I think there should be a rest home for old, miserly video game characters. How
else can you combat the plague of sequelitis? What will happen when Sonic can’t
run, but has a case of the runs? Do you want to be there when Lara starts
sagging? Hope they have plastic surgeons in video game land.
there’s one game character that needs some time off, it’s Mega Man. The Blue
Bomber started his adventures when he was but a mere robot boy fighting the
nefarious Dr. Wily. Later, Mega Man was rediscovered and added an X to his name,
ala Malcolm and Final Fantasy. In some alternate reality, he was also
a treasure hunter with a monkey pal. Don’t forget his brief soccer outing. Mega
Man could teach Russell Crowe a thing or two about schizophrenia.
Despite a good fan base and general video game love, the recent past has demonstrated
that Mega Man stagnates with each new iteration. The gameplay manages to stay
intact, but the recyling of the same formula over and over again has beaten
the magic out of the series. Mega Man X6 proves the honeymoon is over.
The plot is forgettable, filled with trite, reused plot points. Gate, a robot
inventor and a nice enough guy, has been twisted into a prop of evil. Your red
armored buddy Zero is dead, but at least he’s left you his sword. There’s also
some Nightmare virus running rampant that seems to attack "Reploids"
instead of Microsoft Outlook.
Rescuing Reploids just so happens to be one of Mega Man’s new duties. Reploids
are scattered about the level, but so are the octopus-like Nightmare viruses
that seek to reach the Reploids ahead of you. By saving Reploids before the
Nightmares grab hold of them, you can gain extras like more energy or weapon
power. The game keeps a running track of which Reploids you’ve saved and uses
the data to randomize the levels.
Yes, randomized levels are indeed another touted addition to this Mega
Man, but don’t get too excited because it isn’t truly random. Each area
is compiled from a pool of several smaller sections. If you shoot for one level
first, you might get sections A, C, and F, but if you undertake the level at
a different point in the game, you might get A, B, and D. It’s a mix and match
of parts to form a full level that will provide variety sans true imagination.
Mega Man X6 is also one of (if not the) most difficult of the
X series. This one weighs heavily on the cheap side of the scale. Cheap
shots and plenty of unavoidable forced hits show the lack of balance. The game
starts you off with an extra-low amount of health and pushes you to earn more
health under harsh conditions. In a half-minded attempt to fix the overbearing
challenge, you get an extra life for every Reploid saved.
remember when the X series first came out on the SNES. The major bosses
were towering behemoths of the animal kingdom. Boy, have things changed. Capcom
is really scraping the bottom of the barrel to fill out the rogue’s gallery.
All the choice creatures have been used up in older games; everything from lions
to tigers to yes, even bears. What do we get this time? A clam! A CLAM! Oh my.
How are you supposed to be afraid of a clam? Maybe someone at Capcom had a
bad seafood dinner or something. Plus, all the enemies have insipid, stupid
names, even worse than before. Beware the dreaded Shield Sheldon or the diabolical
Infinity Mijimion! Spare me.
Graphically, the game looks the same as any of the Playstation Mega Man
games. Nothing remarkable or show-stopping. I’d like to see some improvements
in the animation department, but instead it’s old hat.
Instead of re-dubbed voices, you get Japanese voices with subtitles. It feels
like another way to cut corners rather than an artistic decision. At the very
least, the Japanese eliminates the chirpy, girly-girl English-speaking Mega
Man we’ve been forced to listen to. The flipside of the coin is some Sonic
Other than the out of place J-Pop, the upbeat rock music fits the flow of
a Mega Man game, but does little to differentiate itself from previous
Mega Man tunes.
The robot that tried to become a real boy has grown old and forgotten the
point of his journey. Mega Man X6 is a game rusted stiff by recycling
and repetition. The gameplay is still there and the challenge has taken some
steroids, but there’s no heart. I still love the little guy and it’s nice to
see some games come out on the Playstation, but sometimes, enough is enough.
It’s off to see the retirement home…