It is the year 22XX (well, let’s see, this pushes Mega Man Zero up to 23XX and also means that X and Zero are at least a hundred years old...).
A new mineral substance known as Force Metal has revolutionized Reploids. X and Zero, being Maverick Hunters, are sent out to a Force Metal facility one day to do their usual thing—that is, find and destroy a Maverick, this one named Epsilon. However, they are attacked by a large force and separated during the battle, and now X has joined up with some Reploids who are part of a resistance group, fighting back against a rebellion...

Stupid Questions

Why is there both a resistance and a rebellion? Why does X take so long to try to contact Redips? Why doesn’t Redips send more help instead of leaving X and the resistance force to fend for themselves? And just what is going on during the intro movie? Why do the Hunters need little Maverick robots to carry teleportation pods when in every other game they can simply teleport wherever they want? How do the little robots get the teleportation pods into dead-end hallways? Why is the resistance force base called the Hunter Base when you return to it from a save device? Why do you have to go to the city to teleport back to a stage? Why has X gotten a make-over, but Zero and Axl haven’t?

This is a classic rounds-based RPG. The very first of its kind to bear the Mega Man name, at least officially. And to think that the first Mega Man RPG is based in the X series, of all things...

The manual for this game is almost completely unhelpful, and there is little in the way of an in-game tutorial. However, the game does sport a “Help” feature which will explain the basic mechanics. I’d almost suggest just tossing the manual and immediately looking up the help menu the instant you are in the game. (Otherwise you will never know what the item boxes are, and you won’t know how to open them either—seriously.) You will find the help item by scrolling down on the main menu under your subscreen. (The designers thoughtfully decided to make the menu so short as to require scrolling, even though there is enough space for it to be longer...)

The help menu and a few practice battles should get you up to speed, but I’ll go ahead and discuss a few of the features that I think could use some elaboration.

Note: Currently all buttons mentioned are for the GCN version of the game.

Basic Controls

When it is your character’s turn, you will see a list of the button commands at the top right. For the most part, which buttons to press for which action are pretty self-explanatory, but let me explain how each one works:

  • Attack: This is your character’s normal attack using the weapon he has equipped. Using this ends your turn. Because of this, it must always be the last action that you perform, if you wish to also do other things in your turn.
  • Sub Weapons: You have two of these, and you may choose which weapons to put on each. Contrary to what the manual says, using sub weapons does not end your turn. So you can actually select to use one or both of them first, then fire off your main weapon, all in one turn. On the flip side, if you wish to use a sub weapon but not your main weapon, fire the sub weapon, then press the cancel button to skip the rest of your turn. Note that you cannot change targets in the middle of your turn. Once you shoot off one sub weapon at a target, you’re stuck firing everything else at that same target as well.
  • Action Trigger: This is your third option for attacking. The Action Trigger is your character’s special attack, which differs depending on the character. See below for a discussion on this. Using your Action Trigger ends your turn.
  • Rotation: Use this to swap out one of your active characters with someone sitting on the bench. As a cool extra feature, switching characters does not use up turns, and you can do it as often as you like. Note, however, that the pre-turn WE gain happens to the character who was in the battle at the time that his turn came up. What this means is that characters who are on the sidelines won’t gain WE, so when you swap someone in, he won’t get the start-of-turn WE gain that he would have gotten if he’d been in the battle to begin with.
  • Menu: Open this for the miscellaneous actions. You can close it using the cancel button (which is the same button as to open the menu in the first place).
    • Sub-Tank: Restore someone’s hit points. Sub-Tanks work a little differently here. The energy is listed in terms of percentage, and you select how much percent of the target’s maximum LE you want to refill. For example, refilling 25% of a character’s health uses up 20% of your total Sub-Tank capacity. You can win Sub-Tank refills from enemies and also find them as items on the overworld, so don’t be afraid to use your tanks. As might be expected, using a Sub-Tank during battle uses up your turn, but your next turn will come faster.
    • Item: Use an item in your inventory. This consumes your turn.
    • Defense: Defend against attacks. This uses up your turn, but has a very short delay, so your character’s next turn will move up in the rankings when you use this (your WE gain for the next turn will be lessened, however). One nice bonus about defense is that you cannot be inflicted with any status ailment while you are defending.
    • Analyze: You have to have this equipped (on a character who’s actually in the battle) before you can use it, but it doesn’t take up your turn.
    • Hyper Mode: Hyper Mode powers up your character (for X and Zero, they turn into their “black” armors from Mega Man X4+). Transforming does not use up your turn, oddly enough. You can only stay in hyper form for a short time (the game shows you how many turns you have left). Hyper form increases your stats and may also change the type of weapons and Action Trigger your character uses.
One interesting aside—in this game, you select target first, then actions. (Most games, you select action, then target.) This does give a bit of an action feel to the game, because as soon as you press an attack button, the character fires or swings his weapon or whatever. Of course, it’s not action-based in that it doesn’t matter how quickly or slowly you press the buttons (except during the Action Trigger mini-games), but it can feel like it. The downside of this is that you can’t change your mind after you’ve hit the button, unlike the “action-then-target” paradigm where you can at least cancel the target cursor.

Turn Order

Who says the X series doesn’t have bright colorful enemies?
Unlike most RPGs, this one shows you the order that all characters will execute their moves. This is the purpose of the row of bars along the bottom of the screen. Each bar represents a person; your party members and bosses are shown with their portraits, and basic enemies are simply numbered. Just count from left to right, and that’s the order that everyone is (currently) going to get to perform their actions. As an added bonus, the height of each character’s meter in the lineup also represents that character’s health level, so you can tell at a glance which enemies are still at full health and which ones are almost dead.

When you target an enemy, a target cursor is also shown on the turn order listing so that you can see which enemy you are pointing at. In some cases, it may look like you are targeting more than one enemy, but really, he’s just listed more than once in the turn order.

All actions have a certain amount of preparation time, but that time impacts your character after the action is performed, not before. In other words, say you want X to charge up his cannon. Charging requires time; however, when you use this command, X will still perform the action immediately after you select it, without any delay where enemies can attack in between. However, by choosing to perform this, he will sacrifice his next turn, and his icon will shift further down in the lineup. On the flip side, actions such as using items or defending have a shorter than normal execution time, which means your character’s next turn will come sooner. You can see these effects by watching the icons shift around at the bottom of the screen while you are making selections.

Weapon Energy

Weapon Energy (WE) works differently here than you might expect. For one thing, at the beginning of every battle it is always at a preset level (differs depending on the character). It doesn’t matter how much or how little WE you had when you ended the previous battle. So there is no reason to save your WE. Feel free to blow it all away in your attacks. The only reason you would want to store up WE is to perform a powerful Action Trigger or in cases where certain weapons are affected by your WE level (such as Spider’s).

All characters gain WE at the beginning of their turn (more or less depending on their equipment). When your WE gain is more than or equal to what you’re spending for your sub weapons, you can often fire both sub weapons and your main weapon each turn without ever running out of WE. Other times, you will want to let your WE fill to 50% (or even 100%) so that you can use your character’s Action Trigger.

Action Triggers

Action Triggers all require input to use. These are like little mini-games within the battle mode, and your performance determines the effect of the attack. Some of them are quite irritating—for example, Spider’s requires that you know how to play poker, so if you don’t, you can’t use it effectively. Also, only X’s allows you to decide how much WE to spend on the attack. The rest always use up all of their WE no matter what. Although usually with X you want to blow all of his WE on his Action Trigger as well, at least you have the choice not to, if you wish. Also, with X his attack is always better the more WE you put behind it. For the rest, because of the variable nature of their mini-games, just because you had more WE doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a better attack out of it. Sometimes you gamble away your WE and end up with next to nothing to show for it.

Final Strike

The Final Strike is a relatively pointless but flashy way of overkilling an enemy. It’s kind of satisfying in a meaningless sort of way. Basically all of your party members get to simultaneously go wild beating the living crap out of the enemy to finish him off. The reason Final Strike is relatively pointless is you can only perform it when you manage to get the enemy down to low health, and by then, a normal attack would have killed him anyway.
Therefore, the only real benefit of the Final Strike is that you can earn extra FME, and whoever triggered it gets a bonus WE boost.

Once you get Final Strike capability, you will notice a small horizontal bar below every enemy. This bar represents the enemy’s remaining health (not his max). To trigger a Final Strike, you must do enough damage in your attack that this bar is reduced into the orange zone by the time your character’s turn ends. However, the catch is that you can’t do too much damage or you’ll kill the enemy outright. If you do it correctly, the enemy’s health bar will shatter and you will have about three seconds to press the A button and start the Final Strike. At this point, hammer the A, X, and Y buttons like mad, and have fun. This is a nice, relaxing way to work out your frustrations.

If you wish to get a Final Strike on purpose, whittle down the enemy’s health until you can almost defeat him in one blow. Carefully judge whether or not to add sub weapons to your character’s attack, guessing as to whether they would be the finger-flick to the forehead that would kill off the enemy on accident. Also, you can’t get a Final Strike off your sub weapons—you have to use your main attack, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Note that there is one interesting side-effect to the Final Strike bar: although bosses do not show their LE levels in the turn order, you can use the Final Strike bar as a rough estimate of how much health the boss has remaining.

Ground VS Air

Something that’s not really explained much by the game is that all characters are classified as being either air or ground units, and likewise, all attacks are classified as being either “S” (shot) or “C” (combat—I call it melee). S-based attacks won’t do a lot of damage to certain types of shielded enemies, most notably Mettaurs. C-based attacks have a horrible hit rate when trying to strike air units (unless the attack is specifically tagged as being “anti-air” like one of Zero’s Action Trigger moves).

Force Metal Hazard

Force Metals are like options that you can equip on your characters and have any number of different effects. Every character has a “resistance level” which varies from character to character. Force Metals have “erosion” and the combined erosion count of all of the metals equipped on a particular character must be lower than or equal to his resistance level or he will suffer something known as “Force Metal Hazard.” A character’s resistance level increases a bit each time he gains a level.

Force Metal Hazard simply means that occasionally, randomly, the affected character will suffer some malady. His maximum LE might be halved, or his WE gain per turn might be lowered. That sort of thing. The game will show you briefly in red the aspect of the character that was affected. All such hazards affect that particular battle only and wear off after the battle. The odds of getting a Force Metal Hazard increase the higher your erosion number is over the character’s resistance level.

Treasure Navi

In the GameCube version of the game you can get a Treasure Navi by connecting a GBA up to the GCN. I mention this here only to point out that you should ignore what the manual says regarding how to set it up. You can’t activate the Treasure Navi until you get to a plot point in the game that unlocks it, and then the in-game help menu will explain how to use it. The manual’s explanation is completely wrong, so disregard it entirely.

  • Should I get the PS2 version or the GCN version?
    There are no terribly significant differences between the two, so pick whichever one you wish. Personally, I found the field controls in the PS2 version to be oddly awkward (I kept expecting the menu to be where the dash is, and the cancel to be on Square, and the dash to be on Circle). It does appear to me as if the game was designed around the rather unusual button layout of the GCN controller, but none of this is very critical for a menu-based game.
  • Did you know “Redips” is “Spider” spelled backwards?
    Yes. Yes it is. (Of course, the manual decided to confuse the issue by spelling his name “Rideps”...)
Play Control: 3
Being an RPG, there really is little in the way of play control. Some of the overworld puzzles require a tiny bit of control, such as dodging sensors. Nothing major, however. The camera is generally cooperative, which is nice to see.
Graphics: 4
The backgrounds are quite nice, and water in particular has an extra touch applied to it that you don’t see in most games. Some of the environments are overly dark, however. These people need to learn the benefits of interior lighting.
Animation: 4
As with Mega Man X7, the character models are quite good here. Because the characters tend to be displayed larger in this game, they went with full cell-shading this time. My only real complaints with the character graphics are that the facial expressions aren’t animated quite as well as in Legends, and the animators still haven’t figured out that people don’t sway back and forth like drunks when they breathe. Other than these, the character graphics are very well done.
Music: 2
The music’s not bad, but it sounds like it belongs in an elevator, or on a nice soothing music CD, not in a game about robots that run around blowing each other to smithereens with missiles and plasma cannons. The opening and title screen are fine—I have no quarrels with those—but few of the other tunes really seem to fit the mood of the situation. You get used to it after a while, but it’s kind of glaring the first few times you play.
Sound Effects: 5
The sound effects are fine. I think they stole some of them from the Legends series, actually. And the voice acting is actually pretty good too.
Plot: 1
The game’s good, but the plot sucks. It’s one of those “I just went through all that trouble for nothing” plots that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth by the time you beat the game. The plot also makes little sense much of the time—often, you understand more of it by reading the summary in the Sky Room than actually watching the cinemas.
Difficulty: 2 (easy)
One nice thing about rounds-based RPGs is that you can always just go level up if you ever have troubles. But even without spending time leveling up, I find the battles on the main plot path to be on the relatively easy side. The game isn’t a total cakewalk, but it’s not mind-numbingly tough either.
Replay Value: 4
The clear game save adds to this some, although it’s not like some games where you start the game over from the beginning; rather, it just allows you to run around at the end of the game (before the final fortress) gathering items and such. There are certainly a lot of things to find and challenges to complete for the perfectionist.
Polish: 3
The game does seem polished and not clunky for the most part. So while nothing jumps out at me, I have no real complaints here either. The interface for viewing the extras in the Sky Room could have been better (particularly the sketches—give us a list, don’t make us flip through 45 of them just to see sketch 46!), but that’s hardly an integral part of the game.
Overall: 89%
It’s an addictively fun game for the first part, but the latter section is kind of a downer. I think if I’d quit playing halfway through I would have enjoyed it more. But the battle engine is fun, and that’s really the most important part in a game like this. Since I don’t play RPGs for the plot (and I definitely don’t play X series games for their plot), the fun game play outweighs the bad plot for me to a large degree. I just wish it had ended better.
I pondered whether to even provide a walk-through, since this game is so linear that it is difficult to get stuck. Maps, I think, would be more valuable (since the in-game mapping system is rather lame), but at the moment, I haven’t time to create something that detailed. Still, I finally decided to go ahead and write a basic walk-through touching on some of the highlights of the game, for people who like to read my ramblings. =)

For a discussion on the various Action Triggers and why they aren’t mentioned much here, see the separate commentary.

Note: It should go without saying that this is not a spoiler-free walk-through. I’m going to be discussing the plot points and cut scenes (and posting screen shots of the same) where it suits my fancy. If you just want to know how to fight the bosses, skip down to here. You have been warned.

This outlines only the main plot path of the first play through the game. Secret areas and the “clear game save” extras are not covered.

Chapter 1: Infiltrating Giga City

X, Zero, and Shadow have been sent to some ruins to find a Maverick named Epsilon. Just inside, they are separated by a collapsing column. X heads out alone, and naturally, you have control of him.

Party Member Profile: X
“Here we go! Final Strike!”
Not surprisingly, you have him from the beginning of the game. X is a well balanced character with acceptable stats, four slots open for Force Metals, and a decent main attack. Also, X can get many weapons which hit weaknesses to the various elements, although this is both an advantage and a drawback, since you cannot change weapons in the middle of a battle, so if you go into a battle with an enemy that absorbs the weapon you’ve got equipped, you’re kind of stuck. Still, when used wisely, X’s element weapons can do significant damage.
Hyper Mode: X Fire
This is X’s Ultimate Armor from Mega Man X4+ with increased LE and defenses. Also, his normal attack in this mode seems to be of type Fire (thus the name), regardless of what you have equipped on him (his Action Trigger, however, is not). X’s Action Trigger changes slightly when he’s in hyper form—you operate it in the same way, but instead of hitting multiple enemies, it is a multi-hit single-target attack that can do insane amounts of damage at 100%.
Action Trigger: Charge Shot
X’s Action Trigger is probably the best of the group, which I suppose is a good thing since he is the one who’s always in your party. His Action Trigger strikes all enemies, although often for lesser damage than a concentrated attack on one would do. However, at 100% WE he will get a guaranteed critical hit. Usually you’ll want to blow away all of your WE when you use this Action Trigger, but you have the option not to.

There is only one real path here, so it’s difficult to get lost. Check all of the doors along the way, however. You will find your way to a room full of Reploid production pods. So, uh, I guess Reploids are produced inside pods and then they leave the pod when completed, kind of like lizards hatching out of eggs...

Anyway, you eventually find another pod that has Epsilon’s name on it, but it says there was an error during production. Interesting.

In another room, X and Zero have to simultaneously open a door switch. This is a sort of minor mini-game. It’s interesting to watch them cooperate, however. When X leaves the room, he’s attacked by a guard. You gain Force Metal from this fight, and the game automatically opens the help screen for it.

Zero joins X on the fourth floor, and you immediately fight a boss battle. As should be expected, this boss is not all that difficult, being the first boss in the game. Notice you can target the missile on his back separately from the rest of him.

That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.
Party Member Profile: Zero
“Hardly a fight...”
Zero is a melee character. His standard weapon is actually a two-hit combo, and the damage is calculated for each hit separately, which means he could miss with one and hit with the other, or get a critical strike with one hit but not the other, and so forth. Zero’s damage potential is pretty high, but he doesn’t have very good defense (how classic!) so you will need to compensate for that.
Hyper Mode: Black Zero
I’m not joking—they actually call it this. This seems to increase his attack and defense, but I’m not sure yet if it has other effects.
Action Trigger: Command Arts
You use controller button combinations to add moves to a combo. The more moves you can input in the allowed time, the more hits in the resulting combo. Not a bad Action Trigger if you’re good at the input.

Outside, the party encounters Epsilon. Shadow betrays them, but X and Zero do a double attack on Epsilon. However, a bunch of Epsilon’s buddies come and interfere, knocking Zero off the building and surrounding X. X aims at Shadow, saying he can’t forgive him, then fires at the floor of the roof and jumps off, falling down into the mists.

Bye bye Zero.

Chapter 2: Recapture Central Tower

X awakens in “New Hope” where some Reploids belonging to a “Resistance” (resistance to a rebellion—now I’ve seen everything) revive him. This is a town of sorts; you can talk to people and buy items, and rest, like an inn. You get attacked while walking around here.

Are you kidding? That’s my job!
Explore around until you get a cut scene where Colonel Redips tries to contact X. At the same time, the resident Reploids receive an alert about an intruder on the premises. I think that’s you. Even though the guys down below helped you to recover, you’re an intruder. And yet you can just wander out after the cut scene and talk to people and no one raises any alarms. Whatever.

Keep wandering until you end up outside, where X is attacked in a cut scene. A bounty hunter named Spider shows up to blow the guy up, then he attacks X because he wants to turn X in for a pretty penny. You can use Hyper Mode to take him down pretty easily, because Spider is weak against melee attacks during this battle.

Later, you meet Aile, a member of the Resistance. He talks without moving his mouth. Since X has decided to rescue Chief R, Aile pulls a gem off of his chest and hands it to X, saying it’s an ID that will get him into the governor’s areas. Then some enemies attack. Aile pushes X through the door and closes it, then blows himself up to defeat them. (Kind of a useless gesture; X could have defeated them by himself...)

In a cut scene, a tiger (Jango) offers Spider as much money as he wants if he defeats X. (Didn’t Spider already try that?) Meanwhile, X fights his way into a prison or something where he frees some Reploids who were trapped in there. One of the Reploids gives X a key to the Data Backup Room where Chief R is being held. (Uh, why do the good guys have the key to where the bad guys are holding their chief prisoner?)

They’ve figured out the concept of backups!
When you reach the door where you need the ID, Spider attacks X again in a cut scene. But when Spider sees the ID that X was using, he changes his mind and gives the ID back to X, then runs off to fight some enemies that have shown up.

Through the door, you end up with a minor boss battle. This one seems to use electric attacks, so I hope you bought a Lightning barrier...

Humorously, when you rescue him, Chief R says, “Uh, thanks, but who are you?” Heh. Anyway, Jango contacts them via a monitor and has captured Spider and says he’s planted a bomb in the building. X is going to go diffuse it; the chief says he will guide him. You have limited time to get there. However, time spent in battle doesn’t seem to count.

After X turns off the auto-destruct sequence, he has to chase Jango to the roof. It’s right past the save spot. (Remember the location of this save spot; you’ll be using it a lot later.)

Outside, Jango and X have a little scuffle. (Boy, X can’t hang onto that ID.) Jango picks up the ID, but Spider attacks him, furious that he’d touch it. Spider joins the party just before the boss fight.

Boss: Wild Jango

Party Member Profile: Spider
“Good card, eh?”
Spider’s initial equipment puts him as the game’s thief character, even though Marino is supposed to be the thief. Ah well. Spider uses long-ranged weaponry and most of his main weapons have interesting and useful side effects when he is at 75% WE, so I would recommend you try to keep his WE relatively high. WE-boosting Force Metals are quite useful for him. Also, Spider is one of the better Final Strike characters, because after a couple of seconds he will start doing a machine gun type rapid fire that can really rack up the hits.
Hyper Mode: Trickstar
Best Hyper Mode in the game (perhaps second to X’s), but Spider can only hold it for a couple of rounds. Spider turns translucent gray and cannot be harmed by any attack. The damage he deals out also seems to increase a bit, but the real benefit to using this is the invulnerability.
Action Trigger: Fortune Card
Worst Action Trigger in the game. That’s okay, though—Spider works better with high WE anyway. This attack draws a poker hand, but the damage seems to be minimal for many of the combinations that you can get, so it’s quite a gamble.

Chapter 3: The Paper Hero

So, for some reason, X decides to join the Resistance, as if he’s forgotten about being a Maverick Hunter. And who cares about searching for Zero anyway? I’m sure he’ll turn up...

X and Spider go to rescue some POWs. Just inside the prison, they meet up with a cowardly hero in green armor, Massimo, who joins.

Big golden guy with an umbrella strikes fear in the hearts of enemies everywhere.
Party Member Profile: Steel Massimo
Massimo begins the game pathetically weak, with average LE but no offensive or defensive strength to speak of. However, you should take note that he starts at level 1—and even at level 1, his LE is close to that of X at level 10 or so. So you should start to see that Massimo will kick the other party members’ tails once he matches them in level. And he does in terms of his maximum LE, which shoots past that of the other characters quickly. He also has a strong attack which can be boosted significantly with a Power Charge. Massimo’s main weakness is, well, his weaknesses. He’s inherently weak against all three of the elements, requiring you to either use up his Force Metal slots to bring him back to the resistance level of the other characters, or just put up with him taking extra damage from many attacks. Overall, Massimo is basically your tank character, so he should be used accordingly.
Hyper Mode: Glint Armor
Massimo turns gold and gains the usual advantages of a hyper form. I haven’t yet noticed any significant changes.
Action Trigger: Berserk Charge
Charge this by mashing the A (damage) and B (status ailments) buttons (and later, you can add other meters to it as well). Unfortunately, this Action Trigger doesn’t really do that much damage, even at 100% WE. I tend to use Massimo’s WE on sub weapons instead. Having said that, if you go into Hyper Mode first and then use this Action Trigger, you can start to get damages close to that of X’s Charge Collider. I believe a Power Charge used before the Action Trigger will also contribute to the damage, if you don’t mind having less WE for the Action Trigger itself.

You have to do a mini-game here where you must avoid being caught in the sensors of guard robots. This isn’t terribly difficult, but it’d be easier to just blast the stupid things to smithereens. There’s one door guarded by two robots at once that just leads to items; if you want, you can skip it for now and come back later, when the guards are gone.

You can use the Final Strike in these battles because you now have three party members. Also, you will soon get the Thunder Buster which hits a weakness on a lot of the enemies (since this place is underwater).

They said "destroyed!" Not "retired," not "killed," but "destroyed!"
Notice that the Dober Men call for backup. If you want, you can use this as a way to gain extra zenny or experience by beating each one down to low health using X and Massimo, letting it call a backup, then finishing it off with Spider’s 75% WE attack. Rinse, repeat. You can keep this up with almost no damage to any of your characters as long as the Dober Men remain cooperative, since SOS uses up their turn.

On the other hand, the Mini Shark is a stupid attack. Not only does it take forever and it’s so slow that you can see it coming from a mile away (I know this is an RPG, but it still looks stupid that the character doesn’t dodge), but it also does ridiculously high damage. Feh.

Anyway, eventually you find some guards and have to fight them to get through to the prisoners. Not unexpected. Soon after that you unlock some prison cells, though they are all empty of prisoners except for two, and one of those is a fake prisoner (he attacks you). Talk to him after you beat him. The other prisoner gives you a prison ID. He also warns you about the prison warden, Silver Horn.

Backtrack to the previous room (the one with the save device) and then go through the door that was locked before. You eventually end up in something called “Dark Room” where you are attacked when you walk in. Beating the guards, you save Nana, who says she will stay there to help out while you guys go on ahead to save the POWs. Meanwhile, Steel Massimo asks about whether there is any record of himself being in the prison, and Nana says that the records say Massimo was executed.

In the next room you get a transmission from Nana who explains the order to press the tiles on the floor. Note that she only gives you the codes to open the doors. To get the items, you have to guess them yourself. But I’ll be nice and give you the codes. For room two, the sequence is yellow, red, blue. Room three has two: blue, yellow, red (item crystal) and red, yellow, blue (door). Room four is green, blue, red, yellow.
He’s actually being quite nice by saying this...

At the end of the road you get a cut scene. While Nana is trying to open a lock, Massimo wanders off and locates the real Massimo (yep, I thought so). The real one has been stripped down to practically nothing and hung out to dry. The fake Massimo finds him and cries over him. The real Massimo tells the fake one that he’s glad he gave him his armor, and that he can be a strong fighter if he tries.

Meanwhile, back with X and Spider, head through the door that was being blocked by security guards before to recover Massimo into your party. Back upstairs, go to the left through the door there that used to be locked.

You find Silver Horn, who has his foot on Nana and X doesn’t even bother to shoot him off her. Oh well, the boss fight begins soon enough.

Boss: Silver Horn

After you beat the boss, Massimo tells the others that he’s a fraud (we already knew that), but Spider and X simply encourage him by continuing to call him Massimo.

Chapter 4: Gaudile Laboratory

The Sky Room and Deployment Center open right about now. You can use the Deployment Center to send Mechaniloids to scout. You can find more during the game. I’d recommend always having scouts deployed somewhere. In the Sky Room you can put up posters, watch videos of the game’s cinemas, play music, and so forth. There’s also a computer where you get statistics on your battles and game play. It will also tell you which areas you have found all of the items in.
They say real dogs are, yes. Not that this is a real dog, but considering that little boy Reploids talk about growing up, anything’s possible.

Anyway, back to the mission. Go through the first door and fight a battle. The Preon Elite uses “Order” which is almost identical to “Influence” in Breath of Fire 3—when it works, the other enemies get a “Yes Sir!” over their heads, and a target cursor is shown on the character they will be attacking. (Note: This affects “Berserk” (confused) allies too!) Rabbids can call for help too, just like the Dober Men. Pararoids can use Parasite and sacrifice themselves to boost the stats of another enemy. They also have an insane dodge rate. Mettaurs are weak against melee attacks like Massimo’s, and some varieties can be knocked over with a melee attack which makes them vulnerable to shot attacks. They tend to recover when their next turn comes around.

The thief you’ve been hearing about comes along behind you, then goes down a hall to a locked door. Continue the other way and into the elevator. On the next floor, pick up the Preon and go through the door. In the next area, you have to dash over panels set into the floor without landing on them. If you miss, though, it’s not a big deal; you fight a battle, then the panel remains inactive for a few seconds so that you can get off it without triggering it again.

The next room has a save device. From here, avoid the hall with the security panels briefly and go through the other door for some items. After that, continue upward.

At the top of the slope, you get a cut scene where Psyche (he looks like NumberMan) tries to convince Gaudile to join the Rebellion. X enters the room and points his arm cannon at Psyche. (X has a habit of pointing his arm cannon at people in this game. Considering that in the classic games he’s usually trying to plead with them not to fight, this is a marked improvement. Now if only he’d actually fire the cannon...) Psyche turns and sics his guards on you.

After the fight, you will discover that Psyche and Gaudile have managed to completely disappear while you were occupied. Meanwhile, Marino (the thief) has met Cinnamon and tells her she relieves people of their valuables and that she’s here for the Force Metal Generator. (At least she’s honest.) Cinnamon reveals that she is the Force Metal Generator and Marino then teases, “Well, I guess that means I have to steal you, then.” At the same time, Psyche is watching on a computer monitor and goes crazy that the generator is about to be kidnapped.

So we rejoin the party back in a room with items in it. Head up the slope, again, past the security panels, and eventually go up the elevator.

In the next section you will see a save device. You can also see Gaudile nearby. Run over for a cut scene. Gaudile says he won’t help the Rebellion or the Resistance, because he won’t let anyone use his inventions to harm anyone. Gaudile also cries that Cinnamon was kidnapped by Dr. Psyche of the Rebellion Army. After that’s done, go through the door next to Gaudile.

Inside the next room you trigger a cut scene. Marino is trying to fight off Psyche, but she gets beat down. Cinnamon runs over and starts healing her. Psyche laughs, saying he doesn’t need Gaudile anymore, that he will make Cinnamon into the perfect warrior. (He doesn’t seem at all bothered that Marino is being healed...)

After this you get a transmission where Gaudile finally decides to start being helpful. He tells you that the right path is a shortcut and the left path is the long route. Now, let’s take a brief departure from the plot for an explanation.

Basically, this area is a running-battle survival challenge maze. The same section repeats over and over; if you choose the left path each time, you face successively more difficult enemies. If you choose the right path twice, you are able to exit...but the enemies get more difficult on the right path as well based on how many times you chose the left path. I’ll go ahead and warn you now—unless you have been doing some serious leveling up before this point (and I do mean serious), you have no hope of surviving very long in the left path. Also, the rewards are generally not that great, so even though you could possibly make it four or five doors in right now, you won’t get much for it. If you’re interested, you can come back here later once you are powered up. For now, just take the right path twice and get out of here. (Or, if you are so inclined, you can probably reach Spider’s Joker weapon at your current level; go right, left, left, left for it. I recommend doing this sooner rather than later, even on your first trip if possible, since it won’t be of any value later on.)

You end up in the rare item room—this is where you will receive your rewards on the left paths. If you took nothing but the right path, there are no items here, even though the man inside tells you to feel free to take anything you want. Anyway, the left door here will be locked for now; later, it will be unlocked, but it puts you back in the maze, so beware of that.

Once out of the maze, go through the next door to find Marino. Believe it or not, she introduces herself as a thief. (See, she’s honest.) She also claims that her reason for joining the party is so that the Rebellion can’t steal things that she could be stealing. And all Massimo manages is a “Whoah...”

Party Member Profile: Marino
“Now the real fun starts!”
Marino is a light melee or dagger-tossing character. Like Zero, she usually does two or more hits with her main weapon. She enters the party with an item that allows her a guaranteed 100% hit rate on any enemy—use this on the Pararoids. Marino is a fairly quick on her feet but her defense is only average.
Hyper Mode: Quicksilver
She turns black, almost like a black cat type costume. Her speed rating shoots through the roof when she uses this—often she’ll get two or three (or more!) turns in a row because nobody else is fast enough to interject.
Action Trigger: Emotional Reel
This is a slot machine. Depending on how you line up the slots, you get different attacks. Even if you don’t end up with three icons of the same type, you still get an attack of decent damage, so it’s not a complete gamble like some of the other characters’ Action Triggers.

Anyhoo, Marino joins the party. Now you can choose who you want to put in your front lines. Whee. Also, as an interesting feature, you can actually take X out of the fighting force, though of course he will always be shown on the overworld. Also, characters not involved in the battle still gain experience, although I’m not sure if they gain the same amount as active members. Note that when you switch characters around in battle, the change will persist even after the battle ends.

Soon after Marino is another save point. You know what this means. Yep, boss battle. Psyche says that they (the good guys) have no idea how far the Rebellion has taken Reploid development. Then he attacks.
Well, he’s doing an awfully darn good job of it.

Boss: Dr. Psyche

Like the classic games, this boss has two modes, and the second one is the real battle.

Boss: Mad Nautilus

(Parents: You may wish to fight this boss for your kids, unless they are so young that they won’t understand the references. I’m not going to say anything else beyond that.)

After you beat the boss, you get a cut scene where Gaudile still refuses to cooperate, but Cinnamon asks him to let her fight with her new friends. (Her voice acting is pretty bad here...she sounds like she’s a drone speaking in monotone, which makes her “I’m not being manipulated!” line sound hilarious.) Cinnamon also asks Marino to join them, and says that she knew that Marino had a good heart, so that’s why she let Marino kidnap her. So X welcomes them both aboard.

Party Member Profile: Cinnamon
“Sorry! But I did warn you!”
As might be expected, the party healer is a pretty wimpy fighter. She can sometimes do decent damage, but often her attacks are minimal. Although one interesting thing is that Cinnamon is one of the best Final Strike characters in the game. I’m not sure why that is, but there you go. Cinnamon has average defense and good starting resistances, so at least you don’t have to worry about her dying on you too terribly easily.
Hyper Mode: Iron Maiden
This one looks like a black maid outfit. Oh well. She does gain some health and attack power, but I haven’t noticed any other effects outside of the stat bonuses.
Action Trigger: Angelic Aide
Arguably the best Action Trigger in the game, or at least second to X’s. This heals your entire party for no cost except her WE. This is an excellent way to conserve your Sub-Tanks. Stack Cinnamon with WE-enhancing Force Metals, pop her in the party to heal, then drop her back out and let someone else do the attacking.

You can now use the Force Metal Generator (FMG). You get a help screen regarding it at this time. This is a method where you can consume various items and weapons from your inventory to create new Force Metals.

Chapter 5: Maverick Hunters Join Forces

You get a cut scene where X finally gets around to contacting Colonel Redips. Redips tells X that they’ve received a signal from point A6. Somehow, X knows this means it’s indication that Zero might be there. What’s amusing is at one point the Colonel’s text is transcribed as saying “...momentary... Zero... Point A6” but in the audio you can clearly hear him say, “We’ve made momentary contact with Zero at point A6.” X actually gets decisive at this point and says “Let’s move out!”

Off to Ulfat Factory. A few steps down the hallway and you’ve already set off the alarm. Of course, Marino thinks someone else set it off because it’s too soon for them to have been noticed...but I say, what’re security cameras for?

Anyway, in the next room you get introduced to the security system here. When the room turns red, you have to not be moving, or you’ll be attacked. Basically, you will hear three beeps, then the fourth beep will be when the room turns red. You could just let yourself be attacked if you prefer. Actually it’d be neat if you could hide behind crates and things, but oh well. Don’t worry about walking past the security robots—or even bumping into them—because they won’t notice you unless you are moving when the screen is red (yes, it’s strange).

Once you’re out of the network of rooms where those robots patrol, you don’t have to worry about the screen turning red.

Eventually you come across some storage rooms that aren’t being guarded. Here you will meet Axl, and he joins the party.

Party Member Profile: Axl
“That wasn’t too bad.”
The gun-slinging Axl comes with a ranged two-hit main weapon. Aside from his Hyper Mode, there’s really nothing that stands out about Axl, either good or bad. He seems to be basically a step down from X, and you can use him in much the same way.
Hyper Mode: Stealth Mode
Axl shares the same Hyper Mode as Spider, and thus he’s tied for the best Hyper Mode in the game. Like Spider, he not only gets the usual boost in stats, but he’s also invincible for the duration of the mode.
Action Trigger: DNA Change
You have limited time to punch in the buttons to lead along a path to the listed boss. Selecting a particular boss would probably require memorizing the sequence since you rarely have time to look at the image and make decisions. However, you could just madly mash the buttons and just take whatever you get. If you don’t do it in time, or if you choose a path that leads to a boss you haven’t unlocked yet, all you get is a normal, weak attack. Otherwise, Axl transforms into the boss you chose and performs one of that boss’s attacks on the enemies, then changes back. This is very much like a summon from the Final Fantasy games. You unlock bosses by beating them throughout the plot.

In a refining room you meet Fire Globs which look like Yellow Devils (well, Red Devils to be exact). Equip your Ice weapons and Fire defenses for those. Generally many of the enemies here are weak against Ice (you should have obtained an Ice Buster by now as well), but note that the Preon Tanks are massively weak against Fire instead. Even so, I wouldn’t equip a Fire-based main weapon because many enemies here absorb Fire. (The puffers are funny, they use Mega Fire on themselves to restore their health.)

In the next series of rooms, you can use the control panels to reverse the direction of the conveyer belts. You also meet up with guards here that attack you. (“Destroy the intruders! This time get it right!”)

After that section, you come into a room with lots of downed Reploids. Then you get a cut scene showing Zero walking in on Jentra. Meanwhile, save your game and head up to find more signs of Zero. Search all of the bodies to pick up some items (you notice everything here is anti-Fire and plus-Ice?). Then head through the door.

A few hallways later you come across Zero just in time for X and Axl to save him (that’s a switch). After that, you receive a warning message about Duboar. Equip Zero and chase Jentra.

Boss: Mach Jentra

After you beat Jentra, he says that Duboar will go berserk now that he’s dead, then explodes. When he’s gone, a bunch of Preons attack. They’re relatively weak; however, after you defeat the first group, you get another group, and so forth. Once you destroy a few groups, you get a cut scene where more of them approach. Axl transforms into Jentra and orders Duboar to stop the attack. While he’s confusing Duboar, Zero and X simultaneously attack it. (Why didn’t they just do this to begin with?) That ceases the attack, and X and the crew return to the base.

Chapter 6: The Meaning of Friendship

Well, maybe, in a manner of speaking...
Zero, being a jerk as usual, dismisses X’s allies and leaves the party at the start of this chapter. Colonel Redips tells X not to worry about it. Uh huh. Anyway, when you walk out of the command center room, there is a cut scene where X sees a bright blue light. Then Spider walks out from where the light had been and greets X. They chat briefly, but the blue light is not mentioned.

(By the way, talk to Massimo twice; the second time, he suggests that Axl shape-change into Zero. “That would kinda be like gaining a new ally, right?” Heh.)

Anyway, go back and talk to Nana again to get a cut scene and open up the ability to start the next mission. Head on out to the Gimialla Mine. There are creatures here that are strong against Fire, which is kind of a pain given you just got X’s newest Fire Buster. Ah well.

Wander around finding items; eventually, you’ll come across a security guard. (These guys are take-offs from the Roader enemy in the original series.) When you win this battle you’ll get Booster Parts. These are necessary to break through the boulders that have been blocking your way.

After you have all of the items, go through the door blocked by boulders right next to the save point. There is a control panel inside; operate it, then go back to the elevator.

On basement 3 you will come across Shadow. He mentions the Supra-Force Metal that the Rebellion is studying. When the others ask what that is, Shadow says he doesn’t have to tell them, he can show them. And he attacks.

Boss: Shadow

Hey, look, it’s a Mettaur using a Shockwave!
After you beat on Shadow for a while, you get a cut scene where Shadow starts to attack X and is stopped by Zero. Note that your party formation gets shifted to the left so that Zero can be placed into your fighting force, so whoever you had on the left hand side of your lineup will get knocked off the end. Shadow has much more damaging attacks now, so keep your health up.

When you beat Shadow you get an interesting cut scene. In brief: X tells Zero he’s glad that Zero is back. But Zero says that X is too soft, and that this has always been his problem. Meanwhile, Shadow tries to fire a last-ditch shot at Zero, but Spider blocks the hit and blows Shadow away with a card. Spider’s arm is damaged from the shot, however. Zero asks Spider why the heck he did that, and Spider says, eventually, that it was because he felt like it. By the end of the cut scene, Zero tells Spider that he’s earned his respect, and holds out his hand for a handshake. Then he realizes Spider can’t take the proffered hand because it was his right arm that was injured. So, showing a rare moment of kindness, Zero holds out his left arm instead, and they shake with their left hands.

Anyway, back to the game. Near the save point is a Reploid who says that he needs Electric Components to fix the control panel. He thinks the owner of a pickaxe took them by mistake. Give the pickaxe to the red Mechaniloid not far from the control panel room. You can give the yellow pickaxe to the yellow guy nearby. Keep trading like this until you get the Trade Sheet.

Take the Electric Components and the Trade Sheet to the man by the control panel and he will, mysteriously, help you out quite cheerfully. I guess he aids any intruder that happens to wander into the mine...

Now you can go to basement 4. This is my kind of place. The door ahead is locked by Fire, Water, and Lightning guardians. In one room you find three resist-boosting items, one for each. In the other room there are three sections, each containing an elemental solider, one for each type. You need to beat all three to unlock the door. Hint: You can see which type you’re facing off with next before you talk to him and fight him, so optimize your characters’ equipment first. Note, though, that they mix in one Glob of a different type for each battle—thus you get two of the type that you’re fighting, and one of another type. Still, optimizing for the primary type is helpful. Lightning is weak against Fire, Fire is weak against Ice/Water, and Water is weak against Lightning, though Ice will freeze the Liquid Globs, paralyzing them and making them susceptible to attack, so I actually recommend using Ice against them instead of Lightning.

Boss: Incentas

After the battle, Incentas locks everyone in and then sets the place to blow up. Rather than do the logical thing like use the computer terminal to turn off the self-destruct sequence, Spider grabs Incentas and drags him over to the door, then blows the both of them up. (It figures—the best character in the party is invariably the one that dies.) At least Zero finally admits to being a jerk. Kind of too late for that, though.

Chapter 7: Block Transmissions!

That’s what I’d like to know.
X is trying to contact the Colonel again, but there is too much interference. So the gang decides to go to a place built in the desert in order to get rid of the jammer that’s messing up their transmissions.

You arrive in a sandstorm. The idea here is move in a straight line in the direction of the wires on each jammer antenna to the next one, and so forth, until you find the door. (Why don’t they just blow up the jammers here?) You can actually see the door from quite a distance because of its lights. Also, although your subscreen map is useless, the radar in the lower right will show you what direction you are moving and where the door is (if it’s within range). Finally, feel free to wander around a bit if you want—there are items to find by searching the Mechaniloids in the sand, and you can’t truly get lost, since despite appearances, this map is a bounded rectangle with invisible walls so you can’t wander too far away. Here is a rough map of the place.

The enemies around here can be a drain. The Mega Tortoise opens every battle by poisoning and blinding the entire party (the only two status ailments that don’t wear off after battle, stupidly enough), so if you have a chance, it’s a good idea to defend for the first round of such battles. The D-Rexes, Wild Dogs, and Mega Mantors have enough hit points to take a beating and still dish out a pounding. Oh, and you may occasionally bump into a Meltdown. These explode for 9999 damage on your entire party after three rounds. A Meltdown has an insane amount of LE, and if you can’t beat it down before it self-destructs, the only hope you have of surviving the explosion is to use Axl’s Hyper Mode. Therefore, it’s a good idea to just run from them.

Enough of the digression. When you’re ready, follow the jammers to the door, where Zero will say that the door isn’t responding and tell you to look around. From here, go to the 100% jammer nearby, face in the direction of its wires (straight west), and walk that way for a bit. After a short span you will get a cut scene.

Ferham, the winged woman with the whip who you should remember from the beginning of the game, swoops down to attack the party. But X gets sucked up by quicksand. Massimo grabs him, and Zero grabs Massimo. Ferham starts hitting Zero to cause him to lose his grip. X tells Zero to let go, and Massimo agrees, urging him, “Defeat her, even if you have to do it alone!” Alone? Whatever happened to the other party members? Well, anyway, Zero refuses, saying he isn’t going to let another friend die. All three sink into the sand.

You land in an underground room. (Never mind the mystery of how you actually got in the room without dumping sand everywhere.) Massimo comments (humorously enough) that he didn’t know Zero cared about his friends so much. Zero just responds that he already owes Spider, and he didn’t want to owe anyone else.

Inside the next area, press the switches to unlock the doors. You need to find three of them for the red, one for the blue, two for yellow. Open these doors for items. Beyond another door is a lift in the floor that offers to take you to another level when you step on it. You are currently on B1F. You can go to 1F or 2F. This elevator will act as a central hub for you for a while.

Side note: Among other things, there are Preon Nurses in this area. These Preons heal and boost the stats of their allies. While normally you would want to focus on the healers in a particular battle and take them out first, in this case, if you leave the Nurse alone and destroy all of the other enemies on the battle field instead, the Preon Nurse will surrender in its next turn and heal your entire party. After that, defend until the Preon Nurse’s next turn, and it will leave the battle with a “Thanks.” This is a convenient way to regain the health of your party for free.

Go to 1F and go to the room in the corner that is not locked. There are green beams here. You should get a brief comment from Axl when you enter the room. Search the reflectors to adjust the direction of the beams. You want to shine the beams on the yellow panels on the wall to unlock the doors upstairs. If you shine them on the orange panels, you get attacked. Shine the beams on the green panels to unlock the items in the rooms upstairs.

Go to 2F to the room that matches the one you were just in and activate the control panel there. This will unlock some of the other rooms. Return to 1F and do the same thing in the other three rooms there. You will probably need to take multiple trips to get all of the items.

Note that if you end up outside, in the desert again, you are going the wrong way. This is where you will come in if you decide to revisit this area. Ignore it for now and go back inside.

When you disable all of the jammers, you receive a transmission from Botos “inviting” you to the top floor. Go down to save first. Also go hunt yourself down a Preon Nurse to heal you up. =)

Boss: Botos

So, in the next cut scene, Botos falls over and his Supra-Force Metal conveniently rolls to a stop at X’s feet. Botos then flees the scene. Luckily, the characters do seem to realize that this stinks of a trap, but they nevertheless ignore the warning signs and take the Supra-Force Metal back to the base, where Gaudile wants to examine it. I just know they are going to regret this...

Chapter 8: The Ultimate Weapon

So Gaudile says that the Supra-Force Metal is as strong as 10,000 normal Force Metals, but that it’d require a lot of metal to make it, and the only place that has that much Force Metal is the Melda Ore Plant. So I guess the goal now is to prevent the bad guys from gaining and using Supra-Force Metal by shutting down their plant, although if you ask me, it’s far too late already.

You end up outside in the snow, although your feet don’t leave tracks. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the enemies here would be strong against Ice and weak against Thunder. (I wish they’d put the old battle music back...)

Enter the building. You see a brief cut scene, then you can go on. Right in front of you is the door that you need the Melda Key for, which is kind of convenient for when you come back here later after scouting it up. For now, go down the elevator.

When you enter the next room you will get a cut scene. You must snap more images for Gaudile. Pick a room and look for more peep holes. You can see that the layout of this place is largely a half circle. When you have snapped all of the shots on that floor, go down the elevator. Go around looking for peepholes and gathering items here too. When you are done, go downstairs again. Ditto for this floor. There is a locked door here, preventing you from going the wrong way.

When you enter the room with the last peephole, you receive a cut scene as soon as you enter the door. Once this scene is over, get the item and unlock the door using the control panel. This leads to another elevator down. You’re on B5 now. Save your game and go through the door.

Ahh, lookie here, if it isn’t Mr. Weirdo again. Botos is there to block the door. Except that this isn’t much of a battle. Botos has almost no hit points this time around. Just ignore his helpers and blow him away.

When the battle closes, go through the door in front of you and you are at the base of the missile silo. Through there and you are back at an elevator, only this time you want to go up. Save, go through the door, and didn’t we just do this? Anyway, Botos splits himself into two and dances off.

Unless they randomize this, if you go left, you must fight a copy Botos with silly music. This Botos has more LE than the one you just dusted off, but he uses Bit Shift instead of his normal helpers, and he isn’t anywhere near as deadly. He also isn’t weak against Ice anymore for whatever reason.

Go right and find the elevator. Upstairs you will see Botos split up again. Go through the right door for the real Botos. This time he has his Q-bits, but Botos himself runs away immediately, leaving only the bits, so this battle is a piece of cake. You can go left for an item.

Past the save point, go up. Again. This time, you simply see Botos run through a door, and the other two doors are locked. No choices here; chase after him. But instead of Botos, you encounter Ferham.

Boss: Ferham

After you defeat her, Ferham falls down below, and afterward, the good guys realize that she has the key (oops), so now you have to run all the way back down to get it from her. Go down the elevator to trigger a cut scene. Continue all the way down until you reach the base of the missile again, and you will find Ferham. As we already know, Botos now has her key. Head back the way you came—when you go up the elevator, you will receive a cut scene where Botos gloats that the Supra-Force Metal is all his, and that the ends justify the means. Then suddenly someone says to him, “I think you may be on to something.” Guess who? (I have a bad feeling he’s gonna turn out to be a Maverick...)

Back to X. Go through the doors that used to be locked and up the elevator. You get a cut scene where the good guys find a dead Botos, and the Supra-Force Metal is gone, and they wonder what happened. The chapter ends at this point.

Chapter 9: When Giants Duel

As this chapter opens, there is an attack on Air City (for some reason, New Hope turned into Air City). Get there via the Air Bus. Once you get off the bus, it’s busting time. (I really hope you remembered to change your equipment before this fight.)

I fought him one-on-one? When?
Boss: Scarface

After defeating Scarface, he talks about the ideals of the Rebellion and how Reploids have free wills and such. He then retreats, and you are left just standing there.

Go talk to the people standing on the roof. Then go into the city and talk to everyone else. You will hear about how Scarface didn’t attack people unless they attacked first, and he even helped fix one guy’s wound. Sounds like Scarface might actually have some honor about him; if he weren’t Epsilon’s goon and a probable Maverick, he might have been a good addition to the party.

When you’re done shopping, return to the base. (And yes, the chapter hasn’t even officially started yet!)

Off to the Rebellion Grave Ruins Base. The first door is blocked off. Another one is nonfunctional. Go through the only door that you can enter. You get locked in immediately, and when you approach the red beam, an alarm goes off and some Preons teleport in and attack. After the battle, you have a limited amount of time to get out before the beam resets and you are locked in again.

Go through the door that is ahead of you and continue onward. You end up an area of winding passages and lots of doors that must be unlocked using the beam thing. In some cases, you must disarm multiple beams at once to open any of the doors.

At the end of one hall you will find a control panel that turns off the bands of electricity that were blocking the door earlier. When you have all of the items here, return to where you entered the base.

Go through the newly-unlocked door and into the teleporting hatch. Do the beam thing again and fight more Preons. Go through another teleporting hatch. Save.

Through the next door is a battle field with lots of items. Incidentally, you may wish to save some of these “Build” items rather than use them, since you often need them to refine Force Metals.

When you enter a room in the next area, you see two columns rise, then you have to pick one. Depending on which you choose, you end up in different rooms (and the map as usual is useless). The right column moves two slots; the left three. Some rooms have items, and some hold enemies which attack when you walk through the door. Eventually you should reach the hallway which leads to the teleporting hatch to the next floor. Save.

Walk through the door—there are three Preons blocking the way, and they say that Commander Epsilon is beyond the door. Of course, if they really didn’t want you to pass, they’d bring something better than those three Preons to guard the door.

In front of you is the “Final Gate” (no joke). But it’s locked, of course. That piddly little locked door is barring your way much more effectively than Epsilon’s guards...

Go up the ramps instead and in the doors there. There are no red beams to worry about here, so just walk through doors getting items. (If Epsilon had any sense, he’d lock every door in this place.) Use the control panels to unlock the door. You need to find two, one on each path, of course.

Go back and save if you want, then through the Final Gate and in the teleporter there.

Soon you meet up with Epsilon, and X actually fires his arm cannon at him! Whoo whee! But Scarface appears and blocks the hit. He stands in front of Epsilon and urges Epsilon to allow him to defeat them. Scarface adds, humorously enough, that X learns new powers when he fights, and so what would happen if he defeated Epsilon..? Heh. I just wish this was true, but it’s not, in this game—X and Zero can’t gain new weapons or techniques from bosses here like they can in the classic games. Oh well.

Boss: Scarface

He just doesn’t learn.

Boss: Epsilon

Epsilon has two forms—after you bring him down the first time, he activates his Supra-Force Metal and powers up, also conveniently restoring his health.

Boss: Eject Epsilon

After beating Epsilon, X asks him why. Epsilon says that without power, no one would listen to their ideals. After all, the Federation has already labeled them Maverick, he points out. What choice did he have? He also begins to threaten that as long as he is alive, he will fight for his ideals...and while he’s doing that, he leaves himself open, and Zero calls to X, “Now, X!” and X shoots Epsilon and destroys him.

X picks up the Supra-Force Metal that Epsilon was using and seems to feel a little bad about it, but Zero tells him that they did the right thing, and Axl chimes in.

Colonel Redips shows up and commends X, then tells them that they will be returning to base soon, and that a plane will arrive shortly to pick them up.

The chapter ends... Notice that the game isn’t over yet? I had a feeling Spider would be the final boss...

Chapter 10: In the Name of Justice

But where is ’here’?
Go talk to everyone in the base for some nice, mushy character development. (Hmm, so Spider was at the place where Axl’s chameleon ability was developed...) When you are done, notice that Zero is standing inside the hallway instead of in his usual spot outside. Guess where the plane will be coming to pick you up?

When you are ready, go outside for the ship...which comes along and tries to blast everyone to smithereens. Colonel Redips claims that he has decided that X was a traitor and that he was after the Supra-Force Metal...and thus Redips has come to put an end to the “resistance.”

So the good guys end up...somewhere. There’s a save device ahead of you, and you can talk to the man standing nearby to buy/sell things. Just inside the building are the three saleswomen from Lagura who have the newest and latest stuff, so don’t blow all your zenny on the guy outside. (Question: why can you still buy weapons for Spider?)

Entering the fortress, you will go up an elevator and end up in a tactics simulation center. Guess what? You are approaching this game’s equivalent to the teleporting hatch room! You face off first with Wild Jango.

Cut scene: Redips learns that there are intruders, but nobody bothers to tell him that it’s X, Zero, Axl, and the rest of the gang. Meanwhile, X and all marvel that they just fought Jango again. Axl says that it was someone with a copy ability like his. So they figure, someone with that copy ability got into Central Tower. But whoever it was, he’s dead now.

Up the elevator is a teleport terminal. In a large room off to the side is a save spot, a shopkeeper, and a nurse who acts as an inn. You can use this as your central hub for a little while.

Through the purple glowing doors are hatches leading to bosses. If you look carefully, you can see the image of the upcoming boss on the purple door before you open it. Or, you can go through, then when you open the door to the boss, look to see who it is before you walk forward into the room.

Since you can restore your Sub-Tanks and buy new items in-between each battle, don’t feel afraid to go all out.

When you have cleared all of the hatches, it is now time for the fortress bosses. Actually, there’s only one.

Boss: Depth Dragoon

You can go back and save and restore your health first if you want. When you’re ready, continue onward and upward.

You end up finally at an area called “Final Gate.” There is a save point up here, and some items. Past that point, you meet Redips, who says that he will be the ruler of everything, and thanks the team for getting rid of Epsilon for him. X cries out, “ Maverick!” and the battle begins.

Boss: Redips

After the cut scene where (as I figured) it turns out that Spider is the final boss (because he was actually Redips), you end up in a room with one exit and an item. Right. Just how did we get in this room? (Actually, on further reflection, Redips isn’t “really” Spider, because he was using a copy ability, which means he had to copy someone. I wonder if the Spider we met was the real Spider for a while, but then somewhere along the line, Redips disposed of him and stole his identity. Probably, though, the real Spider had been gone for a long time, at least before X encountered him, since of course, he was disappearing whenever they contacted Redips and stuff.)

In the Blue Earth Tunnel, heal everyone using your Sub-Tanks before you pick up the yellow item, because it’s an infinity and will restore your Sub-Tanks to full no matter how drained they are.

Boss: Great Redips

Not far into the battle you should get a cut scene where Ferham comes down and takes one of the Supra-Force Metals off Redips’ shoulder. After this, the battle starts again...but your characters are still in whatever condition they were at before Ferham came along. Heal up fast and spare nothing to get back on your feet—this is the final battle.

Final Boss: Great Redips

Wild Jango:
Jango absorbs Thunder and is weak against Fire. (You know what this means.) Just Hyper Mode him and he shouldn’t last long.
Silver Horn:
The boss? What do you think this is, a video game?
Be sure to remove any Ice Missiles from anyone who has them before starting this boss fight, as they will be useless against Silver Horn. Also, Water guards help here. X’s Thunder Buster is useful too, of course, so he should do good damage.
Dr. Psyche:
Do not use Hyper Mode on this battle. Psyche is easy to defeat without it, and you need to save your mode rounds for later. Equip Spider with a Spades weapon (which is boosted to a multiple-target attack at 75% WE). When the battle starts, Psyche will form three needle enemies which you can target separately. Until Spider’s WE is at 75%, destroy the needles manually by having each character attack one individually (or use X’s Charge Shot). After Spider’s WE is at 75%, he should be able to destroy all of the needles in one blow by simply attacking Psyche. After this, have everyone in your party focus solely on attacking Psyche. Because Psyche reforms the needles after they are all destroyed—and because this uses up his turn—he will have little opportunity to do much harm to your characters.
Mad Nautilus:
The key to this battle is to defend and wait until he attacks with the rod on his machine (the game will say he’s charging the core). At this point, you should notice that a panel on his armor is raised. He can now be attacked for better effect. Stop attacking him once the game tells you that the bulkhead at the top has closed (you can see this visually as well). Note that while Hyper Modes are useful in terms of damage, you may want to switch into and out of the modes so that you aren’t wasting turns while waiting for Nautilus to become vulnerable.
Energon, anyone?
Mach Jentra:
Jentra uses Fire-based attacks and is weak against Ice, and he regenerates his buddies when you destroy them. The Preon Tank has an attack that makes your characters weaker against Fire. Thus, I would get rid of that one, but leave the Preon Soldier around, so that Jentra won’t regenerate the Tank one as quickly. Knock Jentra out of the air, then blast him to pieces with the Charge Collider.
Near the start of the battle, Shadow will begin charging up his cannon. If you can knock him down you will interrupt the charge. After that, just beat the heck out of him. He does have strong attacks, but it shouldn’t be anything you can’t take care of. Eventually Shadow will use Break Shield which boosts his power but leaves him more vulnerable to shot attacks. Kill him quickly after this.
He changes elements every turn, so you’ll need to be equipped with a variety of weapons and sub weapons. Primarily he uses elemental attacks against you, so resistance Force Metals are helpful. You can use Analyze if you need to check on his current strengths and weaknesses. As long as you pay attention to which elements he is currently strong and weak against, you shouldn’t have a whole lot of trouble with this fight.
Or without beating the stuffing out of the guardians.
Like some other bosses, Botos summons helpers. But his are two Q-bits, which, among other things, can heal Botos for 20,000 LE per round. For this reason you can’t afford to just leave them alone. Yet if you can’t destroy them efficiently enough, you will be spending all your time killing off his helpers and you won’t be doing any damage to Botos. Therefore, one way to win—though it’s an all-or-nothing proposition—is to go all out and kill Botos off quickly, before he or his helpers have time to recover. When the battle first starts, spend a couple of turns doing pecking damage on Botos and the Q-bits (to encourage them to heal rather than attack), then when your WE is at 100%, have all three characters shift into Hyper Mode at the same time and hit Botos with everything you’ve got. Botos is strong against Fire and weak against Water, so have everyone equipped with Ice weapons to do better damage. Also, Marino’s multi-unit weapon can take out the helpers with about two blows (depends on your level and whether you get a Final Strike or not), so she is helpful here. Have her go into her hyper form and Botos won’t get a word in edgewise, although beware that because Marino is so darn fast, her Hyper Mode won’t last very long.
She’s strong against Water and weak against Lightning. Also note that Ferham is an air unit and has a ridiculously high dodge rate, particularly versus melee-based attacks, so you may wish to use Hawkeyes here.
He absorbs Thunder and is weak against Fire. The first time you attack him, you receive a warning that Scarface has a high chance of countering repeated attacks. What this means is you want to alternate using melee and shot-based attacks. In particular, before you use X’s Hyper Mode Action Trigger you will want to make sure that the last hit on Scarface was a shot-based attack (because X’s hyper form is melee). You will vastly increase the resulting damage if you do so. One or two of X’s 100% WE Charge Colliders done in this way should be enough to put an end to Scarface (at least for now).
His Metacrush attack brings you to 1 LE. It’s kind of cute, actually, since he draws the character in, then flings him straight off the screen. Epsilon also uses Lightning attacks, so Thunder guards are useful here. Although Epsilon hits for a lot of damage, I still recommend saving your Hyper Modes for the second part of the battle.
Eject Epsilon:
This new form restores health every turn and uses massive attacks. However, after you hit him with several strong attacks, you will weaken his Supra-Force Metal, and doing this a couple of times will prevent him from regaining health each round. After that, it’s just a matter of hacking away at his LE.
Depth Dragoon:
He absorbs Thunder and is weak against Fire. Perfect for X, particularly if you put a Reverse Thunder on him. Depth Dragoon uses Boost Speed a lot until he’ll be going two or three times in a row. Actually he’s kind of stupid about this, since he wastes his turns using Boost Speed even after his speed is already at max. For this battle, take advantage of his weakness to Fire and the fact that most of his attacks are Lightning based.
He opens the battle by summoning two helpers (Red Hubcaps, of all things). The hubcaps can hit the entire party with a rapid-fire attack; they can also use the various elemental attacks. Redips himself spends most of his rounds defending. Sometimes he will attack, hitting one character for multiple hits, or using his “Vicious Assault” which is like a wave of fire that strikes everyone for multiple hits. Also, as might be expected, Redips will restore his helpers if you destroy them, although this uses up his turn, so you can try to take advantage of it. Generally you should be focusing on hitting Redips with your strongest attacks when he is not defending, and destroying his helpers when he is.
Great Redips:
You can target the Supra-Force Metals on his shoulders separately—and you definitely need to get rid of them because otherwise you won’t be able to do much damage to Redips. The one on his left shoulder (that is not grabbed by Ferham) is restored after a few rounds. However, while it is gone, Redips’ defense is lowered, so you can do full damage to him. (Note that the Supra-Force Metal is considered to be flying, so use S-based attacks or Hawkeyes.) You will probably need a dedicated healer for this battle, because most of Redips’ attacks hit all allies. He also likes using Codebreaker a lot (this has the potential to insta-kill). And he has an attack which gives random status ailments to the entire party, but doesn’t do any damage (Cure Alls are useful for this). Also, don’t bother with stat increasers for this battle because the Supra-Force Metal uses Format a lot, removing them all. Redips also has an attack that removes your WE. People on the sidelines aren’t affected, of course, so if you can drop someone out of the battle right before he uses that attack, that character will be spared. The main trick to this battle is to destroy the Supra-Force Metal while X is at 100% WE, transform into X’s Hyper Mode, and blast Redips with the Charge Collider while his defenses are down. Use Cooldown after this and wait for the next opportunity so that you are not wasting your Hyper Mode rounds. Two or three Charge Colliders, plus the attacks of your supporting team member (the one who’s not healing), should be enough to take care of Redips.

Optional Bosses

For the time being this lists only a few of the hidden bosses. I will get to the rest later.

Belladonnas regenerate health every turn, plus if you hit them, their power and defense ratings increase as well. You don’t have much of a chance against them unless you can defeat one of them in a single turn, without giving her a word in edgewise—otherwise, she will simply regain the health and come back with a vengeance. On the other hand, once you have this requirement met, a battle against Belladonnas is relatively easy. Simply defend until your characters’ WE is at 100% (use Cinnamon or Sub-Tanks to heal as needed), then shift into Hyper Mode all at once and focus all of your attacks on a single Belladonna.
After you defeat her, use Cooldown and go back to defending until your WE recovers again. While you are defending, the Belladonnas’ attacks will only inflict 300 to 400 LE, so you can easily survive while waiting.
First of all, she uses Riot a lot, which means you’d best have some Berserk protection equipped if you want to survive this battle. Secondly, Rafflesian recovers health and grows in power with every turn that she takes. After four or five rounds, she will begin using a Sunburst attack which is capable of severely injuring or killing your entire party in one blast. You cannot fool around in this battle because otherwise she will wipe the deck with you. Your best bet is to equip lots of WE enhancing items and get to 100% WE as fast as possible. Then shift into Hyper Mode and attack Rafflesian all together with everything you’ve got; if that’s still not enough, have Marino go into Hyper Mode and chip away the rest of Rafflesian’s health with her best attack, using Gain Hypers if needed. The key here is to be fast—once you commit to attacking Rafflesian, you cannot let up or else her health regeneration will undo all of your efforts. Also, don’t touch the Belladonnas until you are ready to kill them (see above) because otherwise their attacks will go from the nuisance category into the deadly one.
Duckbill Mole:
They’re weak against Water and strong against Fire. They also use Fire weapons a lot, so a Reverse Fire is good here (try coupling it with a Bait, heh heh). You can use Cryogenics on them with good effect, though if you do hit them with Ice-based weapons, they will tend to use Mega Fires on themselves to refill their health. This doesn’t refill a whole lot to be too terribly troublesome, however, and while they’re healing themselves, they aren’t hitting you. The only thing to watch out for is if you do manage to freeze one, don’t hit the other with Ice weapons or he may use a Mega Fire on them both and inadvertently thaw out his buddy too. These guys can hit hard, but if you have one person healing and concentrate all your best attacks on one mole at a time, you shouldn’t have too many hassles.
Just like the Belladonnas, this guy regenerates health every round, though the exact amount appears to go down the more damaged he is (which seems kind of counterintuitive). If you could just outlast him then this battle would be a piece of cake, but as it is, you’ll pretty much need to use the same strategy against him as you use on the Belladonnas or Rafflesian. Regarding what he can do, he has a melee attack that can strike one character for two to three hits, or a Hadoken that hits all characters. He also uses various single-target elemental attacks. He can damage your WE, but he pulls that move out rarely. And...he has a Regeneration skill that he’ll sometimes use when you have people down, which will bring your dead characters back to life with about 25% LE (like using a Reboot on them). I guess he feels sorry for you.
There are two of them, but this fight is actually easier than the Onetail battle because they don’t regenerate health. They have the same basic attacks as Onetail (though they use multi-target elemental attacks instead of single-target), but every turn they cycle their element (it appears to go in order of: Fire -> Water -> Thunder -> Fire) which affects not only what they are strong and weak against but also the element of their basic melee attack (hint: “Reverse” items are good here). Gang up on them one at a time, exploit their elemental weaknesses if you are so inclined (Absolute Zero comes to mind here), and have a dedicated healer, and you should have little troubles. Unless you forgot to restore your Sub Tank and Hyper Mode usages after fighting Onetail... (You might want to go back up to the Maintenance Bed in the Central Tower after each boss battle here.)
You can save the game at any “save device” and also at the end of every chapter. The save game screen lists the usual info such as your level and time, but also marks the most recent save with a “NEW” icon. Finally, when you beat the game, you can save a “clear game” save which will, of course, have “CLEAR” next to it. This save puts you right before the final chapter (so if you saved inside the fortress, you might not want to save over that game), but you have all of the items and so forth that you had when you beat the game. The point of this save is to enable you to go back and find stuff that you didn’t do before you beat the game; you can also access a new area that is unlocked only in a clear game save.
General Tips
  • Somewhat incongruously, shifting into or out of Hyper Mode does not use your turn and does not use up any of your Hyper Mode rounds. You are only docked a round when you are morphed when your next turn comes up (usually the game alerts you to this; when you see “approaching hyper limit” you have just used up a round). The end result of this is that you can actually selectively use Hyper Mode without penalty; you will simply use 1 round off your total Hyper Mode rounds for each turn that you use it. Just morph, perform your action, then on your next turn, use Cooldown and return to normal. This way you can use the Hyper Mode only when you choose to (such as when you have 100% WE), and you aren’t wasting your rounds when you can’t get maximum effectiveness from them. (Having said that, Hyper Modes also raise your LE and defense, so this is something to consider as well.)
  • A side effect of the first point is that if you have a character go into Hyper Mode and then end the battle before that character’s next turn, he isn’t docked any hyper rounds. So you could in theory use Hyper Mode near infinitely in any particular mission as long as you make sure to kill all the enemies before those characters’ next turns come around.
  • Weapons that do more than one hit consequently have a lower power rating to balance their damage. This means they will do more damage than it at first appears when you are equipping them. Sometimes what looks like a lower power in the equipment screen will do far more damage. For example, give Zero a three-hit Rapier and two Heat Hazes and he will do a ludicrous amount of damage. Or Cinnamon’s five-hit Kitty Gloves weapon which not only does five times its stated damage rating but also lowers the enemy’s stats like crazy—sheesh, that turns her from just a healer into an actual fighter. Needless to say, don’t rely solely on the Power rating while equipping weapons.
  • X is by far the most dependable boss basher, since his Hyper Mode Charge Collider does ridiculous damage at 100% WE with no skill or gambling involved (unlike most of the other Action Triggers). Defeating most of the bosses is simply a matter of getting X to 100% WE, waiting for a good opportunity, shifting into Hyper Mode, and then blowing the boss away with X’s Action Trigger. (Knowing precisely when to use his Charge Collider—and when not to—is really the main key.) The other two characters in your formation are basically just there to act as support and backup for X.
  • You technically need to have Analyze equipped on a character in the battle in order to use it. However, this isn’t really true; since switching characters doesn’t use up your turn (and neither does the Analyze) you could just swap the character with Analyze into the fight momentarily, do the Analyze, then switch that character right back out...
  • You may have noticed that your Final Strike timer bar starts out less than full when you first activate a Final Strike. How do you get more time? If you initiate a Final Strike on multiple enemies simultaneously, you are allowed to switch the target cursor between them...but more importantly, you also get more overall time in your meter to pound them to dust, in proportion to the number of enemies you are striking. You can start to see where this can be abused... By the way, you can use X’s Action Trigger for this—just find some weak enemies and don’t charge it all the way up until you hit just the right percentage. Spider’s and Marino’s all-attack weapons can also do the trick. You can also try the Force Metal which prevents you from killing enemies, if you have the items required to build it.
Why does he have a city on his back?
  • Ultimate Armor: This one’s easy to find, but difficult to get. Scout up the Tianna prison key using the Deployment Center, then find your way to Rafflesian. Win the battle and the Ultimate Armor’s all yours; it’s the winning part that’s difficult. Anyway, this is called the “Ultimate Armor,” but it’s really not—X’s original Hyper Mode is the one that actually looks like the Ultimate Armor (as seen in Mega Man X4+). The so-called “Ultimate Armor” Hyper Mode in this game looks weird and operates even more strangely. X’s main attack with this will be about twice to three times as powerful as his un-morphed standard attack, plus this mode comes with a couple of damaging sub weapons. Another nice benefit is he seems to get increased WE regeneration while wearing this. His Action Trigger is called the “Nova Strike” while using this hyper form, but unlike the attack by the same name found in the classic X series titles, here it involves mashing the X, Y, and A buttons to hit all of the enemies with missiles and machine guns (you can move the target around just like in a Final Strike). The more WE you have, the more time you have—this makes this Action Trigger resemble Massimo’s much more than X’s normal ones.
  • Absolute Zero:
    To get this, scout up the Melda Key from the Deployment Center, then defeat two Duckbill Moles at the Melda Ore Plant. In this armor, Zero looks like a weird cross between Shade Man and Bass. He gets two new sub weapons—Killer Left and Brutal Right. It’s kind of cool, when he uses these, he gets right up next to the enemy, then stays there until you finish his turn. His Action Trigger in this form is a sort of Dance Dance Revolution type thing where you have to input the commands shown on the screen to execute attacks. Each command pops up and waits for a brief time, and usually is two or three buttons you have to press at the same time. If you do it right, Zero makes an attack. If not, the game just skips that attack and goes on to the next one. Your WE level determines the amount of time you have, and, thus, how many hits you can get in. Relatively high damage even if you miss a few. As might be expected from the name, Zero does Water/Ice damage in this hyper form. Note that Zero can randomly go Berserk while using this mode, which among other things prevents you from using Cooldown.
  • Central Key: To get to the clear game save area, go to Air City, past the vendors, then through the door on the left. (This is the area you were at near the start of the game.) Keep going down. When you reach the two Reploids guarding a passage that is blocked off, ignore them and keep going down. At the door with the red lights, it’ll confirm your Central Key and let you through.
Redips and X’s team fail to see eye-to-eye. Redips doesn’t understand their concept of friendship and thinks that the Reploids will stagnate if they don’t continuously strive to increase their abilities and grow stronger. But the point is rather moot now, because the building they are in that had been in outer space is now heading for the Earth...with everyone still standing on it.

Ferham is still holding the Supra-Force Metal that she took from Redips. She asks X for permission to dispose of it herself, and he grants it to her. But, taking him by surprise, she then jumps off the building and floats off into space. When she’s a far enough distance away from the building and from Earth, she detonates, destroying both herself and the Supra-Force Metal.

Meanwhile, the building is tearing up as it reenters the atmosphere. X and the gang take cover inside. When they emerge later, they discover they have landed in the middle of the sea, and there is nothing but water all around them. I guess they have some swimming to do.

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Last update: October 21, 2010