affordable way to play the game right now is via the eShop of your choice.

Mega Man X3 Ports

Mega Man X3 Box

Mega Man X3 released at the end of the Super Nintendo’s lifespan when the hype for the upcoming PlayStation and N64 consoles was at an all-time high. However, it somehow made its way to more platforms than you’d suspect:

  • SNES (Original Release): 1996
  • PlayStation: 1996
  • Saturn: 1996
  • Windows: 1998
  • PS2 (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • GameCube (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • Wii U Virtual Console: 2014
  • New Nintendo 3DS: 2016

Because the SNES version came when interest in the console was waning, there weren’t a large number of copies sold. You won’t find repros of this game either as it uses the same Cx4 chip as Mega Man X2 does. The SNES version of Mega Man X3 is ridiculously expensive, and you’ll rarely find a copy under $2-300.

PlayStation and Saturn copies are hard to find as well, but usually, command a much lower price than the SNES version. These two versions only came out in Japan and the EU, so if you’re a US buyer, you may have to import.

The rarest version of this title is the Windows 95 release. I’ve never seen one in person, and a quick search shows that there’s only one on eBay. However, it looks like it historically goes for less than the other versions above.

The best platforms for Mega Man X3 would likely be the Wii U or New Nintendo 3DS versions. They’re cheap and don’t have the slowdown of the Mega Man X Collection.

Mega Man X4 Ports

Mega Man X4 Box

Mega Man X4 was the first of the X series to debut on the PlayStation and Saturn. The gameplay is much the same, but there are now anime cutscenes, voice acting, and something resembling a story. You can also now play the whole game through as either X or Zero, and each character has their own upgrade path and story variations.

Mega Man X4 has been ported to a number of systems since its release:

  • PlayStation (Original Release): 1997
  • Saturn (Original Release): 1997
  • Windows: 1999
  • PS2 (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • GameCube (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • PlayStation Network (PS3, PSP, PS Vita): 2014

The game was relatively rare until its re-release on the PlayStation Network, though it’s never commanded too high of a price, at least on PlayStation. The Saturn and Windows versions command a much higher price and were released in much smaller numbers.

Also: Mega Man 11 Coming to Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC

The best platform for Mega Man X4 is the PlayStation Network release. I personally prefer the PS Vita, but it plays equally well on the PS3.

Mega Man X5 Ports (GR Review)

Mega Man X5 Box

This is where the X series started taking some flak for adhering too heavily to its original formula. It was initially intended to be the end of the Mega Man X series, with series creator Keiji Inafune having little to do with production.

Gamers of the time were critical that the series was getting a stale feeling, but it’s more of the same good Mega Man X action, and it came to several platforms over the years:

  • PlayStation (Original Release): 2001
  • Windows: 2002
  • PS2 (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • GameCube (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • PlayStation Network (PS3, PSP, PS Vita): 2014

Mega Man X5 is pretty good no matter what platform you get it for. The Windows version is the rarest and most expensive on the secondary market, but the original PlayStation release can still be found easily and is readily affordable. If you can’t get ahold of the original, or want to play it on the go, you’re probably better off purchasing it via PlayStation Network as opposed to the Mega Man X Collection, which has issues with slowdown.

Mega Man X6 Ports (GR Review)

Mega Man X6 Box

This is where people really started losing patience with the series. Keiji Inafune wasn’t involved with the game at all. It was criticized for being repetitive and boring, and the visual design was marked as “sloppy,” and it was generally thought of as a cash grab.

The above might be the reason that in the states the game was only available on a few platforms:

  • PlayStation (Original Release): 2001
  • PS2 (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • GameCube (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006

Mega Man X6 is a little more expensive on the secondary market than X4 and X5, so you’ll likely want to play the Mega Man X Collection version. This game isn’t worth the premium to play it in its original form unless you’re just in love with it. If it’s your first time through it go the cheap route.

Mega Man X7 Ports (GR Review)

Mega Man X7

After fans criticised the last few entries in the series for feeling stale, Capcom took Mega Man X7 in a new direction. This entry has a weird mix of 3D and 2D gameplay and does neither that well. Additionally, X isn’t even unlocked from the beginning of the game, and he’s ultra whiny in the story.

Not even Famitsu liked this game, which is probably why it’s only available in a few formats:

  • PS2 (Original Release) 2003
  • PS2 (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006
  • GameCube (via Mega Man X Collection): 2006

All of Mega Man X7’s releases are roughly the same performance-wise. If you absolutely have to play Mega Man X7, put the money towards Mega Man X Collection since that’s the best value.

Mega Man X8 Ports

Mega Man X8 Box Art

This took the X series back to its roots after the unsettling direction X7 took. Mega Man X8 isn’t the best, but it’s not the worst and brings back some of the quality that had been missing since X5.

This game has only received one official physical release in North America, and that’s the original version for PS2 which came out in 2004. GameStop at one point hosted a digital version of Mega Man X8 for purchase, but it’s no longer available to buy there. Until the new collection releases for Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC, the only way to get your hands on a North American copy is to buy the original on the secondary market.