Tag Archives: Mega Man

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Mega Man X

games I regret parting with Mega Man X

Mega Man X, as far as I can remember, is the only game in Capcom’s long-running and blaster-charging run-and-jump action series where an innocent-looking robot boy obliterates rogue worker automatons that I’ve beaten. Granted, I haven’t actually played all that many, and that’s mostly because they are challenging gauntlet runs that punish more than they reward. Still, back when I was younger and only had so many games to play and few IRL distractions, practice made for better attempts, and I eventually saw credits roll on Rockman’s first appearance on the Super NES. I absolutely know that getting all the capsule upgrades played a big part in this accomplishment. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten past Chill Penguin. Sick frost burn.

Do you know Mega Man X‘s somewhat maturer plot? If you do, congrats. You can skip ahead two paragraphs. If not, allow me to summarize. Dr. Light created Mega Man X, commonly known as just X, years after the original Mega Man series, with a key difference: the ability to make his own decisions. However, Dr. Light was not completely blind and thus recognized the potential danger of this model, sealing X away in a diagnostic capsule for over 30 years of testing. X’s capsule was uncovered by an archaeologist named Dr. Cain almost a hundred years later. Excited by the possibilities X presented, Dr. Cain disregarded Dr. Light’s notes and warnings and created a legion of new robots that replicated X’s free will–Reploids.

Unfortunately, a virus spread and caused these Reploids turn deadly against humans. Shocking, I know. And so these Reploids became dubbed Mavericks, which lead to the formation of a group called the Maverick Hunters to combat them. Because what else are Maverick Hunters gonna do, y’know? Anyways, the Maverick Hunters were originally led by Sigma, the first Reploid created by Dr. Cain, until it also turned violent and declared war against humans. X joined the Maverick Hunters under its new leader Zero to save Earth from total evil robotic domination. It’s a story much more complicated and involved than the original NES games, which, as a young man with a blossoming brain and beginning to dip his toes in things like anime, I enjoyed greatly.

Mega Man X introduced a lot of new elements to the series. Like the Central Highway Stage, which is basically a tutorial level that allows players to get a feel for the game before setting out to stop the usual kill list of eight named bosses. It is in this level you are first taught how to dash along the ground, cling to walls, and wall jump, as well as dashing and jumping simultaneously, increasing X’s speed in the air. These modifications give X far more mobility than in previous games, which, often required precious timing and accuracy, especially when trying to jump from vanishing platform to vanishing platform. I don’t remember if I played Super Metroid before or after Mega Man X, but the wall-jumping is much easier to nail in the latter.

Besides gaining new weapons after kicking the metal butts of every robot leader, X is also able to upgrade parts of his armor, such as his helmet, boots, arm cannon, and chestplate. These are found in hidden capsules, and they are, as far as I can recall, fairly well hidden, save for the first one, which you have to stumble across for story purposes. X can also charge up the weapons he takes from defeated bosses, giving him a secondary fire mode. More options equals more fun, and some levels even feature alternate paths. Also, completing certain stages ahead of others will subtly affect the battlefield. For example, if you clear Storm Eagle’s aircraft carrier stage first, Spark Mandrill’s power plant stage will suffer from electrical outages.

And now, for everyone’s enjoyment, a list of the bosses in Mega Man X, which, at the time of its release, I thought were beyond cool, but now see that as simply uneducated madness:

  • Chill Penguin
  • Spark Mandrill
  • Armored Armadillo
  • Launch Octopus
  • Boomer Kuwanger
  • Sting Chameleon
  • Storm Eagle
  • Flame Mammoth

Actually, I still think Launch Octopus is pretty killer. We can blame that on Kojima and Decoy Octopus, I guess. Pretty much any combination of [cool word] plus octopus sounds fantastic. Like Fugazi Octopus. Or Mozzarella Sticks Octopus. See–works every time.

Giant Bomb is currently working their way through the Mega Man games with their premium video series Blue Bombin’, and I’m not sure if they’ll be playing the Mega Man X series of games, but here’s hoping they at least give the first one a chance as it certainly switched some things up for the little blue boy who could. I’ll always remember it fondly and wonder why on Earth I thought it was a good idea to give away this classic SNES cartridge (plus original packaging and manual) for a few measly bucks towards an original PlayStation 1. Sigh.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

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Abobo’s Big Adventure is a risible romp through the NES era

AbobosBigAdventure001 gd impressions

I’m now at the point that I no longer remember where I download these strange little games. Could be a random website, some sort of bundle, or even just a blog post pointing me to something interesting. I just stumble across them in my “videogames” folder on my desktop days, weeks, and months later, with new names popping up left and right, often giving me pause. Maybe I accidentally fed one after midnight, and now they are spreading like wildfire, threatening to take over my time with so-called bigger games, despite many of these wee indie oddballs working a thousand times better than anything produced by an actual studio these days. Mm-hmm. Still annoyed about that.

Thankfully, Abobo’s Big Adventure helped put a smile on my face and keep me distracted while Dragon Age: Inquisition continued to fold in upon itself. And that’s surprising, because, while I appreciate the NES for what it was and still is today, I have little nostalgia for it. I never had one as a wee boy, though some neighbors did; videogaming didn’t truly happen for me until that Christmas morning when I unwrapped a Super Nintendo, which came pre-packed with a copy of Super Mario World. That said, Abobo’s Big Adventure is a loving tribute to the NES era, and I get a lot of the references and sprites and winking nods, but there’s also some more obscure elements zipping right on by. It’s an odd mix of old and new, but is thankfully a ton of fun to play, even rekindling my desire to trek through the original Legend of Zelda.

For those that don’t know–and I didn’t know upon starting up this free Flash game–Abobo comes from Double Dragon, appearing multiple times, often as a boss character. I played some Double Dragon in my early days, but this character never stood out to me; I guess the developers behind Abobo’s Big Adventure felt otherwise, thrusting him upon a quest to rescue his son, the hilariously named Aboboy. To do this, Abobo must travel through eight different levels, all themed to a classic NES title. I got as far as the one based around Mega Man, but more on that soon.

The controls are very simple, though they obviously change a bit from level to level. Basically, you move with the arrow keys and execute techniques with “A” and “S,” giving you the sensation of using an NES controller in terms of complexity. You can fill up a meter and tap both A and S together for a special move of sorts. Abobo’s actions change with each level, going from fighting goons in scummy alleyways to exploring a top-down dungeon to floating right to left thanks to some helium-pumped balloons. Abobo’s Big Adventure does a good job of mimicking how these old games looked and played, while also infusing them with modern mechanics and less-than-inspired teenage-level humor. Yup, looking at you, penis-shaped Zelda dungeon map. It’s probably silly to call this out in 2014, but the built-in Achievements system is quite flashy and reminded me of the days when Achievements were designed to be fun, rewarding, and experimental. After reading some descriptions, I went back and got a few out-of-the-way ones.

Much like their original counterparts, some parts of Abobo’s Big Adventure are tough, real challenges of skill. This mostly relates to the boss battles, such as the Old Man in the Zelda-themed one, but I found the entire Balloon Fight flight to be a tough grind, as well as the underwater level. The difficulty became too much once I hit the Mega Man level, which features everyone’s favorite off-screen laser beams to narrowly avoid. If you’ll recall, I’ve never been even mediocre at Mega Man games, and so, after multiple attempts of trying to take down the second form of the boss here, I’ve walked away. The keyboard’s not cutting it. And that’s okay. I got through most of Abobo’s Big Adventure, had a pretty good time, and saw plenty; I can’t imagine what comes later is too surprising, though I might find a Let’s Play to see what the last few levels act like.

While games like Shovel Knight and Axiom Verge are obviously deeply inspired by the classics from gaming’s so-called Golden Age, Abobo’s Big Adventure is them. Just slightly warped and more accessible. If you’re itching for something kind of like an NES game, but also not, I say give this a go. Watch out for that damaging TMNT seaweed in the underwater level though.

I’ve never been and never will be a Mega Man

Mega_Man_Dr._Wilys_Revenge_GBC_ScreenShot4

Before I talk about my lackluster performance so far in Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge, which I picked up for a cheap deal of two bucks on the Nintendo 3DS the other night, let me share with y’all my history with Keiji Inafune’s robotic humanoid servant-turned-hero franchise, which I like greatly from a distance, but have never really enjoyed playing most of the games, save for Mega Man Legends, the shiniest diamond in the dirtiest rough.

Shocking as this may read, I didn’t pick up my first Mega Man game until I had my SNES. Yup, my first experience of running and jumping and shooting enemy bots with balls of energy didn’t happen until Mega Man X, some ten iterations after, uh…I don’t know. And maybe not exactly ten, given the number of spin-offs and such, but whatever. I’m not going to go through the list and count them up, but I’m sure many started somewhere else in its early years, with either the original game or maybe Mega Man 3. I do remember hanging out at a neighbor’s house, watching them play one of these earlier games–whatever one had you in the clouds, jumping on those floating faces that had spikes rising up from the sides of its head–but I was always a quiet, timid kid, and so I simply watched them try to reach the level’s Robot Master and did nothing more until many years later when I had a Super Nintendo console of all my own.

Call me kooky, but I find it rather fitting that the first Mega Man game for the SNES was also my first Mega Man game. I mean, that system and me–to use this generation’s language: SO MANY FEELS. From what I can tell, there’s also a more substantial story in the X series to follow than the older games gave out, which was basically a handful of levels to run through, get to the boss, beat it, and use its power on other bosses. Good job, robot. You win. Mega Man X takes place in a futuristic world inhabited by both humans and Reploids, which are robots capable of emotions. Alas, because of that, Reploids are prone to criminal activity, and those bad boys are labelled Mavericks and no longer invited to Bots Night Out, which happens every Thursday after work. Anyway, you play as Mega Man X, an android member of the military task force Maverick Hunters, and it’s up to you–along with the help of Zero–to stop Sigma, a Maverick leader intent on human extinction. It’s pretty fun and relatively easy when compared to other adventures, but I remember it fondly, especially finding all the hidden suit upgrade chambers.

Since the Mega Man X days, the only other traditional Mega Man games I’ve dabbled in would be Mega Man 8 for the PS1, Mega Man 9 for the PS3, and Mega Man 10 for the PS3. When I say dabbled, I mean that. I pick a level, make a decent attempt at it, and don’t get very far, especially when disappearing platforms are involved. There’s just always been something about the platforming that I’ve never been good at. Or maybe it has to do with how quickly our blue-suited hero loses health. Yeah, let’s go with both of those for escape goats. Other related titles in my collection include Mega Man X7…and that’s it. Sadly, there will be no Mega Man Legends 3. Ever.

Hmm. I guess I should get back to talking about Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge now. I mean, really, that’s the true topic at hand. Sometimes I get lost reminiscing. My bad. This spin-off title originally for the Game Boy continues Mega Man’s adventures as he once again confronts Dr. Wily and his slew of revived Robot Masters, as well as a special “Mega Man Killer” called Enker. There are four initial stages and bosses (Cut Man, Ice Man, Fire Man, and Elec Man), all from the original Mega Man. Later, you can take on another four levels and bosses from Mega Man 2–if you get that far. And then, if you’ve gotten that far, I believe there’s one more level to go to stop Dr. Wily for the time being.

Like I said, I’m strangely rubbish at these games, and I really don’t understand why. I do just fine in other platformers, though I can’t really think of any at the moment that specifically follow Mega Man in style and skill. Duck Tales for the NES? Cave Story? But these levels here are exceptionally difficult, and I haven’t even made it to a boss fight yet. Little to no room for error. Also, whenever Mega Man takes damage, he slides back a teensy bit, which means don’t get hit when standing on a thin, narrow ledge. There’s no actual save slot, but a built-in password system will help you keep your progress intact; however, as soon as I get far enough that I feel proud of, I’m going to also rightly abuse the Nintendo 3DS’s Restore function. One other complaint I have is that the sprites are huge. Massively so. Which can be problematic as you can only fit so much on one screen and can’t see what dangers lie ahead, leading me to jump and shoot at the same time for nearly every jump at the far right side of the screen. This was fine in Metroid II where you’re not going to lose a ton of progress from falling into an open pit. But no, not here. The screen needs to be zoomed out by another 25%.

So, two dollars well spent? Probably not. Just two dollars spent.

With the 3DS eShop, comes great Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version

I have a soft spot for Mega Man Legends, a PlayStation title that plays nothing like previous Mega Man games. Instead, it focused on open-world gameplay and character interaction, starring a teenage incarnation of Mega Man named Volnutt. It was also the very first wall-jump into 3D polygons for the franchise, making it a sharp slap in the face of any Mega Man fan ever. Thankfully, I was never diehard obsessed with the blue-armored boy’s adventures, and so when this released it just looked like a fun, light-hearted romp, something like Brave Fencer Musashi, with its bright colors and exuberant character personalities. The plot involved hidden treasure, pirates, and a lot of archeology. Very different from your standard travel left to right to end of level and beat boss, acquire its power, and find the next boss weak to it.

I never purchased Mega Man Legends, but somehow it ended up in my collection. If I close my eyes and think hard enough, I believe I borrowed the game from a friend–just the CD though, no jewel case or instruction booklet–and then never gave it back. Or maybe I did. I have these flashes of seeing the game recently amongst all my shtuff. Not sure if I could find it right now in my boxes and boxes of junk seeing as it’s just a little CD by itself, but I might still have it. Who knows. Either way, I played it, I liked it, and I’m pretty sure I never completed it.

All of this is just to say that Mega Man Legends 3–long desired, long hoped for by many–is in the works for the Nintendo 3DS, and with the launch of the system’s eShop in late May, Capcom is releasing something called Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version. It’s more than a demo, but less than a completed game. Once you finish the core missions, you’ll receive access to areas of the game not yet finished and be able to play with a debug menu that gives you special moves and abilities. Capcom is hoping for a lot of feedback from gamers about it because without any interest, the title itself might just get chucked into the trashbin. Eep! Be a good Servbot and provide feedback here: http://www.capcom-unity.com/devroom.

Oh, and here’s a little looksie at what’s to come:

Still not sure if this is a free eShop download or a paid demo, but so long as it isn’t too pricey, I’ll be getting it. Five dollars sounds right, but I’m sure Nintendo is going to screw us all and use some wonky points system so it’ll be more like 500 3D Space Bucks. It’ll be nice to have some games to play on my 3DS that don’t require me to move around a room like a goofball (Face Raiders) or have an extra item available at all times to play ’em (AR cards). I can only make so many different Miis before I get bored. Come on, late May…hurry up and get here ASAP.

Super Mario Bros. Crossover is a dream come true

Do you like Super Mario Bros? How about The Legend of Zelda or Contra? Hmm…and Castlevania, Mega Man, and Metroid?

That’s good. I like ’em all, too.

And now, thanks to the Internet, you can play them all, more or less, at once. Introducing…Super Mario Bros. Crossover!

Yup, this little miracle allows you to basically play Super Mario Bros, but with the character of your choice. There’s Samus Aran from Metroid, Simon Belmont from Castlevania, Link from The Legend of Zelda, Bill Rizer from Contra, and Mega Man from, er, Mega Man. And the greatest part is they all play as they should from their respective games, meaning Mega Man can charge up his blaster and Samus can roll into a ball and drop her classic bombs. All while goombas roam the ground and pipes wait to be explored.

It’s silly fun, but also pretty great. Believe the hype.