The Nostalgia Issue

The Nostalgia Issue
Mega Man X Marks the Spot

Marshall Honorof | 7 Jun 2011 12:33
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"X" possesses great risks as well as great possibilities. I can only hope for the best.

September 18, 20XX

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Thus begins the beloved saga of Mega Man X. How many gamers have read those words from the timeless introduction to one of the classics of the SNES era? How many Blue Bomber aficionados have endured countless blistered thumbs, cramped hands, and hoarse-from-cursing throats in order to follow X's adventures? From humble beginnings on a ruined highway to the final showdown with an angelic Miltonian super-villain, the Mega Man's second incarnation has proven to be one of his most popular and long-lasting.

Instead of continuing the story of the perennially-popular Mega Man, Capcom moved the story forward one hundred years and took the Mega Man mythos in an entirely new direction. Instead of Mega Man, the storyline revolved around a robot named X, the first Reploid - robots that think and feel as a human does. Joining X in his adventure was Zero, a heroic red robot with long, blond hair. Their opposition came in the form of Sigma, the iconoclastic leader of the evil Reploids known as Mavericks.

The player guided X through eight stages of animal-themed bosses before confronting Sigma in his fortress. Like Mega Man, X could run, jump, fire charged shots, and copy the abilities of fallen bosses. Unlike his predecessor, though, X picked up a whole slew of new abilities as he progressed, including wall-jumping, dashing, and even a well-hidden Hadouken. The controls were precise, the story was engaging, and the graphics showcased the SNES's potential for fantastic explosions and underwater effects.

The game sold well over one million copies according to Capcom's sales records and spawned seven direct sequels, three spin-off games, a line of toys, and cameos in everything from the Mega Man animated series to Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

While many gamers wax nostalgic about the original Mega Man titles on the NES, for the younger fans who came of age during the mid-90s nothing takes them back quite like blowing the dust out of the Mega Man X cartridge, flipping the SNES power switch back and forth a few times, and reliving the both the fun and frustration of X's 16-bit glory days.

Mega Man X's success isn't all that surprising; what is a little harder to understand is how the series has retained an extensive fan base well into the modern day. The original Mega Man series has more installments and has seen much more love from Capcom recently. The Mega Man Zero series received much better reviews than its concurrent X titles. The Nintendo DS has seen new installments for both the Mega Man ZX and Mega Man Star Force series, whereas the X series has been present only as a remake on the PSP.

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