My first contact with Mega Man, period, started with the cartoon. As a kid, I used to love the hell outta this cartoon. But for some odd reason the cartoon would air at times when it was hard for me to catch it. Either I made it home too late from school to catch it in the afternoon, or they would air it too late in morning for me to catch it since I left for school, or I was too lazy to wake up and watch it if it was on a weekend morning. So seeing the Mega Man cartoon, I had no idea it was based on a game for the NES. I just though it was pretty cool that he could take the abilities of his enemies and throw it right back at them. Then one day my cousins got a Super NES. We enjoyed the hell out of it, and eventually I would also get an SNES. But before my acquisition of the console, I was exposed to Mega Man X.
My cousin shows me this new game and tells me it was really cool. So he powers on the game and it almost immediately wows me. The title sequence still gives me chills whenever I see it. So we start the game and we’re immediately greeted to the Damaged Highway. Since my cousin already played it a bit, he tells me some of the things X can do, like the charge shot, the wall kick, and later on how to slide. I did find it funny that we all thought Zero was X’s sister. While Vile called Zero by name, we thought he was insulting him. So based on the hair alone, we all thought that Zero was Roll. For years we thought this!
But I digress. Seeing the whole “X” thing there in the title, I figured that this was more of an advanced Mega Man. So by intuition I figured that there was a “regular” Mega Man game on the NES. A few years later one of my old childhood friends gets Mega Man X and and Mega Man 7. So my feeling was right, there were Mega Man games on the NES since I’ve never seen any other classic Mega Man game on the SNES.
There would be times when my cousins and I powered up the game and we’d leave it at the title screen if someone was called by my aunt or had to go take a whiz and wait for them to come back. So in the wait, the game’s attract mode would play out, showing off Armored Armadillo’s stage. The demo showed off pretty much everything X could do, like crush rocks with his head, have a longer life bar, 4 subtanks, and coolest of all, every weapon’s charge shot. The tornado, the ice wagon, and a few weapons I hadn’t seen yet since I didn’t beat some bosses. Before I started swearing openly, my mind was going “oh shit. OH Shit! OH SHIT!” I wanted to find out where all of this stuff was and use them. And then the end of the attract mode, where X would ride the mine cart-like platform and go really fast and just charge right through enemies. I saw he was going almost as fast as his own shots, and those fly pretty fast! And then, the last jump to the boss door with the robot bird enemies flying by. So freaking cool! I’ve never seen anything this cinematic in videogame before this. It cemented that this was going to be an awesome game.
But for a game this awesome, it was bound to be hard. Some of the stages were a breeze, like Chill Penguin’s, Storm Eagle’s, and Flame Mammoth. But it was the bosses that were a major challenge. Besides Chill Penguin, they kicked my ass and ate away at my health like a fast-food-order. The worst ones for me were Spark Mandrill, Storm Eagle, and Sting Chameleon. With Spark Mandrill, he pretty much makes anyone’s “cling to the wall to avoid-hits” strategy useless since he’ll punch the wall and knock you off. Sting Chameleon’s invisibility was annoying. But even more annoying was his constant dropping of spikes. And don’t think you can cling to the wall much either, ’cause the ceiling is lined with spikes that will damage and kill you.
And then there’s Storm Eagle. All of the bosses have a rather consistent set-up. You go through two doors, you enter an enclosed room and the boss shows up. Here, you only enter one door and jump on a platform. Then, the aircraft you’re on blows up, leaving only the floor. As the plane plummets, Storm Eagle shows up. All of his attacks have one goal in mind: push you off the plane. There are no walls in this fight. So as a kid either I was being blown off the edge, or getting hit by Storm’s Eagle’s dash attack. I did beat him at one point within an inch of my life. But as I experimented with using other abilities on bosses, it finally hit me: these bosses are weak to one of the weapons I gain. I realized this when I shocked Armored Armadillo and removed his shields (yeah, I found a way to beat Spark Mandrill). So I did this to others, like using the Boomerang Cutter on Launch Octopus and Flame Mammoth, and the Ice Shot on Spark Mandrill (on a second playthrough). Soon beating these bosses was a cake walk.
And finally, this.
Never would I have imagined that X would make a cameo appearance in the Mega Man cartoon. I saw this as a kid and was like “Oh snap! it’s Mega Man X! This is so cool!” Of course, his portrayal in the cartoon was different here than in the game. But I didn’t care, it was X! Spark Mandrill and Vile make their appearance around the 6:09 mark, with X appearing around the 9:35 mark. This section’s running a bit longer than normal, so I’ll shut now and move to the next.