Maverick Hunter X is a PSP remake of the SNES classic. The original Mega Man X story was about sentient robots, Reploids, becoming evil Mavericks. Mega Man X was a Maverick Hunter who was going to stop his former allies, thus following the old Mega Man formula. It was a simple story, but the remake tried to expand the fiction with dire results. The biggest problem is the voice acting, which diminishes the whole thing and makes it look, to be blunt, dumb.
The gameplay remains unchanged…mostly. While the original game ran smoothly, the remake feels a bit clunkier. As in any Mega Man game you run, jump, and shoot your way through eight boss stages, finishing your assault on a final castle. X gains their abilities with each power having the upper hand on another. It’s a simple rock-paper-scissors formula that worked then, and works now. You can also find secret tanks, heart pieces, and armor to beef X up. Here’s the catch. Levels and item locations have been changed. Why? It feels artificial to me, but hey, it’s still fun if not a bit more difficult and again, clunkier.
Here’s my biggest gripe with the game: the design. The graphics have been upgraded from 16-Bit to polygonal. These polygons lack the clean crisp style of the original and make everything look generic and bland comparatively. The models themselves seem too big for the PSP’s screen. And not to beat a dead horse, but the story is GOD AWFUL. Speaking of which, you can now play X’s rival, Vile. Why him and not Zero is beyond me. His campaign is bland and extremely challenging, as the levels weren’t designed for his character. And the music! Oh the beautiful music…has been turned into electronica garbage. The design is a disgrace to the original masterpiece and pays no homage to the boy in blue.
Mega Man X is a fantastic game, but Maverick Hunter X isn’t as good. Sure it’s fundamentally the same, but the iconic design has been tarnished. It had some good ideas, but it lacked a unifying sense of polish. If you want to celebrate Mega Man’s 25th and Mega Man X’s 15th, then play the SNES version instead.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on November 3, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.