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Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X (PSP) artwork

Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X (PSP) review

"What happens when you remake one of the best games ever, substituting classic 2D sprites with more modern 3D polygonal models? Well it can no longer be considered one of the best games ever anymore. Close enough though. "

What happens when you remake one of the best games ever, substituting classic 2D sprites with more modern 3D polygonal models? Well it can no longer be considered one of the best games ever anymore. Close enough though.

Maverick Hunter X is one part the original Mega Man X redone with a shiny new coat of paint. You should know what Mega Man games are all about if youíre a real gamer, so Iím going to assume that you are and skip the full lecture here. Okay so the original Mega Man X was a real looker back in the days when 2D sprite work was at its peak. The graphics have aged remarkably well, and although seeing X, Zero, Vile, Sigma and the entire supporting cast in full 3D is nice and all, they donít have the same edgy look that the original showed. The explosion effects and transparencies look particularly nice, but the novelty of the 2.5D doesnít hold a candle to the old flame.

Apart from the graphical overhaul, the sound and music have also been remixed to accommodate. The old favourites still ring true, and listening to X shout out his attacks and grunt when heís hit by a low blow brings the previously silent Hunter up to date with the likes of some loud-mouthed, but well-loved recent Capcom heroes like Viewtiful Joe and Dante whatís-his-name. The boss characters you meet now stop to say a few words before they go on to rumble in their jungle. In fact thereís a lot of speech throughout this game, with a few specially created FMVs and even a lengthy 20 minute long introductory anime movie that outlines the beginning of this grand saga. The other part of Maverick Hunter X is clearly fan-service.

Are you someone who values gameplay over audio-visual presentation? If so, this remake doesnít offer a lot over what the original gave us back in 1993. The core game is virtually untouched. Sure they swapped around the placements for upgrades and health bonuses, so if you dive in with the optimal Chill Penguin to Flame Mammoth route, youíre gonna get a dashing surprise. If you donít understand what I mean, just know that there are only small minor additions that will affect a Mega Man X veteran on his/her first playthrough only.

Seeing as I love the original to bits, I should be just as fond of Maverick Hunter X right? Unfortunately the PSP pad doesnít lend itself well to controlling X; itís both awkward and a strain on the thumb. In a platforming-shooting game where this aspect is paramount, for lack of better words: me no likey. Once your game-hardened hands have deformed to ergonomically fit the PSPís layout (should be the other way around of course), you should have no worries though.

Thatís about it for Mega Man X.

But wait! Thereís more!

Vile! What are you doing here?

You beat the game and then what? You can run by the harder difficulty level with X all over again, or you can play through as Xís nemesis, Vile! OMG OMG ZOMG! If this isnít fan-service then I need to go milk a cow. As with your usual Bonus Character Modes Vile here goes through the same levels that X did, but with different enemy placements. Doesnít sound like much, but it is a big deal in the realm of 2D platforming, trust me. Vile doesnít have an X-buster, but with a full Black & Decker why would he settle for such childish toys? This bad-ass Boba Fett doppelganger has a cannon on his arm, shoulder and leg. Instead of acquiring one upgrade per boss defeated as Mega Men do, Vile gains access to an abundant black-ops stash of rockets, lasers, napalm, boomerang-like projectiles etc. etc. You want it, heís probably got it.

Not that playing as X gets boring (for me anyway), but Vileís mode really does bring a lot to the table. Some may argue that many of the weapons he carries arenít particularly useful, but screw them.. ahem, what I meant was that the variety of arms he carries offers enthusiastic fans a lot to play around with. Since you canít change your selected weapons mid-level, you will have to adjust your strategy to fit with what youíre capable of at the time. You can now go about the levels in a staggering number of different permutations. Of course you probably wonít want to replay this relatively short game multiple times on end within a short time period, but itís perfect for a monthly run in the midst of the other videogames that may make you question how some people can get away with such trash.

Is Vileís mode alone worth the price of admission? Now that depends on how much of a hardcore X fan you are. If heaven forbid you have never touched the original, I whole-heartedly recommend this Ďupgradeí, before encouraging you to track down the original in all its retro glory.

Maverick Hunter X is still essentially all about Mega Man X which is pretty much just like any other traditional Mega Man game. The formula has been overused more than anyone can count, but the sparks still fly when mixed right and Mega Man X + Vile = Win! I wouldíve liked to have seen a bit more of the fan-service directed towards gameplay (case in point, Mega Man: Powered Up) rather than impressive, but poorly acted video clips. But I was a fan of X and still am one. This is just below being one of the best games ever, but that isnít that bad of a placing now is it?

arkrex's avatar
Community review by arkrex (May 31, 2007)

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