Tag Archives: Super Nintendo

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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GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind

The 1990s were a crazy time. I mean, two of the biggest mascots were a plumber and an anthromorphic hedgehog with super speed. And gaming companies left and right were vying for their own position in mascot mecca. Some faired better than others. Remember Rocky Rodent? Chester Cheetah? Boogerman? Cool Spot? For your sake, I surely hope you don’t.

Accolade, Inc. entered the mascot gauntlet in 1993 with Bubsy, a bobcat that…uh, was full of catchphrases and snark. Starring in the awkwardly titled Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, the bouncy bobcat is on a mission to stop a race of fabric-stealing aliens called “Woolies”; they have stolen the world’s yarn ball supply, but more vital is that they stole Bubsy’s personal collection, the largest yet to be seen. Yes, we all know cats love balls of yarn. However, Bubsy is a bobcat, and I think they like to maul small animals. Just a minor difference in the end.

Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind takes place over five unique worlds, each with three levels. The Woolies and accompanying enemies change their look with each world, but otherwise the gameplay remains the same: a lot of platforming. World 1 is sort of a generic homelands, focusing on houses and water slides and underground tunnels. World 2 is an amusement park. World 3 stars a train in the Wild West setting. World 4 is something akin to national wildlife park, with trees being chopped down and gysers spouting. And naturally, World 5 takes place in outer space.

My least fond, but most strongest memories from adventuring with Bubsy are  1) that he would just not shut up and 2) that the game’s soundtrack was a bit of mess. First, let’s talk about talking. At the beginning of every level, Bubsy made an attempt at being cute or catchy. Here, check ’em all out:

  • What could possibly go wrong? – Cheesewheels of Doom
  • Did I mention I don’t like heights? – Forbidden Plummet
  • More like a bridge too short. – A Bridge Too Fur
  • Hey, whatever blows your hair back! – Fair Conditioning
  • Hey, I thought I saw Elvis back there! – Night of the Bobcat
  • Shouldn’t that be ‘fearless’? Uh-oh… – Our Furless Leader
  • Well, it worked for Clint. – The Good, The Bad and the Woolies
  • Go ahead, make my day! – A Fistful of Yarn
  • My contract does not mention pain! – Dances with Woolies
  • Hey, I didn’t write this stuff!!! – Beavery Careful
  • Next time, I get a stunt-cat! – Rock around the Croc
  • Is there a veternarian in the audience? – Claws for Alarm
  • That’s it! I’m outta here! You can’t make me. – Eye of the Bobcat
  • What, and give up show business? – No Time for Paws
  • Somebody dial 911!!! – Lethal Woolie
  • Whoah, are you still playing this thing?! – A Farewell to Woolies

Man, look at all those puns. Really, I’m not against them. As a writer, I’m bound by an unwritten law to at least admire puns. However, hearing Bubsy constantly crank out these sayings can really drive one batty. Especially since, back then, I never got past the second world (at least that I can recall), that meant hearing the first five or six sayings over and over again. Go ahead and say “What could possibly go wrong?” in a really nasily voice ten times in a row and then tell me you love life.

Now for the music. It was bubbly and erratic, and suffered greatly from changing tones on the drop of a dime. For example, Bubsy is just bouncy along, collecting yarn to some chippy tunes when all of sudden he’s fallen into a waterslide part, and the soundtrack changes dramatically to the ilk often used to represent TOTAL DOOM. The strange thing is that hopping out of the waterslide does not deter the music, and it will continue to follow Bubsy until the game believes all is well in Woolieland.

That said, I really did love platforming with Bubsy. Bouncing really high into the air in any level and then floating down to the unknown was always thrilling. In fact, it’s one of the very first things you can do in the game, using a tree’s branch at the opening screen to shoot directly into the sky. Sometimes you’d land safely on the ground; sometimes you’d drift over to a secret area full of collectible yarn balls; and sometimes you’d fall into an open slice of water to drown. Bobcats can’t swim. It’s true, just ask Animal Planet. I also loved all the hidden areas and ways to move forward, like using the interlinked cave system or simply running forward. The graphics were extremely colorful and fun, offering a variety of enemies and items to go along with each world’s setting. It taught me a good amount about judging jumps and taking chances.

Alas, finding an actual SNES copy is probably pretty hard. And after the trainwreck that was Bubsy 3D, the franchise fizzled and was forcibly forgotten by all involved. There’s not even a downloadable version available via the Nintendo Wii. To answer Bubsy’s question from the very last level of the game, no. Sadly, I’m not.

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.