Monday, June 29, 2009

At It Again: Megaman X RPG: Chapter 1

The first Mega Man game I ever played was a worn-out NES game on its last legs. I had rented it out from a convenience store in Old Town, Maine, when I was in school in Orono in 1990. It had been rented so many times I had to huff on the contacts to make them work, though that ultimately killed it.

Mega Man has come a long way from mutated John Denver cover art, branching into a leggier version while staying faithful to the squat prototype that wowed us all in the late 80s. This fan tribute, while quietly bootleg in the sprites department, throws out an original mash of RPG elements and chop-chop sprite action.

MegamanX RPG offers an improved jump-in setup. Mash enough menu buttons and you can equip your found and purchased gear, spend points to upgrade a ton of chips, each with 5 or 6 abilities, level up techniques, and more. Featuring a lateral, WoW-style talent tree for each of the main characters, there's plenty of leeway for customizing your characters as you go along.

It's really a shame that Capcom hasn't offered this guy a job yet, as seen on the game itself. Fun writing, multiple paths, an upgrade system worthy of a professional game, and deep combat make Megaman X RPG worth checking out once more.

Excitement:B. The RPG elements are about as pulse-pounding as rock-paper-scissors, which can be taken either way. Still, the mad MM soundtrack can't help but snap you out of your lethargy and a lot of the limit breaks are pretty fun. And a lot of times the sharp writing gets you pumped up enough to make it through a menu-driven boss battle.

Originality:Visual content N/A, coding A+. With true-to-genre writing, item descriptions, and game mechanics, this game is a sleeper for the slacker wishing to convert his life into a few hours mastering a game.

Graphics:N/A. Spliced and diced. Nice try overall, though some of the pixellation was never seen in a real MM game.

Controls:A-. A chaotic clutter of options, with some bogdown if you're not 7331 enough to get it all down. Still very sharp and intuitive over time. At least it doesn't say "PC load letter" anywhere.

Sound:A-. Somewhat muffled to keep total file size down, but it's high-octane, original, and two slaps across the mouth because he freakin' likes us.

Replay value:B It's possible, if you want to re-evolve all your characters again. But it's a lot easier to wear a loud necktie and walk outside, too.

Overall value:A- A little constrained by having to patch an existing game into another, but if you can get past the stitching it's a very solid effort. Great for the die-hard Mega Man geek.