Mega Man X8
Capcom has always been kind of an oddball. Sometimes they make truly wonderful games, just think about Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe. They’ve also got a lot of amusing titles, take the recent Shadow of Rome or the older Maximo for instance, but they also excel in publishing true rubbish, like Devil May Cry 2 and this horrible endeavour at a game, Mega Man X8.
It already starts with the way the game is set up. MM X8 is a pure 2D platformer in (god awful) 3D worlds. Nonetheless, these games can turn out into something nice, as Joe has proven earlier, but Mega Man X8 overshot his landing spot by a mile (make that 10 miles). The game combines every single commonplace of the platformgenre. First of all your braindead foes won’t do anything else than send their signature attack at you. Of course you need a special attack pattern to finish them off. After you’ve seen say 2 of these opponents (well, you can’t exactly call them opposition, they’re just mobile obstacles), you already know the ideal way to handle them. Bye bye challenge… Second, this game features those extremely annoying “jump on the right platform or you die immediately by falling into the endless void”-parts, something you might have liked in the days of Abe’s Odyssee, but in the 21st century this is just boring. Finally we have the mandatory and totally uninteresting bossfights. They present quite a challenge, but you’ll never be anxiously awaiting the next boss like in Metal Gear Solid. Unless you’re turned on by a giant sunflower (No joke! It’s REALLY in there!) in stead of Sniper Wolf of course…
All of this takes place in uninspired, unattractive environments, that don’t exactly shine in the design department. Naturally, you’ll get some puzzles, but none of them are interesting enough to keep you going. The 3D characters look shockingly bad (and that’s actually a euphemism) and the lighting effects are average at best. The only positive thing you can say is that the game looks very colourful. But on the other hand, if I want to see shiny colours, I might as well look at a flower documentary on the National Geographic Channel. The only thing you may describe as nice are the pretty anime cutscenes, that blend in fine with the Mega Man setting. They also tell the negligable, forgettable storyline.
The game’s sound isn’t much better either, on the contrary. If I didn’t know any better, I would have suspected that 3rd choice porn stars with the acting skill of a non-fertile tadpole were responsable for the voice-acting. De o so typical sounds you get to hear when you’re jumping, picking up crystals or shooting your blaster are of the same level. I’m guessing Jazz Jackrabbit (one the older gamers might remember ) had a same (or higher) level of samples.
To do something about the boring routine, some fast-paced, Sonic-style levels have been added, as are some parts where you can jump into a mechsuit, but none of them succeed in ratcheting up (please mind the “hidden” clue here) the horrible fun-factor of this game. Furthermore, some kind of upgrade-system has also been implemented and guess what? It’s not very good either…
Actually, this game can be described as not fun, uninspired and way too boring to be any good. The concept is old and technically, this game is of the end 20th century level. Maybe Capcom should consider dropping their outdated Mega Man franchise and concentrate themselves on their good series. Or they could just release it in Japan only. That way, we won’t be stuck with this kind of abysmal programming anymore.