Top 100 Games of All-Time: #72

Mega Man X2

Release Date: December 16, 1994

Platform Played On: SNES

2018 Placement: #32 (-40)


What It Is:

The first sequel of Capcom’s first expansion of the Mega Man franchise. Mega Man X2 is a solid platformer where the eponymous X takes on the Mavericks and Sigma for the second time. It has a few updates and QOL upgrades from the first one, most noticeably the fact that X starts with a dash now – something that was relegated to an armor upgrade in the original. Sigma also has three Maverick Hunters on his side who have stolen Zero’s body, paving the way for Zero to become a deuteragonist in the future MMX games.

It stays true to the Mega Man and X formulas: 8 Maverick robots, each with a special weapon that X gets after defeating them. And they all have weaknesses to another robot’s weapon, so figuring out the proper order is essential for players unless you’re a masochist and want to do a buster-only run. There’s also loads of secrets, from Sub-Tanks to armor upgrades, that give X an advantage in battle.

Why It’s Important To Me:

I played a lot of Mega Man and Mega Man X growing up as a kid. They were my passion projects: I would save the passwords so I could continue my quest of killing all 8 Mavericks when I had to shut the console down and go to bed. I love the concept of the Maverick Hunters (proto-Organization XIII-style love of villain groups, I guess) and of course, Mega Man X2 has some boppin’ tunes. See Magna Centipede’s theme or Flame Stag’s theme. Man, Flame Stag’s stage is so good.

It also has the final level where, surprise, Zero is resurrected by Sigma only for you to have to fight him in one of the coolest boss themes of the entire Mega Man series (bested pretty much only by a later X vs. Zero theme from X5/X6) even if it is very quickly repetitive. Fighting Zero was the absolute highlight of the game for me and something I still remember to this day. Imagine my surprise when I found out that if you manage to clear all the optional Maverick Hunters and rescue Zero’s body, you don’t actually have to fight him and he helps you in the end! So cool for a game to have that optional goal back in the day.

My Strongest Memory:

I think for this game my strongest memory is the fact that I actually beat it. I was unfortunately unsuccessful in Mega Man X – I always got stuck on the third phase of the Sigma battle. But this one I was actually able to beat Sigma Virus and see the credits. It was a huge accomplishment for me at the time.

I also loved how the final battle took place in Magna Centipede’s stage. Revisiting an old stage you’d already cleared somehow added weight to the confrontation for me. Instead of trekking through yet another damn castle stage before fighting the final boss, you’re retreading territory you’ve already covered and are familiar with. It’s a cool twist on the finale that other Mega Mans hadn’t really done before (except Mega Man 3 and the Doc Robots, but that was mostly different).

Why It’s #72:

Mega Man X2 represents the second-largest drop of any single game on this list from it’s previous spot. And the reason it dropped is because while I love this game as a whole and have a few very specific memories of specific Mavericks, there’s also a lot I don’t care about. I mean, Wire Sponge? C’mon. That’s really just not an interesting boss at all. For a long while I thought X2 was my favorite of the X franchise. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t. Yes, it’s still my second favorite and miles above any of the Playstation X games. But I just don’t have as high a regard as I thought I did. It’s still obviously worthy of an entry, though!