A robot named Techno has hacked into the Mother Computer at Maverick Hunter Base and is causing general mayhem and destruction. Naturally, X volunteers to dive in and put a stop to the madness at its source.
Wow, a Mega Man X game for Game Boy! The world must be coming to an end! Just kidding. Seriously, this game does borrow some ideas from other Game Boy games: it features four bosses at the start, from Mega Man X1 and Mega Man X2. The plot is new, and of course other things had to be reworked to fit the new platform.
Unlike the original series Game Boy games, here the stages are almost all identical or nearly identical to their SNES counterparts. However there are some differences and new features in this game:
- You open the menu with , not .
- Aside from the usual methods, there is a third way to dash in this game: by pressing and jump. The same sequence as the slide!
- X’s sprite does not reflect the enhancements he’s acquired until you get them all. You can, however, check another page of the subscreen to see what you have.
- There are eight Mavericks, but you have to beat the game and then play through again on Hard or Extreme mode in order to encounter the other four.
- This game has an auto-save feature. While all of the games have “continue” points which are sections later in a stage where you will restart if you die, here those points are clearly marked. Additionally when you select “Continue” on the title screen, if you had played previously and reached an auto-save point, the game will ask if you wish to continue playing from that point. This allows you to resume playing in the middle of a stage if you failed to clear that stage and then turned the system off (or your batteries ran out). Quite handy with a portable system.
- The game saves remember what station of the fortress you were at when you saved, so you don’t have to redo stages.
- Although the game is designed for Game Boy Color, it does run on other versions of the Game Boy as well. However due to poor color choices, the contrast between the background and foreground is not that great (they chose to use light gray and dark gray for most of the sprites, including X himself, which means X and enemies alike all tend to disappear into the background). The original series games were much better about this and much more clear. Thus, even though the graphics are somewhat gaudy on the GBC, I do recommend you try to play this game on a color system if you can. Aside from the color issue, the black and white Game Boy systems (original and Pocket) as well as the Super Game Boy also tend to exhibit slowdown a lot with this game, whereas a color system does not.
- Play Control:
- Solid, for the most part. There are some quirks, but they’re present in all of the X games, so it’s sort of to be expected.
- Some are very nicely done, but a few places are a bit gaudy, which can happen when there are not a lot of colors available. In some cases the graphics look better in black and white (believe it or not), but black and white does suffer from some lack of contrast issues.
- X’s sprites look a little odd, probably because this is his first appearance this pint-sized, and he’s missing the flesh-colored face that Mega Man’s NES sprites possessed. However he has a ton of frames of animation which makes up for it.
- A little tinny, as one might expect, but most of the tunes are in stereo, which is quite nice.
- Sound Effects:
- Generally pretty good; however X’s charging sound effect (when he’s charging up his X-Buster) drives me batty.
- More bit characters that we’ll probably never hear from again. Why doesn’t the X series ever reuse characters? Dr. Cain is actually in this game but he’s as useless as usual.
- Difficulty: (normal to hard)
- X really gets gypped in this game. He starts with only 16 units in his energy meter, and yet enemies do a massive amount of damage to him until he picks up his armor upgrade. With some practice, however, the difficulty starts feeling a little more normal.
- Replay Value:
- Well, you have to replay the game from the start just to encounter the other four Mavericks and their stages, so I suppose that counts as replay value. Just note that almost all of the stages are blantant rips from the SNES games—they didn’t even bother trying to find new locations for most of the items. So if you’ve played the SNES games you shouldn’t have any troubles finding anything here...and by the same token, you may feel like you’re just replaying what you’ve already done in the past, so that’s something to consider if you already own the SNES versions before picking this one up.
- A lot of the attempts were somewhat botched which brings this category down. For example, sprites of several things such as X’s super-shots flash rapidly, probably in an attempt to make them look semi-translucent and more like their SNES equivalents. However it just ends up making them harder to see. In this case I would sacrifice cool special effects for clarity. There are other minor glitches here and there, such as sprites losing chunks at times, sporadic screen scrolling, X’s super-shots stopping dead and/or rebounding in funny ways, and the way X slides through gates rather than walking (and then gets dumped a third of the way into the room), which are rare to see in a Mega Man title and makes this game seem a tad unpolished.
- Overall: 78%
- This game is a downgrade in many categories from the original series Game Boy titles. The only reason I can fathom is that Capcom was trying too hard to emulate the X games, which originally appeared on systems like the SNES and above. The original series, which began as NES games, were much easier to port to the GB. Xtreme does have some pretty nice features. It’s just a shame to see Capcom muck up on some technical issues which their original series GB games handled just fine.
- + Plus:
- This is a toss-up; two features jump out at me. One, I love how many frames of animation X’s sprites possess. Two, the fact that you can turn off the system, then turn it on later and restart in the middle of a level is quite nice.
- - Minus:
- X has a particularly nasty habit of turning around when he gets hit (“Hello, I wanted to be firing the other way!”). He also has a bad habit of not firing when you press the fire button, mostly evident when using special weapons.
Fighting Mavericks is tougher in this game than ever before because until you have the armor, most only have to hit you bodily about three times to kill you. Be extra careful to avoid direct-contact hits. Although the following order puts Flame Stag near the end, it may advantageous to hit his stage early on just to get the armor upgrade, then lose all your lives and pick “Stage Select” to get out (if you find you can’t defeat him).
On Hard and Extreme modes, you’ll fight the following bosses:
There are three layouts depending on what mode you are on. As you can see the Extreme layout is basically the other two stacked on top of each other, but, for the sake of completeness, I list them both. Green text is Normal mode; red is Hard.
Normal and Hard Modes:
- He’ll jump at you three times, then jump again and begin twirling. So dash underneath his first three jumps, hitting him with a super-shot from behind once he hits the ground. After the third time, wait by a wall until he makes his leap, then climb the wall and quickly dash-jump off it so you clear him, and wait on the other side of the room. You can’t hit him until he jumps again, so don’t bother; just get into position to begin the pattern all over again.
- Use Speed Burner. Jump his blades or climb the wall; if he disappears, keep moving so he won’t reappear directly on top of you. When he takes to the air, keep dashing back and forth across the floor for the best chance of dodging him.
- Use Shotgun Ice, Magnet Mines, or super-shots. You have to act quickly to nail it while the gem on its back is open. The spider can reach pretty much any location it wants when it comes down, so there is no way to be sure you’re in a safe place. You can try climbing the wall to avoid it, but you’ll have to get to the floor quickly to fire while it’s vulnerable. You can also try “baiting” it, by standing on one side of the room, causing it to head toward you, then rushing over to the other side; if you’re lucky, it won’t have enough rods to make it all the way back over to you. I suggest you bring a Sub-Tank to this battle.
- Serges Wall:
- Fire at each of the four cannons (I chucked a Fireball at each). The machine moves closer with each cannon destroyed (unless you blow away more than one at a time), so be careful if it starts knocking platforms out from under you. Once the cannons are gone, shoot at the figure in the cockpit (you have to aim high, to hit him rather than his cockpit itself, which is invulnerable). Try dropping Rolling Shields onto his head if you have them. Otherwise use Speed Burner. You cannot stand on the front of the machine this time (unlike Mega Man X2 where this boss originated).
- Sigma 1st time:
- Sigma with a beam saber, just like Mega Man X1. You can use a similar technique here: climb the wall and stay in the upper left corner. Sigma will eventually begin leaping from wall to wall. When he touches the wall under you twice, drop down as soon as he’s out of your way, hitting him with an Electric Spark or a super-shot on the way down. When you hit the floor, wait again until Sigma is out of your way, fire a second time (you should just barely nick his feet if you time it right), then climb all the way back up before Sigma reaches you. Repeat. Note: The Spin Wheel does only 1 unit of damage but it can nail him repeatedly for multiple hits depending on how you aim it.
- Sigma 2nd time:
- You have to hit him in the head with super-shots or Rolling Shields. If you have the R.S, just stand on one of the platforms and keep hopping and firing and you should take him down before he damages you too badly. Otherwise, I find it’s easiest to hang out on the wall in the upper left corner and plaster him from there. You will get hit from time to time, but most attacks will miss you.
This cartridge actually uses saved games rather than passwords. So, I can’t post anything here, sorry. On the good side, the game auto-saves periodically in case your batteries die or you just need to turn the system off suddenly.
- Chill Penguin’s stage: Take the Ride Armor and walk right, then jump up to the first ledge you see (jump the walker, then jump out of the walker). You can also get there from the other side (where you have to abandon the walker). Either way, blast the low building you find up there with the Speed Burner to reveal the Heart Tank.
- Spark Mandrill’s stage: A short way past the mini-boss, there’s a ladder leading down. Climb up the walls of this vertical passage; you need to dash-jump off the walls to get to the Heart Tank.
- Flame Stag’s stage: It’s in the volcano that features rising magma. It’s more or less in plain sight, though you may have to sacrifice a life for it.
- Storm Eagle’s stage: After the first auto-save point, there is a cannon on a floating platform. Blast the cannon and hop on, then when the platform is at its highest point, dash-jump left. You should be able to walk behind the glass wall of the building up there; the Heart Tank is hidden behind the blue glass.
- Armored Armadillo’s stage: In a passage in the ceiling; destroy the second tank before it digs through the blocks that you need to use to get up there. Alternately you can race the tank and get there before it does.
- Wheel Gator’s stage: Behind a short wall covered with spikes. Dash-jump from the right, then use a powered-up Speed Burner for the rest of the way over.
- Morph Moth’s stage: Near the beginning, climb up on top of the building rather than entering it. You will find a 1-Up there as well.
- Magna Centipede’s stage: In a passage in the ceiling near the beginning; don’t set off the alarm right before it because you need the block to use as a stepping stone. Dash-jump from the ledge to the right (where the save spot is). Don’t activate the auto-save until you get the heart because you can’t scroll back after hitting the save spot.
- Spark Mandrill’s stage: Near the beginning, climb right and then down; you need the boots to break through the wall blocking the way.
- Storm Eagle’s stage: At the beginning, ride the initial platforms until you’re as high as you can go, then dash-jump left. You should land on a platform that’s above where you teleport in. Walk all the way left.
- Armored Armadillo’s stage: In the passage behind the first spiked tank. Drop down, then grab the wall and let the tank go underneath you, and head left.
- Magna Centipede’s stage: In a passage in the ceiling after the shifting/dropping blocks that crush you. Dash-jump and you will be able to just barely grab onto the lower wall of the passage.
Zero Scramble Programs
- Boots: In Chill Penguin’s stage. Like in Mega Man X1, you can’t miss these.
- Helmet: In Storm Eagle’s stage. At one point you will have to climb a tall thin tower; drop down the other side of it and enter the area down there. You have to dash-jump from the tower over to the high ledge, then keep blasting the tanks (with the arm cannon) until they blow.
- Armor: In Flame Stag’s stage. After the second section where the bug breaks open walls for you, you will find hallways at multiple levels and a pool of lava to the lower right. The capsule is over the lava (below Zain’s room); do a dash-jump from the second or third hallway up and you should be able to make it to the ledge.
- X-Buster: In Spark Mandrill’s stage. In the second corridor which turns dark, it’s in a passage in the ceiling. You have to break through the blocks using the helmet. Because of the sloppy interface, this is easier said than done, since you have to hit the block from underneath in exactly the right way or it won’t break. However with perseverance you can make it up there.
You can only get these in Hard and Extreme modes, and if you’re on Hard mode, you have to already possess the enhancement listed in parentheses in order to receive the Scramble Program. Otherwise you get the enhancement instead.
What are Zero Scramble programs? A more accurate translation would probably be: “Zero, get off your duff and come help me!” Basically, these call Zero to perform an attack. As soon as you select a program to use, X teleports out, Zero teleports in and performs the move, then leaves and X returns. Make sure you’re in the right position (and facing the right way!) before you select one of these moves off the subscreen or you’ll waste your attack. On the good side, all other action on the screen is frozen while Zero is executing his move. The Zero Scramble programs share an energy meter and cannot be refilled using weapon energy. They do, however, refill when you exit a stage.
- Dash (Z1): (Helmet) In Armored Armadillo’s stage. At the end of the stage, leap off the rail car as it is in mid-air and you should have enough height to grab onto the wall to the right and climb up to the passage where the capsule is.
- Rising (Z2): (X-Buster) In Wheel Gator’s stage, in a corridor in the ceiling near the beginning. It’s pretty easy to see, but to get over there, you need a dash-jump off the wall.
- Earth Gaizer (Z3): (Armor) In Morph Moth’s stage. Right after the first save point, fire a Spin Wheel to the right and it should cut through the floor.
- Final (Z4): (Boots) In Magna Centipede’s stage. In a passage in the ceiling of the section with falling blue blocks and the targeting sensor. You need the helmet (and a lot of perseverance) to break through the bricks.
General Hints and Tips:
- After losing all your lives you have one chance to try again from the last save point you reached, rather than at the beginning of the stage. Merely reset the game and choose “Continue” then choose the auto-save when it gives you the option. This only works once per auto-save.
- Once you unlock it, you can start a new Hard mode game “fresh” off the title screen, but it’s recommended that you instead use the save file that you were given the chance to create when you beat the game on Normal mode. This way you begin the game with all of the items you had from the previous game.
- Someone on the programming staff really goofed up with the Rolling Shield. It is insanely overpowered here, since for whatever odd reason, charging it up makes you completely invincible in this game. I’ve shaken off enemy shots fired at me and walked through Mets with their hats down. You can even walk in lava and on spikes without harm (although you can’t see yourself in the rising lava in the volcano of Flame Stag’s stage, so it’s somewhat of an interesting challenge to navigate if you let the lava overtake you). The only thing that will negate your invincibility is if the shield touches an enemy that requires more than one hit for it to defeat, in which case the shield vanishes. (Note: Walls with spikes on them are executed in a rather buggy way which makes it impossible to climb them, but you at least don’t die to them when you’re protected by the Rolling Shield.)
Once you unlock them, all of the following modes are available off the title screen when you are starting a new game. Nicely enough, the save games list which difficulty mode they were saved under. Obviously you can’t change difficulties in the middle of a game, but you can start a new difficulty whenever you want.
- Normal: This is the default mode. You fight only the first four Mavericks (listed above), then go on to the fortress stages.
- Hard: Unlock this by beating the Normal mode. It’s not really any more difficult, but you fight four completely different Mavericks (complete with new stages). The fortress and plot are more or less the same as Normal mode, although the storyline is altered slightly to take into account that this is the second time you’re playing through the game. You can begin this mode with all of the weapons and items and enhancements that you obtained in the Normal mode, if you save your game after you beat it.
- Extreme: Unlock this by beating the Hard mode. All eight Mavericks are available from the start of the game, and you fight both Zain and Geemel. There is no plot in this mode and no story sequences. It’s written off as just a challenging simulation (provided by Techno, who’s supposed to be dead, of all things...). You cannot start this mode with any weapons or items, unlike Hard mode (because they are all available to be obtained during this mode alone).
You can get this capsule in the third station of the fortress (after the spider). This gives you both the Fireball from Mega Man X1 and the Dragon Punch from Mega Man X2! (No black belt for Dr. Light here, though...)
To get them, ride the second switchable platform all the way up the vertical passage you’ll find. Each jump onto the platform rotates its direction in a sequence. The platform needs a lot of clearance to pass an obstacle. Especially with the final opening you have to pass through, you have to get the platform positioned just right or it’ll get hung up on empty air.
Once you get the platform up the passage, head it right down the hallway and you can use it to reach the ladder that you find in the ceiling there. In the next section, jump or dash across the spikes (you can dash over a one-block gap in the floor without falling through) until the passage curves back down in a reverse “C” formation. There are three ways to clear this: Charge up the Rolling Shield, use the Speed Burner to give yourself an air-dash, or just dash-jump and curve yourself back to the left as you drop (you should have enough momentum to clear the spikes).
However you do it, slide down the left wall of the tunnel beyond and you will eventually drop through a blue block and into the room where the capsule is. (Note: You do not need a full energy meter for the capsule to appear; however, it won’t show up if you don’t have all of the enhancements.)
To perform these, you need to charge up first to the pink (maximum) level. Then hold Down and release the fire button for the Fireball, or hold Up and release the button for the Dragon Punch.
- Normal mode:
- X destroys Techno’s computer, and Techno falls over, saying that since he’d connected his CPU to the computer, its destruction destroys him as well. Enter Middy, who reveals that he and Techno are twin brothers (like we couldn’t tell just by looking at them), and since they share a CPU (question: how do two robots share a CPU?), Techno’s fall will cause Middy to “die” as well. Oh yeah, and Sigma is revealed to have been controlling Techno and forcing him to do his bidding (of course). Naturally, Sigma’s downfall isn’t permanent (he says he’s defeated but that he’ll be back) which ushers in the Hard mode.
- Hard mode:
- There isn’t really much of a plot involved in this one. Sigma is more or less destroyed this time (although we all know how long that will last), and afterward X finds Zero, who says they can escape the core now. So they leave, and that’s the end of the ending.
- Extreme mode:
- There is no plot and thus no ending, although Sigma does show up after the credits to taunt you.