A group of reploids known as the Repliforce, led by Colonel and the huge General, desires independence from the humans that made them, although unlike the Mavericks, they do not wish to harm humans. Even so, a war breaks out between the Repliforce and the Maverick Hunters, who have pegged the force as Mavericks. And laughing as he watches it all from behind the scenes is, to quote Split Mushroom: “Take a wild guess.”
In this game, you choose to play either as X or Zero only at the beginning, and are stuck with that character throughout the game. Each character has a different storyline (neither appears during the other’s game),
and although the stages themselves remain the same for both paths, each character’s unique skills alter the way you play. X is his usual self. Zero loses his buster altogether and can now only use his Saber. Even so, he’s a lot of fun to play, and you might find yourself enjoying the game more as Zero than as X, although it’s a bit more difficult as Zero.
Since the two paths have many similarities, yet some differences, this page covers the X path, noting differences in the Zero path as necessary.
Unlike Mega Man 8, there are no drastic differences between the Saturn and PlayStation versions of this game. Some translucency effects are dithered on the Saturn, and other visual quality differs here and there, but the game plays the same.
Note: All controller functions are assuming you are playing the PlayStation version with the default controller setup. Please refer to the documentation for the Saturn or PC equivalents.
Some interesting notes and tidbits:
- The font is still monospaced.
- The powerups bounce.
- They forgot to translate “Irregular Hunters” in Dragoon’s “selected boss” screen.
- Each stage has two areas like Mega Man 8.
- Bottomless pits are done with deadly force just off the bottom of the screen (like some Game Boy titles) meaning rather than falling off the screen you basically just hit the bottom and explode.
- The player can change his button configuration during the game by selecting “Option” on the menu screen.
- Energy capsules land closed then open; weapon energy are spheres that just roll around.
- There is bad collision detection on things that crush you. You don’t even have to be under them for them to kill you; if you are within about ten pixels that’s close enough.
- Charging up takes a tad bit longer than usual, which throws off my timing (I keep firing half-finished shots thinking they are fully powered).
- Energy capsules that are found lying in stages come back from life to life.
- Weapons are recharged if you die.
- 1-Ups glow.
- There are full-life canisters in this game, like Energy Tanks except you can’t carry them with you.
- X teleports in without his extra armors then they magically appear (this is because they didn’t want to redraw the teleport animation I suppose).
- Zero says “damn” a lot.
- Zero teleports in facing backwards.
- You need to press the fire button to select an item on the menu; pressing Start merely closes the menu. Be careful about selecting a Sub-Tank on accident, since your cursor will be on the Sub-Tank if nothing else is selectable.
- Press Select while on the menu to quit the game.
Zero’s Z-Saber takes some getting used to, but what he lacks in range, he makes up with in power. The Saber seems more powerful than X’s buster, although anything immune to the buster is still immune to the saber. See the Strategies page for some tips on using the saber.
- How do you charge up special weapons?
As far as I can tell, you need to get one of the two available X-Buster enhancements then hold down the special weapon fire button, just as in all of the other X games. Note that you have to use the right button—like Mega Man 8, there are two fire buttons, one for the X-Buster and one for special weapons, so pressing the X-Buster button won’t work. If there’s anything more to it than this, I don’t know what it is. (Did I forget to mention that only X can charge his weapons? Furfuu...)
- Isn’t that Blizzard Buffalo in Frost Walrus’s stage?
Yep. Are you really so surprised?
- Isn’t Chill Penguin in that same stage?
Yep. Probably others as well. So far I don’t list these as appearances because they aren’t actually characters in the game. Same with the robots in the Robot Museum in Mega Man 7, and other such appearances. Perhaps later, when I have time.
- Play Control:
- The control is a little loose; in fact, it feels just like Mega Man 8’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if Capcom reused the code.
- Some of the backgrounds are amazing. I particularly liked the water in the jungle, and the stairs in the bio lab are a nice touch.
- The sprites look somewhat silly in this game, and some of their animations are over-bubbly. However, some are animated nicely—Zero’s ponytail is usually done pretty well, for instance.
- The only tunes that stood out for me were Split Mushroom’s and Iris’s, although I will admit a lot of the other tunes are at least appropriate.
- Sound Effects:
- X sounds pretty silly; in fact, the only voice that seems to match the speaker is Sigma’s. But more annoying is how your character always says something when jumping, firing, or any number of actions. Once in a while is okay, but too often, and you start getting tired of hearing “Ho!” and “Ha!” all the time.
- This catagory loses points due to the loopholes present in the plot. This might be the fault of the translaters, to some extent, but even so they are there.
- Difficulty: (normal to hard)
- The game can be difficult, especially the first time you play. But you catch on pretty quickly, and there are ways around it (try using X’s Ultimate Armor; it cuts the difficulty down to about 2 or so).
- Replay Value:
- Playing as Zero is the bonus here; X isn’t really all that much fun until you get all of his enhancements...or the Ultimate Armor.
- The game plays well, and Zero’s moves are a nice innovation (well, innovative for the Mega Man series anyway). However, most of the elements of this game seem to be taken straight from Mega Man 8 and just reworked to fit X.
- Overall: 81%
- Although there’s nothing critically wrong with the game, it can get boring playing through both sides. X is almost completely overshadowed by Zero (who in my opinion is more fun to control) and frankly there isn’t much point playing as X at all.
- + Plus:
- Playing as Zero is significant in this game (unlike Mega Man X3) and a lot of fun besides.
- - Minus:
- There is an annoying delay after you teleport into a stage, when a boss battle starts, and elsewhere, which can throw you off, make you waste super-shots, etc.
In the X path, you will find that there is a loop, as typical in many games in the Mega Man and X series, so you can basically jump in anywhere. Might I suggest starting with Walrus or Spider; I found these to be the easiest to defeat with just the X-Buster, although of course these are only suggestions and you can choose your own order if you so desire. (If you used the Armor code below, I suggest starting with Web Spider so that you can use the boots capsule to immediately activate your Ultimate Armor. Then just use the Nova Strike to wipe out Spider and all the rest of the Mavericks.)
In the Zero path, most of the difficulty arises in the fact that Zero doesn’t have a big variety of weapons at his disposal; therefore, you will find yourself defeating several of the Mavericks with just the Z-Saber. As such, tackle the stages in whatever order you see fit; below is only one possibility. (Note: For sake of clarity, I use English terms for Zero’s techniques here, not the given Japanese ones. Those are listed in the weapons section.)
- Beetle miniboss in the Bio Lab:
- Stand on the block you wish the beetle to destroy, then at the last instant, move aside and nail him as he comes up. Try lightning or super-shots / triple-slash. You should be able to take the beetle out with two to three platforms remaining.
- Orb miniboss in the Air Force:
- Hit the pink orb when it is open; this is complicated by the enemy robots beaming you. For X, hover boots help, and Lightning Web does decent damage to the orb. Zero should be able to take this thing out without too much trouble.
- Train miniboss in the Military Train:
- You need to destroy all of the spikes to disable this thing. X should probably stay right and just fire and dodge. Zero should go in and keep slashing and he will destroy the spikes before they can spear him. Note that only the tips of the spikes seem to hurt you, not the shafts. Also, to destroy a spike permanently, you need to destroy the side of the train where the spikes emerge.
- Claw miniboss in the Snow Base:
- Hit the red gem when the fist is open. Note that you can also hit the icicles on the ceiling and take them out before the claw makes them drop on you.
- Stand forward, about 1/4th the way across the screen, then dash or jump out of the way just after he disappears (to avoid his slash when he reappears). With X, stay in the air a lot and fire only when he is firing, or just after he appears or before he disappears. X can also hover to avoid the Colonel’s lightning attack. Zero will just have to dodge. Try using Zero’s ice spear, but be sure to aim so that you hit only with the spear and not Zero himself! (Here’s a good trick from Pixelboy: For the Space Port battle, try climbing the wall above him and dropping Frost Towers on his head.)
- Use cyclone or X-Buster. When Double does his dive attack, he will swoop down diagonally, then horizontally toward X. So dash to a wall, climb the wall, and air-dash over him. You can dash under the first giant slash he throws; gotta climb the wall over the second one.
- Every time you hit her robot walker, two small pods shoot forth, but this is almost unavoidable. After you strike the walker enough times, the prism of black energy will eject from it. You want to hit this prism. When she fires her thick purple beam, the prism will fire another one vertically. The prism tries to match with your position, although it will stop once it fires, so stay still until just as Iris fires, then head for a wall.
- Whose bright idea was it to build a two-story-tall reploid? That’s really asking for it. Anyway, you have to hit his head (of course). If you want my opinion, don’t bother trying to ride his fists. It’s more trouble than it’s worth. X can hang on the opposite wall from the General and just fire super-shots at where his head would be, even if it’s off the screen. Zero has a tougher time. To hit his head without falling into him, you’ll have to come in high and slash him with the very tip of your Saber.
- Grim Reaper Sigma:
- Use Fire, with either character. When Sigma does that slash that carries across the screen, stand against the wall right underneath where he appears before executing the slash, and he will miss you. (The pattern is simple: Sigma appears above you twice, then on whatever side of the screen is farther from you and slashes across. This cycle is repeated. You should escape this battle without a scratch.)
- You should be able to win this battle without taking damage too, but you must know the secret to beating him. First, Sigma will leap up and throw his scythe in a circle; stand under him until he throws, then head in whatever direction his back is facing, and it won’t hit you. The next time Sigma throws, the key is to make sure his scythe hits a wall instead of the floor—then Sigma will use his laser attack which is much easier to dodge! (Try climbing the wall above his head.)
- Final Sigma:
- There are actually two separate forms—and energy meters!—for this guy, plus three colored heads (red for fire, blue for ice, yellow for lightning) which are there both for stepping stones and to annoy you. Your targets are the two Sigma forms, however; destroying heads does not remove any damage from the energy meters and is not permanent (they come right back).
Red Head: Wait until it fires twice (you hear the sound effects) then quickly climb up the other heads before the first burst can reach you. From here wait at the top of the screen until the third burst is ready to hit you, and drop to the floor.
Yellow Head: Start at one side of the screen and move across, remembering to jump over the sparks that will carry across the floor (double-jump/hover if need be).
Blue Head: Run away from it and climb other heads; hang out up there.
Ugly Face Sigma: Have Zero stand next to it and as soon as it opens its mouth, start slashing like mad. X can fire from more of a distance (try Ground Hunter). If it blows you toward spikes on the wall, leap up and grab the yellow head until the bursts dissipate. If it tosses debris, you’ll probably take some damage, but you should be able to destroy most of the debris heading your way.
Big Gun Sigma: Aim for his head and torso area; the arms and gun will not hurt you, though of course what the gun fires does. For Zero, try standing underneath the gun (so that you are jumping up through the gun) and double-jump-slashing him (you’ll have to remove the red head first). You can also grab heads and leap-slash. X should climb the heads and fire away. If Sigma says “The end,” head left and climb the heads as fast as possible; if you are clinging to the top one, near the top of the screen, he won’t hit you, and as a bonus you can usually get a hit or two in on Sigma, though he disappears quickly.
The battle will cycle between the heads, Ugly Face Sigma, the heads, and Big Gun Sigma. Once you take out one of the Sigmas, the other will appear interlaced with the heads. Take out both Sigmas to win the game.
Mega Man X4 uses saved games, as does Mega Man 8, so there is nothing I can post here, sorry.
With the exception of the Heart Tanks, this game breaks the recent X series trend and possesses absolutely no rhyme or reason as to which items are in which stage. Actually, this makes it much more unpredictable and therefore difficult to find everything. Here’s a lowdown by stage (just to emphasize how wacky the distribution is):
- Jungle (Web Spider)
- Heart Tank: It’s inside the second tree trunk you encounter which your shots bounce off. Stand next to it and activate your character’s Fire-based weapon to get through.
- Boots capsule: Near the beginning of the stage, as you are working your way downward, there will be a break in the right wall. Either watch out for it, or merely try to walk through all the right walls.
- Cyberspace (Cyber Peacock)
Note: this is the one stage where Zero finds different items than X. In place of the Heart Tank listed below, there is a 1-Up in the Zero path. Likewise, the Sub Tank turns into a Heart Tank, and the Helmet Capsule turns into the Sub Tank.
- Heart Tank: Go fast enough to get an “S” as your rank on the first section, and you’ll be taken to where the Heart Tank is. (This one is pretty easy once you get the feel for it; just make sure you keep moving (you don’t need to dash) and jump all yellow spheres, even ones that are moving just under the floor under your character’s feet—they will still hit him.)
- Sub Tank: Go fast enough to get an “S” as your rank on the second section, and you’ll be taken to where the Sub Tank is. (Dash a lot and shoot the yellow spheres to make them move; the more you shoot them, the faster they go. (Zero can destroy them if he jumps and uses the spin-slash obtained from Split Mushroom.) There is a path to follow through the section with the two ledges which form three passages. Generally, take the passage that doesn’t have a yellow sphere. If I remember correctly, it’s middle, down, middle, up, left a little and all the way back down, middle, up over a small ledge, back to middle, and down.)
- Helmet capsule: Go fast enough to get an “S” as your rank on the third section, and you’ll be taken to where the capsule is. (This one takes practice. Experiment a few times before you try it for real and determine which paths you find are fastest. Near the end, instead of bothering to shoot the yellow spheres to get them out of your way, climb up and use the air dash to navigate right.)
- Air Force (Storm Owl)
- Heart Tank: It’s in the first section of stage. You need to get across the first platform that gets destroyed by the pink beam...before it gets destroyed. (I recommend that you do not take the Ride Armor if you want to get this heart.)
- X-Buster capsule: It’s in a vertical tunnel full of spikes. When you first start the second half of the stage, you will pass a bunch of robots firing thick pink beams, then ride a platform over a pit of spikes. As soon as you get off the platform, you should see a hole in the ceiling. I don’t know how you’re supposed to get up there, but I got there using the Web. Stand on the right side of the ledge you leap onto when you get off the moving platform. Face left, jump straight up, and at the peak of your jump, fire a web. It should attach just to the right of the left wall of spikes. Dash-jump and grab the web, leaping off upward. If you time it right, you should be able to grab onto the left wall just above the spikes, and from there hoist yourself to the capsule.
- X-Buster capsule take two: There’s another capsule just to the left of the first one! Note that you can only have one of these two X-Buster parts at a time. Experiment with them yourself (you can stay up with the capsules and keep running back and forth and interchanging the parts if you want), but I have to recommend the Plasma Shot. It seemed to be more useful than a stock of super-shots.
- Volcano (Magma Dragoon)
- Heart Tank: Go up and to the left in the section where you must climb upward (you meet the first Ride Armor dude in this section). It’s after the square platforms over the pit that shoots fireballs. You need to dash-jump or air-dash (or double-jump) to get over to the ledge it’s on.
- Armor capsule: It’s just above and to the right of the Ride Armor. Get in walker and dash-jump to the right from the ledge the walker was on. Press up and the jump button to leap from walker, and you can reach a ledge. Up there is a wall of blocks that must be broken with a charged up Twin Slasher (it must be charged).
- Marine Base (Jet Stingray)
- Heart Tank: Near the beginning of the stage, under a ledge. You can’t miss seeing it. To get it, don’t jump the gap right before it; just press forward, and you’ll drop onto the proper ledge.
- Sub Tank: It’s in the second half of the stage (where you are on water). You need to dash-jump over to it; the dash will also destroy the blocks around the tank, so you don’t have to worry about those.
- Bio Laboratory (Split Mushroom)
- Heart Tank: It’s right above where you come in from teleporting hatch after second staircase. You need to land on the ceiling as it falls, and use that to jump up. If you fail at that, you can use the Lightning Web to get yourself up there.
- Military Train (Slash Beast)
- Heart Tank: It’s just sitting on top of one of the train cars; you can’t miss it. If you destroy the car, the Heart Tank will merely fall down to land on a ledge there, and you can still pick it up.
- Snow Base (Frost Walrus)
- Heart Tank: Near the beginning of the stage, on the lower path, you’ll see it above your head, sitting on a breakable block. Get it with a shot from the Rising Fire or Zero’s fire slash.
- Weapon Sub-Tank: It’s frozen in a block of ice in the section where there are lots of ice blocks (second half of the stage). It’s up and to the right a bit. Just search around, you’ll find it.
- EX Tank: The tank is after the first section of the disappearing ice slides; climb the rightmost wall you come to (that was simple). Use a fully-powered Rising Fire to get it (dashing off the wall didn’t seem to do the job here). Zero can use his double-jump.
X Armor Code:
- PSX: Highlight X on the character select screen, press twice, then (on the control pad) six times. Hold and and press .
- Saturn: Highlight X on the character select screen, press twice, then six times. Hold and and press .
- GCN: Highlight X on the character select screen, press twice, then (on the control pad) six times. Hold and (not !) and press .
- PC: Highlight X on the character select screen and press and .
When you enter the game, X’s sprite will be blue and purple. Now when you get any one of the armor enhancements, you get them all (Dr. Light’s speech even changes to accommodate this), and you can use the Nova Strike infinitely, without consuming its energy (try just running around Nova Striking everything...just remember that X automatically leaps forward a bit into the air before executing the Strike).
Zero Armor Code:
Zero will be black instead of red. So far I haven’t found any advantage to doing this, but it’s a cute trick. (I guess it’s in reference to the black Zero in Mega Man X2.)
- PSX: Select Zero on the character select screen, then hold and press (on the control pad) six times. Release , hold , and press .
- Saturn: Select Zero on the character select screen, then hold and press six times. Release , hold , and press .
- GCN: Select Zero on the character select screen, then hold and press (on the control pad) six times. Release , hold , and press .
- PC: Highlight Zero on the character select screen and press and .
You can save these codes, so that you can use them with your saved files and not just when you start a new game.
Miscellaneous Stage tips:
- Cyberspace: In the first half of this stage, you are ranked by how fast you go. “A” gets you to the next section; anything lower and you have to redo that section. (Each time you see “HURRY UP” and then a down-pointing arrow to the right of your target box, your rank has decreased.)
- Air Force: You can scroll some enemies off the screen for a change, like the missile shooter. Just climb up the ladder to the energy capsule and climb down and the enemy is gone.
- Marine Base: This stage is done on hover bikes very reminiscent of Mega Man 8’s hoverboard sections. You can use the dash button to aim upward and also to hit things with the slash of energy in front of your bike. Also use the dash to get Jet Stingray out of your way.
- Bio Laboratory: In the place where the ceiling is falling, you generally want to go through the falling sections, not over or under them. Except to get Heart Tank, don’t wait for the sections to fall first, or you’ll be most likely killed by the spike robots.
- Military Train: There are blue blocks here that cannot be broken except with the red Ride Armor found in the second section. Ride Armors can also destroy the train cars themselves.
- Snow Base: Climb up at the beginning of the stage for lotsa energy.
- Volcano: Use the Ride Armor to walk through the lava and break through the rocks near the end of the stage to get to the Maverick in the Ride Armor!
The endings don’t quite have as many plot holes as the rest of the game, mostly because they don’t really say much at all. There are, of course, two endings, depending on whether you’d used Zero or X. Both endings seem to tie into each other in a curious manner, however.
Both endings involve the character flying away from the exploding space fort (“Final Weapon”) in a small escape pod. In X’s ending, X ponders whether he will turn Maverick, and, over a com link, he begs Zero to destroy him should this ever happen (this is the only place where one of the two characters is shown in the other’s plotline). Zero’s ending is just Zero by himself wondering how many Reploids he will end up destroying before this whole thing is over. As you can see, both of these endings seem to indicate that Zero will destroy X, even though Mega Man X3 claims X will destroy Zero...