For more robot-destroying, wall-jumping, arm cannon-charging nostalgia feels, click on the media player above and enjoy!
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Welcome, to the Videogame Shoebox.
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at one of my favourite games of all time, Megaman X on the Super Nintendo.
Released in May of 1994 I was fresh off of finishing Megaman 6 for the original NES which had been released just a couple of months earlier.
As I was led around our local Toys R Us by my parents I happened upon the new release videogame selection.
And there it was.
Just sitting there on the shelf, I hadnt experienced excitement like that at all in my life up until that point. I rushed over and grabbed a box from the shelf, Megaman X, it said.
I rush over to my Mum. Screaming. “Mum, look, Megaman! Megaman!” I remember her saying; “What the bloody hell is a megaman?”
“He’s a robot man with a laser arm who goes around stopping all the bad robots, I play them and nan’s house!”
“Well then you dont need another one if you already play them do you?”
Parents rarely understand.
“But mum look its X! Megaman X! That must mean its number 10!? I havent seen this one before. I didn’t know they’ve made 10 of them!”
In a world before the internet I was too young and inexperienced to know that there had only been 6 megaman games at that point, but the 7 year old scholar in me wanted to show off that I had been learning roman numerals at school. “He’s right.” My dad interrupted. X is definitely 10.” My dad bought me the game “for being a good boy and doing well at school”.
I get home, and without a Super Nintendo of my own I would have to wait until the next weekend when I would be at my grandparents house again. I must have flicked though that manual a thousand times. I didn’t care how long I waited. To this day almost 22 years later I feel excitement whenever I slap that cartridge into my console. Like running into an old best friend in the street.
Set 100 years after the original Megaman series, in the year 20XX, Megaman X is actually a spin-off title and the first Megaman game to appear on the Super Nintendo. It spawned a total of 11 games in the X sub-series.
Much like the Megaman games that came before and after its release, X is a standard action platform game where you go through an initial series of 8 stages in whatever order you want. Blowing up robots left and right, wall-jumping and platforming your way to the final corridor. Each stage is coupled with a similarly themed rogue robot boss that you must defeat and you are rewarded with a new weapon for doing so. These weapons, unlike your standard shot however, are not infinite and have a set number of shots available so you’ll have to defeat every enemy you see in case they drop a health or power capsule.
There’s no risk of being penalised for taking on the levels in whatever order you choose, but there are benefits to beating certain stages before starting another, such as gaining a weapon from one boss which is super effective on another. This can really make the difference between beating the enemy or having to get your password sheets out. Yeah, that’s right, no save games here! Either you remember that long code or write it down or its start from the begininng for you.
In a few of the levels there are also secret capsules left by your creator that can be found to bestow certain abilities, one of them is unmissable but super important for other levels, hint: always do the ice stage first!
The controls are easy to get to grips with and it handles incredibly well, even to this day. The pixel perfect jumping requirements are still there but X is definitely a more forgiving Megaman title on the whole. With three different strengths of shot on your regular Megabuster cannon depending on if your tapping fire, or holding it for a second or three, you’ll be one-shotting some robot fools in no time.
Eight not too surprisingly themed stages, a couple of extra stages and a boss rush or two later and you’ll find yourself wall-jumping for what originally felt like forever, just scaling up a vertical surface occasionally blasting nasties that crawl out of holes in the wall.
Atop this giant tower is sigma, the reason for the unrest in this robot riddled world. and he’s pissed that you’ve made it this far. Guess I’ll have to keep this password safe until next weekend!
Thats it for now, tune in next time for another trip down memory lane as I dust off some more cartridges.
Be sure to let me know on twitter @MikeNotridge any games you might like to see here next time.
Whats in your video game shoebox?