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Mega Man ZX

by Mike Sklens - November 1, 2006, 8:34 pm EST
Total comments: 1


Zero returns... as a fancy suit.

Mega Man has been around for a hell of a long time. The series has seen more twists, turns, spin-offs, and evolutions than almost any other game created. While Mega Man ZX is not a direct descendant of the Game Boy Advance Mega Man Zero games, it may as well be. The gameplay blends mechanics from the Zero series and the original Mega Man games to create a solid platform-shooter, and just for good measure, it throws in a tiny bit of Metroidvania.

You'll play as either Vent or Aile, couriers in possession of a very special "biometal", a material formed from ancient robots with great power. In this case, you are hauling the model X biometal, which originated from the original X robot of Mega Man X fame. Shortly into the game, you'll find Model Z, formed from X's pal Zero. In a moment of desperation they merge together into Model ZX, a biometal giving you the power of both X and Zero. However, as far as the gameplay is concerned, you are basically Zero from the Mega Man Zero series of games, hauling both a blaster and a sword, which you'll use to save the world.

That's about as much of the story as I care to talk about. With the ever-rising popularity of anime worldwide, it seems that every game from Japan has to be soaked in cliche anime style melodrama, replete with goofy cut-scenes, Japanese subtitles (remember kids: dubs are for lamers), and lots of whining. Mega Man ZX contains all of these, but thankfully it is very easy to ignore the story and concentrate on the top-notch gameplay.

As opposed to older Mega Man games, ZX does not split its world into concrete "levels". Instead, the entire game world is interconnected, though certain sections can only be accessed by obtaining keys to them. Thankfully, there are transporters scattered throughout the world to make navigation a little bit less tedious. Vent and Aile also have access to a command ship which contains various NPCs that offer help along your journey.

The aforementioned transporters, in addition to teleporting you around the world, also give you access to missions. You won't be getting much done in Mega Man ZX unless you are on a mission. As you complete missions, new ones open up, and the plot moves along.

The gameplay in Mega Man ZX is almost exactly the same as in the Mega Man Zero games. While Zero is equipped with both a blaster and a sword, you will quickly find that the blaster is far underpowered and the sword is a much more efficient (and fun) way of taking out the enemy. This is the fundamental gameplay element that differentiates ZX (and Zero) from the original Mega Man series, which was far more blaster-focused. The sword brings the combat right to the player, offering a much more perilous and exciting gameplay experience.

ZX also brings back some old gameplay elements from the original Mega Man series. Instead of simply gaining elemental enhancements or new weaponry, Vent and Aile gain new armors. These armors let them transform into different robots, each with their own abilities, weapons, strengths, and weaknesses. Much like abilities obtained in classic Mega Man games, these armors are earned by defeating bosses. Each of them offers some functionality on the lower DS screen, such as an area map or item locator, but none of them utilize the touch screen. While it is nice to have several different armors to chose from, they are (except for one) mostly useless except in certain situations. The water armor makes it very easy to maneuver underwater, but is very underpowered and entirely useless outside of water. The ninja armor lets you hang on to the ceiling and rain death upon your foes, but you can't move while doing so, and it's also underpowered. The fire armor allows you to edit the path of your blaster, but only from the pause menu, a puzzling mechanic considering the game never tells you how to do this and seems to suggest that you can do it during gameplay on the touch screen. Finally, the air armor lets you dash upwards and in mid-air. It has no buster (swords only), but packs a decent punch, making it the only useful armor other than the standard ZX armor.

The Mega Man Zero series is known for being difficult, and while Mega Man ZX lives up to this standard, it isn't quite as difficult as it's predecessors. There are very few "cheap deaths" in the game from things such as bottomless pits and spikes. Some of the bosses are push-overs, but others are quite challenging, and will require a couple attempts to defeat. Once again, Mega Man ZX is all about old school pattern recognition. Almost, if not every boss attack is avoidable in some way or another, and there are openings for attack in their patterns. Bosses in ZX have weak spots, which will take more damage than the rest of their bodies. However, the more you attack a weak spot, the weaker the armor will be once you acquire it. This is easily remedied by upgrading, or "repairing", the armor at the command ship, but the process will require the use of energy crystals.

All in all, Mega Man ZX is a worthy successor to the Mega Man Zero line. The combination of Zero's gameplay with X's power-collecting is a nice mesh of the two series, even if the armors you earn throughout the game aren't very useful. With a little work, this could become a killer feature in future ZX games. The challenging gameplay is very well balanced and shouldn't frustrate most gamers. Instead, it offers a well deserved sense of accomplishment. Fans of the series won't be disappointed, and newcomers will find a solid action-platforming game with plenty to do.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7.5 7 7 8.5 8 8

Capcom isn't pushing anything incredible out of the DS with this game. It's very pretty, but it looks very much like a small visual upgrade of the GBA Mega Man Zero games.


The music sits in the background. It's fine, but there's nothing amazing. Everything is nice and sharp sounding.


While most of the controls are perfect, Capcom loses major points for not ever explaining how the Buster Edit feature works, and not making it available during gameplay. It's not even mentioned in the game manual.


ZX is a solid Mega Man Zero style action-platformer. Chances are that if you liked the Zeor games, you'll like ZX. The challenge level is excellent, though the large overworld is a bit of a pain to navigate.


The main quest is pretty long, and there's plenty to do afterwards, including earning a super-overpowered armor. You can also unlock new bosses to fight if you insert Mega Man Zero 3 or 4 into the GBA slot of your DS.


There's a reason the Mega Man series has been around for so long. It's because it continually delivers quality action-platforming games, and this one is no exception. ZX follows in the footsteps of Mega Man Zero, offering a good challenge with some unique gameplay elements drawn from previous Mega Man games. It's not so much a spin-off as it is an evolution of the Zero series.


  • Blend of Zero and X gameplay styles
  • Highway intro level from Mega Man X returns
  • Sword slashing gameplay
  • Mostly useless armors
  • Stupid anime-inspired story
  • Terrible arcade "mini-games"
Review Page 2: Conclusion


KDR_11kNovember 02, 2006

Don't diss the other armors, the Hx's damage output is pitiful for a melee-only armor and is only useful for movement. Lx has a really wide area covered by its lance, makes it much easier to hit enemies when jumping as you'll hit anything above or below you as well as in front (though I think it may be a bit low on the damage, too), Fx shoots quite powerful bullets and is great for hitting enemies that have their weak point higher or lower than your gun or come from above at you (spiders in Area E, for example) and Px does projectile spam like noone's business. When fired airborne the knifes are pretty much guaranteed to hit stuff which means you can take on anything below you more easily and on the ground the knifes do a LOT of damage due to their large numbers and will hit small enemies (that usually go under your buster shots) easily. Grabbing the ceiling isn't that useful but grabbing onto semi-solid surfaces and then jumping up through them is pretty useful (the air dash allows you to get on platforms you can grab, too but switching to Px afte the air dash allows grabbing even more stuff).

And the buster on the Zx is very useful, using the saber does a lot of damage but it's not feasible very often if you want to avoid hits.

You didn't mention that the level design doesn't really make use of the exploration. All the required bosses are in "pockets" that are pretty much standard Megaman levels (conveniently labelled Area A-L), the only exploration you do is find the entrance, then you need to take the mission and walk through that level (why they didn't make the mission trigger automatically when you enter the area is beyond me). The explorable area of the map is strictly separate from the levels after the introduction. Seems to me like Capcom didn't fully understand what the Metroid concept is about.

Also if you die on a mission and select "restart mission" you start from the terminal where you picked the mission, not the one where you last saved. Aborting the mission has the same effect so if you cancel a mission because you e.g. can't find the Area anything you did after accepting the mission is undone.

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Genre Action
Developer Capcom

Worldwide Releases

na: Mega Man ZX
Release Sep 12, 2006
jpn: Rockman ZX
Release Jul 06, 2006
RatingAll Ages
eu: Mega Man ZX
Release Jun 01, 2007
aus: Mega Man ZX
Release Jun 20, 2007

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