Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RP Flash Heaven: Megaman X: RPG Chapter 0

I always feel a little bittersweet about starting up a Flash game. I know it'll be like a candy bar where the enjoyment lasts about a minute and then it's all over. Considering the file size, it's an inevitability.

But every so often a game comes along, one that smashes the boundaries of file sizes, one that oozes, stretches and bends into several hours, even several days of deep, strategic gaming. Megaman X: RPG Chapter 0 is such a game. Taking its own sweet, luxurious time, this Newgrounds title takes this month's title crown of time wasters.

By turning Mega Man into a turn-based combat came, MMX cuts out most of the geegaws and lengthy programming sequences that give a Flash game a short life. Compressing itself into a package that would make a starlet at an awards ceremony blush with envy, MMX turns a lot of flat Mega Man sprites into a deep roleplaying experience with equippable head, arm, foot, weapon and body slots. Not only that, but players are also able to unlock special techniques by equipping special chips in there armor. The game encourages you to try to break it, even suggesting in the awesomely thorough tutorials that you wear several chips of the same time.

MMX's difficulty seesaws between laughably easy in the beginning to make-no-mistakes hard, but so far it's been a really fun ride. The mad robo-techno makes gearing up about as pulse-pounding as you can hope for, and while the sprites and explosions are a little pixellated, I don't care. It's what the designer has done with the action to make it all worth playing and building my robotic team up. There isn't any old-school arcade shooting here, but if you love the series and games where you can get lost in minute customization, MMX is the game for you. Play it at http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/491405.

B+. Turn-based, but it's involving.

Originality: A. RPG games have been done to death, but this one manages to cram as much content in as 25 students in a phone booth.

Graphics:B+. Limited, but they capture the overall Mega Man experience.

Controls:A-. A little awkward at first, and points off for not having mouseovers to explain the scan icon vulnerabilities to squinty old-schoolers, but otherwise well done.

Sound:A+. The music overcomes all sound effects, but it's part of the cool factor.

Replay value:?? I have a long way to go before finding out. I bet I could wrangle out some more play with some alternate strategies.

Addiction factor: A+. Be warned, don't have anything that remotely resembles work on the table once you pick this baby up. Call in sometime in the week and tell the boss you're not coming in.

Overall value:A+. A great effort and any natural shortcomings are just part of the Flash game experience. Try it out today...