In honor of Capcom's six Mega Man X title and my laziness to begin this New Year, I've decided to begin this review with the same opening two paragraphs that were used in my review of Mega Man X5.
Nobody can ever say that Capcom doesn't get the most out of each and every one of its significant franchises. Whenever the company finds something that'll sell, it does its best to milk it for every penny that it's worth. Capcom is doing it right now with everything from Street Fighter to Resident Evil and apparently plans to do it with one of its newest franchises, Onimusha. And the franchise that it's been doing this the most with is undoubtedly the company's legendary Mega Man series.
Since the first Mega Man was released on the NES in December of 1987, we've seen more than 20 new titles from Capcom with the little guy's name in it. If my memory is correct (and I'm sure I'm missing something), the NES had Mega Man 1 - 6, the SNES saw Mega Man 7, plus the first three games in the Mega Man X series, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color featured around six different Mega Man titles, the N64 got Mega Man 64, the Game Gear and Genesis sported Mega Man Wily Wars, and the PlayStation was blessed with Mega Man 8 and Mega Man X4 (both of which also appeared on Saturn), Mega Man X5 plus two Mega Man Legends titles. And now, you can add Megaman X6 for the PlayStation to that already long and distinguished list of games.
If you haven't played a Mega Man or Mega Man X game before, then you've missed out on some of the best action games of all time, 2D or otherwise. If you have played any of the previous Mega Man or Mega Man X games, then you know pretty much what to expect out of Mega Man X6 because the formula hasn't really changed all that much.
The game provides the same basic level structure where the player is allowed to pick from any one of the eight available levels each based on a particular boss. And, as usual, after defeating each boss your character gains a particular ability from the boss. However, unlike previous games in the series the boss characters are completely random, so the order that you go through the levels isn't quite as important.
The only other significant change here in X6 is that Capcom has implemented what it's calling a Nightmare System that makes the game change based on what you do. Your actions in one level will help determine what areas are open in other levels and what enemies you might encounter in them. Likewise, the designs of the levels are randomly generated and change each time the level is played.
What all this means is that you'll get different play experiences every time that you play through the game, giving the game a little more replay value than the typical Mega Man game, which is especially important given that this like most other games in the series, can be beaten completely in well under 10 hours.
Outside of these new features, you're getting a game that plays and controls exactly like what you'd expect from the series. For those that might not have played a Mega Man X game before, you should prepare yourself for lots of challenging platform jumping segments and boss battles with difficult patterns to figure out that require top notch hand-eye coordination and "2D gaming skillz¿" to defeat.
Luckily the control is precise, completely refined and just about as perfect as you'll find in a videogame, so there's no bitching about camera problems (gotta love 2D games for this...) or dying because of problems with the game's control.
It's Mega Man. What you're going to get here is very standard 2D sprite-based graphics with vibrantly colored backgrounds and lots of neat little special effects. It's not the best looking 2D game around, but it has a nice clean look and is still completely bearable even if you've moved on to more powerful next generation consoles like PlayStation 2, GameCube or Xbox. The PlayStation could use more games that look this way, that's for sure.
For the most part, the sound in Mega Man X6 is exactly what you'd expect from a new Mega Man game. The game sports a tremendous energy-filled and completely rocking musical soundtrack that'll get you pumped and ready for action. And the sound effects all have that classic old-school videogame feel that'll make you reminisce about the days of the SNES and Genesis.
What's different here is that Capcom has decided to go ahead and use the Japanese voices instead of recording awful English voiceovers for all of the character speech in the game. This might turn off some and will undoubtedly make others spooge uncontrollably, but it's a non-factor for me since the story in the game isn't all that important and the voices are best skipped anyway.