[Mega Man X2 logo]

[The entrance to Bubble Crab's domain]


System: Super NES
Publisher & Designer: Capcom
Release Date: January 1995
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Save Feature? Yes

Following in the footsteps of a golden classic is never easy, but Mega Man X2 was certainly up for the task! This sequel took everything that the first X game had to offer and kept things close to the vest...very close to the vest. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because X2, like its predecessor, is an adrenaline-pumping feast for action fans with plenty of depth to satisfy the Mega Man crowd. It's pretty safe to say that your opinion of the first X game will naturally follow suit to its sequel.

Overview: If you have already read my review of Mega Man X, you know exactly what to expect in the sequel because Mega Man X2 hardly deviates from its predecessor's formula. As far as gameplay goes, fans of the first game will be able to pick up X2 within mere seconds. While its lack of originality might sound like a turn-off and a cheap attempt by Capcom to milk the franchise for all its worth, that is hardly the truth because X2, like X, is incredibly fun to play! And as you will see later in the review, it's not like Mega Man X2 is completely devoid of new bells and whistles.

[This game is action-packed right from the start!]
[Make your selection!]
[One of the game's more difficult mini-bosses]

Graphics: Can Capcom do no wrong? As amazing as the visuals were in the first X game, it is quite possible that Mega Man X2 is slightly better in this respect! I know it sounds unfathomable but the graphics in this game are dually impressive for their time. Featuring the same style and attention to detail found in the first X game, where X2 really shines is with its impressive animations and awe-inspiring background graphics. The scene I always think of when Mega Man X2 comes to mind is the very first part of Bubble Crab's ocean-esque level with its gorgeous sunset and sparkling water in the distance. That coupled with X moving into a lighted cave and eventually the ocean blue itself just created a fun atmosphere for this particular stage of the game. I loved the Crystal Snail stage too with its myriad of reds and blues and purples. Granted, the atmosphere of this game, as a whole, might not be quite as consistent as the first X game, but the graphics are equally superb if not better.

One of the reasons for Mega Man X2's success in the visual department might be the fact that this game was the first Super Nintendo game to use the Cx4 chip when actually enhanced the game's graphics. It allowed for some nifty wireframe effects that were used in the game's ultra-cool title screen sequence along with the Magna Centipede sword mini-boss and final battle of the game actually. At the very least, it was good to see that X2 had something different about it compared to the original X hit.

Music: Amazingly, the music throughout Mega Man X2 was on the same plain as the original X game. How Capcom's composers continually churned out amazing melody after amazing melody will always boggle my mind. You have to remember that X2 was released only a year after the original X game. That's pretty remarkable to compose a meaty soundtrack full of various themes to a game in such a short timeframe.

One of the best themes in X2 actually takes place during the game's opening stage. Fast-paced and adrenaline-pumping, I absolutely love this action-packed track. Apparently Capcom did too because, in a unique twist, this very same melody actually plays during the game's final stage as well! This unusual tactic may not always be a good idea but for X2's purposes, it came across as nothing short of pure genius!

Additional tunes that I enjoyed in Mega Man X2 include Bubble Crab's catchy melody, Crystal Snail's nice, atmospheric piece, Magna Centipede's suspenseful ditty, and the two exceptional ending/credits themes that play once you beat the game. The Wire Sponge and Sigma Stage 1 tracks are also quite good. To be fair, the Sigma Stage 1 tune is nowhere near as good as the one found in Mega Man X but it's still doable.

Lastly, the sound effects in Mega Man X2 are superb just as they were in the original game. I know that I didn't mention this aspect of sound in my Mega Man X review but the sound effects throughout the X series have always been stellar and explosive! You have to love the epic effects that take place after you defeat a Maverick or boss of any kind in these games. You really feel a sense of accomplishment in large part due to some of the pyroclastic-like explosions that take place.

Play Control: Just as it was in Mega Man X, the play control throughout Mega Man X2 is spot-on once more! I wouldn't be surprised if Capcom simply copied and pasted the code from Mega Man X into this game because it feels exactly the same. I have no qualms about this either because the control scheme had already reached a near-perfect level in Mega Man X. There are a couple of new upgrades like X's ability to dash in mid-air and the cool radar feature that allows him to hone in on secret areas/items located nearby. Considering how well some secrets are hidden in this game, don't underestimate the value of the radar ability. Lastly, and this is a real favorite of mine, you will eventually get the Arm upgrade which not only enhances your X-buster but also gives you the ability to charge your special weapons as well! You want to talk about fun? This upgrade is truly awesome to behold and for Mega Man fans, there are few things more enjoyable than playing with upgraded special weapons.

[X vs. Serges]
[The final battle...?]
[X vs. Agile]

Challenge: Mega Man X2, like Mega Man X before it, probably fits in the moderate-to-high difficulty range. This isn't the most difficult video game out there but it is certainly a challenging one nonetheless. Part of X2's difficulty lies in the early part of the game when Violen, Serge, and Agile (the X-Hunters) re-locate to random areas on the stage selection screen and beckon X to come to them with Zero's parts as bait. Not only do you need to make your stage selections based on where the aforementioned X-Hunters go but simply getting to the X-Hunters let alone defeating them poses quite the challenge...especially at this early stage of the game. Since it is quite easy to miss out on your chance to snag all three of Zero's parts (since one foul-up can result in the X-Hunters disappearing from the selection screen altogether), this might very well be the most challenging stretch of Mega Man X2. Granted, going after the X-Hunters and retrieving the Zero parts is indeed optional, but what happens here does affect the game later on. If you want to see a really cool, epic scene near the end of the game, make sure that you complete this task successfully.

As far as the rest of the game goes, Mega Man X2 is right on par with its predecessor. While X2 is definitely a worthy challenge, it never quite reaches that insane/overwhelming point that oftentimes results in thrown controllers and mysterious "marks" on the living room wall. And to be honest, I actually thought that the final battle in this game is relatively tame compared with other games in the series. It's still a challenge (mainly because you have to use one particular item against the final boss) but it isn't as intimidating as, say, Mega Man X3.

Another positive trait that Mega Man X2 inherited from Mega Man X is its impressive amount of replay value. Due to the sheer quantity of Heart Tanks, E-tanks, and special Arm/Head/Leg/Chest upgrades available, this game will hold your interest for a long time. And like the elusive Ryu's Fireball move in Mega Man X that could only be found under the perfect conditions, X2 has its very own easter egg as well! The Shoryuken move is truly awesome but only the very best Mega Man X players will be able to find it. Let's just say that your ability to dodge spikes will be put to the ultimate test and leave it at that.

Storyline: Although the Mega Man X2 story didn't have the novelty that the initial X game had going for it, X2 did provide nice continuity and added a few new players into the mix which kept things interesting. Essentially, Mega Man X2 takes place approximately six months after the epic battle against Sigma. X, along with his fellow Maverick Hunters, is attempting to eradicate the last of the Mavericks. Unbeknownst to X, however, he is secretly being watched by three underground followers of Sigma. Dubbed the X-Hunters, this triumvirate consists of the bulky, brutal Violen, the older, crafty Serge, and the respectful-yet-deadly Agile. Working in secret, these X-Hunters have quietly gathered several pieces of Zero's body (the result of his battle with Vile in Mega Man X no doubt) and are attempting to revive him with the hope of forcing him to fight X.

Despite a general lack of originality in this game, I thought that X2 was actually a nice follow-up to Mega Man X in the story department. It still felt original and fresh enough and all of us X fans couldn't wait to see what would happen next! The game didn't disappoint either with a climactic finale...just like in the first game. The ending is very solid once more although I'm not sure if any ending could top the original X game in this respect. X2 sure tries though!

Funfactor: Even though, at its heart, Mega Man X2 is nearly a carbon copy of the first X game, it is still immensely fun to play! Fans of the first game and especially hardcore Mega Man fans absolutely ate this game up! I was ecstatic when I finally got the chance to play X2 at my good friend Wesley Messer's house and I can still remember how much fun we had teaming up and eventually beating this great game. As good as the first X game was, I honestly think that the second X game, while not necessarily better than its predecessor, is its equal almost to a "T." When it comes to action gaming in the early-to-mid 90s, nothing can top Mega Man X...or Mega Man X2!

Negatives: Other than the fact that Mega Man X2 is virtually a carbon copy of the first X game and thus suffers from a general lack of originality, there is really nothing negative to report about this game. Unless you are dying for something revolutionary and completely new, you will not be disappointed with X2. And based on how enjoyable the first X game was, can you honestly blame Capcom for not wanting to deviate from a winning formula?

On a different note, while it's not necessarily a huge issue, I did think that the X-Hunters/Zero Parts sidequest of sorts was somewhat annoying because of the perfection required to successfully obtain all three Zero parts. Literally one screw-up (e.g. choosing the wrong stage, going to the correct stage yet not finding the X-Hunter door, finding said X-Hunter door yet not being able to reach it or it being inaccessible, etc...) would render this otherwise cool sidequest completely useless. I don't want to sound whiny because I do like this aspect of X2. It's just brutally unmerciful at times.

[X and Zero gazing off into the distance...]

Ratings: Graphics: 4.7 Music: 4.6 Play Control: 4.8 Challenge: 4.5 Storyline: 4.3 Funfactor: 4.7 Overall Score: 27.6 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Golden Classic!!

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Last Updated: April 2, 2012
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