Mega Man ZX Advent Hands-On Preview

A Capcom event wouldn't be complete without a Mega Man appearance, and this time it's a new ZX game for the Nintendo DS.

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In the 20 years that the series has existed, there have been over 100 games bearing the Mega Man name. Even the Nintendo DS, which has had a relatively short lifespan so far, has seen four games in the series. Despite this, Mega Man ZX Advent is sure to have fans salivating because it takes the classic side-scrolling action game and gives it a character-packed DS update. ZX Advent features humans as well as a cast of eight exotic bosses, the latter of which you can magically transform into once you've beaten them.

The two human characters in Mega Man ZX Advent will have separate but interlinked stories. As human characters, they are quite agile and have a decent selection of weapons. On the other hand, the larger bosses--called pseudoroids--possess different skills that can help them take different paths through the levels. You can change between these characters by holding down the "Y" button, or you can access them directly using the touch-screen interface.

The two bosses that we saw in the demo at Capcom's London Gamers Day had a couple of different abilities that came in handy as we progressed through an early level. The first one was Rospark the Floweroid, a plant-shaped creature whose special ability was attaching to ropes. The more agile of the two creatures was Deerburn Buckfire, who was able to scale great heights by jumping back and forth off of walls. Later on in the game, six more pseudoroid bosses will become available, with weapons such as a microwave-firing guitar and a spiked-wheel attack.

With the action happening on the top screen of the DS, the touch screen is used to change between your various human and boss forms. It's also employed to access the maps and various submenus. It's quite an effective system, although having to look down during the hectic battles can be quite annoying. Thankfully, it's worth experimenting with various characters at different points, given that it's sometimes the only way to find some of the rare items in the game.

Aside from the main quest, ZX Advent includes a selection of bonus content that will definitely appeal to hardcore Mega Man fans. First of all, the original Mega Man game is included on the DS for the first time. Furthermore, the Vent and Aile characters from the original ZX game will also be unlockable. On the multiplayer side, players with two cartridges will be able to play in co-op and head-to-head games, and one of the minigames can be sent as a demo to DS owners without a copy of the game.

Mega Man ZX Advent doesn't look as if it will toy with the Mega Man formula too much. The game looks graphically strong, utilises the touch-screen controls, and has a host of brand-new playable characters to unlock. It will launch on the Nintendo DS later in 2007.

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