|Platforms||:||Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Windows|
|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
|Title||: MEGAMAN X4|
|Platform||: Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Windows|
|Publisher||: Megaman X4|
|Game Rating||: 7.9|
|Review by||: Ken Gagne|
Capcom has a tried-and-true formula for success: take a previous hit, add a few new elements, call it a sequel; repeat. Such is the case with Megaman X4 for the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Windows. The format of defeating eight enemy robots, gaining their weapons, and then one long, final stage prevails. [PSX version reviewed here]
The story seems to have lost something in the translation from Japanese, because it doesn't make much sense. The Repliforce, a passive army of robots, seeks to form its own nation independent of humans. By doing so, they are labeled Mavericks, and must be destroyed by Megaman and his partner Zero. Hence, the root of all battles and conflicts appears to be maintaining honor in the face of a great misunderstanding. Several new but throw-away characters are introduced, such as Double, Iris, and the Colonel. The only interesting storyline facet is the exploration of Zero's origin, which provides a mysterious link to the X-less Megaman series.
The most enjoyable addition in this series entry is the option to play the entire game as Zero. He is not limited to a single stage or life, but can be played from beginning to end. From defeating the eight adversaries he gains Street Fighter-like moves which can be used at anytime, instead of switching between weapons. Zero's energy saber is a powerful close-range attack, making Zero a choice for experienced players. Unique plot developments, character interactions, and even enemies fought will depend on the choice between Zero and Megaman.
The graphics do not depict the bright and cheery world of some Megaman games, but maintain the darker mood of the X series. The eight stages vary from ocean to volcano to icy mountains, and each are a delight to see. Attention to background detail presents deep worlds, with even a few surprise cameos by old characters. Japanese animation sequences present important occurrences, but occur too infrequently.
Traditional music for this genre fills the game. Doleful techno is the order of the day, proper to the dismal, mechanical future represented by Megaman's world. Explosions are abundant, but too many annoying sound effects by the main characters get in the way.
MMX4 is sometimes easy, and other times not. The stages, which are varied enough to be fun, are at times too brief. Finding hidden items throughout the areas is difficult, requiring each section to be travelled multiple times. Once found, they make Megaman more powerful, but don't add much versatility; no new areas can be reached with them, for example. Likewise, the special weapons just aren't special enough. Fortunately, the boss figures can take a licking and keep on ticking, giving a good fight. Their various personas are recycled, though; while MMX1 had Storm Eagle, MMX4 has Storm Owl, and so on.
Like most Megaman games, the last stage is reached within a few days. Zero's presence gives good cause to play the entire game at least a few times, and a couple of tough spots will present a welcome challenge. Unfortunately, MMX4 adds little else in the way of originality. It's a quality side-scrolling adventure, but so have been all the ones before it. For better or for worse, MMX4 is little more than its predecessors.
This article is copyright (c) 1997, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 20-Oct-97