Mega Man ZX Nintendo DS
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom
Release Date: Out Now
Mega Man games are known for being challenging and Mega Man ZX is definitely up there with the toughest games in the series. In fact, it's one of the most challenging games I've played on the Nintendo DS to date. This side-scrolling action game offers challenging enemies, boss battles that test your patience and isn't exactly liberal with the save points. Fortunately Mega Man ZX is also addictive and very enjoyable. In fact it's one of the best side-scrolling action games you can currently purchase on the DS.
Mega Man ZX allows you to either play as a boy called Vent or a girl named Aile. The game plays virtually identical no matter which one you choose to play as although, if you play through as both, you'll notice that Vent and Aile have very different attitudes and different dialogue. Both Aile and Vent work for the delivery company Giro Express. The game begins with a delivery that goes horribly wrong as Vent and his boss, Girouette are attacked by Maverick forces. They were due to deliver a package to the Guardians (who defend the peripheral towns against the Maverick forces) but when Vent falls from a cliff, thus escaping the clutches of one set of Maverick forces, he finds the Guardians also under attack from the same enemy. The package, a Biometal named Model X merges with Vent (or Aile depending on who you pick to play as) and gives him a blaster and incredible, short bust, speed.
During the course of the game you'll acquire five different Biometal Models (Model X, Model HX, Model FX, Model LX and Model PX) and each will give Vent (or Aile) special abilities. Model HX allows Vent/Aile to use Double Sabres, offers Air Dash and Hover capabilities and has electricity as its elemental attribute. Model FX allows Vent/Aile to use the Knuckle Buster weapon, offers superior attack power and has flame as its elemental attribute. Model LX offers the Halberd weapon, excels in marine combat with Swimming and Water Dash Abilities and has ice as its elemental attribute. Finally Model PX offers Throwing Blades and Throwing Stars and gives the ability to use stealth techniques. You can switch between Model forms at any time, although in any given situation it will usually be beneficial to pick one Model above the others.
As we said at the top of the review, Mega Man ZX is a challenging game. The various areas in the game have both minor and major bosses for you to defeat and even the minor bosses can cause some real problems. As with all classic side-scrollers, your enemies will have attack patterns that you'll have to observe and exploit, although this is easier said than done in some cases. The game initially offers an easy and normal difficulty setting but picking the easy setting doesn't guarantee you an easy ride and even on this setting there are still times when it can get frustrating. Save points are few and far between and it's very possible to get to the end of a level only to be defeated by a boss, lose your final life, and then have to go back to the beginning of a level in order to try again. Certain areas have obstacles that can cause instant death which also heightens the challenge and also, the frustration. Don't get me wrong this isn't a game where pixel-perfect jumps and actions are require but it is a game where you can expect to do certain levels and boss fights a few times before you are victorious.
To a certain degree it's disappointing that Mega Man ZX doesn't take full advantage of being on the Nintendo DS. The touch screen, for the most part, just isn't used. In fact in many ways you could argue that the game could have been easily done on the Game Boy Advance as only the top screen is really used. Also in terms of graphical quality the game could probably have been done on the GBA. There's certainly little here that the GBA couldn't have handled. It is, after all, a 2D side-scrolling game. Is this really a negative though? Well it's difficult to think of an effective use of the touch screen in a game such as Mega Man ZX and it's only logical that Capcom would put the game on the amazingly popular DS with the GBA, whilst still popular, firmly on the decline.
All of the dialogue in Mega Man ZX is in text (actually there's a small amount of Japanese in the anime-style cutscenes) so you'll be able to easily follow all of the game's storyline. The dialogue has both character portraits and the character's name placed next to it so you'll always know who is saying what. All of the mission objectives are given in text so you'll always be aware of what needs to be done. In fact all of the important information in the game is given visually (health bars for both Vent and Aile are shown, as are the health bars for the various bosses that you'll face) and it's fair to say that deaf gamers will have no problems with Mega Man ZX.
If you're looking for an enjoyable side-scroller and don't mind moments when you feel like pulling your hair out through frustration, Mega Man ZX is definitely worth a look. There is no doubt it's a quality title and fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy what the game has to offer. Should you own a copy of Mega Man Zero 3 or Mega Man Zero 4 for the GBA, you'll have access to certain boss enemies that appeared in those games if you have the game placed in the GBA slot whilst you're playing Mega Man ZX which is a nice bonus for fans of the series. The lack of save points, the instant death situations and the boss fights that can be really challenging are not for the impatient. That said however, it can be immensely satisfying when you complete missions that have taken a while to master. Far too many games these days are too easy and it can be a shock to the system to have one that offers a real challenge.
Mega Man ZX is one of the best side-scrollers on the Nintendo DS. Just don't expect an easy time of it as the game offers a real challenge, even for existing fans of the series.