Once upon a time, it wasn’t that difficult to play a new Mega Man title. One such title was Mega Man X, the first entry for the franchise on the SNES. Now the title has been ported to the New Nintendo 3DS handheld as part of its Virtual Console offerings.
Mega Man X was not only the first Mega Man title on the SNES, but it was also one of the most commercially successful titles in the franchise. It introduced some clever new ideas that changed how levels were played. One such change is the ability to wall jump and also stick to the wall for a few seconds. This not only made it much easier to cross gaps in the field and other obstacles, but it also made it possible to add new challenges. Additions like wall jumping makes for far more interesting level design, given that a wider variety of obstacles can be added to levels. There is also the fact that levels feel longer due to how they are designed to accommodate for such changes as wall jumping.
The lack of a crouching ability still feels like a glaring omission, even if it more or less expected when thinking of Mega Man. At least the title somewhat makes up for continuing this tradition by adding checkpoints at different points of the each level. Given how fragile Mega Man may seem at times, it’s also handy to have a few lives to use before getting the game over screen and having to restart a level or tackle another level.
Perhaps one of the best additions to the title is the mech that Mega Man can control in some of the levels. This makes for a welcome change to how levels are played, since the powerful mech can deal with the many enemies that want to defeat Mega Man. The only downside being that there are barriers to limit the use of the mech to certain sections of the levels. Then again, it would have made it too easy and a challenge has always been what made Mega Man titles so popular.
The levels themselves are varied with different enemies and obstacles to deal with. It makes it far more interesting to try to survive to the end of each level.
As usual, the highlight of this Mega Man entry is taking on the various bosses at the end of the levels. Each boss has unique powers and weaknesses just waiting for players to find and exploit. Defeating each boss results in gaining a new ability. Once again, the addition of new abilities makes for better boss fights that rely on players making the best of the environment to gain the upper hand.
Like with other Virtual Console titles on the New Nintendo 3DS handheld, it’s possible to save at any point. It comes in very handy for a title such as this, since it gives less skilled players a better chance of finishing the title and not just give up after having to restart levels a couple of times. The decision to only include the original resolution and a slightly enhanced resolution (both with black side borders) doesn’t have a negative impact on how the title is played. This is due to the fact that there isn’t much going on the screen and that it’s not exactly a fast paced title. No noticeable technical issues appeared whilst playing the titles, making it one of the better ports to appear on the handheld’s Virtual Console service.
If anything it’s a title that has managed to look relevant years after being released. Mega Man X is not exactly a walk in the park, but its challenging levels are one of the main reasons why it’s one of the more popular titles in the franchise that makes this a port worth playing.