Though there haven't been nearly as many handheld versions of Mega Man as there have console versions, the on-the-go series of Mega Man games are succumbing to the very same problem plaguing the console Mega Man games. In other words, they've simply provided more of the Mega Man gameplay that some either love or hate--this holds true for Capcom's latest Mega Man game on the Game Boy Color, Mega Man Xtreme 2. It will certainly appeal to an audience eager for a serious challenge and more classic Mega Man action as well as those who might have been disappointed with the previous game.
Mega Man Xtreme 2's story is somewhat irrelevant in the greater scheme of things since it basically follows the same structure set forth by every previous Mega Man game, with new bosses thrown into the mix. Essentially, Mega Man and Zero are called to an island to investigate the erasure incident, in which a number of reploids have their DNA souls stolen from their bodies--and this turns them into useless piles of metal. It's worth noting that there's a horrible misspelling in the introduction that replaces the word "laboratory" with "lavatory," which ironically speaks to the quality of the storyline.
At the start of the game, you can select from either one of the two characters, Mega Man X or Zero--each has a different set of four levels and four bosses. Of course, there are also basic differences between the two characters. Mega Man retains the long-range buster weapon used in previous games, and he also has the ability to receive various types of armor upgrades that are hidden throughout the game. Conversely, Zero has only a short-ranged plasma sword attack and doesn't have access to quite as many hidden power-ups as Mega Man does, which somewhat dilutes the element of exploration that's present in Mega Man's portion of the game.
Both characters have the ability to gain new weapons by defeating a boss, but they can also collect DNA souls, which are used to purchase upgrades for Mega Man and Zero. These upgrades serve a variety of purposes, ranging from speed and strength increases to Mega Man and Zero's default weapons to shielding and recharging upgrades. However, you can have only a few of the purchased upgrades equipped at a single time, so there's some fun in trying to find a particular combination that suits you. This applies more to Mega Man than it does Zero due to Zero's obvious lack of upgrades, but the feature's still interesting nonetheless.
Difficulty isn't as much of a problem in Mega Man Xtreme 2 as it was in the original Mega Man Xtreme, but there are more than a few frustrating problems--the most prominent problem being the blind jump. Many of the levels in Mega Man Xtreme 2 have been designed so that you can't really see what's ahead or what's below you, so naturally, you have to take a leap of faith and hope that there's a wall on the other side or that there aren't any instant-kill obstacles waiting for you at the bottom of the area. In addition, the collision detection seems to be a little off, particularly during boss battles when bosses manage to inflict damage even when it looks as though they're not making contact. Eventually, you'll learn to compensate for this, making it less of a problem.
If there's any single disappointing aspect of Mega Man Xtreme 2, it's that many of the stages and bosses--in both the Mega Man and Zero missions--have appeared in previous Mega Man X games. Obviously, this doesn't really matter for those who haven't played those particular games, but this perhaps serves as a sign that Capcom is finally starting to run out of ideas when it comes to the creation of new bosses and stages. Interestingly, the music in those stages tends to be better than the others, but overall, the music is still good and fits the game well.
As far as graphics are concerned, there isn't a really a significant difference between Mega Man Xtreme 2 and its predecessor, but they're still decent for a Game Boy Color game. Mega Man and Zero and most of the enemies are detailed and animate well. However, most will probably find that the background art is relatively bland.
Though it still follows the basic formula as the first Mega Man Xtreme, Mega Man Xtreme 2 makes a suitable number of improvements and additions to make it worthwhile for Mega Man fans and those just looking for a good overall game.