Mega Man Xtreme 2
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy Color
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 07/19/2001
    • US November 2001
    • UK 02/08/2002
Score: 70%

This review was published on 09/08/2016.

Mega Man Xtreme 2, titled Rockman X2: Soul Eraser in Japan, is a side-scrolling platform video game published and developed by Capcom for the Game Boy Color. It was originally released in Japan on July 19, 2001, North America in November 2001, and Europe on February 8, 2002. This is the second and last Mega Man Xtreme game, and a direct sequel to the previous one, which was also released on the Game Boy Color less than a year prior. It's a spinoff from the Mega Man X series that began in the mid 1990s on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and continued onto the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn in the late '90s. By the time this game came out, Mega Man X5 had already been released in most territories. Like the first Xtreme, Mega Man Xtreme 2 borrows a lot of content from the main X series, particularly from the first three home console games. Unlike most of the early X games, however, this game is mediocre. It's better than the first Xtreme, but not by much.

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In the universe of Mega Man X, it's the 22nd century and robots capable of freewill, called "Reploids," peacefully coexist with humans. However, some Reploids become violent, and these are referred to as "Mavericks." To fight against this threat, a group of Reploids known as the "Maverick Hunters" was formed. The series follows two prominent members of the Maverick Hunters, X and Zero, in their never ending struggle against the Maverick leader, Sigma. Set between the events of Mega Man X3 and Mega Man X4, Xtreme 2 is about an incident in which the "DNA Souls" of Reploids are being erased all over the world, leaving them as lifeless husks. The source of this trouble is located on the mysterious Laguz Island, where a "Soul Eraser" named Berkana is using the DNA Souls to resurrect an army of undead Mavericks from the past. Aided by their new ally, Iris, X and Zero are dispatched to Laguz Island to avert the crisis.

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Similar to the previous Xtreme, this game divides its stages and bosses into separate modes. There are two main modes: "X Mission" and "Zero Mission." In the Japanese version, you had to beat X Mission first in order to access Zero Mission, but the North American and European versions give you immediate access to both modes. As their names imply, X Mission has you play as X, while Zero Mission lets you take control of Zero. Additionally, each mode features entirely different stages and bosses. There are four main stages and bosses per mode, so you'll need to play both to see everything the game has to offer. If you beat one mode, you can use the same save file to start the other mode with some of your previously earned goodies. After you finish both modes, you'll unlock "Extreme Mode," which combines all the stages and bosses into a single mode, in addition to letting you freely switch between X and Zero. Structurally, this is slightly better than the previous Xtreme, but it'd have still been better if you could play Extreme Mode right away, so you wouldn't have to redo stuff to experience everything.

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Depending on who you're playing as, the controls will be slightly different. X uses his X-Buster to shoot enemies from a distance, whereas Zero likes to get up close and personal with his Z-Saber. These attacks are used by pressing the B button, and the A button will make your controlled character jump. Holding down the B button will charge X's weapon, allowing him to fire a bigger shot. Rapidly tapping the B button with Zero will make him do a powerful sword combo. Both characters can dash on the ground by either double tapping the d-pad left or right, or pressing down and the A button. Zero starts with the air dash, but X acquires it later via an upgrade. To do the air dash, you press the jump button twice, as if you were doing a double jump. This is pretty easy to do, but it's sometimes a little too easy, as you may find yourself accidentally doing it at undesirable moments. The controls are decent enough, but they lack the precision of the console games, plus there are fewer buttons to work with.

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While a lot of the content is derived from the home console games, obviously it looks and sounds far worse here due to the Game Boy Color's inferior hardware. Like the vast majority of Mega Man games, stages are linear but can be tackled in a nonlinear order. Unlike the first Xtreme, the stages in Xtreme 2 further deviate from their source material, sometimes being almost completely different. It's usually the X3 stages that get overhauled, but a few of the X2 ones also have massive alterations. Sometimes the designers even combine segments from multiple games into a single stage. There are also occasionally new enemies, and some of the old enemies make appearances in different locations, like how some baddies from X1 appear in X3 stages. The different level design gives veterans of the mainline X games more of a reason to play Xtreme 2, though the new designs generally aren't as good as the old ones.

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As usual, there is a Maverick boss at the end of all the stages. There's far less originality with the bosses than with the stages, as almost all of them are taken straight from the first three X games with very few changes. There are some new ones here and there, but they're too few to recount here. As with the vast majority of Mega Man games, X and Zero will obtain weapons and abilities from defeating bosses, and each boss is weak to a particular weapon. The weapon will function differently depending on which character gets it. Oh yeah; Extreme Mode makes it so that only the character that defeats the boss will get its weapon. This is stupid, because you must make tough decisions on who gets what. It does add some replay value, but it forces you to think about things that you shouldn't have to think about in a Mega Man game.

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Like most X games, helpful upgrades are hidden all throughout the game. There are Heart Tanks that permanently extend a character's life meter and Sub-Tanks that store life energy for use when in a pinch. Oddly, there are only two Sub-Tanks in this game as opposed to the regular four, and you can only get one unless you're playing Extreme Mode. Capsules left behind by X's deceased creator, Dr. Light, are hidden in most stages, and they will permanently equip X and Zero with armor pieces that'll enhance their offense and mobility. Each capsule is designed for a specific character, so you can't get an X capsule with Zero. It's strange that there are capsules for Zero, since this isn't normally the case in the other X games. Like Xtreme 1, the armor pieces won't be visible on X's body until you get them all. However, no armor pieces will ever be visible on Zero, whether he has them all or not, which is lame. Another lame thing is how upgrades like Heart Tanks will only affect the character that collects it, forcing you to divvy up the goods between the two heroes.

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Whenever you defeat enemies, they have a chance of dropping something known as "Soul Chips." Not only does this replenish your energy on the spot, but it can be used as a currency to buy "parts" from Iris' shop. Parts can be equipped from the menu, and they bestow passive effects upon your character, like increasing invincibility time or damage output. Most parts can be swapped between X and Zero, but there are a few that are exclusive to a particular character. You can also buy either Extreme Mode or "Boss Attack," a boss rush mode that lets you fight all the main bosses from both Xtreme 1 and 2. Both of these modes can be unlocked for free via other means, though. Anyway, the parts system isn't bad, but combined with the normal Mega Man X upgrade system, it's a bit much. On top of that, the shop adds a grinding element to the game that slows down the action, which the previous X games smartly avoided.

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Better than Xtreme 1 in some ways and worse in others, Xtreme 2 is a mixed bag. The fact that the development team actually went through the trouble of creating some unique content is a point in this game's favor. Being able to play as X and Zero is also nice. However, there's still the issue of having to replay the game a few times to see all of its content, and having to divide the weapons and Heart Tanks between X and Zero is a headache. The shop and parts system also unnecessarily convolutes a game that already arguably has too many convolutions going for it. Xtreme 2 is average for a Game Boy Color title, but it's well below average when compared to the better games in the X series.

Word Count: 1,531

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