"An iOS Translation Worthy of a Blue Bomber"
While mobile phone games have grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years, many of console gaming's most beloved franchises have failed to translate to the new interface. This is likely because of the radically different control scheme, and how a "virtual" controller on an analog touch screen can't match the precision of the digital buttons on an actual joypad. However, skilled programming and design can overcome these limitations, and Capcom's iOS remake of Mega Man X is a great example of how to remake a console classic into a mobile success.
To begin with, Mega Man X was one of the most beloved games from the 16-bit-era. The first Mega Man game released on the Super Nintendo (at least if we mercifully forget Mega Man Soccer), Mega Man X took the franchise into a darker direction, a more distant future where the robots have risen up against their human masters. Players control Mega Man X, the last and finest creation of the late Dr. Light, as he tries to save humanity from his extremist brothers. The game kept the old Mega Man's successful formula of action-platforming and copying weapons, but put it in a larger and more elaborate world. It also rewarded exploration by scattering hidden upgrades across each level, such as life-refilling "Sub-tanks", improved armor, and even the moves of Ryu from Street Fighter.
While many gamers still hold fond memories of Mega Man X, few expected it to work on a touch screen format. Mega Man games have always relied on high difficulty and precise responses, and the fluidity of touch controls has proven a massive obstacle for such games. Fortunately, Capcom worked very hard to make the translation as smooth as possible. Charging your weapon is automatic, sparing players from having to keep a finger on the virtual fire button at all times. The dash boots are mapped to the down button on the virtual joystick, which can actually be more convenient than the third-button SNES configuration. Also, the levels have been thoroughly analyzed and revamped to be more forgiving where the jumps might have been too tricky. The slippery virtual controls can still be difficult, but overall they respond as well as Mega Man requires.
Furthermore, Capcom didn't stop at just making the game better suited to a mobile phone. They also added a lot of extra content for Mega Man X veterans. Not only are there multiple achievements (including some challenges, such as beating the game without any upgrades or continues, that will vex even the best players), but there are also several score-based modes. Score Attack, Time Attack, and Survival modes are now present, and the Apple Game Center allows players to share their scores against other Mega Man players. If you have already played Mega Man X several times, you should definitely download this game, if only to test your mettle against other fans. And if you've never played a Mega Man before, this is an excellent entry into his world of outlandish bosses and unforgiving obstacles.
GameDynamo's Score for Mega Man X (Mobile)
Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on www.therubynation.com.
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