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  • Not every Mega Man game gets a threequel. Bitter Legends and ZX fans can attest to this.

  • (Seriously? We get a third Star Force - a series that’s just biting on Battle Network

  • - but no Legends 3? C’mon!) Ahem. Most of them, however, came back for a third turn.

  • Mega Man 3 brought the introduction of Break Man/Proto Man/Blues/whatever you call him.

  • The dude with the whistle. Battle Network 3 brought the Pokèmonization of the series,

  • breaking it into two halves. And X3 brought a whole new player character, the recently-reassembled

  • Zero. Oh, and platforms to summon one of four ride armors. And a pile of new upgrades. And

  • MAPS. HONEST TO GOODNESS MAPS. They don’t love you like I love you. And, for whatever

  • reason, some versions boast intro animations for the bosses that screamAnime circa

  • 1996.”

  • X has all the fun. But open the weapons screen, hit R, and BAM. It’s time for Zero to shine.

  • Dude’s had it coming, having been kinda dismantled in the last outing. Unfortunately,

  • though it’s a nice gesture, Zero gets none of the weapons upgrades X gets, and he can’t

  • enter boss rooms or mid-boss rooms, of which youre guaranteed at least two a stage.

  • And if Zero dies... well, let’s just say it was hell putting him together the last

  • time. Regardless of who youre using, the idea’s the same: Beat 8 bosses, collect

  • heart tanks and sub-tanks and ride armor capsules and whatnot, and shoot/slash your way through

  • Sigma’s forces. Dr. Light’s power-up capsules make a return, with a new twist: There are

  • more enhancements than X’s robotic frame can accommodate. Youre going to have to

  • choose. Again, it’s a Mega Man game: Youre doing all the same things, just a little better.

  • The stages are a little more complex. The tricks youll need to use to get the items

  • are a little more elaborate. Evolution takes time.

  • The game itself occupies an uncomfortable point in history: that hinge between the 16-

  • and 32-bit eras, when a 2D platformer - hardcore and refined though it may be - was apt to

  • be prejudged a relic of the past. We here in the States never received the PlayStation

  • or Saturn versions of the game, save for a PC port in 1998... until this enhanced version

  • made it onto the Mega Man X Collection. This is the dividing line: past this point, Zero

  • is playable... but there are mid-stage loading breaks. Past this point, the graphics improve

  • to take advantage of the new hardware, but some see the changes as gilding the lily,

  • jamming voice acting and an announcer who doesn’t even try to pronounce things correctly

  • into a game that, frankly, was good enough as it was. Past this point, Capcom tries to

  • evolve the series more rapidly than the organic, comfortable pace they set in Mega Man 1-6.

  • At least you don’t need the super-glue anymore... until Mega Man X5.

Not every Mega Man game gets a threequel. Bitter Legends and ZX fans can attest to this.

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