We go hands-on with the US versions of this role-playing game that stars Capcom's famous blue robot.
Capcom's Mega Man has been spun through a number of versions in his long and illustrious career. Most recently, he's been making the rounds as X, a sentient robot (or reploid, in the series' parlance) who fights ceaselessly against the threat posed by rogue reploids, called mavericks. This time around, X eschews the usual action-based run-and-shoot gameplay of the Mega Man X series for a turn-based role-playing game in Mega Man X: Command Mission. We were recently able to put in some quality time with both US versions of the game (on the PlayStation 2 and GameCube) to get a sense of how X's latest adventure has been coming along. The brave hero and his stalwart companions manage the genre transition well thanks to an interesting, intuitive, and distinctive battle system that serves to incorporate the feel of the Mega Man action that so many know and love.
While familiar faces will be present during X's mission in the form of old friends Zero and Axl, some new reploid companions have also been rolled into the fray to join up with the blue bomber on his travels. There's Spider, the seemingly callous bounty hunter who initially stalks X, until the two unite around a common goal. A snappy dresser in a wide-brimmed hat, Spider brings to battle a self-assured air as well as a deadly assortment of cards with which to battle his foes. The hulking Steel Massimo, by contrast, is not nearly so confident, despite his imposing frame and thick battle armor. However, while on his journeys with X, he soon finds his mettle and becomes quite a formidable companion. The wily Marino is ninja-quick and indispensable when you need damage dealt quickly; she may be a thief, but she's a skilled one, so her abilities are a real asset. The angelic Cinnamon rounds out the group with her own special skills, which include not only healing capabilities, but also a unique power to improve special items, called "force metals," which can augment the characters' health, attack types, immunities against status disorders, and much more.
Battle in Mega Man X: Command Mission is randomly triggered while you're traversing the various towers, ruins, laboratories, and other environments you'll come across along the way. The fights are turn-based according to individual character speed, with your fastest foes and allies having their turns soonest. A long graph along the bottom of the screen shows what order the characters will move in, as well as their relative HP. When it's your turn to act, you have a wide selection of options available to you. You can attack outright with your main weapon, or you can soften your enemies up first by blasting them with what are called subweapons. Each character can equip up to two subweapons at a time, and the types of available subweapons range from simple missiles to special attacks that allow you to strike an enemy's shields, steal some extra currency, or boost your own attack power. Depending on the amount of energy you've got stored in your weapon energy meter, you can many times use each of your two subweapons and then follow them immediately with your main attack--in the same turn--to pack a big punch.
- Release Date: Nov 19, 2004 (EU)
- PEGI: 7+