Never Played: MEGA MAN X4
I was a fan of the Mega Man games for the NES as a kid and beat most of them. But I took a long lay off from the franchise for a while, going from Mega Man 7 to my next Mega Man game eventually being Mega Man Battle Network, which as you may know plays very differently from most Mega Man games. I’ve never played a Mega Man X style game until now.
Mega Man established itself as Capcom’s flagship IP, with its plethora of well received games on the NES and SNES. In 1993 the franchise added some new characters and backstory into the mix with the introduction of Mega Man X and Zero. Mega Man X4 is the fourth entry into the X series, which at that point had established its backstory and key characters. It released in 1997 for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Like its predecessors it is a side-scrolling action/platforming game that features eight bosses, which each award the player with a unique power-up upon defeat. Mega Man X4 had overall positive reviews and decent sales on the PlayStation. The X series would see seven more titles after X4.
Mega Man X4’s cover art is pretty uneventful, with just X and Zero back to back in kind of “ready-for-battle” poses. It does hint at my favorite feature of the game though which is the ability to play as either X or Zero, a feature new to the series at this point. When you start the game you choose your character and play through as them. You fight the same 8 bosses either way, but the story and strategy changes dependent upon your character. As with most Mega Man games, the order you face the 8 bosses is entirely up to you and is where a lot of the strategy lies. Beating a boss unlocks a weapon upgrade if you’re playing X or a new attack technique if you’re playing Zero. With Zero I ended up going for his Ryuenjin first and ended up finding it to be the most overall useful ability, but there are tons of different strategies players employ to tackle a game as challenging as this one and that’s what I like most about Mega Man games. The difficulty I personally found to be perfect. It was tough at times, I rarely beat a level without dying several times. But with strategy, patience and solid timing I did eventually beat the game, which is not a given with a Mega Man game. The bosses were unique and each presented their own attacks and necessary strategies. Personal favorite was probably Frost Walrus just because he looks so goofy but so cool at the same time.
What I was impressed with the most was the graphics. The game employs a heavy anime style in both cut scenes and actual gameplay. This style holds up tremendously with time and I personally found it beautiful for a game nearly 20 years old.
If I had to find fault with Mega Man X4 it would definitely be with its poor English voice acting. Zero’s wasn’t bad but X’s was just atrocious. I also was not a fan of the plot. While the cut scenes looked great, they were ruined by poor voice acting and a strange and uninteresting plotline.
Overall I had a blast with this game and it has made me want to pick up the Mega Man X collection that was released for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. The fun yet challenging gameplay and anime artstyle more than make up for Mega Man X4’s minor flaws.