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Mega Man ZX


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#1 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 04:27 PM

I still don't know if it's Mega Man, Megaman or MegaMan.



Had a hell of a job finding this. Really glad that I took the trouble.

I think the setting is 100 years after the events of the Zero series on GBA, which itself too place 100 years after the X games, which again took place 100 years after the original NES series. That matters from a gameplay perspective, because you no longer control Mega Man. X or Zero. In ZX, you're a human who melds with the biometal material that the original robots were contructed from and which retains their spirits. It's a nice little twist on the older games, because it gives a new spin on the way that the game explains away the ability to obtain the powers held by bosses once you've defeated them.

It also has a tiny effect on gameplay, where if you're running around the hub city or your main base, characters will react differently to you depending on the form you're in at the time, and enemies will ignore you within the city if you're running about as a human. It's not a massive thing, but it's a nice touch.

In a lot of respects, ZX reminds me of Treasure's older games. The sprites look very Treasure, for a start - character designs recall the Gunstar Heroes style, as well as Guardian Heroes Advance. So do the bosses, both in form and function. The first boss you face is a giant snake that looks like it could have come from one of their Megadrive games and one a little later reminds me of the fight on top of the moving train in Alien Soldier.



The gameplay also has a hint of Treasure about it, in that it's not just a platformer or a run and gunner: there are other elements thrown into the mix to make something unique. As I say, there's a central hum from which all other levels spin off. Further, each level is physically joined to another - it's a seamless world that you can run backwards and forwards within to your heart's desire. Mega Man games hav always allowed you to return to previous areas, of course, but this adds a sense of coherence that a simple level select screen can't. If there's anything wrong with it, it's that the map soon shows itself to be poorly designed and confusing - it doesn't provide enough info, just lets you know which areas are linked to which others.

Outside of this, and on the surface, the gameplay is traditional stuff for the series. You have platforms, you have a gun, you have enemies, and you have bosses whose powers you steal to allow you to open more areas. When the game starts, you're limited to X's ability to shoot, nothing more. Switching back to your human self allows you to crouch, which is something that X still can't do, after all these years. A short time later, a story event causes the X and Zero biometals to merge, allowing you access to Zero's sword, and the game proper starts. And still, it's the regular thing, but livened up by the consistent world.





Where it does fall down, possibly, is in the lack of enemies within the stages. That's not a big thing for me, because the platforming exploration is strong enough to hold the game on its own and the series has never been about numbers as much as it has the damage that a single enemy can cause you, but anybody expecting something as frantic as a Metal Slug or Contra 4 should look elsewhere. The bosses play like Treasure bosses, but the levels leading up to them don't - there's nowhere near as much action.

It looks great, with some really lovely hand-drawn backgrounds - some of which are truly gorgeous - and, again, those sprites. Which are animated brilliantly, btw. The music is superb, but that's a constant with these games.

DS functionality is very limited and to begin with there isn't actually any at all. Once you start to defeat bosses, however, they provide you with extra abilities - I've taken down two of the major bosses and the second screen can now be used to analyse enemies or as a scanner for hidden items.

It's quite a bit easier than the older games. Still not quite a walk in the park, exactly, but nothing like as frustrating as they can be. Pick it up if you see it anywhere, it's more than worth it. Or the sequel, ZX Advent, which I've played a little bit of and seems like more of the same, only with a harsher difficulty.

#2 hankwang

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 05:12 PM

laugh.gif Small world Randy, I ordered this off some guy yesterday after also having a job finding it.

Glad I did based on your impressions. Also glad to hear it's easier than previous iterations - I'm not a slacker at Megaman, but Zero did my fucking head in laugh.gif Looking forward to adding my own soon.



#3 Remymaru

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 06:20 PM

The constant running from area to area in this one did my head in. There was a teleporter, but it usually sends you far from where you want to be anyway. It's a decent enough Megaman X-style game and I love the art style in this (and the Zero games), but they should have just had you pick where you want to go like the old ones. There's not enough stuff to do to warrant an open world approach.

Also, I don't like how you can no longer use the X biometal once it is fused to make ZX. ZX's buster is gash.

#4 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 07:21 PM

I think you can unlock X again by completing the game with both characters, Remy.

#5 TheShend

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:13 PM

I could do with a new game for the DS and I do enjoy treasure styled platformy shooty stuff. Is really difficult to acquire? I'd like to join in on this thread happy.gif

#6 bowser123

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 09:32 AM

Not really Shend.
I had much the same idea as you, I lost out on a copy on eBay yesterday for about 50p after forgetting about the auction. Went for 7.50 or so. This one

CeX have it on their website for 14 delivered and loads in stores, though that's dependent on you being near one. Just watch for the fakes buying it second hand.


Had a blast and I quite like the game. What drew me to trying it was the promise of an easier game and MegaMan X styling. It certainly is an easier game, though I wimped out and chose easy difficulty too. Figured MegaMan easy is equivalent to normal on most games seeing as how insane MM can be.
Bit of a mistake really as it's trivial now, even the bosses. Got three upgrade suits so unless the later bosses drastically ramp up then I wouldn't really recommend easy unless you want to play through without any challenge.

Game tricked me a little, I initially thought it was Metroid and a fairly good one at that. Sure it didn't have Samus's games atmosphere or her ability to shoot up, down or diagonally (why the hell can't he do that after all these years... though at least he can now duck, amazingly, albeit when not in a suit).

It's not really the case though despite initial glimpse. The map, interconnected areas and backtracking are hallmarks of Metroid found in ZX. The doors even open in a similar way, splitting in half though you don't shoot them to open here. In Metroid areas are inaccessible until you have the right upgrade, here you can pretty much go anywhere you want though the area will be devoid of quest items and bosses unless you're on the correct quest. This sparseness means there's little to no exploration, and you're actually punished for deviating from the linear path the game wants you to tread. Outside of the odd upgrade there's nothing to be found or do so going off track isn't rewarded, you're only punished by losing health. Like Remy said there's a little too much trekking in here.

The missions can only be accepted singularly which is both frustrating and a little daft, a few times I've gone through an area without the relevant quest in the log and thus can't do it. Rooms are empty, bosses don't spawn and NPC's don't react. Smacks a little of a time sink forcing you to return to base every time and accept a new quest.

It's not completely linear as you can choose from a selection of quests at any time giving some variation, it could be testament to playing on easy but I've not really had to do bosses in order as so far the regular suit complete with sword is more effective than any upgrade.

The other thing that disappoints which Randy touched upon is the map isn't accurate. Areas are labeled A1, A2, C3 etc, with you getting a quest saying you must do something in F2. For example (I made the map references up) F2 is directly to the right of C3 which means you walk to the extreme right of C3 and you'll enter F2, surely? Well, nope. To reach F2 you wanted the middle of C3 and a doorway... eh? The map shows which area is broadly connected to another zone, but it's not in the slightest bit accurately mapped. There's no much logic in how they interconnect and I've found myself getting a little lost, relying more on memory of how something joins than the map.


Which all sounds negative, basically it's not Metroid so it's crap. Well, nope, it's a good, solid game with an excellent style. My own fault for thinking it was a Metroidvania game when Randy made no reference to them, instead recalling Treasure titles.

It's entertaining for sure. I think I prefer it from the usual MegaMan style of short section and insane boss, is this style exclusive to ZX series or something modern MM's do? Last one I played were the Anniversary and Collection discs on the Cube that were compendiums of the X series and old, old NES games. Never bothered with out after that.

Ooh, and that rain section, that is pretty.

Edited by bowser123, 05 August 2008 - 09:43 AM.


#7 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:39 PM

The Treasure link continues with one of the unlockable minigames in the arcade in the city. You're in human form and have to get a football from one end of the level to the other, within the space of 30 seconds. What makes it brilliant - and it *is* brilliant - is that there's a really decent set of physics to the ball. High platform? Run into the ball so that it rebounds off the wall in front of you, then header the thing over. Again, it makes me think of the 'used once, then thrown away' ideas that Treasure's older games were stuffed full of.

Unfortunately, I'm now stuck on a level that is complete and utter shit. Honestly, total bullshit, thanks to its insane and unfair difficulty. Area K. You've got lava rushing you from the left and have to get to the door some distance to the right without letting the lava tocuh you. That wouldn't be annoying in iteslf, but combined with platforms, the highest number of enemies in *any* of the game's levels and immediately fatal lava spouts springing from the gaps between platforms?

Supposedly, you can slow the lava down by taking an alternate route, but that's also virtually impossible. This time, you're trying to climb a vertical shaft with lava chasing you upwards, again with enemies around, but now with the added bonuses of the slightly iffy controls on the dash wall jump and spikes that suddenly fire out from platform edges without warning.

FUCK. OFF. At this point, barring a miracle, it seems likely that the game card will be snapped into many tiny pieces.

For the difficulty curve to have been pitched so well up until this point, then a cuntishly unfair level thrown in towards the end is unforgivable.

Edited by E. Randy Dupre, 05 August 2008 - 07:41 PM.


#8 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:27 PM

Did it, but it really was more a matter of sheer luck than good judgment - dashed through all enemies, taking massive amounts of damage as I went, and only just managed to come out with enough health left to kill the boss. With my last life and a single slice of health bar. Still think that section is beyond stupid (as is any bit of a game where you have to take damage in order to proceed).

Something that you two need to keep in mind, bowser and hank, is that if you agree to take on a mission, then abandon temporarily in order to try another, when you do select to abandon you're taken back to the save point from which you originally accepted that mission and all progress since is wiped out. It got me a few times before I realised what was going on - I'd decide to give up on a level and see if any of the others were a bit easier, only to think that my copy of the game was screwy when I looked at the map and discovered that the areas I'd just found weren't visible any longer.

The other thing to bear in mind - and a bit of design that I think is very clever - is that the rank you receive for defeating a boss has an effect on your own abilities. The ranks range from 1 to 4, with a grade 4 being the best. It means that you defeated the boss without hitting its weak spot - its biometal - and when you receive the biometal after the fight, the upper limit on its potential weapon charge is defined by the rank you got. It fits with the story quite well - the more you damage the biometal portion of a boss when fighting it, the less powerful that biometal is when you obtain it. Visit the guy in the 'Info' room on the Guardians' ship and he'll be able to repair any damaged biometals, for a price.

The wandering around makes more sense later on, bowser, once the city starts filling out with the people you've saved and they begin to offer you side-missions.

#9 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:12 AM

Fucking hell, Capcom. What is it with you and boss rush gauntlets at the end of games? dry.gif

I will never finish this.

#10 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:05 PM

Actually, I might. I just got to the final boss's final form, but unfortunately only with no lives left in stock.

The biggest problem I'm having is with a couple of the regular bosses in the boss rush leading up to him: Fistleo and Purprilla. Fistleo I think I can figure out, given a couple more practice runs at him, but Purprilla's just a bastard. His random jumping is a pain in the arse and his attacks don't seem to have any recognisable prompts, unlike those of all the other bosses in the game. I had a hell of a time with him first time around, so having to go up against him again, right before the last two battles of the game, is a nightmare.

And there doesn't seem to be a save point between the end of the boss rush and the final boss's first form, which is simply obtuse design on the part of the people behind the game. The boss rush itself is probably somewhere around the twenty minute mark, at a guess.

#11 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:55 AM

More like half an hour.

Annyway, finished this at about 2:30 this morning, barely making it through the final form of the endgame bos alive. In fact, I think there's a good chance that I didn't, but fluked my way to his death - he had three blocks of health left, I had one, I charged up an HX lightning ball and fired it off at exactly the same time he chucked an attack at me, both shots apepared to hit at the same time but I came out on top. Shaking like a leaf when I realised that I'd beaten him laugh.gif Not been that pumped by a game since beating the Angel car in Ridge Racer Rev.

It could have been quite a bit easier - I only found two of the four available health sub-tanks and three of the four health bar extends, so I was effectively battling it out with less than half the health I could have had. The two missing sub-tanks are real pains to access, though, with one hidden away beyond that awful 'rising lava' section and the other only being made available once you've completed a stupid number of dull fetch quests.

Great game, despite my annoyance at a couple of sections. Still got the extra bits and bobs to polish off - the new level that opens up on completion, the sub-quests, those missing upgrades - which I might have a run at, but there's not a cat in hell's chance that I'm going to go through it all again on the unlocked Hard mode. No sub-tanks and bosses with extra attacks? No ta.

Edited by E. Randy Dupre, 17 August 2008 - 09:59 AM.


#12 Remymaru

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 07:48 PM

Omega killed and acquired Randy?

#13 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 07:53 PM

Nah, that's the main thing left on the list. I might have a crack at it now.

I'd not played any of the GBA Zero games until today, but I see what you mean about the difficulty, hank. ZX gives you three lives as default, but on the loss of the last of your three it takes you out of whichever mission you were attempting and gives you the full complement of three back again. Zero gives you three for the entire game - it's unbelievably harsh and something that has no place in a modern game (well, it's six years old, but the point stands).




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