Mega Man ZX Advent
Review posted January 2008 by Edmund Wong
The Mega Man franchise (better known as Rockman in Japan) has spanned across two decades with various success. Mega Man ZX Advent is the sequel to Mega Man ZX that was released last year on the same console. It represents just one more game to the vast collection of Mega Man games.
Before you start a new game, you have a choice of two characters, Grey and Ashe. Depending on which character you pick, the story will differ. The initial weapon will also be different.
Each story is different, but you essentially play through the same stages. As Grey, you wake up in a mysterious lab at the start of the game not knowing who you are. You spend the rest of the game answering that question, and more. As Ashe, you are in search of some treasure.
Action takes place on the top screen, whereas the bottom screen has various usages, among them, a map and the A-Trans menu.
The gameplay is fairly straightforward. You start out at the Hunter's Camp, which acts as your base. From there, you travel to different 'worlds' to obtain information about Mega Man and to stop some sort of evil plan. Of course there are hundreds upon hundreds of enemies that try to stop you.
In a typical 2D platformer format, you will fight your way to the end of the stage, only to meet the boss who is hell bend on killing you because his boss said so. Sometimes, you will meet mini bosses as well (Talk about middle management).
Once defeated, you will be able to "copy the enemy's DNA". That enables you to "A-Trans" and takes on its form and ability. In simple English, that means once you have defeated the boss, you can transform into it to wreck havocs whenever and wherever you want. And this is where the game excels.
Given the size of the middle management (15 in all), Mega Man ZX Advent provides you with plenty of models and fire power at your disposal. Each of the bosses has its own unique sets of ability that will help you in your quest to quash the evil plan. Some models allow you to float in water, others let you grab onto poles, there is even one that let you go through walls. The key to this game is to use the right Mega Man at the right time.
New abilities might also unlock new areas in the stage. Some seemingly inaccessible places could now become reachable because you have gained the new ability to fly, or see in the dark, etc. It is always worthwhile to revisit earlier stages after you have gained some new models later on in the game. Some secret items are only accessible then. This certainly increases the replay value of the game.
The story is actually quite linear during the first half of the game. You will follow the routine of hacking your way through the stage, kill the boss, gain its ability, and then onto the next stage. Rinse and repeat.
It is in the later half of the game that it starts to shine. Multiple locations are opened up to you at the same time. You can do them in any order you wish. New Mega Man models allow you to access new areas. People in the Hunter's Camp will ask for assistance (i.e. sidequests). They could range from catching the little bird that flies away, to chasing after that rare item that they are too lazy to find themselves.
Mega Man ZX Advent is not without its flaws, though. Because some of the abilities require the bottom screen to provide functionality, the map disappears every time you are transformed into that model. While I will admit that the map is not particular useful, it does provide information on where the doors are, so you know where to go. But since the map disappears, you will need to change into something that doesn't use the bottom screen every time you want to see the map, and then change back to use the unique ability. If only the developers could include an on screen icon that cycles between the map and the ability screen.
Another annoying aspect of the gameplay is that at every cut scene, you are automatically transformed back into your original Mega Man model (called Model A). The problem is that you do not switch back into what you were before the cut scene, so you will have to manually do that yourself. It is a minor annoyance, but persistent at that.
While not pushing the graphical prowess of the DS, the graphics is crisp and vibrant. The environment is colorful and blends in nicely. A lot can happen on screen, but it does not feel overcrowded or chaotic. While the graphics might feel more like a GBA game than a DS one, it is adequate for this sort of games.
Certain cut scene sequences are done in typical Japanese anime style. Some players might ponder upon the necessity of it all, but it is a nice touch, albeit short.
Each 'world' has its own theme music. They are nicely composed and do not feel repeated. Some of them are fast tempo, which fits the fast pace action on screen. Sound effects are plentiful. They might sound generic, but they fit the action and do not feel out of place.
One welcoming aspect of the game is the voice acting. This game is one of the few DS games that feature voice acting. They are featured at major cut scene and boss fights. Their quality is debatable, but the developers should be commended for having made the effect. It is really down to personal taste. If you like to watch Japanese anime in English, you will feel right at home. Otherwise, it might range from unbearable to silly giggles.
Finishing one storyline is not enough. If you want to fully enjoy this game, you will want to complete the second storyline as well, even if that means going through the same stages again. Completing both storylines will unlock the 'expert' mode, where tougher enemies await. You will also receive heavier damage and die quicker if you are not careful.
You can also unlock mini-games, collect data chips, completing sidequests, getting secret items, etc. There are so many things to do that will keep the players entertained. You can also collect medals for killing the bosses in different ways.