MEGA MAN X8
SYSTEM YEAR GENRE RATING PS2/PC/PSN 2004 Traditional 80% ALSO KNOWN AS Rockman X8
Earth is in such a turmoil due to the Reploid uprisings that humans have decided to colonize space instead. (Like that’s going to solve their problems.) They’ve completed a project called “Jakob” which includes an elevator to the moon (why is it people think that building rail lines into outer space to connect the moon with the earth is a feasible operation?).
Things go awry when Vile shows up and kidnaps Lumine, the Reploid director of the project. Sigma is therefore suspected of being behind the capture of the Jakob project. “Suspected” being the key word, since all next-generation Reploids are now equipped with Axl’s DNA Copy ability, and yes, as X discovers very quickly, some of them even went so far as to copy Sigma...
Why does anyone think it’s smart to mass-produce Reploids with copy chips? Forget the Maverick issue; a copy-chip would allow a Reploid to circumvent with ease any sort of security. He could make himself look like an employee and steal stuff from a store. He could mimic a government official and stroll right into top-secret areas. He could turn himself into a manager and clean out a bank. I can’t fathom how mass identity theft could possibly help any society. It’s no wonder the X series world is in such a mess...
At first glance this game is basically a traditional side-scrolling variation of Mega Man X7, without the free-range modes and the lock-on targeting cursor. This I would consider a good thing; but it’s not quite the same, though: the character models are completely different here, the duck is gone, and of course they tweaked a few other things here and there.
The game play is much closer here to the classic 2-D games than was the previous title, but it does bear some features from Mega Man X7. The tag-team is here, though you are still limited to bringing only two of the three characters with you to each stage. But now Axl plays like Bass in Mega Man & Bass (except that he hovers instead of double-jumps; Zero’s still the one with the double-jump). Note that Axl gets completely different weapons than X this time around, and he doesn’t need weapon energy for any of them. (He uses weapon energy only on his transformations.)
They also adjusted the continue system slightly. There aren’t really any “1-Ups” per se, but the “retry” system behaves in basically the same way. The main difference here is that, whenever you die, you can opt to quit the stage and return to the stage select screen (keeping any items you’d happened to pick up along the way before dying). This just means you don’t have to kill yourself off until you lose all your lives just to exit the stage like in previous games. For that matter, you can exit a stage at any time, even if you haven’t completed it, by choosing the “R&D Lab” option off the subscreen.
Game Play Notes
- Characters: Your three characters are a bit more distinctive in this game than the previous one. X’s advantages are, as before, his suits of armor and the fact that he can charge his buster and his weapons. Overall, he still ranks the best at taking damage and dishing it out. Zero remains as the melee fighter with attacks that cover a lot of area at close range. He doesn’t rely much on weapon energy and is more fragile than X. Finally, Axl is now the rapid-fire character who can aim in multiple directions and whose main benefit, besides his DNA Copy ability, is the fact that none of his Master Weapons require weapon energy. Axl is also probably the best character for midair acrobatics. Not only can he hover on a double-jump, but he also floats for a good span of time if you shoot while in the air, plus he can hang onto a wall for nearly forever without sliding down it as long as he is firing.
- Guard Breaks: Every character now has a way of breaking through the defenses of enemies that repel your normal attacks. For X, it’s his charged shots; for Zero, it’s the third slash of his triple-slash; and for Axl, every eighth shot that he fires (when you hold down the button) will be blue—the blue shot is a guard-break. Some special weapons act as guard breaks as well. Keep this ability in mind, because there are many places in the game where you need it. (Note, though, that this doesn’t work on enemies which are just plain invulnerable. Look for the rainbow shield as a clue of when you can guard-break.)
- Tag Assist: Certain enemy attacks can grab your character, but here these attacks can be interrupted by doing a character switch ( by default). This doesn’t work if your other character is dead, of course.
- Double Attack: When you press the button, your character will project a small sphere around himself briefly. If you hit an enemy with this (basically, you have to put yourself right next to the enemy, then activate it), you will get a double-team attack that hits all enemies on the screen, even those that you didn’t specifically target. You need your Attack Gauge (AT) filled first.
- Death: If one of your characters dies, the other one switches in automatically. You don’t lose the other character, but you can’t switch back to him until he recovers (which happens when the Attack Gauge fills). This doesn’t work when you die to spikes or by being crushed.
- Axl’s Copy Shot has changed from the previous game, and the manual forgets to tell you this. What you must do is use his Copy Shot weapon ( by default) on an enemy until it turns into a DNA capsule (not all enemies will drop DNA). Then pick up the DNA, open your subscreen, and choose the “A Trans” item like you would a weapon, then close the screen and press the fire button to transform. Axl stays transformed until you press (which doesn’t character switch in this case; it just causes him to revert), or run out of weapon energy. Or die. Though you keep your current “A Trans” setting even if you die, which is something to note.
- Play Control:
- The control’s not terrible, but it’s not terrific either. The duck is gone (why?), Zero’s dash is near useless, and characters tend to have butterfingers when it comes to grabbing onto ledges. Hmm, but I guess they’ve always had butterfingers. Okay, forget that.
The background graphics are pretty nicely rendered. They do suffer a bit from the overhead problem that plagued several of Capcom’s 2-D games, and sometimes foreground objects can get lost in the background, making them difficult to distinguish from the environment, but otherwise the graphics aren’t bad. I do like how some stages, most notably the Booster Forest, actually rotate around and fold in on themselves in interesting ways.
- Argh, Capcom! Why did you toss the character models from Mega Man X7? I hate to say it, but the new models look rather dippy. The new production artist isn’t quite as good either. The characters animate fairly well—they even gave Zero’s ponytail some extra attention in this regard, even if the end effect needs work—but overall I liked Mega Man X7’s artwork better.
- The music is pretty typical. I have no complaints. It’s interesting to note they change the music during a stage in certain cases, such as when you jump into a Ride Armor.
- Sound Effects:
- A lot of the sound effects are from previous X series games. I think the voice actors may be the same as the ones in Command Mission, which rather surprises me, though it’s pretty cool.
- The story is executed nicely and the translation was well done. I also appreciate how they tried to bring in some consistency with the series by featuring Vile, Sigma, and other old faces. All I’m going to say about the plot itself is that copy chips are becoming way too proliferated. At this point you can’t ever be sure that the Reploid you are dealing with is actually the genuine article. It’s getting quite absurd...
4(normal to hard)
- Somewhat ironically, the “easy” difficulty in this game more closely matches the typical difficulty of previous X series titles...thus making the “normal” difficulty a touch above. But beyond this, this game gives me the impression that the level designers where trying as hard as possible to prevent you from actually enjoying the game. The stage design in a lot of cases is almost beyond ridiculous.
- Replay Value:
It’s necessary to beat the game multiple times to find everything. Of course, you have to decide if it’s worth going through some of the more irritating stages all over again. On the other hand, the clear-game save does at least give you reason and motivation to play through the game more than once. Also, the stages get a lot less irritating after you’ve played through the game two or three times.
- There are several good features here for stages that let you enjoy them, such as the guard breaks, and the tag-team assist which lets you break out of holds. The Double Attack is kind of fun too, in the same overkill sort of way as the Final Strike from Command Mission. Also, some of the levels do have some clever features. I just didn’t like many of the stage designs.
- Like most of the recent X series games, this one requires a lot of getting used to before you begin to enjoy it. The game has a number of nifty new features that are a lot of fun, but the problem is, there are very few stages that actually let you enjoy them. Two of the levels are jet-bike levels, and two are on auto-scroll. Two more have ridiculous corridors of spikes, and one stage is a bunch of mini-games. That’s an awful lot of the game to write off before you can even think about starting to have fun. So this game is a collection of good things and bad things, and I guess you just have to decide which outweighs the other.
- + Plus:
- There are no rescuable Reploids to worry about this time around. Whee!
- - Minus:
- Can’t decide on this one. No duck. Ugly character models. Infuriating level design. Pick one.
This is not the most optimal order, since you have to revisit many stages to gather the items. Like most Mega Man games, you just have to find a place to jump in and start, and I found Trilobyte’s stage and boss battle to be relatively easy to defeat without weapons. Still, feel free to hop into the circle in another place instead. Remember, if you have troubles with the game, enter stages to gather items, then quit out if you can’t make it all the way through. Your rank will suffer, but you will come out on top in the end.
- Earthrock Trilobyte (use Squeeze Bomb / Spiral Magnum / Juuhazan)
- Gigabolt Man-o-War (use Crystal Wall / Bound Blaster / Rekkyoudan)
- Avalanche Yeti (I know, two jet-bike stages in a row, sorry. Anyway, use Thunder Dancer / Plasma Gun / Raikousen)
- Burn Rooster (use Drift Diamond / Ice Gatling / Hyouryuushou)
There, now you have all the irritating auto-scrolling stages out of the way. Finally it’s time to actually have some fun. Maybe.
- Bamboo Pandamonium (use Melt Creeper / Flame Burner / Enkoujin)
- Optic Sunflower (Do take X’s red boots with you to this stage; you’ll see why when you get there. Anyway, use Green Spinner / Blast Launcher / Youdantotsu)
- Dark Mantis (Be sure to take Axl into this stage. Use Shining Ray / Ray Gun / Tenshouha)
- Gravity Antonion (use Shadow Runner / Black Arrow / Rasetsusen)
The hatches are color-coded here. I swiped the screen shot off the stage select screen because it was easier than piecing together my own. It’s blurry, but use the colors below to match up the gates.
- Black: Dark Mantis
- Red: Burn Rooster
- Orange: Earthrock Trilobyte
- Purple: Gravity Antonion
- White: Avalanche Yeti
- Cyan: Gigabolt Man-o-War
- Yellow: Optic Sunflower
- Green: Bamboo Pandamonium
- Intro Stage Boss:
Call me crazy, but based on its huge pincher arms, I could have guessed that.
- You meet this thing three times, and slightly different strategies apply to each encounter. The easiest way to toast it the first time is to use Axl, jump, and at the peak of your jump, hold down the fire button. Axl will hover right over the crab’s shots and the pincher that grabs you. The only trick here is the timing (since Axl can only stay in the air for a limited time, so you don’t want to drop to the ground at the wrong moment). For the second encounter, just jump up next to its head and double-attack it. The third time, at the end of the stage, use Zero to triple-slash it (stand on the ground, right in front of it—it doesn’t look as though his saber should reach, but it does) and the crab will pause and drop downward momentarily. Jump up and whack its head while it’s vulnerable, then as the crab straightens up, wait until it is fully upright and then triple-slash it again before it can start moving. Keep doing this over and over until the crab’s health is low, then double-attack it to finish it off. Note that if you want or need to use the Double Attack multiple times, you can gather crystals that the crab drops to recharge your AT meter. The easiest way to get it to drop crystals is to hit the pipes on its back from behind.
Why do I get a little bit of déjà vu here?
- You can encounter Vile in any number of different stages, plus you meet him again in the fortress. Vile floats in the air shooting semi-homing shots. Sometimes he will swoop across to the other side of the room and repeat. Some of his shots split into multiple smaller shots, and later on Vile will start tossing a flame on the ground. His ultimate attack involves him hovering invulnerable in the center of the screen with spokes of electricity moving around him, and you have to move through the spokes when they blink out momentarily. The ice weapon will freeze him, so use it at every opportunity. The final time that you encounter Vile, he will enter the battle with a Ride Armor. Use a guard-break attack to knock him off the armor, then fight him like normal (his pattern is the same as before once he’s off the armor).
- Sigma 1st time:
- He dashes across the room, and also hovers and charges up. While charging, he’s got a shield around him, so you have to use a guard-break attack on him. Doing this will interrupt his charge. (If he finishes charging, he fires a large pinkish super-shot.) When he dashes, he’ll swing with a beam saber at the end of the dash. After the halfway point, Sigma fires several small missiles which slowly move about, bouncing off walls and things. He also does a dash uppercut type attack. Finally, when he’s low on health he’ll light the floor on fire. I haven’t pinpointed his weakness yet, but the shadow weapon seems to do decent damage on him.
- Sigma 2nd time:
- His pattern tends to be such: he fires some circle-beams, then disappears. He’ll reappear above your head and do a down-slash with his sword (dash out of the way, and hit him after he lands if you can, but stay far away from his sword). He will do the sword attack once or twice (if he disappears quickly the first time, he’s doing it again), then return to a corner of the room and fire more circle beams. After the halfway point, he will light one wall on fire, leaving only one wall you can climb to avoid his shots...but if you try to climb the one over his head, he will jump up to knock you off. At this point you need to jump and dash to dodge his beams. Sometimes he goes crazy and starts slashing downward repeatedly, over and over. Dash back and forth to dodge this. His ultimate attack seems to be where he disappears, sucks up your character, and then grabs him. You can tag-team this one away. Remember to aim for Sigma’s head.
- Lumine 1st time:
- (I’m just going to call him a “he” because the game does, even though he looks and sounds like a “she”...) He’s surrounded by the eight colors of the teleporting hatches earlier. He floats around the room and uses the ultimate attacks of the various Mavericks. I’m not sure whether or not his weaknesses change based on who he is emulating. If you’ve fought the Mavericks a lot you should be able to cope with this guy’s attack patterns.
- Lumine 2nd time:
- You have to hit the little Lumine inside the frame. One attack he does is interesting, it’s multiple rings which move outward and then inward, and the rings have breaks in them that you have to dodge through. He also has lasers which are fired at your feet, and some other laser missiles which fly into the air then come down where you are standing. He also sends down yellow shard-like shots which fall in groups with gaps where you can dodge. And he likes to swoop off the screen to the left (jump and air-dash over him). He seems to favor the right side of the screen. Lumine’s ultimate involves him firing off a horizontal line of those yellow shard-like shots, and then they arrange themselves into multiple horizontal rows with gaps and move back and forth.
- Lumine 3rd time:
- Not really a separate battle, but strangely, after you get Lumine down to about 1/4 health, his attack style completely changes. New stage, new music, everything. He remains curled up in his wings most of the time and you have to guard-break him. You can Double Attack him as long as his wings aren’t curled.
Note: Your characters’ health is not refilled between any of the final battles. Also, if you die you have to go through the plot again (where applicable), but this means you can switch out to another character and see that character’s version of the dialogue. Or just skip it with .
You get the Neutral Armor with the first capsule you find. After that, you add parts to it in a mix-and-match fashion. If you wear all of the red or blue parts together, the suit is named. All red is the Icarus suit (gives you the Giga Crash attack), and all blue is the Hermes suit (gives you the X-Drive).
- Buster Parts I - Get this in the intro stage by going through the door that was locked on your first trip through. (You can revisit the stage when the intermission opens up.)
- Body Parts I - In Metal Valley stage. You need the fire weapon you get from Burn Rooster. Go through the stage like normal, then after you whack the mini-boss in the head enough times that it begins to retreat, follow it until you see the capsule, and the rock wall that was blocking the way should be gone now. So shoot the fuel tanks with the fire weapon and take your prize.
- Head Parts I - In Primrose stage. After the mini-game where you have to avoid moving blocks with spikes on them, you will end up in a large room. There is an extra green portal here near a narrow corridor full of spikes; this portal leads to the capsule. Axl’s Runnerbomb transformation is helpful here.
- Foot Parts I - In Booster Forest stage. After you pick up the Ride Armor, you need to get it to the next section of the stage (hop out of it on the moving spikes, then run over the ledge and jump in on the other side). In the next section (where the tree is), you will see a ledge that you have to raise using a button. Raise the ledge with the armor standing on it, then get in the armor and jump and air-dash to the left. Jump out of the Ride Armor at the last second and you should be able to clear the spikes (I suggest Zero’s double-jump here).
- Buster Parts H - In the Troia Base stage, about three sections into the stage, in one of the hallways that separate the training rooms. Go up the wall on the right, then air-dash left. It’s not very hard to find, but you need the gravity weapon to break the wall that’s blocking the way.
- Body Parts H - In Pitch Black stage. Near the end of the stage is a hallway which is normally (if you haven’t activated the generator) almost pitch black (matches the stage name). After this hallway is a vertical tunnel with platforms moving downward. Anyway, climb up this tunnel instead of down, and there is a narrow corridor in the right-hand wall leading to the capsule.
Now we’re psychics?
- Head Parts H - In the Central White stage. After you get off the bike, use Zero to double-jump up the ledge that is over the door to the Maverick. (You might be able to make it with someone else, but I could only do it with Zero.) Then use the Shining Ray weapon to break down the ice.
- Foot Parts H - In the Inferno stage, in the vertical section of spikes after the first auto-scrolling area. Partway through that section, head up on the left hand side rather than continuing on through the stage. It’s a little tough to tell the difference between the foreground wall that you can climb and the background, but look carefully.
If you are playing on Easy mode, none of these will appear. (On Easy mode you can build most of these items right from the start anyway.)
- Intro Stage:
- Weapon Bottle - On a ledge hidden high behind a waterfall just after the place where, on your first pass through, Alia told Axl to hover across a gap. (You’ll need to revisit the stage for this since Axl can’t jump high enough.)
- Shock Absorber - Right in the place where you picked up Zero during the first run through this stage, break the rocks overhead using X’s red helmet.
- Metal Valley Stage:
- Life Bottle - Near the beginning, while being followed by the giant robot, you will come across a skeleton. Climb on top of the bones and you will see the rare metal hanging in the air. Don’t get knocked off by the robot.
- Double Barrier - While the giant robot is following you, activate the crane that you come to in the middle of the stage before the robot jumps and lands on the switch. Then, go to the far right of the stage and hammer the mini-boss robot like normal. Once the robot starts to run away to the left, leap onto the metal girders being held in the air by the cranes. You have to have turned the one earlier in order to make the jump. You must jump and air-dash (to the left) across several such girders to find the rare metal.
- Chip Discount - After the giant robot begins moving left again, you will soon come across an indentation in the ground that was covered up before. Place a fully-charged Crystal Wall there, and instead of a normal energy capsule, it will have the rare metal embedded inside it. (Thanks to the person who pointed me in the right direction with this without totally spoiling it for me.)
- Troia Base Stage:
- Weapon Converter - In the hallway before the second-to-last training room, there is a big pit, and you normally have to climb the left wall, then air-dash over to a ledge to continue on. Instead, air-dash just underneath that ledge to find another ledge under it.
- Metal Generator - Get a perfect rank through all of the training sessions. (I’m pretty sure it has to be all of them.) This means get the top row all the way across. When you complete all of the training rooms and then go through the next section, you will be given the rare metal as a reward. (The way that I find that is easiest to do this is to use the Σ Blade as Zero. But do whatever works for you.)
- Life Tank - I’m getting conflicting results trying to test this one. It could be getting 5-6 top-row rankings in the training sessions (but if you get them all, you get the Metal Generator instead). Or it could be a time limit, although I’m fairly sure my testing has eliminated that possibility. Anyway, either way, it’s definitely in this stage.
- Primrose Stage:
- B Fan - After the section with X’s capsule, you will come to a couple of rooms with lots of spikes and moving platforms. The metal is found in a corner surrounded with spikes. Use Axl’s transformation to get there.
- K Knuckle - In one of the large step-like sections which doesn’t rotate, there is a block high on the left wall. Use a dash-jump off the wall (or Zero’s double-jump) to get onto the block. Use a charged Crystal Wall on top of the block.
- Inferno Stage:
- Weapon Tank - In the second vertical auto-scrolling tunnel, before it starts to auto-scroll, jump up the ledges that fall after you land on them, and air-dash right. You can make it without Axl’s transformation, but if you want, fly over there with Axl. There’s a hallway in the right wall.
- T Breaker - Yep, you go through that pipe in the wall right near the top of the vertical section of spikes, near the two bats. You have to use Axl’s flying transformation though—with an air dash, you just bonk against the pipe like it’s a wall, then fall and hit the spikes just below. Anyway this involves getting the flying transformation from the robot down below, then either surviving the trip back up, or dying on the spikes and then restarting up above and skipping all that mess.
- Double Barrier - This is really easy once you have the right weapon. Note that Pallette lies here—she says a good “kick” will work, but it isn’t a kick that you need at all. Go to the place where Pallette gives her message (it’s in the vertical spike portion of the stage, near the bottom), then use the Dairettsui (which you only get with the T Breaker).
- Central White Stage:
- Shock Absorber - From the place where the X capsule is, air-dash or hover across to the left and land on the arch over there. The metal is on top.
- Booster Forest Stage:
- Weapon Converter - Need Axl. Early in the stage, grab the DNA data from one of the robots that can turn into a little ball and roll. Then, when you go past the tree where the capsule is and to the right and drop down, you should see a ledge that you can roll under.
- Double Barrier - Get the Ride Armor to the second section of the stage, where you need it to break the blocks to get to an upper passage. After going across some spikes and such, jump out of the Ride Armor and move to the right on foot and shoot the blue button hidden on a wall there to lower the elevator. Then go back and get in the Ride Armor again and put the armor on the elevator. Jump out, shoot the button again to move the elevator back up. Use the Ride Armor to break the blocks in the way up there. Now, use a charged Crystal Wall on the circular plate you see behind the blocks.
- Shield Armor - This is the fun one. You need the Ride Armor and you need to get it to the very last section of the stage.
When you reach the pit there, jump out of the armor momentarily and shoot the exploding robot from the pit, then get back in the Ride Armor and jump on the first platform. When it gets even with the second platform, jump on it, then jump toward the right again immediately (don’t let the second platform get too low) and air-dash to the right. You are aiming to get on top of the ledge that goes over the moving spikes, not under it. The Ride Armor can fit, but it’s a tight squeeze. If you mess up, air-dash left again back to the platform and try again. If you need to, jump onto the leftmost platform to raise the right platform back up again. You want them about even when you make your jump. As long as you don’t let either platform get too low you can retry as often as you like until you make the jump correctly. Anyway, once you are on the ledge you are aiming for, destroy the morph-ball robot, then stand in the bottom of the vertical tunnel and jump. Your Ride Armor should break through the floor and drop onto the elevator below. Ride it up.
(Note: A reader reports that Zero’s Raikousen while equipped with the K Knuckle will break this floor without the need of the Ride Armor. You still need the Ride Armor to activate the elevator, but at least you can skip the step of using the Ride Armor to break the floor, and instead drop it onto the spikes and let them bring it to you. Thanks also to Carin.)
- Pitch Black Stage:
- D Glaive - After the generator, before the door that leads out of that section of the stage, there are two platforms high above the door. You need Zero’s double-jump or X’s red boots to get up there. You might need the lights on for this to show up (see below).
- Shield Armor - Activate the generator (see below on how to do this), but instead of dropping down, jump back over to the right and retrace your steps back in the direction that you came in. You will see some ledges up there that you can now jump on. The rare metal is on about the fourth ledge to the right.
- Life Tank - Use a charged Crystal Wall right in front of the generator (see below), on the marking on the floor.
- Σ Blade - You are allowed to build this after beating the game at least once on Normal or higher difficulty. Make sure you save the clear-game data then restart using that save.
When you beat the game, you can make a clear-game save which starts at the beginning of the game even though it appears on the load and save screens to be at the end (so don’t save over your end-of-game save if you still want it).
If you were playing on Easy mode, you don’t keep your items or upgrades; the only things that carry over are your records (in the dev room) and the number of metals you had. Still, since you don’t need metals for much in Easy mode, it can be useful to play through Easy first, rack up a huge cache of metals, then begin a Normal or Hard mode clear-save with a head-start in metals. You also will take with you all that practice too...
On the other hand, when you beat the game on Normal difficulty or higher and save the clear-game data from that, you do keep all of your items and power-ups, except for your Master Weapons. You might also unlock a few things; these are detailed elsewhere on this page.
- In stages that give you a chance, charge up your Attack Gauge before you enter the Maverick fight. Then you can use a Double Attack to knock off a good 20% or so of the boss’s life gauge. The Double Attack makes a nice finisher too (hint hint).
- When you take damage, half of the lost health is displayed as red units in your energy meter. If you switch characters, the one on the bench will slowly recover those red units of health. This is a good way to reduce the overall damage you suffer. Switch out whenever someone takes a substantial hit and let him regenerate the health back. If you wait too long, the red units in the health bar of an active character can seep away irrecoverably.
- To get a “combo” in this game is simply a matter of hitting an enemy within a preset amount of time since the last time you damaged something. Higher combos affect certain things such as the rewards given by some mini-games. Taking a hit and suffering damage cancels your current combo and you have to start over.
- When using Zero, try changing directions repeatedly while slashing away. This eliminates the pause that normally occurs when you reach the end of the triple slash (or however many slashes you have built up to). This in turn reduces Zero’s window of vulnerability.
- You can switch characters even while your previous character’s shots are still on the screen. For example, have Axl fire off a bunch of Bound Blasts, then switch...and Axl’s shots will continue to ricochet around the room while you fight as another character. This isn’t particularly useful, but it is amusing.
- A quick way to gather metals is to use the Noah’s Park Intermission. Bring X with the following equipment: red helmet, blue body armor, red buster, and red boots. The body armor is the key—it will make you invincible to everything in the stage except the claw, so just avoid the claw and you can go on forever. The boots and helmet just help you to hit the bonus robots easier. And the red arm cannon is needed so that your normal shots can hit the small crabs. Your main money-makers are the bonus robots that fly by carrying red metals, so hit them whenever possible. Keep at it, because you will only start really raking in the cash after your score exceeds 450 or so (that’s when mass mayhem ensues).
- This game has three difficulty modes that I know of:
- Easy: You begin the game with many of the dev room items already built for you, and many more available to be built from the start. For this reason, there are no rare metals to find during the stages. Also, enemies seem to have slightly less health, the triangular “metals” items that you pick up seem to be worth more, and bosses will never use their most damaging attacks. Extra lives (“Retry Chips”) are unlimited in this mode. Finally, the game ends prematurely in this mode, after just one battle against Sigma in the final stage.
- Normal: You get two Retry Chips for free; after you use those, you need to build the rest. You can only have a maximum of five Retry Chips. When you run out, you have to restart the stage from the beginning (but you keep any items you’d picked up along the way).
- Hard: Enemies seem to have higher health than in Normal mode. You are also limited to a maximum of three Retry Chips.
- Intermissions: These are mini-game stages that seem to have no impact on anything; they are just there to fool around in. (They also aren’t bad places for gathering metals.) I need to do more experimenting with this, but these seem to crop up most often when I exit stages using the “R&D Lab” option instead of walking all the way to the end. So if you want to get lots of intermissions, give that a shot.
- Primrose Stage: You can flip the rooms around by touching the buttons. (You’re technically altering the gravity, but the game nicely turns the entire room around on the screen so that you don’t have to play upside down.) Red buttons will flip you entirely over, whereas green buttons do a 90 degree turn. Don’t drop blocks on your head. The Runnerbomb-like enemy that Axl can turn into is invincible to spikes...most of them. He’s not invincible to the large spikes on the tops of some blocks, like the ones in the mini-game.
- Troia Base Stage: You have to complete training sessions and how well you do determines whether you get the high path or the low path. You can see where you are on the grid in the background. During a training session, you can tell whether you are doing well or not based on the color of the score/timer: white means you are going up a level; yellow means you are staying at the same level; and red means you are going down a level. Note that if you die during the non-training areas (the halls between the training areas), you get docked one level in the training path.
- Booster Forest Stage: This stage is all about the Ride Armor. You need the armor to get most of the items. To get the Ride Armor all the way to the end of the stage requires skill. You can raise/lower elevators with the blue switches—put the armor on the elevator, then jump out and hit the switch (the game demo shows this). In a couple of cases, you have to drop the Ride Armor onto moving spikes and let the spikes move the armor underneath a ledge while you jump out and run across the top of the ledge, then jump back in on the other side. Some platforms will move under the Ride Armor’s weight. Note that if you die during the second portion of the stage, you can pick up the Ride Armor again by going to the right, then jumping up and snagging the ledge above you and working your way back left and air-dashing over the spikes. The Ride Armor will be waiting for you up there.
- Metal Valley Stage: You start out the stage being followed by a giant, invincible robot. He keeps pace with you and attacks you occasionally. After you reach the far right side of the stage, you have to hit a lever high on a cliff to trigger a crane to hit the robot’s head. Do this a few times and the robot will turn around and run away. Chase it back to a building. Enter the building. Inside, you’ll eventually come to the robot again. This time keep dashing back and forth from one side of the room to the other hitting the switches high in the walls. These will cause the crane to hit the robot’s head. Do this until it is through.
- Central White Stage: Jet-bike stage number one. Unlike with the Ride Armor, when you take a hit, your character takes the damage, not the bike. The shape of your bike’s shots depends on your character. For best results, weave back and forth while firing away. When facing the mini-boss, dash forward to get into range, then blast it.
- Inferno Stage: This is the stage where you have to navigate auto-scrolling vertical tunnels. It’d be so much nicer if the screen wouldn’t auto-scroll... Anyway, in the middle of the stage is a breather—a corridor full of spikes instead of auto-scroll. After you beat the Maverick, you have to escape from the stage in another auto-scroll section. Note that the flying robot that Axl can copy only appears in Normal or Hard mode. In Easy mode, your navigator will still tell you about it, but the robot itself is nowhere to be found. (Oops.)
- Dynasty Stage: Jet-bike stage number two. You are chasing the Maverick (he looks like a UFO) through a city. Use boosts (using the special weapon button, not the dash button) to catch up to him, and shoot him whenever you are in range. You keep repeating the same areas over and over until you manage to damage the UFO enough to trigger the Maverick battle, or until you take too long and lose the stage. Note that your boosts are limited by your weapon energy. Having more weapon energy helps. Also, you can pick up weapon energy by grabbing the capsules floating in the sky.
- Pitch Black Stage: This is one of the more clever stages, although it’s painfully unfair later on if you don’t switch on the lights. If you get spotted in a spotlight, you stop the attack by destroying the shielded robot that is standing near the door that opened in the background, where all the other robots are coming out. Later in the stage you can activate a generator. (Pallette will tell you when you are in the right area if you have her with you.) After a sequence of spotlights, you come out of a hallway into thin air, and normally you would drop downward to continue on. Instead of jumping down, air-dash across. There is an energy capsule there. Climb up the wall; there should be an opening in the wall there, where you will find a short hallway and a sleeping soldier. Transform using Axl (you have to have picked up a soldier transformation before now; you can get them easily by triggering a spotlight then grabbing the DNA from one of the responding soldiers), then do the salute motion while standing in front of the sleeping soldier.
He will wake up and open the door behind him. Follow him. You need to jump-start the generator with the lightning weapon (such as Axl’s Plasma Gun). But if you hit it too many or too few times, it won’t work. Hit it just enough times that it stays on without you shooting. Now the lights are on; you will be thankful for this later in the stage. (Otherwise, you have to navigate a completely black corridor full of enemies and spikes, lit only by a single enemy that is not invulnerable to your shots, which means if you try to attack the other enemies in the area, you might well take your light source out along with your targets. Ugh.)
- Jakob Stage: The entire stage is an elevator. Very easy level. Just don’t fall off.
- Gateway Stage: This is the teleporting hatch area. Nicely enough, you don’t have to fight through a stage to get here—it’s right at the beginning. However, you do have to race your way back out once you finish here (I’d recommend using anyone but Zero for this—his dash is near useless). Curiously, like all stages, you can redo this one as often as you wish. So you can fight the Mavericks of this game at any time you desire.
- Sigma Palace Stage: This stage is filled with spikes and Reploids using copy chips to turn into Sigma. The most economical way to take care of the Sigmas is to just toast them with X’s laser super-shot.
- Cut Man: If you have a Command Mission save file on your memory card when you play Mega Man X8, you will encounter Cut Man at the end of the Troia Base stage (right before the Maverick battle). Your navigator will tell you this by saying that the data was downloaded from “CM” (except that Cut Man isn’t in Command Mission... It would have been more appropriate if they’d used the Anniversary Collection save, but they didn’t... Ah well). Note that this doesn’t seem to happen during Easy mode. Also, you cannot gain weapons from Cut Man and there is no plot related to this; he’s just there for laughs. (Note: Marik reports that in the PC version, Cut Man appears if you perfect all of the tests, since there is no memory card to check.)
- Infinite Metals: In this game, when you build a Sub-Tank, you also need to build refills for it. For some strange reason, the Life Tank refill item is not grayed out if you don’t have enough metals to buy it. You are allowed to build it anyway. (This doesn’t work for the Weapon Tank refill.) Buying the Life Tank refill when you don’t have enough metals will cause your metals counter to go negative, which overflows the variable. To see this in action, buy the refill, then enter any stage and pick up a metal. You will end up with the maximum 9,999,999 metals. (You don’t have to wait for the counter to count up; just open your subscreen and you will see they are there.) The way to cause this situation on purpose is to delete items that you have built and rebuild them over and over until you have less than 50 metals, then build the Life Tank refill. (Note: SynjoDeonecros reports that this glitch is fixed in the PC version of the game.)
It seems (although I’m not sure what exactly triggers it—you’ll know when you have, though, because the Capcom logo changes) if you beat the game on Normal difficulty or higher and then restart using the resulting clear-game save, you are able to build items which let you play as the three navigators. The first one is available immediately; it appears that the navigator you used most often ends up getting chosen here. You can get the others at any time after you get the first by choosing them as your navigator multiple times in a row; you can do this on stages that you’ve already cleared and you don’t have to beat the game again before they are available. Just check your Chip Dev room frequently. Alia is basically a pink version of X without the armor. Layer plays like Zero, which leaves Pallette to mimic Axl (except without the Copy Shot).
At any rate, this is one of those things they threw into the game that you would never believe if you didn’t see it for yourself. Aside from just having fun, there is no real reason that I can see so far to play as the navigators since they don’t get all of the abilities as the main characters, and if you choose one of the three gals as a player character, you can’t select a navigator for that stage at all, even one that isn’t currently on the field. (Not that you should need it after beating the game that many times...) I thought maybe if you selected a navigator as a player character, she’d speak up during stages like normal (I mean, she’s there), but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Also, you get absolutely no plot scenes when you are using a navigator in your team, even if you have her on the bench when you trigger the scene. Note: To select a navigator as your player character, press the “Change Char” button ( by default) while on the character selection screen. Likewise, to build parts for your navigator characters, press the same button while on the Chip Dev screen. You can build all of the same parts for the navigators as for their respective main characters, although your navigators never get suits of armor.
If you are playing a clear-game save and you have a character who is at 100% (has all of his items built in the dev room), you will unlock the ultimate armor for that character. Thanks to Sean for helping to verifying this.
- Ultimate Armor: This armor’s parts (you get all four at once) are somewhat of a combination of his other armor pieces. X gets the benefit of the red armor, red boots, and the blue boots all at the same time. He also gets the Dragon Punch and his super-shots behave like the Plasma Shot from previous games. X additionally gains the Nova Strike with this armor which can be activated by pressing when not equipped with a weapon. All weapons aside from the Nova Strike appear to use no weapon energy. The Nova Strike’s energy refills automatically relatively quickly.
- Black Zero: Not really named by the game. Zero gets a halfway decent dash with this. I’m not sure if it increases his defense or attack power at all.
- White Axl: Not really named by the game. Axl’s armor glows and leaves trails of light whenever he dashes, and he can hover infinitely in the air as long as he is shooting. But most importantly, with this Axl can use his transformations without using up weapon energy, meaning he can stay transformed indefinitely.
I have verified the following codes, but wasn’t able to get the others to work. To input these, wait for the title screen (where it flashes “Press Start”) then put in the codes mentioned; if done correctly, you’ll get an associated sound effect. Then press and select either a new game or continue (the code will be in effect for whichever game you load). These codes are saved as part of your save file if they are in effect when you save.
There is no real ending when you beat the game on the Easy difficulty. After the credits, you see a very brief cinema scene where X, Zero, and Axl are gazing at the ruins of Sigma’s body. As they stand there, Lumine walks up, looking quite insane. That’s it for Easy mode.
Normal and Hard Modes:
Lumine denies being Maverick and claims that the copy chips that the new Reploids have were derived from data from hundreds of old model Reploids...meaning Sigma was also included in the mix. Lumine also claims that Axl can’t go Maverick because he is only a prototype. Besides, he points out, was Sigma really crazy? He rebelled against the world but he had his reasons, or so Lumine thinks. Lumine adds that the new generation Reploids can go Maverick at will. Uh, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. That’s like saying someone can go insane at will. Right...
Upon his death, Lumine declares that he may be defeated, but it’s too late to stop what has already begun. Then he goes still and starts to crack. Axl approaches Lumine, and some tentacles shoot from Lumine and hit Axl. Zero severs the tentacles with his saber while X catches Axl, then blasts Lumine. (But I suspect Lumine just transferred himself to Axl...)
X and Zero return to the orbital elevator with X still carrying a comatose Axl. Zero tells X to ignore what Lumine said. He says that even if this is the way all Reploids will eventually become, they will fight it every step of the way. They will fight their own destiny if necessary.
The game ends with a scene showing the cracked gem in Axl’s helmet, which Lumine shattered. (Anyone getting flashbacks to Zero’s gem in Mega Man X4? I know I am...)
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Last update: September 14, 2011