MEGA MAN X / Capcom / SNES
After Mega Man 3, Capcom had fallen into a rut of uninspired rehashes for the NES and Gameboy featuring silly robot masters. Mega Man X was exactly the kick in the pants that the series needed to revive. Unfortunately, after this initial title it turned into their new long-running rehash rut, but for at least one brief shining moment, Mega Man was exciting again.
The appeal of this one is that it takes full advantage of the horsepower of the SNES to provide bigger, more detailed and more interactive levels, as well as new abilities for Mega Man such as his double-tap dash move. Rockin soundtrack and nice graphics really don't hurt, either.
X is like the futuristic (even more futuristic) upgrade version of the original Mega Man, and he takes on eight robot masters (animal-themed this time out) holed up in the usual style in various levels. Aside from the new abilities and fancy-schmancy levels, the game is enhanced by a somewhat more engaging and elaborate narrative (with supporting characters and dialogue). I mean, it's basically still Saturday morning cartoon stuff, but it's a step up over Protoman whistling at you. Also, there's a touch of non-linearity as there are optional items stashed away in the various levels that you need certain upgrades to come back for later (you can replay any completed level and exit it at will - if you go back to the boss room you simply teleport out).
I thought this game had the most balanced overall difficulty of all the major Mega Man releases, being challenging without the over-the-top frustration the other games tend to delve into. The levels are maybe a touch on the short and easy side, but the robot masters are mostly pretty tough, and in keeping with series tradition the final levels and bosses are very difficult. Excellent action romp and one of the better overall games on this system.
* The X Hunters - Rock cover band
* Gameplay Video