Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X Review

Title: Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X
Developer: Capcom
Game Type: PlayStation Portable
Download: 408 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download, Direct Download
EU Availability: Digital Download, Direct Download

Mega Man saw a pretty long run, in its time.  As you may or may not know, the developers of the franchise have begun work on Mighty No. 9, the spiritual successor of the Mega Man series.  After this was announced, most hope for a new entry in the Mega Man franchise seemed lost.  With them working on a new series that seems to have identical gameplay, it is imagined that Mighty No. 9 will replace Mega Man as the side-scrolling action game of the developers.

Mighty No. 9 has been announced to be coming to the PlayStation Vita in the future, but what do Vita owners have at their disposal if they want to play Mega Man?  There were no Vita-native Mega Man titles, but there are some games that are available.  As far as PlayStation Classics are concerned, the Vita has access to the original four Mega Man games, in Japanese form.  Although they are in Japanese, they are playable.  The series didn’t have a huge focus on story back in those days.

Aside from these games, there is one game that the Vita has available to it.  In the PlayStation Portable generation, Capcom remade two crucial games in the franchise’s history and put them on the PSP.  One of those games is on the PlayStation Network and available for download on the Vita.  The remake of Mega Man X on the Super Nintendo.  Here is our coverage and official review of Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X.

Story

Back in the time where Mega Man was young, as a franchise, there wasn’t a very big focus on the storyline of each game.  Mostly, the story of each game boiled down to “Dr Wily has six evil robots and is trying to take over the world.  Take them all out and defeat Dr Wily again” and that is how it all went down.  When Capcom made Mega Man X, however, they opted for a more story-oriented game.  While the game still consisted of taking out evil robots and their leader, there is much more story involved than in previous Mega Man games, and that’s what started the Mega Man X series.

In Maverick Hunter X, you play as Mega Man X, often referred to as X, whom is a Mega Man model far into the future past the original Mega Man franchise, where there is an entire population and community of robots, called Reploids, who live alongside humans.  When a Reploid goes insane, due to a malfunction or otherwise, they become hostile and hostile Reploids who take part in terrorist actions are deemed as Mavericks.  X is part of a group known as the Maverick Hunters, who seek and stop Mavericks from causing destruction.

The story involves four reploids.  The Maverick Hunters X and Zero, along with the Mavericks Vile and Sigma.  The latter was once the head of the Maverick Hunters, but due to ideals he turned and wished to create a new world, with violence.  Once he starts a rebellion, X and Zero go after both him and his allies to stop them from killing others.

This story is much more in-depth than in the original Mega Man X, thanks to the additions Capcom added to this remake.  Included in this game is an anime for the game.  The anime, available at the Main Menu, is a prelude to the events of the games, showing how Sigma turned Maverick and how Vile escaped prison to help cause trouble for X and Zero.

Gameplay

Like most Mega Man games of its time and the original Mega Man X, Maverick Hunter X is a side-scrolling platformer.  It’s kind of hard to really categorize it.  It’s a platformer, but it’s also an action game from the constant combat happening throughout each stage.  But, in essence it is a side=scrolling platformer with combat.  Many games could be thrown into this genre as well, such as Castlevania and Metroid.

The game consists of playing through various stages, where you move through each area, shooting down enemies and collecting regeneration items, upgrades, and other items leading up to a Boss Fight at the end of the stage.  You play through many of these stages as you proceed until you unlock the final set of stages, which lead up to the Final Boss and the game’s ending.

Proceeding through each stage involves platforms as well as wall-climbing.  One of the features that the Mega Man X series adds is the ability to cling to walls.  When you jump against a wall, you can push against it to cling to it and you slide down the wall.  As you cling, you can jump off of it to get to a higher platform, or another wall.

As you play through each stage, you need to fight enemies.  This can be done with your blaster.  Mega Man X’s arm turns into an energy cannon that fires energy bullets.  You can fire normal bullets, three in a row, or you can hold down and charge the cannon to unleash a powerful Charge Shot.  Apart from this, you can also change your weapon to include an elemental attack and animation, which are gained by defeating a boss.  Each time you defeat a boss, you absorb their Special Attack.

The order in which you complete the stage is up to you, but you should take into account the fact that each Boss has a weakness.  Chill Penguin is weak against Fire, so you may want to defeat the Fire-elemental boss to gain that ability to easily take down Chill Penguin.  Each person who plays the game may have a different order in which they tackle the bosses.  Learning what the weakness of each one is key to making the fighting easier.  Using a weakness on an enemy could potentially freeze them in place and do a lot more damage than even a Charge Shot would do to them.

Along with powers, you can also find upgrades through each of the stages.  Almost every stage has an upgrade capsule you can find, which is a power left to you by your creator, Dr. Light.  When you find one, you gain a piece of extra armor, which gives you an extra ability or support.  For example, the Boots give you the ability to dash, another new feature given to the Mega Man X series.  Another decreases damage you take, and another gives you a powered-up Charge Shot.  Other items you can find are Heart Containers that increase your total energy/health and Sub Tanks, which store extra health you can use to restore health anytime in a stage or Boss Fight.

One thing to note is that the game doesn’t automatically save data.  So, if you finish a stage and want to quit the game, you need to go to the Options Menu and save your game.  There have been several occasions where I’ve played through a few stages and forgot to go to that save area.

Another thing of note is that this version has retained the optional bonus abilities that the original version of Mega Man X had.  This includes both the ability to get Zero’s Energy Cannon shot, which is more powerful than the upgraded Charge Shot, and the special Hadouken move that can take out any enemy or Boss with a single hit.  If you are thinking about it, yes, it is the same Hadouken from Street Fighter.

An addition to the game that was made was a completely new storyline.  While the chronicles of Mega Man X were shown in the original game, a new storyline that takes place at the same time, as a “what if” scenario for the Maverick Vile was added to the game, giving you a more in-depth Sub Weapon system, and an interesting take and side of the storyline.  This was the first time you were able to play as an antagonist of the series and easily doubles the length of the game.  Apart from this, there is also a demo of the game Mega Man Powered Up included in this.  That game was a remake of the original Mega Man, but never made it to the PlayStation Network.

Controls

Controlling Maverick Hunter X is relatively simple, but also very customizable.  This is in the fact that, aside from movement, any of the button commands can be set to any button.  If you want to set shooting the Energy Shots to the L button, you can, and if you was Triangle to jump, you can set the game to use that as well. Personally, I always set Dashing to R, which enables easier jumping and traveling while maintaining a ready-to-go Charge Shot.

Movement is used with the D-Pad.  The rest of them can be customized.  By default, the X Button is used for jumping and wall-jumping.  The Square and Circle Buttons are used for the Energy Cannon, while Square also controls the currently-equipped Sub Weapon.  The L and R buttons are for switching between sub weapons, and the Start button pulls up the menu, where you can manually equip sub weapons or use a Sub Tank.

The controls sound a little intimidating, but they’re pretty easy to get used to, and the ability to customize them makes it that much easier.  So, aside from moving, you have the freedom to choose and pick any control scheme you can think up.  You can just pick and choose until you find something you like.

Presentation

The way the game looks is one of the more unique features, but also one of the more negative parts about playing this game on the Vita.  The original Mega Man X was a 2D game, from gameplay and from visuals, and it looked good for that.  The gameplay is the same in Maverick Hunter X, but everything is in 3D, from X to enemies to backgrounds.  This both made the game look less aged, but also made a few things look iffy and bad.

The backgrounds all move and have a lot of crisp and fluent visuals and animations.  This makes them all look very impressive for this type of game.  Very few 2D Mega Man games ever used 3D visuals for the models and backgrounds.  This is a very redeeming quality of the game.  However, not everything is so wonderful.

The character model for Mega Man X looked a little choppy when this was played on the PSP.  There are jagged almost completely around his character model.  The enemies, environments, and animations, however, look fluid, vibrant, and colorful, which easily distracted you from X’s sub-par character model.  While playing on the PlayStation Vita, the game is stretched a bit.  While the environments, enemies, and animations still look fluid and mostly free of jagged edges, Mega Man X’s imperfections are much more apparent.  If you stand still and look at the character model, the edges look like a huge collection of zig-zags, which really looks ugly on-screen.

Overall

All in all, this game is a good remake of a classic Super Nintendo game, and what is considered one of the most crucial games in the Mega Man series.  While the character models look grainy and jagged-heavy, the game is a lot of fun to play and has enough extra content that the play time has more than doubled from the original game and provides Vita users with a fun Mega Man experience that any fan should dive into at least once.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network rates Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X a 7.5/10.

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