He's 2D, he's 3D, he's one of gaming's oldest icons, and he's not going away. At least not yet. The fifth of Capcom's X-tensions from the original blue blaster boy, MMX5 will seem a tiring title to some but a classic comfort to others. With the original series pushing nine titles, it's a wonder the "X" games exist at all, and not much has changed since it appeared on the SNES nearly a decade ago. That's the problem, the developers seem like they're really stretching to come up with original new robotic animal bosses and reasons for X and Zero to fight them. While the story in X5 is a very important part of the game's progression, and your speed in completing the game affects the type of ending you receive, the interaction between X/Zero and the bosses feels forced and cheesy. The gameplay is the same, barring a couple of new attacks and moves that are linked to armor and acquired weapons, and they've also upped the difficulty a notch. It's still tough to reliably pull off moves that require multiple button presses, like climbing a wall while charging, or dash-jumping precisely, no matter how you have the controller configured. If you've played any MMX games before, you know these moves come up all the time. Having the ability to turn your charger to "always on" in the options does help simplify things, though. Don't expect too much from X5, it's little more than an extension to 4 for fans of the series.
Long live Mega Man. Long live 2D. Long live Capcom. With 2D games diminishing further and further each year, it's good to see Capcom continuing its long-running series. But in typical Capcom style, very little has changed with this new installment, meaning that it's strictly for hardcore fans only. MMX5 is solid all around, with good graphics, cool tunes and typical MM gameplay. However, the game places a large emphasis on story, which I could care less about. As with fighting games, you don't play 2D action side-scrollers for their stories. And text bubbles popping up in the middle of action is just lame. Still, as a new 2D side-scroller, it's not bad.
While you could probably say this about any Mega Man game, the X series in particular hasn't felt fresh since the very first game on the SNESno matter what you're doing, you get the feeling that you've done it before. X5 is no exception. It plays like the last four games, it looks like the last four games. It has the same confusing, animal-based bosses to boot. While I do like some of the new options, such as setting MM's blaster to auto-charge or rapid-fire, there's nothing here that really excites me. I like an old-school 2D action game as much as the next guy, but it's time to get some new ideas in the mix. Only play this if you're a fan.
Mega Man X5
Featured In: EGM #137
Supports: Dual Shock
Best Feature: Classic 2D gameplay
Worst Feature: Drags out a formulaic series
Web Site: www.capcom.com