If there’s only one absolutely consistent thing in my life, it’s my love for Mega Man X. And it’s not just because I’m a card-carrying fanboy of (mostly) all things Mega Man, but because I firmly believe that it is one of the best video games ever made. It is probably about as close to flawless as any game will ever come, and even after playing it seventeen million times, I still get a kick out of it on each and every replay.
With the recent release of the Mega Man X Legacy Collections, I have now purchased this game somewhere between six and eight times, which gives it the top billing for games that I have purchased more than once. I fully admit that I have a problem. I bought the original cartridge on SNES, the Mega Man X Collection on Gamecube, the stellar remake Maverick Hunter X on PSP, the generally sub-par iPhone port, the Virtual Console release on 3DS, and now the X Legacy Collection on Switch. I can’t recall for sure whether I bought it on Virtual Console for Wii or Wii U, but I’d say that the likelihood for at least one of them is pretty high.
The X Legacy Collection has added a couple neat new wrinkles to the mix. In fact, it it hadn’t I probably wouldn’t have even bothered writing this thing. The smallest, but most mind-blowing thing of all is something I discovered when poking around to see if I could change the control layout (you can’t): if you have a special weapon selected and press L and R at the same time, it’ll automatically unequip the weapon and put you back to the X-Buster. This is a huge revelation because I thought you had to scroll through them all individually, or use the pause menu to swap. It’s not really a game-changer, but it’s a fun little trick that I never knew about, despite having played through the game so many times.
Another neat thing is that the X Legacy Collection includes pre-release trailers of all the included games. Though nearly all of them are in Japanese, it’s still cool to see that footage of earlier versions of the games, and pick out all the things that changed. I’ve only watched the MMX trailer so far, but I was delighted to see enemies that didn’t make it into the full version, little graphical changes, and some level layouts that got changed around slightly.
Lastly, you can choose to play either the North American or Japanese versions of all the games on the collection, and astoundingly enough, I’ve never actually played a Japanese version of any Mega Man X game. So I decided to check out Rockman X, and to my surprise, there really weren’t many changes made for the localization. Aside from the edited logo and text boxes being resized to accommodate the different languages, it seems like the only thing that changed are the bosses’ names. And maybe –maybe- they upped the drop rate for health pickups in the North American version, but it’s impossible to really know without looking at the actual code. It just seems like they aren’t quite as plentiful as I’m used to.
(Note: The Cutting Room Floor reveals a few other itty-bitty changes that I would have never noticed, and says nothing either way about drop rates.)
I said before that I think Mega Man X is as close to perfect as any video game is ever going to get, and I stand by that. Part of that is owed to its simplicity; it’s harder to get things wrong when you’re not bloating your game with superfluous features and systems (see nearly every sequel). But most of all, I just don’t think that there are very many things that you’d write up as problems. The only major one is that the final boss is too hard. Compounded by the fact that it’s a string of three fights in a row, the final form hits so hard that only the best players will be able to defeat it without draining all four of their sub-tanks. Combine that with the fact that he’s got a tiny hitbox that is only vulnerable to the least practical weapon in X’s arsenal, and you’ve got a real pain in the butt on your hands.
Aside from that, my other complaints are relatively minor: when you use a password, neither your sub-tanks’ stored energy or your progress through Sigma’s fortress are saved. The sub-tanks are a minor pain, since you can grind health pick-ups fairly quickly to fill them again, but the lost progress in Sigma’s fortress is a little harder to swallow. The levels are short -maybe five minutes each- but it’s still a pain to have to blast your way through them again if you started making your way through and had to take a break.
Anyway, I think that’s about enough of a spiel for today. Lord knows that I’ve already published enough material about Mega Man X that I don’t need to go on for another thousand words, though I’ve never written an actual review. And it’s not like this is going to be the last time I write about it either. I just thought it would be fun to go over a few unique little nuggets of info about the game that not everyone would be aware of. With the X Legacy Collections absorbing all my thoughts lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if some more writing about the rest of the series pops up in the near future.