Maverick Hunter X is a fine remake of one of the best SNES games ever produced.
MHX is a remake of the original Mega Man X for the Super Nintendo. Like any good remake, the graphics and audio were updated, gameplay was tweaked, and extras were included. Sadly, Capcom did not include a level editor like they did in MMPU, which is a shame because the MMX game engine is much more complex than the original Mega Man engine. If you’ve played X1 to death, you’ll notice all the subtle differences between MHX and the original game. You’ll also notice not-so-subtle features, like the new placement of the capsules. Perhaps Capcom felt the need to alter the capsule locations so that veteran gamers who memorized X1 couldn’t breeze through the game as quickly. The stage designs were altered in some parts, with the most drastic changes occurring in the Sigma stages. The Maverick bosses were upgraded with extra attacks, but you’ll only see these new attacks in hard mode.
The most obvious improvement to most remakes is graphics, and MHX looks great on the PSP’s big, beautiful screen. It’s too bad MHX introduces slowdown where X1 had none, but it’s nothing major. The audio has been given an upgrade, which means more remixed Mega Man music. Actually, some of the tracks don’t sound as good as the originals they’re based on, but generally speaking, the soundtrack is decent. The voice acting, on the other hand, is the best it’s ever been in any X game. Believe it. The dialogue could still use some work, but at least now it isn’t plain awful.
MMPU had several playable characters, but MHX only has one other playable character: Vile. However, playing as Vile is much more satisfying than using MMPU’s robot masters. Vile is a completely different character; being a war machine, he has access to a large variety of weapons, and you can mix and match these weapons as long as you have the capacity to do so. The stages are altered to accommodate Vile’s play style, so things like enemy placement and upgrades were reshuffled. Vile has his own storyline, and he also gets to fight a few bosses exclusive to him. Vile mode is quite a challenge, mostly because of the unfamiliarity with Vile’s play style.
Beating MHX once unlocks a nice 20-minute movie called “Day of Sigma,” which explains the events leading up to the events of X1. Capcom retconned X1’s story with this movie (if you’re unfamiliar with the term “retcon,” look it up at Wikipedia.org), but the story’s been fleshed out, which really hasn’t been done for any of the SNES X games. I won’t go into any details because I want to avoid spoilers, but it’s a must-watch for all Mega Man fans. It will be interesting to see if the entire X storyline will stay coherent, should Capcom decide to make more MHX games.
Although more effort could have been put into MHX in terms of content, MHX is a solid effort regardless. The ability to play as Vile is a fanboy’s dream, and Capcom could have easily made him a novelty character, but thankfully they did not. The Day of Sigma movie is a great extra to have, and is also a great example of what the PSP UMD is capable of doing. The gameplay changes made to the X1 engine are not major, and whether the alterations are welcome or not is purely up to the player. Between MHX and MMPU, MMPU will be the better choice over time, but it’s hard to pass on a remake of one of the best SNES games of our time.