Mega Man Xtreme

Mega Man Xtreme is a sidescrolling platformer shooter by Capcom for the Game Boy Color. The game was also designed to be compatible with older Game Boy variants as well. It borrows feature from the Super Nintendo Entertainment games Mega Man X and Mega Man X2. Sparing you all the details of the lore of the Mega Man X series, basically all you need to know is that you play as Mega Man X, a robot that hunts down other robots that have gone maverick. Your ultimate goal is peace, but there’s always someone causing destruction and chaos in Mega Man games, isn’t there? Here we see a group of robots take over something called the mother computer. This allows them to spread destruction, which I guess is all we get for motivation really. Strangely, in order to keep their control over the system, they are able to access past fighting data that must be dealt with first. So X transports himself into cyberspace in order to fight through old locales and battle old enemies in order to gain access to the mother computer.

Upon starting the game you will have a short introductory stage. Here is where you can get a handle on the basic mechanics which are quite similar to classic Mega Man and very much the same as Mega Man X. You can jump and shoot, as you might expect. You can also hold down the fire button to charge up your shot. You have the ability to dash by either double tapping in a direction, hold down and hitting jump, or with one control method you can simply hit start. If you jump while dashing you’ll go extra far. You also have the ability to slide on walls and jump off of them. After beating this introductory stage you’ll be brought to level select which lets you pick from four different stages, each one housing an old fiend. Jump and shoot your way through the stages to get to the boss at the end. Defeating a boss will give you a new weapon based on their power. These run on limited ammunition but can be used both in the stages themselves and on the bosses. Each of the bosses has a weakness to the ability of another. Hidden in the levels are some powerups to get as well. Hearts can extend your maximum life bar. Subtanks can store health that you can choose to use as a heal whenever you’d like. There are also four armor upgrades. The leg upgrade enhances your wall jumping abilities and lets you break certain blocks when you jump off of them. The head upgrade allows you to break some blocks with your head. The body upgrade reduces the amount of damage you take. And the arm upgrade allows you to charge your main shots even further as well as allows you to charge up each of your special weapons, which allows you to do a secondary type of fire with each.

After defeating the four bosses you’ll be sent to a final, linear set of stages leading to some more boss fights and ultimate the final battle. Upon completing the normal game you will unlock hard mode, in which you fight against four entirely different robots after going through four entirely different stages. There are a few new cutscenes here as well as it continues where the previous mode left off. After defeating these four bosses you’ll be sent once again to the final, linear set of stages. You also have the option to continue from your previously saved file which allows you to keep everything you collected in normal mode when starting on hard mode, whereas simply starting on hard mode starts you from scratch. If you choose to continue off of your old file then all of the armor upgrade capsules will new Zero scramble programs. These are special abilities that summon your maverick hunter partner Zero in to do a move before switching back to you. Beating either version of hard mode will unlock extreme mode which has no additional story but does include all eight stages to pick from right out of the gate. In this mode the armor is based on the normal mode capsules and the Zero scramble programs are based on the hard mode capsules. Completing extreme mode does not unlock anything further. Beyond that are a few extra features you can access like the sound test where you can hear all the game’s music and sounds. There are also two optional features you can turn on or off to help your gameplay. Rapid fire allows you to hold down the fire button to have your buster shoot as many shots as possible as fast as possible. Auto charge automatically charges up your main buster shot without you needing to hold the button. There’s also secret capsule that contains two Easter egg moves previously found in Mega Man X and Mega Man X2 that originaate from Street Fighter, the shoryuken and the hadoken. But if you want to find the capsule for these moves, you’ll have to look elsewhere for spoilers.

I might be pretty nostalgic for this game as my first introduction to the X series, but I think it holds up pretty well. I think it’s interesting to not only see the mashup of Mega Man X and X2 bosses and stages into one, but also to see them recreated so well on the hardware of the Game Boy Color. It’s a nice 8-bit rendition of the SNES concepts and I think that only serves to enhance it for me personally. It looks and sounds great. The soundtrack is just as awesome in 8-bit if not more so, and it hearkens back to classic 8-bit Mega Man. Plus the new mini bosses and Zero scramble programs it adds a little something new to the mix as well. You can even play it on the go! It’s definitely a lot of fun if you already like Mega Man and/or Mega Man X for sure. Oh yeah, and the robot Zain has a pretty bitchin’ design. I do think its pretty well balanced as well. You’ll need a bit of variety in the way you use your special weapons if you want to make it through more easily, but they never feel too overpowered on the bosses, nor does your buster feel underpowered. As long as you can get the patterns down, the bosses are all very doable, but the extra weapons and powerups will help you greatly if you explore. Even the two bonus moves are balanced well in that you only get them after beating all the main bosses and thus can be used for the boss rush since you’ve proven your worth on them before, yet there are a few new bosses to fight using them as well. The inputs for them are simplified compared to the SNES counterparts. You simply charge up your shot and hold up or down when releasing the fire button. You don’t need to put in a complex input, nor do you need full health to do them. You just need to be on the ground to perform them. However, that’s also balanced by them no longer being a one hit kill. They do more damage than your fully charged shot, but they also leave you vulnerable afterwards for a while. It’s just a nice balancing act to keep them rewarding without making them broken. They are also reasonable to find. The rapid fire option is interesting as well. It can make enemies without invulnerability frames much easier to kill, but while it’s active you’ll be unable to charge your special weapons and take advantage of their charged properties. I also want to give a shoutout to the bosses in the game. They all feel totally doable with just the buster, and they have some interesting phases and attacks. They seem like a big step up from classic Mega Man bosses for sure. I’d recommend trying hard mode last as it’s pretty challenging without all your fancy weapons from a normal game helping you out. Great Mega Man goodness. I guess it’s hard to say much more about this without it devolving into telling you that you just have to play it to see, so I’ll stop there.

However, it does have some issues. Sometimes sprites will flicker. The music often cuts out for sound effects to take place. There are some instances of the controls being a little finicky and unresponsive. Heck, even slowdown can occur at a few parts. But these are all minor. I’ve also heard the complaint that it’s very difficult, but that’s most likely due to unfamiliarity. You need to learn to use special abilities to your advantage and find out the quirks of the game in order to get proficient, as is the case with any Mega Man title. Still, I think one of the biggest issues I had overall was with the modes. I feel like the entire game should’ve just been extreme mode, containing all the content from the get go. I also think it’s odd that you are encouraged to play a continued game into hard mode since that basically turns it into the second half of extreme mode, negating the incentive to play that mode after. The different story bits are nice for getting the full story but I think reworking the story in general to work as all one single experience would’ve also been good. The story could use some work too. Aside from a few typos, it’s just kind of a weak story lacking details to make it make a whole lot of sense. It’s clearly just an excuse to play old levels again, but it either needs some stronger story points or just a more solid premise with less cutscenes. I was also pretty upset about a secret in one stage where a completely unsuspicious floor has to be broken by a special weapon… with no real indication that the weapon can even do that either. THAT was a kick in the dick. And of course, it’s not an impressive game if you prefer the 16-bit versions of these levels and bosses. So it’s not exactly a masterpiece.

The hardest part about Mega Man Xtreme, even though I love it, is recommending it. Mega Man X and X2 are a bit more available and sport more advanced audio and visuals. They also have more content if you combine them. You’re not missing much if you already have those. So it’s more for the big Mega Man and Mega Man X fans primarily. It’s an interesting look at what the Game Boy Color could do with the X games, and it’s also an interesting find for 8-bit Mega Man fans for sure. But overall, I’d probably recommend the source material over this. If you’re looking for some good Mega Man on your Game Boy Color, this is great. It doesn’t do for the X games what the Mega Man Game Boy titles did for classic Mega Man, but it’s certainly still a great time. I’d say it’s worth about 15 to 20 bucks. If nothing else, you can always look at it like a great companion piece for your Mega Man collection. As for me, it’s a bit too nostalgic to pass up. Now if I can just get my hands back on the sequel… hmm. Until next time!

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