System: PSone Company: Capcom Release Date: December 2001 Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Save Feature? Yes
Mega Man X6 is truly an enigma. In some areas, it could make a case as being the best in the series. In others, it falls well short of the mark with glaring flaws. The new nightmare system and the ability to create a multitude of parts by saving reploids are excellent additions while the methodical nature of the game, an invincible boss (literally!), and faulty level design cast a dark cloud over the sixth installment in the X series. X6 certainly has its moments but it is far from perfect.
Overview: Not surprisingly, Mega Man X6 is a lot like its predecessors in terms of overall gameplay. However, there are a few new additions in X6 that are worth noting. Depending on how your play the game, they can either be a blessing or a curse.
First of all, there is the new nightmare system. This unique feature causes level layouts, the enemies you encounter, and even the game's endings to change depending on the stage order you choose. For example, if a stage is lit up red on the stage select screen, it means that the nightmare has affected that particular level in some way. For example, if you choose Blizzard Wolfgang's ice level immediately after playing through Blaze Heatnix's fiery domain, you will notice fiery meteors raining down in Wolfgang's level! These fiery objects in turn melt away the ice that blocks your path in several places, opening up whole new areas! Of course, not all of the nightmare effects are that helpful. Visibility may decrease, stone blocks may cause an impasse, or the ghost of X/Zero may relentlessly attack. The key is to experiment and to see which stages are affected by the nightmare in a positive way. Believe it or not, logic can prove to be very helpful in this area.
Although the nightmare system has its share of problems, it definitely adds to the game's replay value. There are a lot of secrets in X6 and to get everything, you will have to visit each stage multiple times. In my opinion, the non-linear nature of this game is a great thing. Of course, having to visit a stage four or five times to find everything won't appeal to everyone.
One thing that I really like about X6 is the ability to receive new parts by rescuing reploids! Basically, there are around 15 or so reploids in every stage and the goal is to rescue them before the nightmare creatures (resembling robot octopi) take over their bodies. This may sound easy enough but when you consider that many reploids are hidden in hard-to-reach locations and that nightmares are normally very close in proximity to the helpless robots, things can get pretty tough! Also note that if a nightmare does take over a reploid, that particular reploid is lost forever. You will not have another chance to save that reploid unless you start a new game. This can be frustrating because there are times when you can lose a really good item within a second's notice. However, if you're smart and have good reaction skills, you should be able to snag the vast majority of reploids before the nightmares do the same.
In relation to the nightmare creatures themselves, there is a substance called nightmare soul which is also very important in X6. When you thrash a nightmare, a bluish "soul" substance appears. By defeating a lot of nightmares and snagging large quantities of soul, your rank will eventually increase! This is very important too because certain parts can only be equipped once you attain a certain rank. Unlike Mega Man X5, the rank actually means something in this game! As a result, there is plenty of motivation to garner large amounts of soul.
Graphics: While the graphics in Mega Man X6 are very good, they aren't quite as impressive as X4 or X5. They are still colorful and lush with detail yet they appear to be somewhat grainy for some reason. They just lack the polished effect of some of the previous X games. Perhaps it is the result of X6 being released less than a year after X5. You would hate to think that Capcom was rushed into making this game yet one can only wonder.
Whatever the reason, the graphics in X6 are still very nice and are still able to create a neat atmosphere. The Amazon stage in particular features some impressive eye candy with its jungle, statues, and caverns being revealed in amazing detail. I also liked the background graphics in the wacky Central Museum and Robot Lab stages. Capcom did do a very nice job on the background graphics in X6.
I also want to note that the artwork in the cinema scenes throughout the game was quite impressive. Although I still want FMV scenes, the cinema scenes in X6 were much improved over those in X5. They just seem more polished.
Music: This category is a very mixed bag. The music throughout X6 seems to fit neatly into three distinct categories: excellent, mediocre, and horrid. First, let's focus on the positives. Thankfully, there is a lot of excellent music in Mega Man X6. Blizzard Wolfgang's track is one of my personal favorites and it fits his icey surroundings like a glove. For some reason, this track makes me think of the music found in the earliest of Mega Man games...strange. Rainy Turtloid's jazzy tune along with the melodic Amazon theme is impressive as well. In terms of atmosphere, it's hard to beat the flute in the Amazon level. Another favorite tune of mine plays during Infinity Mijinion's level (Who the heck thinks these names up?) This music is heroic and, with the giant robot in the background, I couldn't help but think of some of the futuristic cartoons of the 1980s while playing this level. It simply screams "Transformers!" ;) Like I said before, X6 is an enigma. Any game that can make you think of Transformers is definitely way out there!
While there is a lot of good music in X6, there are plenty of mediocre soundbites as well. Several tracks just seem to be there and don't really add to the game at all. The rock music out of the control in Blaze Heatnix's domain and the weird music in the Central Museum proves this point. The opening stage track didn't do it for me either. While it does convey the overall mood of the game, it doesn't really get you pumped up like the music found in the intro levels of other X games.
What really bothers me about the music/sfx in Mega Man X6 is that two of the songs are sung in Japanese and all of the dialouge that takes place throughout the game is spoken in Japanese! Unlike Mega Man X5, there are actually voices to accompany the cinema scenes throughout the game. While this would appear to be an improvement, the fact that all of the voices are Japanese reflects poorly on Capcom. It appears to be nothing more than laziness on Capcom's part. At least English text appears below the cinema scenes. Otherwise, I'd be totally lost!
Note that the voices themselves aren't the entire problem. Even if the Intro song was sung in English, it would still be terrible. I'm sorry but this song is simply awful! Every other Mega Man game that I can think of has a great opening theme. Heavy metal and voices that would make a yak sound like Enya just doesn't do it for me. Granted, the song that plays during the ending credits is much better although it still isn't much to write home about.
Play Control: Thankfully, Mega Man X6 still scores very high in the play control category. Jumping, shooting, dashing, and hovering is still as easy as ever. I won't elaborate since the controls are virtually identical to the ones in X5; just check out those reviews if you want more info.
Unfortunately, I do need to mention a few problems that I noticed in this area. First of all, while it is way cool that X can now use the Z-Saber, he can't use the same triple combo and his attacks are way slower as well. As a result, you make yourself wide open to attack. Another problem is that when Zero himself uses the saber, he actually puts the saber away after performing his combo! While this may sound nitpicky, that extra second of delay leaves Zero wide open to attack. That is not the big problem that I have though; it's the dreaded up+attack combo. This combination allows Zero to perform a nifty dive attack. The problem with this attack is that, in certain areas where you jump from rope to rope, it can be a nightmare. The reason is that every time you jump to a new rope, you have to hold up on the control pad. While this in itself is not a problem, it becomes one when you consider the fact that enemies are often lurking around these ropes. As a result, you will be pushing the up and attack buttons a lot. See the problem? You might mean to attack an enemy and grab a rope at the same time but that won't happen. Instead, you'll do that stupid dive attack and will more likely than not meet an untimely demise. I found this to be very irritating because I lost so many lives needlessly. While the play control as a whole is still excellent, this one glitch kind of spoils it in certain situations.
Challenge: Mega Man X6 is not only the toughest game in the series but has to be one of the most challenging action games ever. Fewer games have made me work like X6. My roommate (Your name is on this site Richard!) would certainly agree with me here. Granted, I found the game to be much easier my second and third times through. The first playthrough was very rough, however. I was beginning to think that I would never reach the end!
What makes X6 so tough is that there are countless areas where you have to be darn near perfect to make it through. Anyone who has played the level where trash mashes down on you every two seconds knows what I mean. You can't just breeze through each level mindlessly; there are times where you have to be precise and work your way through a level like a surgeon. Of course, based on my video game experience, it wasn't all that bad. I just had to keep thinking to myself, "Compared to Battletoads for the NES, this is nothing!"
The interesting thing is that, while X6 is one tough cookie, I never seemed to get all that frustrated. Personally, I enjoyed playing a game that really tested my video game abilities! I'm not used to playing a game that really makes you work like this! Granted, there were some times when I did get a little hot in the head but it was usually because of something I did (or didn't do). Still, I would not recommend this game for those of you with a short fuse. Your television, Playstation console, and controller will thank you as well.
Unfortunately, there is a major flaw as it relates to the game's difficulty. The only thing that really did frustrate me to no end was the fact that you can actually get stuck in this game! It sounds absurd and ridiculous but it is the truth. The reason for this is that there is an enemy boss who is invincible if you choose X (kind of hard to get around doing that early in the game...since he's the ONLY CHARACTER AVAILABLE!!). High Max is the name of this annoying boss and only Zero can beat him (and that is only if Zero knows combos). While you can avoid fighting High Max if you're careful, you're bound to accidentally run into him during your first playthrough of the game. This is simply infuriating because your only choice is to lose your lives on purpose. There is simply nothing that you can do.
While this is frustrating, so is the fact that you cannot take X to the second level of Gate's laboratory in his original armor or the awesome Shadow Armor. The reasons for this are twofold: (#1) You have to fight High Max; X can't cause damage to High Max with his original armor. (#2) There is an area right after your fight with High Max where you have to use the air-dash; the Shadow Armor can't air-dash.
What this means is that, while you can actually defeat High Max with the Shadow Armor, you will still get stuck anyway. You've been forewarned. Level design like this is pathetic and is a joke when you consider Capcom's standards. The funny thing is that I didn't yell or scream at the TV when this happened. Since it was so ridiculous, I just laughed instead (I think my roommate was yelling though.) ;) Whatever you do, just make sure that you equip X with the Blade Armor or take Zero instead. Otherwise, you're screwed.
Storyline: Like everything else in this game, X6's plot has its good points, its bad points, and its just weird points. The game's story takes place just three weeks after the cataclysmic events in X5. Due to the impact of the Sigma Virus along with Eurasia, things are not looking so good for planet Earth. On top of all of that, there seems to be a new virus with the appearance of Zero spreading rapidly.
What really causes the story to get moving is when Gate (a mysterious scientist who appeared out of nowhere) discovers a piece of Zero's body buried in the sand. Gate conducts countless experiments in his lab and is able to build an indestructible creation based on Zero's DNA (how a robot can have DNA is beyond me). This probably explains why Zero is the only one who is able to defeat High Max. Whatever the reason, X and Zero also have to contend with another mysterious character by the name of Isoc. Like Gate, Isoc appears out of nowhere and it becomes apparent very early in the game that Isoc and Gate have the same goal in mind: To search for the Zero Nightmare and to harness its power. However, the twist is that, unless I'm wrong, Isoc is actually someone or something else. There is a point in the game where Isoc stops functioning and another being appears (The similarities between X6 and the original MM6 are scary!)
The weird thing about X6's story is that throughout the game, Alia gives you a ton of information regarding Gate and the reploids that you encounter. All of this info seems to imply that there is some non-existent game between X5 and X6 that you needed to play to fully understand everything. As a result, a lot of what Alia says just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Weird.
Funfactor: Even with its plethora of problems, I still find Mega Man X6 to be a very enjoyable game. Even though my criticism may appear to the contrary, X6 really does have a lot going for it. Searching for all of the reploids and gathering Nightmare Soul is a blast! The fact that X6 is more non-linear than other X games means that there are more secrets than ever which in turn gives the game a large amount of replay value. This will definitely appeal to fans of the adventure genre. The key is just to make it through the game one time because that is where most of the game's flaws rise to the surface. Once you know what to do and what to avoid, X6 can really shine. Any Mega Man collection is incomplete without this great game.
Negatives: Like in Mega Man X5, X6 has no FMV intermission scenes except for the Intro movie. While the graphics in X6 are excellent, they don't seem to be as polished as in other games in the series. While most of the music in X6 is at least tolerable, there are a few poor tracks and the Intro song is simply hideous. I find all of the Japanese dialouge throughout the game to be very irritating as well. How bad is it? There is one point in the game where a main character screams in pain and I find myself laughing myself to tears every time! That's just a poor job on Capcom's part. That part of the game was not meant to make people laugh!
Regarding the controls, that up+attack combo that I mentioned earlier is extremely frustrating. I cannot tell you how many times I lost a life just because of laziness on Capcom's part. An up+attack combo shouldn't attack downwards anyway. Shouldn't it be down+attack?!
The fact that you can actually get stuck in this game and have to lose all of your lives on purpose is simply horrid game design. I never thought that I would say that about Capcom. They would have been better off by just having X and Zero fight Dynamo like in X5. While X6 is challenging, it is probably too challenging for most people. I only know a few people who might have the patience to play this game.
While the story has its bright spots, there is just way too much dialouge and worthless information presented (even more so than in X5). You almost have to wonder if some "Mega Man X5.5" game exists because this game assumes that you already know about a lot of these characters. Considering that Gate and Isoc literally appear out of nowhere, you can't help but wonder.
Ratings: Graphics: 4.3 Music: 3.9 Play Control: 4.4 Challenge: 3.8 Storyline: 4.0 Funfactor: 4.3 Overall Score: 24.7 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Bronze Bravo
Back to Playstation PowerLast Updated: June 2, 2006