Top 100 Games of All-Time: #27

Mega Man X

Release Date: January 1994

Platform Played On: SNES

2018 Placement: #73 (+46)


What It Is:

The SNES update to the Mega Man series – while the NES adventures followed Rock and Roll and Dr. Light, Mega Man X takes place in an even more future-y future. Dr. Light has passed away and his research into an even better robot named X is uncovered by a Dr. Cain. X ends up leading the Maverick Hunters, who hunt Mavericks led by the evil robot Sigma (who later becomes like a demigod virus or something, MMX lore gets weird.)

In terms of gameplay it’s pretty much the same as the standard Mega Man – 8 bosses you have to take out one by one, and you get their weapons and use them to defeat other bosses. New enhancements and upgrades are available to make movement easier though – wall jumping and a dash are the most important in making X control and feel stronger than your basic Mega Man. It’s one of those console generational upgrades that really sticks out as distinct and making a better experience for the player.

Why It’s Important To Me:

Look, as a mega stan of Mega Man, Mega Man X is up there in the pantheon of games that are just -good.- While the video is a decade old, Arin Hanson/Egoraptor’s video essay on Mega Man X is still one of my favorite videos explaining why Mega Man X is designed so well from a gameplay standpoint (especially the intro stage).

But as for why it’s specifically important to me, well, I was thinking about it. And when I tried to do a top 100 in 2018 I had X2 as my favorite of the X games and up here in the 20s, while Mega Man X was lower. And this time around that just didn’t feel right. I love both games, but Mega Man X is just such a powerhouse in terms of both my memories and what I think about when I think of X. Storm Eagle’s stage theme. Beating Chill Penguin first and freezing Flame Mammoth’s stage over. Spark Mandrill’s stage theme. The absolute badassness of Zero as a deuteragonist and Vile as a sub-villain. I don’t remember if this was the very first Super Nintendo game I ever played, but I’m pretty sure it was the first one that really stuck with me, due to my love for Mega Man and just how impactful this was in advancing the franchise.

My Strongest Memory:

Beating the final Sigma was one of the greatest hurdles of my childhood. I could always make it to the last boss, but that final one-two-three punch of Sigma’s dog, Sigma, and then Sigma Beast Robot Evil Thing was almost always too much for me. It took me a long time to actually beat it, but when I did – god, that felt like a true accomplishment. In fact, getting to the end of any Mega Man game and beating the final, final boss has always been a triumph for me.

And then, of course, finding out about the secret Hadoken upgrade and getting to use that in game was just a cherry on top.

Why It’s #27:

As I said, I really sat down and thought about which X game I truly loved more – X2 has a rad soundtrack, interesting side villains, and the amazing X vs. Zero showdown. But X is the one that started it all. It has just as much of a baller soundtrack, introduces Zero in the first place, and paved the way for an iconic upgrade to Mega Man’s play style. It’s a near perfect game and deserves its spot near the top of the list.