It has been two months since the incident with Elpizo and the escape of the Dark Elf. Ciel has finished her research, but a new supply of energy has not yet brought peace. Some sort of ship has crashed from space, bringing with it a terrifying Reploid known as Omega...as well as triggering the appearance of Dr. Weil and a new X...
Some of the things that jump to mind...
- Cyber-elves - The Cyber-elf system has seen a great overhaul. Elves are now classified into two groups: satellite and fusion. Fusion ones work almost the same as from previous games. Satellite elves are the ones that circle around you on the world map and are also from the previous games—however, the difference here is that you may use them as often as you like (someone’s been listening to me!). You can have up to two satellite elves active at a time. Additionally, some elves can be used even before they are fully “grown.” If you choose to feed those elves, they increase in their abilities, but if you don’t have the crystals, you can simply use them as-is.
- Secret Disks - These are very much like a combination of the Cyber-elf boxes from the previous games, and the CD database system from Mega Man & Bass. When you pick up a disk, you are shown which number it is with a nifty little drop of digits. Some disks you can decode yourself; others you must take to Cerveau. Disks can contain Cyber-elves, crystals, or data about the characters in the game.
- Cyberspace - This game has “cyberspace” areas which are not really well explained in the plot or the manual. They are just sort of there, and you have to experiment with them on your own. Enter and exit such areas through glowing doors. Cyberspace areas generally mirror the regular stage, except the background is entirely green.
Using the Recoil Rod
Following tradition, you get all of your old weapons back except that the Chain Rod has been replaced with the Recoil Rod (kind of a shame; I liked the Chain Rod better).
- The Recoil Rod is similar to the Triple Rod in that you can fire it in eight directions. To use it straight up or down it must be charged.
- If you hit enemies with this while it’s charged, it will knock them backward. Probably doesn’t work for all enemies.
- Certain blocks can be destroyed or pushed around with the Recoil Rod’s charged attack.
- If you charge up and fire the Rod straight down, Zero will rebound off the ground higher than his jump (kind of like a pogo-stick). You can couple this with a dash to do a dash-rebound-jump (or something like that).
- You can also bounce off enemies if you do a charged down-stab on top of them and hit them just right.
- Play Control:
- The play control is basically the same, so you know they haven’t been fooling with the engine much.
- Largely what we’ve come to expect. Even the Resistance Base is almost the same as the previous game. The portraits are finally starting to not look like scans.
- Zero gets a walk animation in this game. Otherwise, mostly the same.
- Pretty much the same in terms of quality and execution. I like the Twilight Desert remix, although the instruments still sound a little scratchy.
- Sound Effects:
- Pretty much the same.
- The plot for this game goes further than the previous two in explaining some things that happened in the past (you know, all that wonderful world history that everyone is so ignorant of in this universe). See the Ending section for some of my comments on that.
- Difficulty: (hard)
- Like the previous game, this title has extra lives and infinite continues, although the continues are pointless. The difficulty seems about the same as the previous game. The main difference here is, even without using fusion elves, you can lessen the difficulty using items, equipment, satellite elves, and the cyberspace areas. However, that assumes you can beat a stage first.
- Replay Value:
- In essence, there are two ways to play through the game a second time: using the clear game save, or starting a new hard mode game. Probably, in order to find everything, you’ll end up having to do both.
- Nothing jumps out at me, but there were no real deficiencies here either. The rotating image of Zero on the subscreen was a nice touch.
- Overall: 79%
- I’m finding this one really hard to rate, because while it has improvements, it also contains a lot of carry-overs of annoying features from the previous two games. But I suppose that is to be somewhat expected in a sequel. It’s a fun game, more enjoyable in a lot of ways than the first two, I think, which is a good thing.
- + Plus:
- Satellite elves can be used infinitely. Unlimited Cyber-elves!
- - Minus:
- Oddly enough, the cyberspace areas seem to play no part in the storyline aside from an optional hidden boss. It seems their sole purpose is to make the game easier, but some explanation in the plot would have been nice.
Feel free to adjust this suggested order if you have an easier time defeating different stage bosses instead. Also, whenever you manage to make an A+ rank, you may wish to select your next stage based on the EX Skill (though luckily most of them are relatively useless so it’s not a huge issue if you don’t get them).
In the teleporting hatch rooms, you have to stand in the center of a hatch and press Up to enter it.
After each battle, equip an elf like Byse and the energy capsules you are given will go twice the distance. In fact, you can totally refill even a doubled health meter from almost empty with just those two capsules and a Super Recover elf.
Many of the bosses are covered in the Data Base section. This covers only those who are not found there.
- Old Residential Mini-Boss:
- Just stay on the left side of the screen with your Boomerang Shield up (don’t throw it) and you won’t be hit. Hit the green gem with another weapon on your other weapon slot to damage it. The main trick here is you have to time your shots or you’ll take damage while you’re shooting/slashing because the shield won’t protect you in the middle of an attack.
- Oceanic Hwy Ruins Mini-Boss:
- He stretches out his hands toward you to grab you; if he snags you, he’ll draw you in and do multiple hits of damage—press the buttons rapidly to get out. He’ll also drop boulders from the ceiling; these are pretty easy to dodge and you can damage the guy in the process. Also he uses a laser—dodge it the same way Zero did when the battle first started. Finally, he fires arrows in about 8 directions at once; you can stand between them to dodge them.
- W.R. Factory Mini-Boss:
- Hit the pod while it’s open. The wasps flying in your way can hamper things. Also, the pod throws oil on the walls which can hinder your movements.
- Twilight Desert Mini-Boss:
- It’s a mechanical sand worm. Shoot the airborne stuff with the buster and swipe at the worm with the saber...or just slash at everything.
- Energy Facility Mini-Boss:
- The sphere in the center changes colors and when its gem opens it can be harmed. The gem also fires shots which are different elements depending on the sphere’s current color. You can dodge the shots by jumping from platform to platform.
- Snowy Plains Mini-Boss:
- Another mechanical worm, an ice one this time, and you don’t have the moving ground to worry about here. Fire sticks to it. This one uses snowballs and causes snow to fall down from above. You can destroy the snowflakes with your weapons, of course.
- Giant Elevator Mini-Boss:
- This is a repeat boss from a previous game. Hit him to cause him to tip over, then shoot him where he was vulnerable. He shoots energy boomerangs which return to him. You can dust him off without too much trouble by using the “1000 Slash” EX Skill if you managed to pick that up.
- Baby Elves:
- The two of them move up and down on either side of the room and occasionally circle or cross the room. They can also combine to form a larger, single entity to perform attacks. You can hit either elf to damage them both.
- Copy X Mark II:
- This is very much like the Falcon Copy X from the first game. He has various colors and various attacks. He can also refill some of his health which I guess is no different than Zero using a Sub-Tank, heh. It’s hard to say whether he’s weak against any particular element at any given time since none of them seem to “stick” to him or otherwise give an obvious reaction. You can trap him in a corner by hitting him with a triple-slash of the saber, if you time it correctly—the key is he has to bounce backward a little bit with each slash. You won’t be able to trap him permanently, probably, but you can keep him there for a short while.
- Omega 1st time:
- This battle is very similar to the one during the intro stage. Dodge his hand-beams by jumping over them in the correct pattern, and dashing under the half-height horizontal one. The spheres that bounce off the ground will always be fired either right to left or left to right depending on where he shoots the first one. Finally, he has a sword in this battle which is relatively easy to dodge; just dash out of the way right before it drops down.
- Omega 2nd time:
- You have to hit his head (er, I think it’s his head... It’s somewhere in the center of his sprite, above his big arm cannon). He fires beams toward the ground in various locations—dodge these by jumping. He also shoots spheres horizontally across the ground to the left, or a large laser horizontally. He has a red sun-like sphere that slowly tracks you, and if it hits you, it will lift you up and draw you toward Omega. You can escape without damage by mashing the buttons.
- Copy Zero:
- (I know he’s not technically the copy, but it’s easier for me to write it this way and anyway, he doesn’t have Zero’s mind, so...) He’s got a variety of attacks that I couldn’t begin to describe, but some things of note: he has a double jump just like yours, and he also has a triple shot very similar to early X games. If you pay attention to him, you will notice he’s always approaching you. This is because most of his weapons are relatively short range. So, stay far away from him and hit him from a distance. If he does manage to close in on you, whack him with your saber, then quickly dash away.
If you die to any of the final three bosses, you have to start over with the first one (but without the cut scenes). You have no opportunity to refill Sub-Tanks so this is something to beware.
- Old Residential Area: It’s high up above the large room where the Pantheon robots peek out of windows and toss bombs at you. I wasn’t able to get up there until after I had the double-jump. I think it might be possible to do it by just using the charged Recoil Rod coupled with a dash off the platform to the right, but if you can’t do it, just come back with the double-jump.
- Forest of Anatre: Right near the end of the stage, it’s in the upper left of a section with the moving walls, switches, and spikes.
- The rest are made using elves.
- There is no point in continuing since you lose everything that you’d done in that stage anyway, plus you probably get docked in your rank for continuing. Therefore, always restore from a save game if you run out of lives. (This also means that the old trick in the X games of entering stages, gathering items, then killing yourself off and returning to the stage select, will not work here. Which, in turn, means that if you are having difficulty with the game, you are pretty much stuck, since there is no way to gather items to make life easier on yourself—even if you are willing to take the time, you can’t do it.)
- You get life energy refills from nearly every enemy you defeat in cyberspace, so in some cases it can be helpful to go through the cyberspace version of a stage rather than the real world. (You can still find disks and such in cyberspace.)
- When you beat the game, you are given the instructions on how to activate hard mode. You also unlock a couple of other things such as mini-games, and you can make a clear-game save which acts as a “New Game +” like in previous titles. This means the save will be for the beginning of the game, rather than the end, so don’t save over your end-of-game save if you still want to keep it. A clear-game save is marked with a “1” (or however many times you beat it). A hard game is marked with a red “H” on the save/load screen. The hard mode is really not worth the effort, since (among other things) you can’t use any Cyber-elves which makes collecting disks and crystals somewhat pointless (okay, very pointless). However, the clear game save is very much worth the effort because you can use it to gather things that you couldn’t get the first time.
- As with the other Zero series games, I’m sure that if you do insane things like find all of the Cyber-elves or beat the game on Hard, you can unlock more stuff. However, I probably am never going to have time to do it, so don’t expect see any details regarding such things here.
- Aegis Volcano Base: Use a charged Recoil Rod hit to knock away the mine carts or whatever they are that are blocking the ladders and such. (Do this on a return trip; don’t bother for your first run through.) Also, you can use charged Ice shots to freeze the columns of fire that push the platforms up, if you are so inclined.
- Old Residential: This stage was practically made for the Recoil Rod and the Flame Chip. In fact, this is one of the better stages to revisit for item-gathering purposes since there are so many Energy Crystals lying around, as well as two (count ’em, two) 1-Ups that return each time you revisit the stage. You need the Flame Chip to clear this place out effectively however. (Don’t bother on the first trip.)
- Oceanic Hwy Ruins: To get the mission points for this stage, you must find and press the buttons that are deep in the ground...and you have to reach them before Inarabitta or Inarabitta will destroy them.
- W.R. Factory: The “cameras” that you must destroy for the mission points in this stage are actually normal enemies; they are the cannons on the ceilings that shine red lights and then sound alarms. It’s okay if you trigger the alarms as long as you destroy the cannons. Hit the hammers that hang from the ceilings with the Recoil Rod (charged) to cause them to move faster and higher. Sometimes you can use this to break holes in walls and ceilings.
- Twilight Desert: The music here is a remix of the opening music of Mega Man Zero 2. I guess this is the same desert where they found Zero wandering around in the previous game.
- Forest of Anatre: Yep, it’s nostalgia time. You can burn the tree leaves with the Flame Chip, of course. Also, later on, try pushing blocks onto the switches with the Recoil Rod. (You’ll know what I mean when you get there.)
- Frontline Ice Base: Much of this stage is underwater, but there are also sections with the pipes that will freeze you, just like previous games.
- Area X-2: The background graphics to this stage include computerized images of Zero on screens flashing big “Emergency!” signs. Cute.
- Energy Facility: Use the Thunder Chip on the orange posts to activate them and light up rooms. When the lights come on, the moth robots go toward the light and flutter around it. Ha ha!
- Snowy Plains: The first time through the stage, try to ride on the carts. This will get you through a lot faster. Of course, for revisits, you may want to explore more thoroughly and search for items.
- Sunken Library: Hit the turtles to turn them over and use them as platforms. If you are in the water when the water is electrified it will harm you. (The water becomes electrified when the water level rises enough to touch the exposed wires.)
On your first pass through, when you get to the data room, the game will prompt you to press Up to access the terminal. For each match, the computer will show you which door has the data you want. The doors mostly all look alike, but you can use the patterns of colors to pinpoint which door is which.
- Giant Elevator: When you get to the actual elevator, enemies will start dropping onto your elevator from platforms to the left and right. The easiest way to deal with the shielded ones is to hit them with a charged Recoil Rod and they will go flying straight off the elevator.
- Sub Arcadia: There are platforms here that move in the direction of the arrows when you step on them. When they hit an obstacle, they will reverse direction and go back to their starting point. If you go toward the upper left of this area, you will find a gate in the wall. It’s not active normally, but if you go through while in cyberspace, you can fight a hidden boss, Phantom, and win the Ultima Boots. (Yep, you fight in cyberspace, so at least you can use all of your Cyber-elves during the battle.)
After you beat Copy Zero, the Dark Elf starts to power him back up. Zero tries to approach but gets knocked away by a black sphere around Copy Zero. The X Guardians show up and attack the evil Zero, and even when they get repelled by the shield, they aren’t deterred.
Eventually X himself appears and announces that he worked together with Zero to defeat this Omega a century ago, and he’ll do it again. (This is why Zero recognized the Dark Elf in the previous game, incidentally.) X then tells Zero that the defeated Omega is now using Zero’s original body. (So he’s only half a copy. Or half an original, depending on how you want to look at it.) This means Zero’s mind had, at some point, been transplanted into another body. You know, this would perfectly explain why Zero looks so different now...except that Copy Zero looks exactly the same as Zero’s new body! Argh, Capcom! Did you really not want to take the effort to make a new sprite!? I still say that the “shock effect” would have been so much better if Copy Zero had looked exactly like the original X series Zero...
Interestingly enough, after this story scene you are given control of Zero...but your button configurations are set such that the Saber is on your main weapon and your sub weapon button doesn’t function. At any rate, go whack Copy Zero to complete the ending.
Zero collapses, and X comes to him and tells him that he can’t stay in this world much longer. Bleh. (Come on, Capcom, it’d be cool if X was Zero’s Navi!) Zero wakes up in what is apparently the Resistance Base because Ciel and some Resistance members are there. Zero wonders how he got there, and the Dark Elf shows up.
Zero calls her Mother Elf and asks if Weil’s curse has been broken. The Elf flies off without saying anything beyond Zero’s name. Zero wants to follow her, but Ciel says to let her go free for now.
Ciel also mentions that X told her about how Zero’s body is a copy, but she says that as long as Zero has his original heart, that’s all that matters.
Without answering at first, Zero steps past her as if he’s going to just walk off, but then he stops finally and says, “Ciel. Thank you.”
And Ciel grins.