Megaman Maverick Hunter X

Megaman Maverick Hunter X is a remake of the original Megaman X Snes game released in 1993. Remade, remastered and released on Feb 2, 2006, for the PlayStation Portable. With updated 2.5D visuals, music, and voice acting for the eight robot masters, a 30-minute video leading up to the events of the game, and a side story detailing the events of Vile. A nefarious Maverick with only one goal of destroying X. It’s one hell of a ride to pass up.

Now, who is X? Sometime after the events of the MegaMan series, Dr.Light developed a new type of robot, one that could think for itself and make its own decisions. Seeing the potential danger of such a creation, he sealed it away for a 30-year diagnostic test. However. Dr.Light passed away, 1000 years have passed and an archeologist, Dr. Cain, stumbles upon the capsule. Ecstatic with the find, Dr.Cain soon bases new robots off of X’s design. This new type of robots, with free will, are dubbed, Reploids. All is not well, a virus begins to infect the reploids, having them rage against the humans, these reploids are called Mavericks, and a force called the Maverick Hunters are formed to combat them. Its a Saturday morning cartoon version of Blade Runner. Megaman Maverick Hunter X.

I have to say, I’m a fan of the Low-Poly aesthetic of the game. I find it just as nostalgic as the sprite work of the 16-bit era. I enjoy the minimalism. This game was made during the end of the PS2 era. So with the added experience of dealing with higher graphics, coupled with better hardware than that of the Psone era, came a game with more efficient use of polygons and textures to add detail.

However, there are issues with visual consistency.

At times, it adds various levels of depth and atmosphere.



Then It shows a flat, uninteresting backdrop.

Look at that airplane. Looks like a Jpeg on a motion tween. (I know all about those.)

Overall though. The visual update is serviceable and doesn’t affect the game play.

Game play:

It still maintains the tight controls and run and gun aspects of the original. With all the same power-ups and weapon upgrades. With some interesting setups to have you utilize your weapon set and move set.

Most of this becomes obsolete when you get the storm tornado.

Megaman X is tightly designed to teach you how to play. Which is great. Tutorials baked into the gameplay rather than overt text is the way to go when possible. It’s all on a case by case basis though. Tutorials tailor-made for the game at hand.

This was tailor-made

How to wall jump.

This wasn’t

It’s a very simple mechanic, I already knew. Its a common mechanic to check to see if its there.

However, from a game design perspective, how do you set up enemies to teach you how to hold a button down to learn a charge shot for a new player?

I dunno, but they can read the manual.

That’s probably what they were betting on. To save time and money on baking the introduction into the game play. That, or betting on player curiosity.

But if you wanna stretch those programming muscles.

Option to introduce charge shot in game:

Have Zero introduce it after you beat Vile.

Say the newbie didn’t use a charge shot at all during the first level, didn’t read the manual, like a god damn know-it-all, and manages to beat Vile. A simple line of code can check to see if it was used. Then we get a prompt like:

After Zero saves your ass: “Hey, uh X, you do know you have a charge shot right?”

Still, this isn’t necessary.

Dash Wall Kick:

Now this is a trickier mechanic to get someone to learn in game:

I dunno, but to save time of thinking of an idea for my review:

Level design:

Megaman X lets you choose how to play and replay the levels. Go in and get all the suit upgrades first. Go in and get a few health upgrades, or not at all, for an extra challenge. Players choice.

Some upgrades are plain as day and easy to see, others are hidden and take some searching to find. Not a problem if you’re naturally curious.

Two of the classic suit power ups have been moved. You used to pick up the Dash Boots at Chill Penguins Stage, and it was a power up you couldn’t skip.

Now you’re able to play the whole game without picking up a single power up or suit upgrade for added challenge. Again. Players choice.

Bosses:

All eight bosses return from the original with added voice acting and characterizations. Two of my favorites being Storm Eagle and Boomerang Kuwanger.

During your mission to take down Sigma and his forces, you’ll see how the levels interact with each other during game play. Opening up other areas, or making the mission to get you power ups easier..


Music and sound:

The sound design is well done. Whether you prefer the Snes bit tunes over this is a subjective taste. Make no mistake though, Maverick Hunter X makes use of the PSPs optimal speakers to provide added audio depth to the levels and sound effects.

X shouting every time he fires his weapon
“shotguniceshotguniceshotguniceshotgunice shotguniceshotguniceshotguniceshotgunice .”
Bad example.

Other than that, the added voice acting is serviceable in parts, I enjoyed it personally. At times it’s cartoony.

Can’t hear a gif

Then it times it’s serious

Still can’t hear a gif

X is angry. Very angry.

I don’t mind the cheese. Makes the serious moments more potent by contrast.

Also, Check out Launch Octopus stage. During the cutscene, they added some ambiance to the dialogue to sound like they’re in a tank underwater. Details like that show they made use of the PSP audio hardware.

What is missing?

Capcom went with adding graphical fidelity to the level design of the Snes games. Like I said earlier, I enjoyed the added depth to a degree, but didn’t add too many spins to the levels.

While some enemies make use of getting the player to use X’s power ups, at times other power ups become underutilized.

Take X’s helmet. I can only think of two times it was used.

To get an upgrade:

or for added protection from falling rocks:

The dash boots get more use though. To get upgrades, maneuver past enemies, etc.

While I was thinking of what they could do with the levels to make use of X’s arsenal I realized how tightly designed the levels were for optional game play. Of choosing not to use the armor upgrades and such.

If part of the levels needed to use the helmet, or added dash to other areas, then you wouldn’t be able to complete the level without an armor upgrade.

However, the option to go without armor upgrades and a buster only run, seems to limit the level design in some aspects. To truly test X.

Which brings me to the Sigma levels:

These were the only three levels that received a massive revamp from the Snes classic.

I would of like to have had areas that challenged me to use more of my tools, or armor upgrades. Enemies to defeat with a helmet, or platforms to dash through. Something.

However, again, that would defeat the purpose of being able to beat the game without armor upgrades, or a buster only play-through.

So why not hidden paths that are only accessible with armor upgrades? Hidden paths that lead to unlockables? Say, to unlock a Zero play-through.


Vile Play-through:

After beating the game, you unlock Viles’ campaign. He very differently to that of X, and requires more planning before going into levels.

You have to pick what weapons to take with you before heading into to fight the robot bosses.

During which, we gain some insight to Viles’ character, and what makes X so ‘uber’ special. Though, they never clarified why X’s worrying/doubt mattered too much as a robot.

Spoiler-
X can doubt his programming, which leads to finding new ways of thinking.

Zero play-through:

It doesn’t exist.

Why? I dunno, it was Inufunes OC. Zero was Inufunes redesign of X, but he was told to keep X. Why did he go with adding a Vile play-through and not Zero. Upon further research. Inufune states that Having a Zero play through would have been too predictable. That is fine, but I have one issue with that.

Megaman Maverick Hunter X was a first in a planned remake of the X series. Which failed. Be it a cluster of reasons. One being poor sales. Why the poor sales? Again. a cluster of reasons.

Would a Zero play-through have helped the sale?

Perhaps.

Megaman X2 has a subplot and sub-bosses to save Zero after he blew himself up after the events of MHX. There was nothing in MHX that lead up to the events of X2. Which could have helped with generating talk, from players, of a sequel to look forward to.

What could of, would of, should have worked with a Zero play-through was to lead up to that.

Namely here:

How did Zero find Sigmas base? Who did he fight? What forces did he split up? What happened here? Seems like a missed opportunity. My issue is the poor set up to Megaman Maverick Hunter X2. There wasn’t much closure after Zero blew himself up and X went on to defeat Sigma.



X: “I can’t help but think I’m forgetting something.”


Zero: ”Don’t mind me, just setting up a sequel.”

—-

Megaman Maverick Hunter X is a great remix of the original. Worth a play-through.

As it stands now, you can buy a digital copy from the PS Store for play on only PSP/PSVita devices.(On Sony’s official website, I think.) Why they haven’t made PSP games playable on the PS4, I don’t know. Legal stuff, or security risks like pirates finding a hack through old psp games(They’ve done it with the PS-Vita) or something. Now that Sony has bailed on the handheld market, they have a portion of their product nearly inaccessible.

Anyways, Whether you prefer the original or this is like that of its game play. Players choice.

 

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