Mega Man X6
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • PlayStation
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 11/29/2001
    • US 12/04/2001
    • UK 02/08/2002
Score: 65%

This review was published on 07/04/2013.

Mega Man X6 is a 2-D, side-scrolling platform game developed by Capcom and released for the Sony PlayStation. It's the sixth game in the Mega Man X series, which is the successor to the original Mega Man games. Mega Man X6 is the third and final X game released for the PlayStation, unless you count X3, but that one was merely a port. According to the series creator, Keiji Inafune, X5 was supposed to be the final game in the series. Capcom decided to develop X6 behind Inafune's back, completely without his input. That's kind of rude, if you ask me. The X series made a strong start on 32-bit consoles with X4, but started to decline into mediocrity with X5. Mega Man X6 continues that decline into mediocrity by being even worse. This is up there with one of the worst X games of all time. Capcom should have listened to Inafune and stopped at 5.

Image

Mega Man X, or X for short, is the robotic protagonist of the X series and of this game. Robots in the X series are referred to as Reploids, and bad robots that endanger society are known as Mavericks. X is part of a group that hunts down Mavericks called the Maverick Hunters, and he has defeated a Maverick named Sigma five times in a row. In the previous game, Sigma took control of a space colony called Eurasia and made it crash into the Earth, making the surface of the planet uninhabitable. X5 actually had multiple endings, and that was only one of the possible endings. I suppose that means this ending is canon. Zero, X's robotic friend, mysteriously went missing after the events of X5. The last we see of Zero is him and X putting an end to Sigma for seemingly the final time. Mega Man X6 takes place three weeks later, where a mysterious Maverick of mystery shows up out of nowhere and starts causing trouble for mysterious reasons. The Maverick is rumored to be called the Zero Nightmare, which sends up red flags. This piques X's interest and he decides to investigate the situation. What a go getter. Given the finality of X5's plot, it really doesn't make sense for the story to go on. The plot to X6 further solidifies that this game is an unnecessary sequel.

Image

You control X in this game, like you do in every other X game. X can do everything he could in X5; he can jump, duck, shoot, charge up his shots, dash, and wall climb. There is one additional thing X can do in this game, and that's use the Z-Saber. Zero left his trusty saber to X before vanishing, so now X can use it whenever he pleases. This means that X can do close range combat as well as long range. Unfortunately, X is nowhere near as good as Zero when it comes to the saber attacks; he's way slower, does way less damage, and he only has like two basic moves. You'll be required to use the saber at various points in the game, since this mechanic is a selling point to the game. That should tell you something about the game. The fact that such a disappointing mechanic is actually the selling point to the game is telling. You can tell that the development team was scrapping the bottom of the barrel at this point. X using Zero's saber is supposed to be symbolic, but the symbolism doesn't change the fact that it sucks. X is still a decent character when fully armed with his armor, though. Just ignore the saber move and you'll be fine.

Image

While it's a bit of a spoiler, I'm going to go ahead and mention that you can, in fact, get Zero in this game. Getting Zero is optional, but it can be done very early on in the game. It kind of sucks you don't start out with him, because you were able to do so in the previous two X games. Some of the levels have these alternate paths you can take, and during these alternate paths, you will trigger a fight with the Zero Nightmare, a nightmarish image of Zero. Upon winning this fight, you will unlock the real Zero as a playable character, and he can be used for the remainder of the game. Zero works much like he did in the past two X games: he's a close range fighter that relies solely on his lightsaber to do all the damage. The odd thing to note is that Zero's moves are slightly different in this game. I'm actually astonished, because X6 reuses so much content from the previous games, that it's strange Zero was altered at all. Like in X5, you can switch to Zero on the stage select screen at any point during the game, which is nice. It doesn't change the fact that Zero should have been available from the beginning, but at least he's still in the game somewhere. Of course, it's possible to not discover Zero until much later in the game, and it'll basically be too late by that point. The execution is awkward, but Mega Man X6 keeps Zero and that's cool.

Image

In order to "investigate" the Zero Nightmare, eight Reploids are sent to eight locations. X feels that these "investigators" are a little fishy, so he decides to investigate the investigators, while also investigating the Zero Nightmare himself. That basically entails in yet another stage select screen where you'll go on a journey to defeat eight robots. What's different this time around is the Nightmare system. The Nightmare system is a new idea introduced in Mega Man X6 that adds a bit of random chance to the game. What this entails is that, randomly, one of the eight stages will go into Nightmare mode, which results in a hazardous condition being applied to the stage. There are a number of different conditions that can be applied to a stage, and they're all hazardous to your health. The stages are represented by the face of the Maverick you'll be facing in that stage, so stages colored red are in Nightmare mode. What's odd is that, sometimes, stages will have Nightmare effects even when they aren't colored red. That's some swell game design. One example of a Nightmare effect is when a stage becomes pitch black, with only a few rays of light to light your path. This really sucks and all it does is annoy the heck out of you, without providing any added challenge or intrigue to the game. I think the intention here is that you're supposed to avoid the red stages, but sometimes you really need to visit a red stage, so you'll have to bite the bullet and bear the load of terrible gimmicks. The stages are already poorly designed enough as it is without the addition of the random Nightmare gimmicks. This Nightmare system is a terrible idea and it's one of this game's many blights.

Image

Rescuing Reploids in need is something that you could do in X5, but that concept was greatly expanded upon in this game. Scattered throughout all the stages are helpless Reploids that are in need of assistance. All you really have to do to assist them is touch them. Doing so will teleport them to safety. Like any optional endeavor in a video game, you'll be rewarded for rescuing Reploids. Sometimes you won't get anything, but every so often a Reploid will be carrying a juicy prize for you. The prize can be a permanent upgrade to your life bar, a permanent upgrade to your weapon energy, or a part. Parts make their return from X5 and can be equipped in between stages to change X or Zero's various parameters. Many parts can be shared between both characters, but some are exclusive to a single character. It's a similar idea to how accessories work in an RPG. This is kind of too convoluted for an X game, but it does open up the possibility for customization. What sucks about the whole Reploid deal is that, sometimes, a Reploid can be captured by these strange, octopus robots. A Reploid that gets infected by one of these robots will become Maverick, and then you'll have no choice but to kill it. Once a particular Reploid is killed, it's gone for good. You can say goodbye to whatever upgrade that Reploid was holding. It's really annoying, because Reploids are often positioned in ways to facilitate their demise. If you're a stickler for this stuff, then you'll have to reset the game to get another shot at saving the Reploid. You can ignore all this stuff, but you'll miss out on lots of goodies. The Reploid mechanic bogs down the game and it doesn't provide much entertainment value.

Image

Dr. Light is the good scientist who created X, and he's dead. Before he died, he hid a bunch of capsules throughout various stages with armor upgrades for X. Normally there is only a single set of armor per game, with the armor being divided into four parts. However, X5 started the trend of having multiple armors in a single game, which is one of the few good things X5 did. X6 continues that trend, and this also happens to be one of the few good qualities of X6, as well. What sucks is that you can't use a given armor part until you complete the armor set, but hey, at least you get different armor sets. Similar to X5, X actually starts the game already equipped with a fully assembled armor, but it's not very good. The good ones require you to find the hidden parts. You can switch between X's armor sets in the stage selection screen, allowing you to use whatever armor you please. Every armor set has its advantages and disadvantages, so they're useful for different situations. The Shadow Armor is my favorite one, because it lets you stick to the ceiling, rapid fire ninja stars, and renders you immune to instant kill spikes. It has some pretty significant drawbacks, like not being able to use special weapons, but it's pretty darn cool. The Blade Armor is another one, and this is the more versatile, all-around type that is useful in any situation. There aren't many things Mega Man X6 does right, but the armor system is one of them.

Image

Mega Man X6 is up there, or should I say, down there with some of the worst games in the entire series. The stage design sucks, the bosses suck, the graphics are mostly reused from X4 and X5, the story sucks, the cutscenes suck, and almost all of the newly introduced mechanics suck. Just about everything sucks in this game, save for the music. The music is still pretty good, though it's not the best this series can offer. The only X game worse than this one is X7, and that one is truly a travesty. Even for diehard fans, Mega Man X6 isn't worth playing. It doesn't add anything meaningful to the series and will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Word Count: 1,875

Tweet