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Mega Man ZX Review

Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: September 12, 2006 Also On: None

Mega Man makes his first appearance on Nintendo’s dual screen handheld and the results are mega, right? Well, not quite. Mega Man ZX is a relatively solid experience and should be able to please most fans, old-school or “new-school”, of 2d action-platformers. After choosing one of the two main characters the game thrusts you immediately into the action. After just a bit of back story your human body soon transfuses with the Model Z and Model X Biometals (ZX, get it?) and you’re sent on your way to save the world. Again.

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While, admittedly, I never played the Mega Man Zero sub-franchise on the GBA I don’t feel like I’ve missed a single beat since playing the original and X series’ on the NES, SNES and PlayStation. Everything feels virtually identical to the X series and I was able to jump in and feel comfortable. The shoulder buttons are used effectively with the L button used for the dash and the R button used for the secondary attack (more on that later). The face buttons are laid out intuitively and used for the main attack, jumping, special ability and changes which biometal is currently equipped.

Changing which biometal is the biggest gameplay difference this go around. Instead of changing weapons you change which biometal is equipped and in turn what form to use. It’s a bit reminiscent of a more varied version of Mega Man 6’s jetpack and power-suit. The biometal abilities are acquired upon the defeat of the corresponding boss and once all the biometals are unlocked you’ll be able to air dash, cling from ceilings or be more effective in ranged or melee combat. Unfortunately, aside from a few specific instances, it’s not entirely necessary to use all the biometals but if used intelligently and effectively it adds an element to the game that makes the experience much more rewarding.

Love it or hate it, I can’t finish the review without mentioning the map system. While it’s been likened to Metroid and Castlevania’s system there are very few similarities between the aforementioned and ZX’s. Instead of one large, connected world map every level is broken into stages which are connected through the old familiar doors of the old games. For example, level C-1 is connected to both C-2 and C-3 but also connects to the other levels through a teleportation system (B-2 and A-2 in case you don’t trust me). If it sounds a little confusing that’s because it is. And while the system is flawed, it’s not enough to ruin the game. It’s a departure from the other entries and wasn’t executed perfectly but it’s nice to see Capcom try their hand at something different after fifteen years of practically the same thing.

Having seen screens of the game leading up to release I was expecting the worst from the visuals but I was quite wrong. It seems as if this was a GBA port that’s been prettied up but only a trained eye should be able to tell. With the game in motion everything moves at a very brisk pace, without a hint of slowdown and all the sprites are as crisp as can be on that tiny DS screen. The sound effects and music are also good but don’t stand out enough to write home (or a review *wink*) about. One bit of fun though is that the movies still have Japanese voices. It threw me off the first time but soon I just looked forward to them to have a laugh.

I really enjoyed Mega Man ZX but too often I felt like it was too much work to really enjoy it. None of these oversights are enough to completely ruin the game, I would still recommend this to fans of action and platformer titles that are desperate for something new to play on their DS after growing bored of collecting all the gold coins in New Super Mario Bros.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 6.5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.8
Written by Chris Review Guide