Mega Man Xtreme 2
|Mega Man Xtreme 2|
|Release date(s)||Game Boy Color|
|Distribution||8-megabit ROM cartridge|
Mega Man Xtreme 2, known as Rockman X2: Soul Eraser (ロックマンX2 ソウルイレイザー?) in Japan, is a video game developed by Capcom for the Game Boy Color handheld game console. It is a spin-off title in the Mega Man X series and is a follow-up to Mega Man Xtreme, released the previous year. Mega Man Xtreme 2 takes place during the 22nd century, in an unknown year 21XX, between the events of Mega Man X3 and Mega Man X4. The DNA souls of robots known as "Reploids" all around the world are being stolen by a pair of villains in order to create an army of undead "Mavericks". The "Maverick Hunters" Mega Man X and Zero quickly spring into action, now with the help of their young ally Iris.
Mega Man Xtreme 2 is a similar take on the series action and platforming gameplay formula while combining elements from home console versions of the Mega Man X series. The player may choose to play each of a series of stages as either protagonist, X or Zero. Defeating the stage's boss will earn that player character its special weapon. Critical reception for Mega Man Xtreme 2 was lightly positive, with most reviewers giving the game praise typical of the long-running series and noting a general improvement over the first Mega Man Xtreme title. In 2013, Mega Man Xtreme 2 was made available on the Virtual Console of Japan's Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS. It was later released in the North American eShop the following year and is currently being planned for a release in the PAL region eShop in August 2014.
The Mega Man X universe is set within the 22nd century, where humans and intelligent robots called "Reploids" live amongst one another. A tumultuous coexistence, some Reploids go "Maverick" and exhibit violent and destructive behavior. To extinguish such activity, a taskforce of "Maverick Hunters" is established by the human scientist Dr. Cain. The series chiefly follows the adventures of the Hunters Mega Man X and Zero, who have saved the world from the Maverick leader Sigma numerous times. Mega Man Xtreme 2 takes place between the events of Mega Man X3 and Mega Man X4, during which X and Zero, with the aid of their new friend Iris, are sent to investigate erasure incidents on the mysterious Laguz Island. Reploids around the Earth have been losing their "DNA Souls", leaving them as useless piles of junk.
It is quickly revealed that the DNA Souls are being used by a "Soul Eraser" named Berkana to resurrect a growing army of undead Mavericks from the past. Berkana was once a Reploid researcher who created a DNA Soul chip that reproduced deceased Mavericks. She steals the souls of Reploids to enhance her own power, and that of her loyal partner Gareth. Once on the island, X and Zero encounter and destroy several powerful Mavericks from their past adventures. Rather than stop them early on, Berkana allows the two heroes to progress so that they may strengthen their DNA Souls for her to take. X and Zero confront both Gareth and Berkana inside the Reploid Research Laboratory and defeat them. Sigma then reveals himself as being behind the plot. X and Zero prevail over the Maverick leader, the DNA Souls are returned to the hollow Reploids, and peace is restored one again. Zero fears that Iris' brother, the Colonel of the Repliforce army, will blame him for getting Iris involved in the incident. X, however, feels that the experience will ultimately help her.
Mega Man Xtreme 2 is an action-platform game that plays very similar to the first Mega Man Xtreme. Like the Game Boy incarnations of the classic Mega Man series, Mega Man Xtreme 2, reuses elements from first three home console Mega Man X games. The player is tasked with completing a series of side-scrolling levels by avoiding obstacles and destroying end-stage bosses. Stages are typically linear and present a number of traps and enemy robots to combat; collecting DNA Souls and items that refill health, ammunition, and extra lives; power-ups that improve the player's maximum health; and armor parts that grant X new abilities. Defeating the Maverick boss at the stage's end will earn the player its special weapon. These weapons can then be used to more easily defeat other bosses, as each one is weak to a unique weapon. After each level, the DNA Souls gathered in the level will accumulate, which the player can use to purchase additional upgrades from Iris. These upgrades range from speed and power improvements, health rechargers, and shielding.
In the game's normal difficulty mode, the player is given the option to choose between using X and using Zero, each lending their own advantages and disadvantages. X uses his "X-Buster" to shoot enemies from a distance. It can be charged up to inflict more damage to enemies. Alternatively, Zero uses his "Z-Saber" for close-range combat. Zero risks losing health more often by getting closer to enemies, but his slashes are more damaging than X's bullets. A difficulty setting called "Xtreme Mode" can be unlocked where the player can switch between X and Zero on any level, thus allowing them to gain different weapons depending on which bosses they defeat. The major change in this game compared with other Mega Man X titles is that X and Zero do not both gain a weapon when a boss is defeated; only the character used to destroy the Maverick will get the special weapon. This adds a hint of strategy to the gameplay, as one must consider not only the order in which they will fight each boss, but whether X or Zero's gained weapons will prove more effective later on, and which are needed to gain hard-to-reach power-ups. Beating Xtreme Mode will unlock a "Boss Rush" that allows the player to battle all eight Mavericks from this game as well as the eight Mavericks from the first Mega Man Xtreme.
Mega Man Xtreme 2 was developed and published by Capcom. Artist Haruki Suetsugu was responsible for doing the character designs and Japanese package art for the game. He expressed joy over being able to illustrate Iris, having not been able to do so since Mega Man X4. Because Mega Man Xtreme 2 was meant to be set in earlier time period than that game, he modified Iris' outfit by subtracting her beret and giving her a uniform a "schoolgirl look" to make her look younger. Berkana and Gareth were drawn as a witch and a knight respectively to tie with medieval theme of the villains from the first Mega Man Xtreme. Gareth's lion companion, which Suetsugu was given specific instructions to design as well, is not present in the actual game. Mega Man Xtreme 2 was first announced in Japan during March 2001. Prior to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Capcom announced that they would be localizing the game for western territories, as well the first title in another Mega Man spin-off series, Mega Man Battle Network for the Game Boy Advance.
Reception and legacy
Critically, Mega Man Xtreme 2 has met with a fair yet somewhat unenthusiastic reception. Most reviewers saw the game as an improvement over the first Mega Man Xtreme with the addition of the DNA Soul system and the option to play as both X and Zero. Skyler Miller of Allgame and Giancarlo Varanini of GameSpot respectively noted these features as "somewhat fresh" and "interesting". Game Informer summarized Mega Man Xtreme 2 as significant upgrade to its predecessor, citing the sequel's two playable characters, multiple hidden modes, higher boss intelligence, and a steeper difficulty curve. Varanini found that most of the unbalanced difficulty from the first Mega Man Xtreme has been alleviated, save for parts where the player must blindly leap off platforms without being able to see the next portion of the screen. Miller stated that, like other Mega Man titles, the game's challenge level tends to be frustrating without ever feeling impossible while encouraging the player to practice.
Both Miller and Varanini were generally satisfied with the graphics and sound of Mega Man Xtreme 2, though the former reviewer noticed a few instances of visual slowdown and audible repetition. The two writers also had similar, negative opinions on the game's storyline and translation. Miller pointed out that the instruction manual and in-game text are inconsistent with one another in both narrative and character names. One typo in the plot's introduction renders the word "laboratory" as "lavatory", a mistake on which Varanini commented "ironically speaks to the quality of the storyline". However, Varanini was most disappointed by the game's use of previous stages and bosses, attributing it to diminishing creativity on Capcom's part. 1UP.com editor Jeremy Parrish considered the Mega Man Xtreme 2 superior to the first Mega Man Xtreme, but did not recommend either one. "While less Xtremely bad than its predecessor," Parish wrote, "this one's still not Xtremely good, either -- especially considering the Zero series arrived not too long after its debut."
Mega Man Xtreme 2 ranked number six on Japanese sales charts for its release week, selling 17,110 units. According to Dengeki Online, the game sold 88,564 units in Japan during 2001, making it the 127th best-selling game in the region for that year. In 2012, IGN listed both Mega Man Xtreme games among titles they wished to see downloadable from the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS. On July 18, 2013, it was confirmed that Mega Man Xtreme 2 is planned for release on the 3DS Virtual Console, which released in Japan on December 25, 2013 and on May 29, 2014 in North America.
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- Capcom (November 2011). Mega Man Xtreme 2. Game Boy Color. Capcom. "Zero: Right. She was very helpful. I feel sorry that her first job as a Maverick Hunter was like this. The Colonel will blame me. X: The Colonel? But I believe the experience will be helpful when she returns back to the Reploid Force. Anyway, let's go back. We're done here."
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