Mega Man Maverick Hunter X retains all the qualities that made the original such a fresh title, at the same time it adds a variety of compelling features that revitalize the experience.
Mega Max X is simply one of the greatest games the SNES has ever seen. The spinoff is structured exactly the same as Mega Man’s main series, encouraging players to obtain weapons that can be used to overcome challenges in other levels. But there are a couple of elements that differentiate Mega Man X from the regular series, the main one being the somber atmosphere that permeates the story. Nevertheless, what’s best about Mega Man Maverick Hunter X is that it retains all the qualities that made the original such a fresh title, at the same time it adds a variety of compelling features that revitalize the experience.
This story is set in the year 21XX approximately a hundred years after the events of the Mega Man series. Humans have been living with intelligent robots known as Reploids for quite some time when suddenly, something unexpected happens: Reploids suffer from malfunctions and they start attacking humans. As a consequence of these unforeseen events, a team of ultimate robots is formed. This elite police organization is know as “Maverick Hunters” and their main duty is to destroy any Reploids that pose a threat to humans. But it’s only a matter of time before this team of Maverick Hunters go berserk and start committing crimes as well. You’re put in the shoes of X, one of the few robots who still thinks and acts on his own and your mission is to defeat each and every one of the eight Maverick Hunters.
Undoubtedly, the Mega Man X series is much darker than all the other Mega Man titles. The main structure of the game though is pretty traditional, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. As soon as you start playing this action platformer you need to select a stage. Each of the various stages is filled with enemies, platforms, bottomless pits and some secret items. At the end of each stage there is a Maverick Hunter and defeating a boss grants you access to a unique weapon that is useful against certain types of enemies and bosses.
Once you obtain a weapon, you need to find out how to use it effectively against another boss which adds strategic flair to the experience. This process is deeply satisfying, even when it takes a couple of tries to recognize which weapon is best against each type enemy. It’s worth pointing out that the game doesn’t overtly explain how the player should approach this non-linear design, but figuring out an order that works is certainly part of the fun. This structure gives you the chance to defeat enemies in the order you prefer and without a doubt, different players will approach each boss in a different way, providing your playthrough with your personal touch.
Additionally, not only are the different levels creative, but they are also short, so even if you replay them over and over again the process never becomes overly tedious. You could definitely play each level once and never go back to them, but part of the fun is exploring the multiple environments and seeing what hidden items you can find.
But what’s exactly new in this revision? The aesthetic overhaul, which displays 2.5 visuals and anime FMV sequences, is certainly the most noticeable one. Although the graphics engine is impressive, it’s worth pointing out that it has a tendency to slow down when X makes use of some of the flashiest attacks in his repertoire or when there are multiple enemies on screen.
The Mega Man series is usually regarded as one of the most punishing ones in the medium and the Mega Man X spinoffs are no exception. Thankfully, newcomers won’t have much trouble getting into this remake, since the brutal difficulty has been tone down. Nevertheless, those who are up to the challenge should skip the normal difficulty and play Mega Man Maverick Hunter X on hard right off the bat. Finally, beating the game once grants you access to a bunch of unlockable extras, including a new playable character called Vile (a mercenary Maverick that works for Sigma,) Free Play Mode which allows you to fight all the bosses again in the order you prefer and a 20-minute OVA called “The Day of Σ” that serves as a prequel.
In the end, Mega Man Maverick Hunter X is a really effective remake. On the one hand, it features all the elements that made the original such a classic: it has imaginative level design, engrossing action and finely tuned controls. On the other hand, it also includes some welcome additions such as a more accessible difficulty, a few compelling extras and a superb graphical overhaul. Those who have played Mega Man X back in the day will have a great time with Maverick Hunter X, but more importantly, this is a great entry point for those who have never played a Mega Man X title before. And that’s more than I can say about most remakes.