Screen shot from Capcom.
Following the war between the Reploids and the humans, a tyrannical federated government known as the Legion was established. Overruled by the “Sage Trinity” (just how many religious references are they going to throw in here?), this organization strives to blur the lines between Reploid and human (presumably in a somewhat misguided attempt to prevent another war from occurring—or, perhaps, to at least give the humans a decent chance at actually fighting back this time should the Reploids decide to go Maverick). At any rate, they accomplish this by adding cybernetic parts to the humans and assigning artificially limited life spans to the Reploids. (I can imagine this goes over well. Can’t you just see it? “Dear Mr. Reploid: We have arbitrarily decided that your life is to end today and you must be destroyed by sundown. Have a nice day.”)


Screen shot from Capcom.
As an extremely odd design decision, this game almost completely ignores the plot of its predecessor, Mega Man ZX. Instead of all of the models being granted simultaneously to Vent/Aile, each model now has its own “Biomatch” which are various Reploids or humans that they have decided to “Megamerge” with. Once you encounter Vent/Aile, a few nods are finally made toward the previous game’s plot, but mysteriously all of the Biometals no longer recognize each other and various other things about Mega Man ZX appear to have never happened.

From a technical standpoint, however, the game plays in a very similar way to Mega Man ZX. You still pick up new transformations from every major boss you fight, which are then used in much the same way, just now you actually turn completely into the boss in question (seeing as to how you are using Model A). This becomes very amusing very fast when Model A starts to actually emulate other people’s Megamerges. (Though personally I don’t find the Pseudoroid transformations to be all that interesting for the most part. They tend to be big, clunky, and too mobility-challenged or attack-challenged to be terribly useful except for specific gimmick puzzles, and overall I find the regular models to be a lot easier to use.)

One thing of note: the transerver system is a bit different here. You now activate “Warp Points” (100 EC a pop) which allow you to teleport to them via a transerver. Unfortunately, this is a one-way operation; once you transport to a particular location, you have to run back on foot. This actually makes this game reversed from most other games—in classic games, you always have to enter a cleared stage at the beginning and run through on foot, but once you get what you want, you can exit out at any time. Here, you can enter a cleared stage at multiple points but then you have to run all the way back out. Easy to get in, hard to get out.

Play Control: 4

Screen shot from Capcom.
The play control is pretty much the same from the previous game.
Graphics: 3
Pretty much the same here too, though it seems to me there are a few more places of ambiguity over what objects you can stand on or otherwise interact with, and which ones are just part of the background. Not terrible, though.
Animation: 4
Most of the NPCs in this game have custom sprites and face portraits, which is quite a change from previous titles. Some of their outfits and appearance designs are surprisingly elaborate for being such minor characters. Also, many enemies now have custom animations for when you blow them up with a super-shot, not just when you waste them with a saber slash.
Music: 3
A lot of the songs are either pulled directly from or are remixes of tunes from Mega Man ZX.
Sound Effects: 5
This game has voice acting. In English. My jaw about fell on the floor. Not all of the lines of dialogue have voices, and the voices are down-sampled to fit on the cartridge, but still, they are there. The other sound effects are pretty standard, though Model A sounds like he’s got springs in his boots when he wall-jumps.
Plot: 2

Screen shot from Capcom.
I’m not sure I’m pleased with how they essentially tossed Mega Man ZX out the window. Also, they introduced brand new Biomatches for each of the four main Biometals...and then these new characters play almost no part in the plot. Maybe they will have more character development in the next title—assuming, of course, the next one doesn’t defenestrate this game like this one did to the previous one.
Difficulty: 4 (normal to hard)
Some of the levels can be quite irritating at first, but once you start gathering all of your transformations (particularly Aeolus, Siarnaq, and Queenbee), the difficulty level takes quite a plunge. (Then it shoots right back up again in the final fortress...)
Replay Value: 3
There are certainly a ton of different transformations in this game, making it, in some ways, more interesting to explore stages. You also, as usual, have two characters to play as, although their plots are not connected—contrary to what this game’s marketing claims. Their storylines are not really all that different from each other either, so there’s no huge reason to play through as both of them unless you just want to.
Polish: 3
I honestly have nothing to say here. Nothing jumped out at me, either good or bad.
Overall: 82%
In a way, I kind of liked Mega Man ZX better, but I’m having a tough time putting my finger on exactly why. This game is relatively solid, though a few stages (particularly the final one) make you want to hit the designers over the head with a clue mallet. Still, it’s nowhere near as bad stage design as, say, Mega Man X6, so that’s something.

+ Plus:
You can have as many quests active as you want, and you can therefore be working on multiple quests at a time. (But too bad the quest log in your subscreen isn’t all that helpful.)
- Minus:
You lose your current transformation whenever you talk to someone or get a cut scene. This can be anywhere from irritating to disruptive because it means, for example, that you can’t prepare a charge shot for any transformation except Model A before boss fights (unless you want to die and return...).
You don’t have a stage select screen, and you don’t officially select which mission you want to do next. To take a mission, just go to the area where the mission takes place. See the maps for more details on how to reach the areas.
These don’t really look like hatches, but I couldn’t describe what they look like. Stand in front of one of the holographic crystals and press Up to enter the hatch.

After every battle you will get a weapon energy capsule (slash it for something more useful) and a life energy capsule. If you used a Sub Tank on one of the bosses, try to work it out such that you pick up the life energy capsule when your meter is full so that it can go toward your tank.

This doesn’t list all of the stage bosses in the game, just the ones that have some applicable commentary. Bosses that you receive transformations from are covered in the Data Base section.

Screen shot from Capcom.
A large spider. Stand underneath its head as Atlas, hold Up and rapid-fire both guns at once. The spider should go down in about three seconds. In the event you don’t have Atlas yet, you’ll have to dodge and shoot at the head. The spider has rotating legs that fill the entire screen, but touching the legs themselves doesn’t hurt you, only the tips, so you can jump over the tips. The spider moves up and down and sometimes drops some small spiders that you can destroy. If it puts two of its legs together, it will form sparks that will arc upward and then drop down on you; there’s no safe place to stand with this so you will have to move back and forth to dodge.

You can also damage its legs by aiming for the gems on them. If you do this, the spider will strike at a block in the floor with one of its legs; the color of the leg denotes which block the leg will hit.

Another one of those underwater things inside a pod. Destroy the tentacles, and when they are all gone, the blob will appear in the center of the pod. Shoot this to damage the boss. The pod will alternate between the floor and the ceiling, and more tentacles will start coming out as time goes by. If you are unfortunate enough to touch one, you will get stuck to it for a few moments. Sometimes the pod releases fish and other things as well, but hopefully you’ll have destroyed the boss before you start seeing much of this. Use Buckfire here for best results.
Desert Aspis
A sand snake. Switch to Siarnaq and tap the lower screen until it’s dead. If you run out of weapon energy, pause to dodge a bit until your meter refills. In the event you don’t have Siarnaq yet, you need to jump and shoot at its head. The snake can toss red globs that hinder your jumping, and a fire ring that dips toward the ground or explodes outward. It can also flash the screen and stun you (not that this will matter to Siarnaq). If you get close to it, sometimes it will slam itself onto the ground, trying to land on you. Use this opportunity to shoot it in the head. Also, Ashe can charge up as Model A and bounce her lasers off the moving slope to hit the head in almost any position.
This is the plane from Mega Man ZX, but this time it doesn’t drop boxes. You can climb onto the ledge and strike at it directly, or shoot upward with Atlas or Siarnaq or something of that sort. Aim for its underbelly. The plane seems to mostly try to hover over you, so attempt to choose your location so that the nearby cars won’t get hit.
Capsule Converter
Five cannons on the far wall. They shoot blue shots horizontally, and also send fire along a path as marked by the panels that light up on the wall. As usual, Siarnaq is useful here because you can rapid-fire the cannons while you focus on dodging. Atlas is another good choice just for sheer damage output. Make good use of the ledges in the center of the room.
Giganto Bole
A tree trunk. It shoots bright green leaves that rain down on you in a pattern that shifts enough to make them nontrivial to dodge. The tree can only seemingly be damaged when it opens in the middle to shoot green shots at you. Also, vines can come from the ground and ceiling to wind around you and immobilize you briefly. This won’t hinder you if you’re using Siarnaq as you can tap on the tree to shoot at it anyway.
Model ZX
This battle is actually pretty funny. Your opponent will bound around and slash a lot, and also likes to climb the wall off the top of the screen, then slide back down firing shots. Every once in a while, instead of sliding all the way down, Model ZX will jump off the wall and land somewhere in the center of the screen. There is also the ground-slam move that kicks up boulders (as Grey) or the upward slash that travels through the air (as Ashe). And definitely watch out for that triple-slash. But mostly Model ZX will use the normal buster (sometimes charging up) and the saber. Because of this, keeping your distance doesn’t really help much, and staying close isn’t a good idea either. Overall you need fancy footwork for this fight.

Screen shot from Capcom.
Prometheus and Pandora
They both disappear and reappear and execute various attacks. Prometheus can appear and send vertical beams of fire out in both directions in a couple of different patterns, or leap in and send up bursts of fire where he hits down. Pandora can appear and form lightning versions of her staff to circle around herself, or send parts of her headpiece to shoot ice shards from either side of the screen. She might also float back and forth on her staff while Prometheus does his upward slash that takes him off the screen. One thing you can do with these guys is use Model ZX and use the midair circle-slash to hack of large chunks of their shared life meter.
Hydra Dragon
You need to shoot at the base of its body, not its heads (even though at least one of the heads will show up on Siarnaq’s radar). Unlike some other bosses, you cannot damage the hydra when it’s off the screen so you have to move close enough to it in order for its body to be on-screen so you can shoot it. Blast it over and over, preferably with something like Atlas where you can do heavy damage fast without having to charge. (You can also rapid-fire with one arm while charging the other.) Try to stay back as far as possible so the heads (and later, the necks) don’t bodily strike you.

When you get the hydra’s health meter down, the heads will break off of the necks and float to the top of the screen and then its attack patterns change.

Model W
He’s surrounded by angular pieces like spokes of a wheel. It’s these spokes that do most of the attacking. The spokes are also his weak point and are what you should be aiming at; when you do enough damage to them, they will disappear for a brief span, during which time you can actually damage Albert himself.

Sometimes the spokes go along the floor; you can either dash under them when they are rotating or use Aeolus or something to jump over them. When the spokes form tornados, stay near the rightmost one first, then when the little wind swirls shoot out from the left side, once they are clear of you, dash over to the left side and wait there. There are also pyramids that spout flames on the ground, and Albert can shoot homing shots at you by targeting you first (keep moving to avoid them). When Albert goes into the background, he may fire a laser which meets in the center, so air-dash over it instead of getting sandwiched in between.

Model ZX is fairly useful here; fire fully-charged super-shots when you are far from your target, and slash him with the saber when you are in range (while still charging your buster, of course). You can jump and do the circle-slash to inflict multiple hits when he’s in the air.

As is typical, if you lose to any of the final bosses, you have to do them all over again, and you have no opportunity to refill Sub Tanks, so make sure you can win before you start draining them.


Screen shot from Capcom.
You get 5 saved games on a cartridge. This is nice for giving you slots for playing the two characters in different difficulty modes. You can also keep saves at particular parts of the plot.

As you probably know already, visit a transerver to save.


Screen shot from Capcom.
Life Ups Biometal Upgrades Sub Tanks

Screen shot from Capcom.
General Notes and Tips Miscellaneous Area Tips Quests

This is a brief listing of most of the optional side quests you can receive. Not all of them are listed here, but this should get you started. Look for people with “!” marks over their heads to see if they have quests for you. If they don’t have a “!” mark, try talking to them to see if they will acquire one.

You can take quests at any time; you aren’t restricted to doing only one quest at a time in this game like you were in the previous one. It’s a good idea to go around talking to everyone gathering quests before you go on missions so you can do everything at once.

Grey’s Ending

Naturally, now that Albert is defeated, the flying fortress Ouroboros is falling. And naturally, Grey only now decides he’s exhausted and he collapses.

Meanwhile, Model X urges Aile to go help Grey. Model Z unmerges with the two of them, leaving Aile morphed with just Model X. Model Z says he can handle the four Biomatches and urges Aile to go on without him. Aile leaves, and Model Z paralyzes his enemies, preventing them from following her. (Why couldn’t he do that in Mega Man ZX?)

Grey wakes up back at the Hunter’s Camp to find that Model A was actually worried about him. He goes outside and speaks to Aile. Grey decides he wants to find his destiny. He’s not sure where he’ll go, but he’s going to explore the world. Model A asks to accompany him, and off they go.

Ashe’s Ending

Right before blowing up, Albert tells Ashe that she’s surpassed him and that his research wasn’t wrong after all. Following this, Ashe discovers she can’t move, and collapses. Meanwhile, Model Z does his thing so that Vent can go help Ashe (see Grey’s ending). Given this, I assume Model Z will have a new Biomatch come the next game...

Ashe wakes up back at the Hunter’s Camp to find that Model A was actually worried about her. She goes outside and speaks to Vent, who says he’ll be off flying around in Guardian Base because there are a lot of things that need finding. Ashe teases that she would love to dig up lots of booty, get rich, and buy back the world from Legion. More seriously, she says that she’d like to explore the world and have her exploits become famous. Vent reminds Model A that he can choose for himself what to do, so naturally Model A decides to accompany Ashe.

Hard Mode Ending

If you beat the game on Hard Mode, you get an extra bit to the ending where the remaining two Sages discuss the recent events between themselves. Thomas seems to imply here that he somehow created the four Biomatches (Aeolus, Siarnaq, Atlas, and Thetis). He also reveals that he, like Albert, believes in “resetting” the world. Sound familiar, anyone?

Thanks to Mega Boy for this.

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Last update: September 16, 2008