My first contact with Mega Man X5 started with an issue of Tips & Tricks where they would cover beating the bosses and finding all the secrets in Mega Man X5. It was on the cover too, So I was ecstatic when I saw this in the mailbox. So off I went to my room reading up on all the stuff you could do in MMX5. I was a bit confused on how they talked about the armor parts since I still thought you collected parts like the previous game (getting equipped immediately vs. assembling all first). Of course by reading this strategy guide I also ruined the surprise of X and Zero battling each other. Another thing I noticed was the new naming scheme the Mavericks went by. Instead of the usual “element-animal” pattern, their names were based on members of Guns N Roses. So they had names like Squid Adler, Duff McWhalen, and Izzy Glow. Of course, you could still see the names they had beforehand still in the manual. My actual getting of the game came around 2002 when I spotted it at a pawn shop for $20. X6 was there as well, but I passed on it.
It’s somewhat strange. I can’t really remember much out of this game, save for a few moments that were outright difficult for me. This could be cause after beating the game a few times, I stopped playing for a really long time. So then, first thing I remember were the the things that happened near the end of the game. First up would have to be the battle with the Shadow Devil. I remember the Tips & Tricks guide saying that this was a call back to the Yellow Devil boss from the first Mega Man game in the Classic Series. One thing they did mention was that the pause trick from the first game was useless since, well, the hardware improved. Reading this, I thought it may not be so bad. But actually playing the battle, whoa. This battle had me pulling my mini-fro. I had trouble memorizing the pattern of the blobs and kept dying as a result. What made things worse was that there was little time to react and you couldn’t, say, go to the opposite wall because the Devil’s outline would be there and crossing resulted in damage. Not only that, actually touching either the Devil or his outline shaved off huge chunk of life, more than the blobs. I did beat him eventually, somehow. I don’t know who I beat him with, but I was glad it was over.
And then there’s the fight between X and Zero. This fight was dependent on how the Eurasia was destroyed. If the Eurasia was destroyed with the Enigma, everything was fine. If you sent the shuttle and destroyed Eurasia, everything was still fine. If you run out of time or both attempts failed, Zero went Maverick. Going against X, he used abilities from some of the defeated Mavericks (and I think the ones from X4 as well). Going against Zero, He sent out waves with his Z-Saber and did a modified Giga Attack. Going against Maverick Zero… he will pulverize the hell outta you! Thankfully, I only faced him when I intentionally ran out of time (or the shuttle failed). The battle was pretty climactic to say the least. This was heightened if you played Mega Man X4, where both Zero and X start to have doubts about themselves and fear going Maverick one day. This isn’t the first time in the series where X and Zero faced themselves. I’m not sure what is considered canon, but you can fight Zero in X2.
Finally, this one is kind of a minor thing, but I was surprised by two changes in the gameplay. When I was reading the T&P strategy, there were times when the guide told you to “duck.” I was like “What? You can duck in this game now?” I thought that maybe they meant to slide under things since that was the equivalent on ducking. Upon playing the game, you can in fact duck! This blew my mind as a kid! Another thing that was changed was that now you couldn’t shoot through walls. Yep, that meant no more shooting at enemies from half a screen away and camping behind a wall. This also made battles on hills a little challenging since the slope could stop your shot. Thankfully this wall-barrier also applied to enemies as well.
There’s also the bike stage with the orbs. But the less I talk about that the better.