Throwback Thursday: Mega Man X
With each passing week, I keep feeling I need to buy another SNES Classic just to have one in the box. If my current one breaks, I’m gonna lament its absence. I am astonished by how much this system continues to impress me.
My latest conquest, BLADE RUNN—er—MEGA MAN X. Brass tacks: I totally missed this game during its initial run. For whatever reason, it never hit my radar, not really, anyway. The game hovered in my peripheral but never pulled my attention. I don’t know why, either. It’s totally in my present wheelhouse, and it would have been back then, too. Mega Man X is another of Capcom’s 1990’s successes that blends simple gameplay with beautifully rendered 16-bit animation. The game fires on all cylinders for a cart of its time, and it must have been a beloved title to have found its way on this system. I missed it, but now I have been given the opportunity (yes, opportunity) to play the game as an adult.
The verdict: Mega Man X is LEGIT on all-levels (black belt in punnery). the story follows a now-outdated Mega Man model who must hunt more advanced robots-gone-rogue (hence the earlier Blade Runner reference), and the game sports all the bells and whistles of a side-scroller to the max. The game features not only a cool hero but a solid cast of colorful rogues (aka “mavericks”) for X to hunt, with names like Sting Chameleon and Storm Eagle, not to mention the introduction of the ally ZERO and the enemy SIGMA. This game is awesome. And the information age has made it even better.
Why? Well, more than any game I have played up to now for the classic mini, Mega Man X is a game made twice as fun to beat thanks to the wealth of online intel on secrets, boss order (the order to approach the different rogues and their levels), and other tips, not to mention a few tidbits to fill in story gaps and give the game more weight.
Here’s how I approached Mega Man X, and it’s been one of the most fun gaming experiences I can remember. When I first began, I figured that each stage would take multiple attempts, plus I would miss the level-ups I needed, and I would struggle against each boss. So, I realized, “ I am an adult who knows how to use the internet, I should not have any of these issues.” And boom. That’s how I did it. I found boss order, I watched Youtube playthroughs, and found locations of secrets, then I entered each stage with a wealth of info to maximize each attempt. I am lousy at gaming, so it still took plenty of time; but in the end, I not only rocked the bosses but also advanced my armor and got 3 of the 4 necessary energy-refill tanks. I studied how to get the Hadouken and decided that it was not worth the time investment to actually acquire, but I also stumbled on a way to grind for additional lives (the second bat on Armored Armadillo’s stage) and hot to obtain life to fill my energy tanks (the second skimmer on Sting Chameleon’s stage). So, with each attempt, I was basically like an actual bounty hunter. I had done my research, prepped for success, and gone hunting. When I took on the final stages, the sub-bosses caused some headaches; but in time, they fell too. It wasn’t until Sigma that I needed to really implement the classic-mini’s “reset-pause” feature, but I was able to beat him in a single session, which was far more rewarding than it should have been. I was ecstatic, and I really enjoyed this game.
So, here’s a life lesson gaming dads: be an adult, do your research, and win. I can understand wanting to play games and discover things for oneself. That’s fun in its own way. But you know what else is fun? Winning. And avoiding frustration by utilizing the advice and counsel of others who already did the frustrating grind to discover stuff. you now have the opportunity to crush games with far less frustration and time spent than when you were a teen. Maximize that. This is a game that pays to know your stuff. I did, and it only ever enhanced the experience.
And at the end of the day, gaming is all about the experience.