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CONSOLE: Nintendo DS DEVELOPER: Inti Creates PUBLISHER: Capcom
RELEASE DATE (NA): September 12, 2006 GENRE: Platformer
// review by Meow


Once upon a time, Capcom cared for a blue robot and his many MANY spin-offs. One of them was the short-lived Mega Man ZX series, released in the mid-2000s for the Nintendo DS. The games are a follow-up series to the Mega Man Zero quadrilogy and even run off of a slightly modified engine of the games. Taking place maybe around 100 or so years after the events of Zero 4, Mavericks STILL plague this pitiful planet, but Maverick Hunters are long a thing of the past. Instead, the people live peaceably within the protection of the Slither Corporation, a tech company with many security mechanoloids (a.k.a. robots) that will strike at the first sign of a Maverick invasion. Unfortunately, Slither wasn't there to protect you when you and your dad/boss are assaulted by Mavericks at the start of the game. When you're backed into a corner, the spirit of Mega Man entrapped within a digivice biometal comes to your aid, turning you, a human, into a super fighting robot. You're kicking rear, and surprise surprise, Slither was actually behind the Maverick attacks. Of course, you don't want to panic the population, so you can't tell them that the people they rely on for protection is actually using the Mavericks to keep them in check and loyal.

The game has a mission-styled system akin to that of Mega Man Zero, but instead of taking you to your destination like in that game, you're free to roam and explore in a Metroidvania-esque style. There are sub-tanks and heart-tanks to find like in the X series of games, among other little things, so you'll be rewarded for your efforts. But if you just want to continue on with the game, it can get a little frustrating if you don't know where to go. On top of that, the platforming can be a tad on the cruel side at times, with the Lab area being one of the most annoying to traverse due to missiles raining from the sky in just the right way to get in YOUR way. Thankfully, lives and health will be replenished anytime you find a checkpoint area, which are plentiful through the game.

Throughout the game, you will slowly unlock various forms based on characters from the Mega Man Zero series which will give various abilities like hovering and clinging to ceilings, giving you whole new ways to think around situations. You start off as Mega Man X, but you lose him once you gain Zero, who basically plays like Zero from the Zero series. Each main boss nets you a "fragment" of the other forms, meaning you get a diet version of a character, and beating a boss with the other fragment will give you the full extent of the character's abilities. If you really want Mega Man X back, though, you will need to beat the game as both characters.

There's some classic Mega Man feel in here... isn't there?

At the start of a playthrough, you get to choose your character, being either Vent (the boy) or Aile (the girl). The only difference between the two gameplay-wise is that Vent swims faster than Aile in human form, but Aile crawls faster (I think Aile also gets knocked back further from hits). Unfortunately for Vent, Aile has far more advantages since you will do crawling as a human far more than you'd ever swim as a human, and both characters get a form that will enable fast and free swimming, which makes Vent moot. And furthermore, Aile has a more lore-heavy story than Vent, giving more details as to the world and its state and even more information about Aile herself than Vent ever gets. Oh, and Aile can change her color palette. So ultimately, play as Aile for a good time.

Throughout the game, you can find all sorts of hidden goodies and Easter eggs throwing back to other games in the series, such as dolls of the Cyber Elves from the Mega Man Zero series and E-Tanks and W-Tanks that are not only background items but they are actually obtainable if you know where to look, which brings me to an issue: a lot of things are hidden a little too well. I missed out on a TON of items my first time going through the game because, with any game that gives me NPCs to talk to, I tend to only talk to them once, maybe twice, to see what they have to say and move on. However, in this game you will want to talk to them a minimum of 3 times, possibly more, and do it after every so often because they MIGHT have something else to give/say. Plus, characters will say different things depending on if you're transformed or not, so be sure to speak to everyone also while morphed. Thankfully, the form doesn't matter, so you won't be needing to talk to everyone 30 times. I think.

The game has a lot of stuff going for it, and anyone who's a fan of the darker tone of the Mega Man X/Zero series will probably have a mostly good time (the game can be irksome at times). May as well enjoy it, as it doesn't look like we're getting any more anytime this decade.

Final note: there's a secret form you can actually collect before you beat the game, but you're not allowed to actually use it until AFTER you beat the game. What is the point of games giving you ultimate weapons AFTER you take care of the ultimate boss?

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