Tox' Retro Reviews: Mega Man X4

Martintox Presents: His Retro Reviews



Mega Man X4

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Released in: 1997-1999
Consoles: Playstation, Saturn and PC
Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom (Virgin Interactive in Europe)
Genre: Action Platformer


About the Mega Man X series

If you know how to use Google (it's new, only hipsters use it), then you would know that the Mega Man X series is mainly about the eponymous robot who was the last creation of Dr. Light from the original Mega Man series. He was then found by an archaeologist named Dr. Cain in the distant future of 21XX (not even calendars are safe from algebra), and as a result from it being a slow day at the office, he decided to base a whole new generation of robots named Reploids on the design of X.

However, since Cain could not understand jack about how he works (I don't know about you, but I would have considered that before creating an entire era of robots right after a model I don't even fully comprehend), some Reploids eventually go Maverick, causing them to make life in the future mildly annoying for everyone.

To solve the issue, he made an organization called the Maverick Hunters, made out of Reploids who work to search and destroy Mavericks. Now, I'm really not sure about what I'm going to say, but there might be a very slight problem with sending robots susceptible of turning rogue against robots that already- Maverick Hunters started going Maverick, one of them being Sigma, the main villain of the series.

There is also some guy named Vile who dresses up like Boba Fett, but nobody really cares about him. And with all of that in mind, X and Zero are in a constant battle against the Mavericks, always defeating 8 of them at a time and not wondering how Sigma keeps coming back at the end of every installment.

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Mega Man X4's Story

After three failed attempts by Sigma to conquer the world, Dr. Cain decided to create the Repliforce, a military group meant to enhance research on Reploids and provide support for Maverick Hunters. Wouldn't you know, the only thing the Repliforce excelled at doing was not helping and more and more Mavericks kept turning up.

Soon after that, the entirety of the army got classified as Mavericks because they were believed to be involved in the destruction of Sky Lagoon, a flying city that just happened to be there. But in fact, it was all the work of Magma Dragoon, a Maverick Hunter who betrayed the organization!

I know, I am as surprised as you are! I'd trust anyone who looks like a scrapped monster from Power Rangers: Time Force!

Anyways, upon learning that they all got criminalized like Protestants in the 1500s on a Tuesday morning, General (at least they're going straight to the point about their positions in that army) thought that this was a complete load and decided to launch a full attack for Reploid independence, which includes the use of a space cannon that will wipe out all human race.

Also, depending on whether you control X or Zero, you have a different operator (like briefings and all that) for most of the game. On X's side, you have Double, the obligatory fat guy who actually turns out to be a very silly-looking double agent for Sigma. Get it? Double? Because he's a double agent? Oh, and apparently, X trusted him, even though you would need less time to read what they say to each other than to watch a Micro Machines commercial. An example of "Show, Don't Tell" not applying or X being extremely naÔve? You decide!

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With Zero, his operator is Iris, the younger sister of Colonel, the Repliforce's attack leader. Iris and Zero have a relationship but it doesn't end very well since you have to kill Colonel and then terminate her with extreme prejudice, at which point she talks about how she wishes for a world without jews with only Reploids before kicking the robo-bucket.

Moving on, it turns out Sigma is behind everything, the moral of the story is that social rights movements do nothing and one of the worst dub lines in history is created. But hey, let's be fair, at least it's apparent that Zero's voice actor tried to convey an emotion in that scene. I wouldn't know for my own life what emotion he's trying to express, but he sure is expressing one.

Now, I don't know what the mentality of the average Mega Man X player is, but let's be honest with ourselves, the entirety of the game wouldn't have happened if X or Zero had just a slight bit of common sense and realized that Magma Dragoon was evil all along. Common sense that should have been present after the Maverick problem had been a thing for years and after Sigma already tried conquering the planet three times.

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At this point, the humans should have just started exterminating Reploids since they could all turn evil at any moment, and that would have made a great storyline! But nope. Apparently, someone that just happened to be in the same room as the reactor of an entire city as it started blowing up doesn't raise a few flags for X or even Zero. Pretty high standards you got there, Maverick Hunter organization group team thing.



Graphics and Sound

Mega Man X4 is the first truly 32-bit game of the series (X3 was on the PlayStation and Saturn, but the only additions are animated cutscenes and music that somehow manages to be worse than on the SNES), and I'll be damned if they didn't make use of those extra 16 bits (the joke is that bits don't matter in terms of graphics, they are used for information capacity and compression). Now please pay attention to the following picture:

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Look at it. The waterfalls, the effect made when you have your character knee-deep in the river and THAT FLORA. At the time, this was beautiful. But along with those, there are sounds to go along which succesfully manage to create an atmosphere in the levels as you go through them. Or at least, some of them.

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However, if you have the PC version, the music and cutscenes are on the CD, so if you lose it (or you downloaded the game off the Internet like everyone else on this planet), you can still play the game but without said music and cutscenes, which actually takes away a good part of the experience.

As for the music itself, only a few tracks really stand out, notably the first part of Frost Walrus' stage and the opening stage, should you play as X. They did manage to catch up on that failed potential in the next game, but that's another story.

I have also passingly mentioned the... Uh... Unorthodox voice acting in the cutscenes. But it turns out there are voices in-game too! They are just as horrible.



Gameplay and Controls

As one would imagine, the game is divided in 8 levels which you all have to complete, then go through a centralized 4-part stage (where you have to fight in order Colonel, Double as X/Iris as Zero, General, the 8 Maverick/Repliforce bosses again and, finally, Sigma). However, taking a page from the older Sonic games, most stages are divided in 2 areas, some having a mini-boss in the first part.

The real kicker, though, is that this is the first MMX game where you can control Zero throughout the entirety of it. X3 doesn't count since you can only control him at certain parts of each level, and if you die once as him, then tough luck for you because you won't be able to use him again for the rest of the game.

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Though the stages remain the same when controlling either of the characters, the dialogue changes and the way you play overall is completely different, as when you control X, you have his trademark X-Buster, but with Zero, your only weapon to fend off the various enemies is his lightsaber (there is seriously no point with calling his weapon a Z-Saber) which completely changes how you go through the game since you now have to get up close to your enemies to kill them.

Along with that, the power-ups that X and Zero gain by defeating the bosses are different; X gains special weapons while Zero obtains new moves with extremely silly names like Hyouretsuzan or Ryuenjin. There are also two new items: A Weapon Sub Tank which allows you to recharge a weapon of your choosing and the EX Tank, a gumball machine that gives you 5 lives when starting a stage instead of 3.

Most of the stages themselves are varied in appearance and actual gameplay. To cite a few, Cyber Peacock's stage is a cybernetic-looking level with a first area made out of small obstacle courses that you need to go through as quickly as possible to get special items, Magma Dragoon's is a literal volcano (where the Ride Armors make an appearance) and Jet Stingray's is the obligatory vehicle riding mission where you'll die a zillion times.

My biggest problem, however, is with the controls. They're solid, but every now and then, they just feel like they don't respond correctly. It could always just be me, but they sometimes feel stiff right out of nowhere. This holds true for when using Ride Armors and the lightsaber (still no need to call it the Z-Saber).

For example, you would be able to press the attack button three times to do a 3-attack combo with the saber, but sometimes, it just doesn't work even though I clearly did what you wanted me to do, you stupid game, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, YOU WERE MY CHILDHOO-

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Conclusion

Mega Man X4 certainly has problems here and there (especially in the story for reasons you clearly know unless you scrolled right down to see this), but they don't manage to make the game unenjoyable. As a step into the 32-bit realm, it did much better than that thing people call Mega Man 8.

The game is pretty much abandonware, so you probably wouldn't be doing anything illegal by downloading it on the web. However, even if it is the case, you still will lack the cutscenes and music unless you find an ISO or something like that. If the worst comes around, try to find Mega Man X Collection for the PS2, since it has all first 6 Mega Man X games (just kidding, you'd have a better time playing Mega Man X with a brick than on the PS2).

Thank you and good night.


As always, feedback is welcome, and remember that you can request me to review an album, game or movie.

You can find my other reviews on the archive that's been made just for that purpose.

Martintox:
SNIP

I actually had more fun with X4 than X, X2, or especially X6. Music is okay, though not up to Mega Man standards, and the VAing and dubbing are some of the worst in human history, on the same level as Speed Racer, or 4kids.

Zero's techs, when translated, actually sound pretty cool. Ryuenjin is Dragon Flame Cut, as an example.

Never beat the last boss. Beat the first 2 forms, couldn't survive the spike traps with the heads.

I never played a Mega Man game aside from 2. Maybe it's time I get on that.

 

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