Console: PSone Company: Capcom Release Date: March 1997 Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Save Feature? Yes
Mega Man X4 is incredible! The transition from the Super NES to the PSone couldn't have gone any better as X4 plays just like its counterparts. Just think of X4 as a much-needed upgrade to an already stellar series. X4 features stunning movies, adrenaline-pumping music, flawless play control, and explosive, non-stop action. This game could make a strong case as the greatest X game of them all.
Overview: Even though Mega Man X4 is for the PSone, it feels just like the first three X games. The controls are virtually identical and the game just plays like an X game. Basically, there is not a whole lot that needs to be said here since X4 is so similar to previous incarnations.
The only real difference in X4 is that you have the option of playing through the game with either X or Zero. This is a great bonus too as Zero simply rocks! As good a fighter as X is, you may never want to go back after playing through the game with Zero. I have to tip my hat to Capcom for adding this feature; the X series desperately needed something like this.
Not only is the option to choose Zero a nice bonus but the storyline is also different depending on which Maverick Hunter you choose! When you consider the fact that different FMV intermission scenes (i.e. movies) play depending on your choice, you can see just how great this is. Simply put, you really need to beat this game with both X and Zero in order to get the full impact of the game. This is not a bad thing either because X4 is really a blast to play!
Graphics: The very first thing that I noticed about Mega Man X4 was that it has eye candy and lots of it! Although nothing is truly revolutionary or groundbreaking in the game's graphics, they are spectacular nonetheless. The game features plenty of colorful characters, outstanding backgrounds/parallax-scrolling, and attention to detail. There are several huge bosses as well and I found the game to have virtually no slowdown. X4 was definitely a step up from the Super NES X games in terms of graphics.
Although the gargantuan bosses and plethora of explosions that take place throughout the game are impressive, the amazing attention to detail is what really caught my eye. From cascading waterfalls with rainbow effects to the winding staircase in the Bio Lab, X4 has it all! You can just tell by playing the game that the creators of X4 spent a lot of time putting the graphics together. There didn't seem to be any rush in other words (like in MM6 and MMX6).
Like Mega Man 8, X4 features movies and plenty of them! I was simply in awe the first time that I fired up X4 and saw the intro movie. I just wasn't used to this type of thing in a video game! Not only are there a lot of movies in X4 but I felt that the overall quality was excellent as well. Perhaps more importantly, I felt that they really added to the game's story and made things more interesting. A few major plot twists that had been building up throughout the first three X games are answered in dramatic fashion thanks to the power of the Playstation. The meeting between the General and a mysterious character, Zero's battle with the Colonel, and the epic confrontation between Zero and Sigma are all displayed brilliantly. Note that the latter movie is very long which is awesome!
Music: The upbeat, adrenaline-pumping music of the X series combined with the stereo sound and additional sound capabilities of the Playstation is a winning combination indeed. I was enthralled with X4's soundtrack during my first playthrough and I still find the game's score to be among the best in the Mega Man series. Although it is incredibly simple, I absolutely love the stage select theme! Hearing the old Mega Man 2 theme in remixed fashion was a special treat. Some of my favorite tracks include Cyber Peacock's mysterious tune, Storm Owl's heroic theme, and Slash Beast's inspiring music. The latter two are upbeat and really get you going while the former is just neat. The second Frost Walrus tune and the Spacebase track are exceptional as well. While some of the music in this game is not great stand-alone music (e.g. Web Spider and Frost Walrus levels), it fits the game like a glove.
Regarding sound effects, the X series has always represented the action genre well with its large assortment of blasts and explosions. X4 is no exception. From the sound of X jumping into the water to ice shattering, everything sounds exactly as it should. The voices in the many movies throughout the game are nicely done as well. Although they are not perfect by any stretch, there was a real improvement over Mega Man 8 in this area. Zero, the Colonel, and Sigma were all done very nicely. My only gripe would be with X (who is done by the same girl who did Mega Man in MM8...ugh).
Play Control: The play control in Mega Man X4 remained virtually untouched during the transition to the Playstation. Since the controls were pretty much perfect already, this is a great thing! Although the original Mega Man series has always been known for its flawless play control, the X games might actually be better in this area! Jumping off walls, shooting, dashing in mid-air, and performing special attacks can be done with ease. Everything is just so smooth and responsive; in terms of action games, none can dethrone X in this category.
To really enjoy X4, I recommend choosing Zero. Instead of gaining special weapons like X, Zero learns simple attack combos when he defeats a member of Repliforce. By the end of the game, he can double jump, dash-attack, and even spin in a ball and slash enemies with his Z-saber. It is just so much fun learning how to use all of Zero's abilities.
Challenge: Like any of the X games, X4 really makes you work. There are relentless enemies, countless traps, and tough-as-nails bosses that X or Zero have to face in X4. Of course, the challenge level largely depends on the order in which you decide to battle members of Repliforce. While fighting Web Spider first is recommended, you could make life really difficult by going after Slash Beast or Storm Owl instead. It all depends on the player and his or her experience with the X series.
Although this game is challenging and some of the bosses are extremely tough (try fighting Storm Owl with no energy tanks or special weapons), I feel that the challenge level is tolerable. It is tougher than X2 yet isn't as insanely difficult as X3. Experienced Mega Man veterans will bend but not break while newcomers might have to really work to beat this sucker.
Storyline: The X series has always had a better, more involved background story than the games in the original Mega Man series. I don't know why this is the case but it seems to be the trend. The story in Mega Man X4 didn't disappoint either.
What makes this category so difficult to critique is that the story is slightly above average when choosing X and nothing short of brilliant when Zero is the chosen one. I just really like choosing Zero because so many unknowns are answered and there are more movies when selected him. Zero's origin and past history really come to the surface in X4. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the silhouette of an old enemy speaking with "his greatest creation" during the game's intro. It was so nostalgic!
Simply put, the game's story, regardless of which character you choose, revolves around a sort of civil war between veteran Maverick Hunters such as X and Zero and the Reploids who have gathered to form Repliforce. The reason for this coup (i.e. Repliforce trying to form its own utopia) centers around the recent destruction of the Sky Lagoon. This area was mysteriously destroyed and fell to the city with a crash. X and Zero believe that the Colonel might have something to do with the destruction and, when they question him and he leaves offended, the battles commence. Basically, it all revolves around a mysterious character trying to get the Maverick Hunters and Reploids to get at each others' throats all while a Final Weapon powerful enough to wipe out the Earth is being built. While veterans of the X series will recognize the final villain right from the beginning, it is still an intriging story.
Funfactor: Mega Man X4 is a blast to play! This is just one of those games that you can pick up after school or work and jam to for a few hours. It has all of the qualities that are needed for an excellent action game and it continued the X tradition with a bang! Not only that but Mega Man X4 is the game that really got me back into the X series. To be frank, I had gotten burnt out with the X games and somehow, X4 was able to change all of that. Needless to say, this game is a rare gem that belongs in every video game collection.
Negatives: Like in other X games, you really begin the game at a disadvantage with no energy or heart tanks in tow. As a result, going to the wrong level first can be suicidal. Also, the endings for both Zero and X seemed way too short. Weak endings seem to be the common thread for most Playstation games for some odd reason.
Ratings: Graphics: 4.7 Music: 4.5 Play Control: 4.8 Challenge: 4.2 Storyline: 4.2 Funfactor: 4.7 Overall Score: 27.1 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Golden Classic!!
Back to Playstation PowerLast Updated: June 2, 2006