MegaMaster Musings

Command Mission Strategies
December 8, 2004

I chose what is perhaps a rather unusual way of writing the Game Hints page for Mega Man X Command Mission. That is, I wrote the hints for those playing through the game for the first time who were not already experts at it. After all, someone who is already skilled at a game doesn’t need game hints.

I could have taken a different route. For example, I could have suggested one or more of the following strategies for any and all of the bosses in the game:

  • Power up to level 99 and breeze through the game. But I was kind of assuming people didn’t want to put in the time required to do this. Plus, if you level up at the wrong time, you could be shooting yourself in the foot, since new characters join the party at preset levels, so you could end up with Axl joining at level 17 when everyone else is level 99...
  • Use Items: Shift into Hyper Mode, sustain your modes using Gain Hyper items, and blow the bosses away with Mega/Ultra Fire/Thunder/Blizzard items. Best done with Marino’s Quicksilver form, which can blast the boss to pieces without the boss getting a single word in edgewise, or with Spider/Axl who can use their Hyper Modes to avoid taking damage entirely while they dish out the punishment. This strategy, of course, assumes you have a limitless supply of these items, or at least a limitless supply of the zenny required to purchase them.
  • Use Supra-Force Metals. Of course, if you have SFM, you’ve already managed to beat the game at least once, so obviously you’ve already beaten most of the bosses too...
  • Use the hidden Hyper Mode forms. Now come on, if you managed to get the hidden Hyper Modes, you don’t need game strategies, because the bosses that must be defeated for the hidden Hyper Modes are much more deadly than anything the main game plot throws at you.
  • Use Spider’s RSF Action Trigger to blow away anything that moves. I haven’t actually tried this, but considering the game’s own description of this move says “guaranteed to kill most enemies” I’d say it would probably make a dent even in a boss. Of course, anyone who could reliably trigger a RSF doesn’t need game hints. More on that below.
Notwithstanding the points above, there is one thing that could have been different about my game hints, had the game designers made different choices, and that is Action Triggers. You’ve probably noticed I don’t mention most of them aside from X’s. The reason is that most of them require some amount of skill to use effectively, and again, if you had the skill to get the desired result 100% of the time, you probably wouldn’t need game hints.

This is rather unfortunate, and really does take away a lot of the strategy of the game, in favor of making mini-games and over-powered abilities that can be over-powered purely because they are so difficult to do on a consistent basis. This is why I dislike mini-games as a general rule—particularly mini-games which are required to perform attacks.

Take the game Mario & Luigi for example. (Great game, by the way.) The player is required to play a sort of mini-game in order to use any of the more powerful “Bros.” attacks. For most of the game the first time I played, I ignored these attacks entirely because I was unable to pull them off on a consistent basis. You can imagine how difficult it was to fight many of the bosses while handicapped such.

Nearly all of the Action Triggers in Command Mission are the exact same story. From best to worst, we have...

X’s Charge Shot/Collider. This one requires no real skill to use, and thus is why it is one of the only Action Triggers I mention heavily in the game hints. Simply hold down the button until the number reaches the amount that you want (usually, this translates to holding down the button until the meter stops moving), then release. The only real challenge would be if you wanted to hit a specific percentage, which is nearly impossible, but luckily that is not required for using the attack during boss battles.

Massimo’s Berserk Charge. This requires only a little more skill than X’s, but is less than half as effective. The basic theme is to pound the buttons as rapidly as possible. This is not much different than using a Final Strike, which also requires little skill. So this Action Trigger wouldn’t be that bad except for the fact that it really doesn’t do much damage to make it worth the effort. I seriously get more damage out of Massimo by spending his WE on Power Charges than on his Action Trigger.

Cinnamon’s Angelic Aide. This move does require rotating the stick, which some people may find difficult. However, even if you only get 1 or 2 hearts, that results in some health restored. (I think it works out to 10% of your health for each heart.) I find that it is fairly easy even for a less skilled person to get at least 30% healing out of this...and that is still an advantage over using a Sub-Tank. Still, it would have been nice if there was no mini-game at all, particularly since Cinnamon’s Action Trigger is already limited by her level as it is.

Zero’s Command Arts. Commanding this one sure is an art. Anyone who is good at Street Fighter games will have little troubles with this; however, for the rest of us, this attack is of little use. I am good enough to chain in at least 3-4 moves consistently, 6-7 if I’m having a good day, but even my best attempt results in half the damage of X’s Charge Collider at the same WE level. Not bad, but not really worth it either.

Marino’s Emotional Reel. I’ve never once gotten these slots to line up to anything. The only saving grace to this Action Trigger is that if you miss, Marino still performs an attack which is about as powerful as a normal critical hit—unlike many others where you get minuscule damage if you mess up. This Action Trigger would be useful for someone who could, say, reliably line up the “I’ll Take That” move on demand, but I can’t even get that on accident, so into the “Ignore” bin it goes.

Axl’s DNA Change. This one doesn’t require skill so much as memorization, unless you actually try to look at the sequence on the screen and punch it in from that. My memory doesn’t have the capacity to store the sequences for all of the bosses (this assuming they even stay static; I haven’t checked). Another resort is to just mash buttons randomly and take what you get, but considering you might end up with nothing (which produces an attack of absolutely pathetic damage), or, worse, an elemental attack that happens to heal your enemy instead of hurt him, this is more of a gamble than it is worth.

Spider’s Fortune Card. Honestly, I could have put this one first or last. Unlike all of the other Action Triggers, this one requires absolutely no manual dexterity. However, this Action Trigger is subject to the random draw of cards. People who are good at playing poker could potentially increase their chances of getting a good hand by knowing precisely which cards to remove, but even that cannot produce a guaranteed result. In short, this Action Trigger is random and thus near pointless for any kind of real strategy.

Whatever happened to a game where the player decides, “Okay, I want to perform a Tri-Card now,” and selects it off a menu? I could have provided a lot more variety in my game hints if such had been the case.

- The MegaMaster