A grand era was nearing its end in the tech-city of Monstropolis. The famous Dr. Light and the infamous Dr. Wily spent a great deal of their lives building and throwing googly-eyed robots at each other. Neither side backed down. It was time for a new weapon: ANGST.

Little is known about the end of the scientists' lives. Dr. Light built Megaman X, a robot who wasn't so. Megaman X had the power to think, feel and make his own decisions. X was peaceful and warm, but Dr. Light sealed him in a capsule to test his systems for any faults that could cause harm to future generations. ("Nooo! Don't seal me in here, dad! It's cold and dark...the rats! Jesus, the rats! Dad!")

But quoth Tim Curry, "What is light without darkness?" Knowing that he was at the end of his rope, Dr. Wily set to work and built his "masterpiece"--Zero. Zero had the power to kill, maim, and laugh like a psycho. He was likewise sealed and buried in hopes of making life hell in the future.

So began the magical era of 21XX. An archeoligist, Dr. Cain, was digging for evidence of pre-historic plant life. He got X's capsule instead. Cain was amazed at what X was capable of--he blew away other robots of that era. Cain set about to making more robots like X with Light's notes as his guide. The new race, which quickly ran off the assembly lines, was named "reploids."

As could be predicted on a planet with two strong headed species, bad stuff started to happen. Some reploids became fond of blowing up humans. A team of "hunters", composed of the best reploids at the time, was assembled. The team was lead by a forboding chap named Sigma.

Sigma is a formidable fighter, but he meets his match when he's called to investigate the death of one of his units. A berserk "red Maverick" is holed up in an abandoned warehouse, ripping up any invaders with his bare hands. Sigma encounters the red Maverick and gets his ass kicked. Ironically, Sigma owed his life to the fact that the red Maverick--oh, what the feck, it's Zero--took pleasure in slow kills, which was the idea he had for Sigma. But in the middle of his fun, a "W" flashed on the gem of Zero's helmet, stopping him cold. A fury of buzzing began in Zero's head, and as the crazed reploid collapsed screaming, Sigma subdued him. Zero was taken back to Maverick Hunter HQ, rebuilt by Cain, and became a disciple of Sigma.

Then along came the day where Sigma said "nuts" to the human race. He left the Hunters, taking most of his men with him, and started the revolution on a grand scale.

Some Hunters remained faithful, like the mysterious Zero, who was put in charge of the 17th Unit. X, who had been feeling uneasy about his life in the recent months, took the war personally and decided to forgo his hippie love to join the Hunters.

Zero stood at the head of the reformed 17th, hardly taking any notice of the towering spires of warriors eagerly champing and stamping for the command to charge. What he did notice was the little blue reploid who looked like a dazed, helpless boy among the walls of fighters. A dormant protective instinct stirred to life in Zero, its rusty jaws gnawing at his heart. The blue reploid's eyes met with his new commanders', and an ironic sort of friendship was born...


"This is without a doubt the best sort of any thing ever made ever."

So far, it's my favourite Megaman game, and it's likely to remain that way. Everything in this game stirred together in an orgasmic orgy of good robot stuff. It was a new Megaman series. That was good. And it had enough differences to be considered different. The graphics were good, but it was the presentation that shone (remember how your stomach dropped when you beat the Bee Blader? Remember the thrill when the cart in Armoured Armadillo's stage skipped tracks?) The music is still godly. CD sound be damned, nothing beats the music in Sigma's first stage (X5's Sigma Stage music comes close). X1 also lacked any embarassing robot "ideas." Eagles, Chameleons, even Penguins, everything was kosher. 'cept no one knew what the hell a kuwanger was back then.

Megaman X introduced us to something that wouldn't last long in the X games--compelling story with little complication. You liked Zero. You hated Vile. There was good, there was bad. That was it. It was simple and lovely, and all you could possibly want for a great 2D action game.

"X" was a hit with the SNES crowd, and was featured in Nintendo's "Hey, we're cool after all" comeback commercials that eventually led it to wollop the Genesis. Hurrah for robot justice! I challenge you to find a better kind.


Planet of the Bad Box Art

Rockman X
Image courtesy of Auto
For years and years, Americans got screwed on videogame box art. Well, we still are. But in Megaman X's case, the other side of the pond got screwed too.

The box art for Rockman X is nothing short of ridiculous, I find. X looks appropriately frightening, like a small but vicious pitbull. But my big problem is with Sigma. Just what the hell is he waving at? And Zero looks like a murderous afterthought.

The two stars on the box are Kuwanger, who gets 10 points for his Vegeta impression, and Chill Penguin who gets 20 points for his delicious glare.

No, the American box art wasn't better. For ages, Megaman box art suffered from "Barbie Doll" syndrome. The characters on the box look like fake plastic toys that dogs like to chew up.