100 years after Sigma’s defeat at the hands of X (and Zero), Reploids have been more or less banned by humans who have finally decided that maybe Reploids are so potentially dangerous that they shouldn’t be running the show. A small resistance force has been created as a shelter for Reploids who have been wrongly accused of being Mavericks. One human, a female scientist named Ciel, has joined with the resistance force and searches to uncover the legendary Reploid named Zero, who helped save the world so long ago. With his aid, she’s sure the resistance force will be able to overcome the new threat that now endangers them, one that also takes the form of a resurrected Reploid from the past...
Unfortunately, this game is marred by a rather mundane manual that fails to explain basic game play mechanics such as how to talk to people (press ). Therefore, as you might expect, I’m going to have to go into a discourse here on how to play the game.
Note: The press release for this game claims it is for “hardcore” gamers, then goes on to say that the Cyber-elf system still makes the game accessible to “casual” players. While this might have been the intent of the game’s designers, they failed miserably. In order to use elves, unfortunately one must first find and raise them—and of course, the more useful and powerful elves are tougher to get. The elves are also limited, so once all of a particular type are used up, the player can’t get that effect ever again. It would be more accurate to say that “hardcore” gamers would be the only ones who could find all of the elves, not that “casual” gamers can depend on them. So is this game even feasible for casual gamers? Perhaps, but only if you have a huge store of patience in supply. Get and use what elves that you can (try to get at least one Sub-Tank elf), spend a lot of time running back and forth through areas you have already completed to gather crystals to raise the elves, and save often. Very often. Because you never know when you’ll accidently fall on those spikes that were just off the bottom of the screen and instantly lose everything you did since the previous save.
- First of all, the game and manual say + is the sub-weapon by default, but this is misleading—you have to hold and press to use the sub-weapon. Holding and pressing won’t do it. If you want to charge the sub-weapon, you have to charge and then hold and release . Confused yet? If so, solve all of these problems by going into the options on the subscreen and switching to attack mode “B” (use sub-weapon with the button). This is much more intuitive (hold to charge the sub-weapon, press to use it, etc.).
- Also keep in mind you can customize your weapon and sub-weapon slots on the main subscreen. This means you can make your Z-Saber your main weapon (used with by default) if you want, and stick the Z-Buster on . You also get other weapons which must be equipped as either the weapon or sub-weapon before they can be used.
- This game does not have infinite continues. When you die it’s “game over.” You do start with three 1-Ups (called “Continues” in this game), but replacing them is rare. Probably, you should avoid using continues early on and save them for the end; reload from a save every time you die.
- If you choose “Give Up” after dying (or if you use the Escape unit), the current mission fails and you can never go back into it again (except by starting a new game of course). Generally this is a bad idea since you miss any items you might have obtained from the mission. However you will get different plot and scenario sequences depending on whether or not you fail certain missions, so you may want to give it a try at least once.
- Zero can obtain Elements which are applied automatically whenever you fire a charged shot, as long as they are equipped (on the subscreen, press (by default) next to the “Element” rating, and pick an icon). You have to be able to charge to the second level before the Element takes effect, however.
- Cyber-elves are basically this game’s combination of items and parts from previous games. Some have temporary effects like refilling some of your health; others have permanent effects such as raising your maximum health. On the subscreen you can view the elves you have obtained, but you can only use an elf if it is equipped. You can only equip three elves at a time, and you have to use the Trans Server to equip them (that thing you stand on to change areas). Choose “Download Elf” to equip an elf onto your subscreen. Once there, you can use it by highlighting “Elf” on the subscreen, pressing (by default), selecting the elf, and pressing again. Note: Each elf can only be used once, and you lose points (on the mission complete screen) for having elves equipped—regardless of whether you use them or not.
- You have to feed some elves before you can use them; when you give them the amount of crystals listed to the right of the input area, their face portraits will change. Eventually they’ll “grow up” and you can use them like normal. Some elves have to be advanced in this way multiple times before they’re grown up.
- You can level up the power of your weapons by using them a lot. This will even happen in the middle of boss battles, although you probably won’t have time to read the text in that case.
- Press to talk to people. Also press to enter doors and use Trans Servers.
- One interesting and unique feature of this game is that you can revisit areas you have been to before by simply walking to them from the Resistance Base, besides using the Trans Server. This is actually pretty cool, as it is gives the stages a sense of continuity, rather than just being isolated little worlds. Also it’s useful to revisit stages between missions to gather energy crystals and to level up your weapons. As long as you’re not in a mission, your performance won’t impact your rank or title, but try not to die.
- Bosses often have multiple energy meters. You’ll know this is the case if the meter shows up any other color besides black when you do damage. Think of it as multiple meters stacked on top of each other. You have to remove the units from all of those stacked meters before the boss will die.
- Some battles have time limits. As if the game wasn’t “fun” enough already. Don’t panic, though; usually you’ll either win the battle or die long before the time is up. If you rush, you’re likely to be on the losing end of things, so try to ignore the time limit and fight normally.
- Sub-Tanks work slightly differently here. You only consume the energy that you need; the leftover energy stays in the Tank to be used later. Also, all Sub-Tanks store enough energy to refill you when your health meter is at its maximum size. This means at the starting value, you’ll get two full refills per Tank.
- As a complete side note, the “Resistance Army” page in the English manual is entirely wrong. Those are images of the bosses, not your allies.
- Play Control:
- Pretty good, particularly if you change your configuration settings in the options. If the manual did a better job at explaining how to play the game, probably the play control would feel more intuitive, but once you get used to the quirks, it works quite well.
- Generally pretty crisp. There are a few instances of ambiguity, and some of the graphics look like scanned sketches, but otherwise the backgrounds are well done.
- Impressive. Zero has a very solid feel to his movements, and most of the enemies are animated quite well. There are even some animations that are very detailed for being used all of once or twice in the game.
- Average. There’s nothing significantly wonderful or horrible about the music, though the instruments are sometimes a bit scratchy and why isn’t any of it in stereo? Interestingly enough, they use Zero’s other theme music from Mega Man X1 here, rather than the tune that other games have been using so often. (Yes, Zero is so cool that he gets two theme songs.)
- Sound Effects:
- Everything has a sound effect in this game. Even Zero walking or climbing a ladder—although you won’t hear some of these softer sounds in a lot of cases since they get drowned out by others.
- I’ve already bashed Capcom elsewhere for the plot holes, so I won’t repeat all that here. As far as plot execution, this game does a pretty good job at its storytelling. Every mission has a plot and a goal, not to mention often something specific to do aside from just navigate from point A to point B, which I appreciate. Placing the player in the game as Zero, who has lost his memory, and is considered to be a “legendary” warrior by everyone else, is immersive. My biggest gripe with the plot overall is that you can’t skip most of the story scenes. (I wouldn’t normally complain about this, but the fact that you have to redo stages from the beginning—plot and all—every time you die exacerbates this problem.)
- Difficulty: (insane)
- (AKA “1-Ups? What are those?”)
The marketing for this game claims this is the “most challenging Mega Man game to date.” While it doesn’t quite win that mantle, it sure tries its best. Anyone looking for a nice relaxing game should stay far away from this one.
- Replay Value:
- You do get different plot depending on whether you succeed or fail at missions, which warrants playing through the game at least twice. However there is just a touch too much replaying of stages during just a single play through of the game, not only because of the lack of 1-Ups, but also because many missions reuse old stages. This can bring in fatigue of the game prematurely and retard replay value.
- There are some nifty touches, such as if you defeat an enemy with a saber-type weapon, usually it will split into two as part of its death animation. Even the little pieces falling to the ground have sound effects. I also like how you can simply walk to most of the stages from the Resistance Base. Also, the elves which follow you around are lots of fun, but they are so limited that you will almost never get to enjoy them.
- Overall: 79%
- It’s a pretty high-quality game spoiled by the fact that you have to replay missions from the very beginning every time you die if you don’t want to either (a) fail them, or (b) lose one of your precious continues. This gets old extremely fast. Couple that with fault-intolerant later levels that often force you to have to restart all the way from the beginning after a single slip of a finger, and you have a game which had high potential, but ends up more irritating than fun.
- + Plus:
- You can charge up your weapon and sub-weapon at the same time, and use one while charging the other.
- - Minus:
- 1-Ups are finite, which makes using them relatively pointless since you can quickly burn through them.
There really isn’t a suggested order as in most Mega Man games, because there is no real sequence of using weapons against other bosses. Here’s a list of the possible missions, and what you get from them. What order you should tackle the stages really depends on which bosses you find the easiest. Also personally I would wait a little while to do the “Retrieve Data” mission; although you get the Triple Rod from it, you also lose one of the best sources of energy-gathering in the game. (If you want lots of life energy for your Sub-Tanks or crystals to raise elves, stand near one of the hives and just whack the bugs that come out over and over. This will also raise your weapon levels like crazy.)
- Intro Level (Underground Laboratory) - Get Z-Saber
- Save Reploid (Disposal Center) - Get Thunder Chip
- Destroy Train (Subway)
- Find Shuttle (Desert)
- Retrieve Data (Underground Laboratory) - Get Triple Rod
- Occupy Factory (Subway) - Get Flame Chip
- Rescue Colbor (Subway)
- Find Hidden Base (Desert) - Get Ice Chip
- Duel in Desert (Desert)
- Protect Factory (Subway)
- Stop the Hacking (Desert)
- Save Base from Mechaniloid (Resistance Base)
- Save Base from Hanumachine (Resistance Base)
- Neo Arcadia (fortress levels)
Submitted by a reader, here’s a list of the sequence of the above levels. (If you “give up” on any of the missions in a chain, the chain is broken and you can’t do any of the rest of the levels that come after it. Thus, as an interesting feature, you can actually skip entire missions, including the Mechaniloid one, if you use the “give up” option.)
- Retrieve Data -> (END)
- Find Shuttle -> Duel in Desert -> (END)
- Find Shuttle -> Hidden Base -> Stop the Hacking -> (END)
- Destroy Train -> Occupy Factory -> Protect Factory -> (END)
- Destroy Train -> Rescue Colbar -> (END)
For reference, here’s a quick list of the locations you can go to, according to the Trans Server. Not all of these areas will be accessible to you at any given point during the game, depending on what missions you have/haven’t done.
- Resistance Base - This technically covers the base and the surface areas above it. You can walk to the right from here to the Disposal Center area, or go right a little and down the ladder into the Subway. Go left to the Desert.
- Underground Laboratory - This area is a great spot for leveling up.
- Disposal Center - This area is to the right of the Resistance Base.
- Subway - Technically this area is three in one: the subway, an open area to the right of the subway, and the factory above the subway where energy crystals are found.
- Desert - There is a hidden base down a shaft in the desert.
- Neo Arcadia Shrine - The first station of the fortress.
- Neo Arcadia Tower - The second station of the fortress.
- Neo Arcadia Core - The final level.
In each teleport hatch room (well, they aren’t really hatches, they’re just doors, but the name has sort of stuck), you get one large energy capsule and one small energy pellet after each battle. You can be a little intelligent about how you pick these up; if you used some of a Sub-Tank but have nearly full health, pick up the small one first, and if that was enough to fill your meter, the large one can go into the Tank. And so forth.
The major named bosses are covered in the Data Base page, so this section merely covers all of the more generic guys.
- Golem (Intro stage boss)
- Aim at its head. Don’t slash Ciel. When it fires the laser downward, climb the wall and hang out in the upper corner. When it fires the laser upward, stand just to the left of its fist, and the falling blocks shouldn’t hit you. Once you get the Z-Saber, stand on the blocks or hang out on the wall until the Golem charges you, then swipe at its head. If you hit its head with the Z-Saber, you’ll kill it instantly.
- Ball and Mace (“Destroy Train” mini-boss)
- Blast the pointy head with a charged shot or the Z-Saber (anything which does a decent amount of damage) to cause the robot to keel over, then attack the sphere at its base while it is vulnerable. You can also damage it while it is firing. If you attack the thing while it is shielded, you won’t damage it, but you will push it backward slightly, which can be useful if it begins to get too close to you.
- Engine Chamber (“Destroy Train” boss)
- Avoid the fire on the front; after a few moments it will shoot nearly all the way across the screen, so you’ll want to be standing on the far left to avoid taking damage. While the engine is shooting fire is when you want to make the most of every shot; charge up and fire only when the Joe isn’t flashing. Once the engine is done using its fire attack, the parts of the floor will begin rising toward spikes on the ceiling. Try to move carefully so that you don’t trap yourself (while still firing at the engine of course). It reacts to Lightning.
- Maha Ganeshariff (“Retrieve Data” boss)
- Note: Once you win the battle, the place will self-destruct and you’ll have to race it out. Start dashing and don’t stop. The doors will all slam shut just as you reach them so be prepared to whack them to pieces with your Z-Saber or whatever weapon you have that is the most powerful. Also make sure you’ve taken care of all of your business in the underground lab before you start this mission, because you can’t go back once it self-destructs.
- Serpent Spider (“Occupy Factory” boss)
- The machine’s arms will generate various heads which attack you. Attack the gem in the center to damage it. You can only harm it when it’s open (when the arms are attacking). What attacks the machine uses depends on what heads it’s using at the time (the patterns are pretty obvious). You can destroy arms by attacking them while they are in head form, although they will be replaced in time. Also notice that the machine always follows you, so you can use this to lure it to where you want it.
- Giant Mechaniloid (Save base event)
- Keep following it and attack the missile in the back (it will flash when you hit it). Then shoot the part on the top to destroy the tank. You actually may want to wait a little while before finishing it off, because as the tank moves it will open up new passages that you couldn’t access previously.
- Air Statues (Neo Acadia Shrine mini-boss)
- These twin purple flying suits (no BGC jokes please) don’t have an energy meter so you can’t tell how far you’ve whittled them down. Also they can’t be frozen by the Thunder or Ice chips. They shouldn’t be very difficult though; I’d stand still on one platform and just jump straight up over their shots (and them, if they’re too low).
- Multi-Armed Statue (Neo Acadia Shrine sub-boss)
- This ugly-looking thing will throw its swords at you, and they boomerang, so be careful. You can avoid them effortlessly by staying on the wall until the swords return to it. It’ll also act like a very deadly top (no Beyblade jokes please) but you can avoid this by being on a wall as well, or knock it out of it with a charged saber attack. This boss reacts to Lightning—that is, if it doesn’t block your hit with its little shield.
- Rainbow Devil (Neo Acadia Tower boss)
- It’s the Green Devil! Erm, sort of. It may resemble Mega Man’s old adversary to a degree, but it doesn’t fight anything like it. This is a nicely-animated boss who will leave you on your toes. When it bounces around the room you can cause it to split early by firing at the chunks, thus getting it to reform sooner and stop bouncing around. When it slides across the floor, do not stay on the wall over it, but instead jump over it and run across the room. Aim for the head, of course, to do damage.
- Copy X 1st time (falcon armor form)
- He seems to be able to use Master Weapons, interestingly enough. He moves around enough that it’s hard to get him into a pattern, although generally everything he does gives you enough warning that you can dodge, as long as you’re on your toes.
Use charged shots when possible, of course. It may be that he’s weak against various Elements based on what weapon he’s using, although I haven’t yet been able to verify this (typically, he switches weapons as fast as I switch Elements, so...).
- Copy X 2nd time
- There are certain constants in the universe. Like multiple final boss forms. And, in the finest X series tradition, the final boss is screen-sized while the first was humanoid. At least there’s only one of him, though.
This one is tricky because of the pits and the fact that he’s often not within your reach. Note that the fire he causes on the platform is his most damaging attack (not counting falling into the pit).
You will want to learn the noise he makes right before he uses that fire laser, and immediately jump against one of the floating platforms and hang out there until the fire dies away. Do not stay on the floating platforms because the bands which bind you will throw you into the pit with no recourse if they catch you there. Note that the bands come down where you were standing as they were fired, so keep moving and you can dodge them. If you get caught, just press the buttons rapidly and you should escape before Copy X can attack you again. I believe Copy X is weak against Ice.
The way I win this battle is using the Triple Rod, because when it’s not charged, you can jump up underneath Copy X and fire it straight up and hit X almost regardless how high he is. Z-Saber slashes will hit him from underneath if Copy X is low enough, but I personally found the Triple Rod to be easiest. Note that the small yellow lasers Copy X fires generally will not hit you if you stand right under his head (which is what you have to hit to damage him, of course) so you can usually safely ignore those. Keep jumping and hitting him and dodging the fire and bands and you should have this battle won.
Naturally, if you die to the second form of Copy X and you have a Continue left, you have to start over with the first one (and all the plot as well).
This game uses saved game data. There are three save slots on each cartridge. Talk to Ciel to save or load your game.
Weapons and Elements
- Z-Buster: You get this at the start of the game.
- Z-Saber: This is given to you during the battle against the Golem in the intro stage.
- Triple Rod: This strange weapon will be made by Cerveau after you clear the “Retrieve Data” mission.
- Shield Boomerang: Cerveau will give you this after you clear a mission. Keep checking with him.
- Thunder Chip: Obtained by beating Aztec Falcon, the boss of the Disposal Center mission (the first one you must do after the intro mission).
- Flame Chip: Obtained from the “Occupy Factory” mission boss.
- Ice Chip: Obtained from the “Find Hidden Base” mission boss.
- Use charged shots on bosses when at all possible. Rapid-fire works well on minor enemies, but bosses are immune for several seconds after you hit them, so you’ll want to make every shot count.
- I need to test this further, but when you obtain the double and triple slashes for the Saber (and maybe the Triple Rod), it appears as though they ignore or shorten boss immunity. In other words, normally you could only slash once and then you would have to wait until the boss stops flashing to damage him again. However, if you pull off a triple slash, two or even all three slashes appear to do damage even though they occur in rapid succession (as if they are all considered part of the same attack). This is a good way to very quickly hack huge chunks off a boss’s meter, assuming he’ll stay still long enough to hit him with this.
- Hold (dash button by default) while doing wall-jumps to increase the distance of your jumps. If you press away from the wall just after pressing jump, you should be able to soar halfway across the screen.
- When freed, Cyber-elves will drift upward or downward toward you based on where you are. Conveniently, they can also go through walls and floors. This means you don’t have to actually physically get yourself to the location of the item box that contains them. Just find a way to break the box (you can use the Z-Saber and Triple Rod through walls, for example), and then maneuver yourself to pick up the elf.
- If you don’t mind using Cyber-elves, a quick way to gather crystals (besides the Underground Laboratory) is to find an area which has a relatively large number of enemies in a small place, then use an Item elf along with a Mettool elf (if you want). Then simply pace back and forth destroying enemies and scrolling them back on. With the Item elf active, you should get an energy or crystal drop with every enemy you defeat.
- Cyber-elf Jackson: A number of people have emailed me about this. I haven’t personally tested it, but apparently you need to find all the normal Cyber-elves in the game and feed them until they are fully grown. Jackson grants the ability to become invincible for a period of time by holding the jump button for about three seconds.
- There are two difficulty modes you can unlock:
- Hard Mode: Unlock this by simply beating the game; there will be instructions on how to activate it after the credits.
- Ultimate Mode: Find and use every Cyber-elf and finish the game, and you will unlock Ultimate Mode, which is basically Easy Mode, with no penalty on the usage of Cyber-elves and enemies take more damage. (Thanks to Daniel.)
Copy X complains about how he was supposed to be a perfect copy of X—a hero. Then the fortress self-destructs; Zero manages to get out just in time, although he ends up lying unconscious in the desert.
This is when the real X appears in ghostly form, commenting about how he had fought Mavericks for nearly a hundred years before Zero reappeared. X asks that he be allowed to rest in peace, at least for a little while.
For no obvious reason, Zero replies, “That’s why we’re the best partners.” Why? Because you let your partner die? Ah well.
At any rate, Zero then vows to continue the battle where X left off, and he goes back to fighting enemies. And that’s the end of the ending.