Mega Man X8, known as Rockman X8 (ロックマンX8 Rokkuman Ekkusu Eito) in Japan, and often shortened to MMX8, or just X8, is a game of the Mega Man X series released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004. The game was later ported to the PC in South Korea, Europe and the United States. It was released on PlayStation Network in Japan as part of the PS2 classics on December 16, 2015 and was re-released as part of Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 on July 24, 2018 in North America and Europe, and was released two days later in Japan.
After Mega Man X7's attempt at fully 3D gameplay, Mega Man X8 reverts to traditional sidescroller action while retaining the 3D rendered graphics. It also maintains the newcomer Axl, along with Alia, Layer, and Pallette as secret bonus playable characters.
In late 21XX, the Maverick Wars continue with no end in sight. To escape the carnage, humans have begun migrating to the Moon as part of an initiative known as the "Jakob Project", which involves an orbital elevator built in the Galapagos Islands. One night while X is out on patrol, one of the elevators breaks off and comes crashing down to Earth. As X approaches the elevator, the doors open, revealing an entire army of Sigmas. Suddenly, a purple-haired Reploid arrives and introduces himself as Lumine, the director of the Jakob Project. He reveals the "Sigma army" isn't what it appears to be; instead, they are new generation Reploids created as part of the project who are immune from viruses and able to use DNA copy data to change their shapes and appearances to assist with space development.
Everything seems to be running smoothly until Vile, who was last seen in Mega Man X3, returns and kidnaps Lumine, causing Maverick uprisings all over the world. While battling the Mavericks, the Hunters pick up hints that Sigma has returned and teasing a concept called "the new world". Eventually, Sigma is tracked to the Moon, where he unveils his ultimate plan: eradicate the "old generation" and re-populate it with his "children". He reveals all of the new generation Reploids contain a copy chip which possesses his DNA, meaning these 'virus-proof' Reploids are essentially copies of Sigma.
When Sigma is defeated, Lumine emerges from the shadows and congratulates the Hunters on finally destroying Sigma once and for all, before admitting he was manipulating Sigma in order to get his DNA and is behind the entire plot. Lumine gloats to the stunned Hunters that in order for evolution to take its course, he and the new generation Reploids must destroy both the humans and "obsolete" Reploids. After a massive struggle, Lumine is defeated, but he warns them that it is too late to stop what has already begun. As Axl approaches Lumine's body, a tentacle springs from it and breaks the crystal on his helmet, knocking him unconscious.
The ending of the game varies slightly depending on which character defeats Lumine. As the Hunters ride back down the orbital elevator, Zero wonders if he no longer has to fight now that Sigma is dead for good, while X ponders Lumine's words on evolution. Zero tells X not to let his words get to him, as new generation Reploids becoming Sigma could hardly be called evolution. Furthermore, he tells X that even if they are destined to join the scrap heap when that evolution does comes about, they'll still have to fight, not only against the Mavericks, but against their own destinies as well.
A post-credits scene explains that Lumine's death and the news of him becoming Maverick resulted in ceasing production of DNA copy chips. However, due to the increasing need of advanced Reploids for space development, production resumed several years later, despite the objections of many. Meanwhile, as the Hunters continue to descend the orbital elevator, a faint purple light emits from Axl's shattered helmet crystal, suggesting that Lumine's spirit lives on.
Gameplay is largely the same as previous games. However, the area change between 2.5D and 3D from X7 is removed, leaving the gameplay back to 2.5D-styled area. Both X and Axl specialize in mid-long range fighting while Zero is the same with close range. X, however, was changed from X7 to be more like his original incarnations in terms of firing. He can only fire straight ahead now, possibly to make his gameplay different from Axl (who can fire in all directions). Axl's new firing capabilities are meant to resemble Bass' from Mega Man & Bass (and the later release of Mega Man 10), where not only can he fire in different directions (all around instead of just upward or diagonally like Bass did) but also Axl's rapid fire ability is greater than X's. Much like X5 and X6, X can obtain the parts from the Dr. Light capsules for 2 special armors, with one slight difference that he can now create a customized armor using the parts from both armors, but at the price that the Giga Attack ability is inaccessible. Instead of copying weapons like X, Axl receives new guns upon defeating Mavericks and can use them indefinitely, like Zero's techniques, though his attacks aren't as strong compared to X's weapons, and Zero's techniques. In addition Axl's A-Trans ability no longer applies to smaller Reploids, and its transformations can now be controlled rather then serving as a temporary power-up when the Reploid DNA is collected. Zero can also obtain new weapons from certain Rare Metals that make gameplay with him vastly different. His new weapons include a Glaive, Knuckles, Hammer, Fan and the large sword used by Sigma (available upon starting a New Game+ after completing the game on Normal or Hard difficulty or by entering a secret code at the Title Screen in the PS2 version). Unlike X7, he can use any special technique regardless of which weapon is equipped, and certain special techniques can also change when a particular special weapon is equipped.
Certain enemies (and even bosses) can now execute a "guard", which makes them invulnerable to most attacks. However, the three characters can use "guard break" attacks, allowing them to defeat these enemies, these being X's fully charged shot, Zero's third Z Saber slash, and every eighth shot of Axl's Axl Bullet rapid fire. Certain Special Weapons can also instantly break guards or ignore barriers, notably Bamboo Pandamonium's weapons and the Sigma Blade.
Mega Man X8 offers three difficulty modes.
* The characters Life Gauge starts and stays at 36.
* The Life Gauge starts at 18 and maxes out at 36.
* The Life Gauge starts at 12 and maxes out at 30.
Players can collect Metals (colored, glowing triangular objects) by picking them up as they travel throughout the stages or by destroying enemies. These items act as currency, used to buy upgrades (Chips) in the Research and Development Lab section of Maverick Hunter Base. Also hidden in the stages are Rare Metals, which, if collected, unlocks a new item/upgrade in the R&D Lab.
Chips are divided into four categories for characters: All (which includes Sub Tanks, Retry Chips, etc.), X, Zero, and Axl. After unlocking the operators, their categories are also available. Heart Tanks and Sub Tanks can only be obtained by buying them from R&D, but some of them must still be collected as Rare Metals in the game, similar to previous games. If playing on Easy difficulty, the characters start out at maximum health, negating the need to purchase life-ups.
1-Ups are represented by Retry Chips which allows the player to start again at the last checkpoint they passed through. As the difficulty level increases, the opportunities of being able to retry are lower. Note that Retry Chip supply remain unlimited while playing the Intermission Stages, regardless of the difficulty.
This feature allows the player to switch characters during gameplay. This can be done at anytime as long as both characters are available. The reserve character will automatically be tagged in if the active characters Life Gauge is reduced to zero.
Tagging out a wounded Hunter will allow them to recover health without the use of healing items. However, if they are called back before any remaining red bars have turned green, the bars will turn black and healing items must be used to recover the lost health.
Tag Assist is also used to break characters free if they are restrained by an enemy attack. In this instants, the reserve character will warp in and attack the enemy, breaking the captive free. This attack can damage the enemy.
This feature is known in the Japanese Version as Rescue Change (レスキューチェンジ).
Double Attack Gauge
Connecting the two Maverick Hunter's Life Gauges is the Attack Gauge, which can be used to unleash a Double Attack - an ultra-powerful attack where both Hunters in the team attack enemies simultaneously.
This devastating move will allow the Maverick Hunters to perform their most powerful moves with their native weapons: X fires a giant blue laser beam which is the powered-up version of the fully charged-shot using Buster Parts I. Zero does his four-slash combo which is the same as when Zero has redeemed Saber Skill +1 using his extended Z-Saber. Axl fires at his targets with two Axl Bullet pistols instead of one using orange-colored bullets.
To use this move, the Hunters must chalk up combo hits to fill up the Attack Gauge (the energy color when filling the Attack Gauge is green) or collect Attack Gauge refills (usually during mini-boss stages). Once the Attack Gauge is completely filled up, the primary Hunter will ignite in flames and the color of the energy in the Attack Gauge changes to pink and flashes, signaling the Double Attack move is ready to be activated.
Pressing the Double Attack button will allow a spherical field to be created around the Hunter that can activate this move. For a successful activation the sperical field has to come into direct contact with any enemy on the screen. Failing to do so will not permanently drain the energy in the Attack Gauge; instead, the energy will be rapidly filled up within seconds and be prepared for any second attempts required. Only when the Double Attack is successfully activated the energy inside the Attack Gauge will be depleted permanently, having to fill up the Attack Gauge again for more attempts of this move.
Once the Double Attack is successfully activated during gameplay, time will be frozen and the background will change to a green virtual field, where the reserve Hunter will warp in to perform the simultaneous attack with the main Hunter. As stated earlier, their attacks will depend on the Hunters being used. Once the Double Attack is complete, the reserve Hunter will warp out and all characters return to the field where the attack was activated while time resumes its normal course, with all the enemies on screen destroyed at an instant.
There is also a powered-up version called the Extra Finish (EXF) Double Attack that is specifically used in boss battles against stage bosses. Activating this attack is the same as the normal Double Attack, but the Hunters' attacks will be super-charged and will concentrate all their attacks at only the stage boss itself, with the transported virtual field being orange instead of green and a powerful orange wave surrounding the two Hunters launching the attack added for good measure. X fires an orange-colored beam instead of the blue one; Zero slashes with his powered-up Z-Saber which has an orange-colored beam; and Axl fires both his pistols at the single target with blue-colored bullets. Hitting the stage boss with this attack can deplete up to a maximum of 24 bars of its health bar and will only work if this attack results in the boss being defeated.
The Double Attack Gauge can also be used to revive Hunters that have their life depleted in a mission. Once this happens, the reserve Hunter will warp in to continue the battle while the energy in the Attack Gauge becomes blue in color. When the Attack Gauge is completely filled up this time, the energy will be used to revive the reserve Hunters with 1/3 (Easy Mode) or 1/4 (Normal/Hard Modes) of their available life meter filled up, allowing them to continue the mission. However, this will deplete the entire Attack Gauge and will require a second refill for the Double Attack move. This will not work if the current Hunter loses all life by spiked traps or bottomless pits, which will instantly deem the mission as failed and require the use of a Retry Chip to continue.
Another new feature in Mega Man X8 are Intermissions, which are mini-games that provide the player with the opportunity to collect generous amounts of Metals with no risk to their Retry Chips or Hunter Rank. Unlocking an Intermission requires the player receive a certain number of "Mission's Failed" (game overs). The game keeps track of the number of game overs and uses this to the determine if the player receives an Intermission when returning to the stage select screen. There are four Intermissions and each one can be played repeatedly, making them a very effective way of gathering the large amount of Metals necessary for high-priced items in R&D.
The Navigators can also be unlocked as playable characters in the game. To make them available, a completed game (Normal or Hard mode) must be saved into a New Game+ where the first Navigator to be unlocked will be the Navigator that was used in the most missions to assist the Maverick Hunters. Unlocking the other two will simply be a case of using each of them in at least four unique missions. Once they are unlocked, the player must redeem their chips (listed as 'Alia Buster'. 'Layer Rapier' and 'Palette Bullets' respectively in the chips menu usable for All Hunters) for 40,000 metal each (36,000 metal each after Metal Discount Chip is redeemed) before they can play them.
This basically allows the player to choose female heroes if they wish. Alia, Layer, and Palette are X, Zero, and Axl's female equivalents respectively, with a few restrictions. Upgrade Chips can also be purchased for them as well to power them up just like with the regular Maverick Hunters. Common functions and abilities used by the Navigators such as Double Attack and Character Change are also usable, but these characters have several restrictions as compared to their regular counterparts:
- Alia can utilize her 'Alia Buster' which functions exactly the same way as X's own X-Buster without equipping any Armor Part. The drawback for Alia is that she would not be able to use any Armor Parts like X does in the game, and thus won't be able to use charged versions of any special weapons she can use since Buster Part will be required to use this.
- Layer utilizes her 'Layer Rapier', a fencing sword that can attack enemies the same way as Zero's Z-Saber. Her movements, dashing speed and distance will be the same as the regular Zero. She can also utilize other combat weapons that Zero can use, including the Sigma Blade as well. The only drawback is that she won't have the abilities to dash longer and higher attack power since only Zero has the Black Armor that enables this.
- Palette utilizes her 'Palette Bullets', a pistol that looks like a toy gun that can shoot bullets the same way as Axl can, including shooting in eight directions. She can also hover in mid-air just like him and utilize obtained firearms like he can. The only drawback other than the lack of special armor like Axl has is that she won't be able to use Copy Shot on enemies and transform into them when needed.
To select the unlocked Navigators as Hunters, press Select (PS2) or Tab key (PC) to switch from the regular Hunters to Navigators. Selecting a mixed duo between Navigator and Hunter is also possible, but the player won't be able to use any Navigators to guide them if any Navigator is selected as a playable character. In addition all story-based events or dialogue on uncompleted levels will not occur if a Navigator is placed in a team.
Opening Stage boss:
Stage Select Screen bosses:
- Vile V
Sigma Palace bosses:
Mega Man X8 combines the one-part-at-a-time feature of Mega Man X-X4 with the multiple armor feature of Mega Man X5 and Mega Man X6. With the first capsule that X finds, Dr. Light bestows the Neutral Armor upon him which as well as the first part of the 8 Armor parts in this game. When selecting the Neutral Armor, X is given the choice to mix-and-match the parts he finds onto the Neutral Armor. They come in three sets: The Standard Parts (Gray), which X begins the game with; the Icarus Parts (Red) and Hermes Parts (Blue); an Ultimate Armor (Purple) version is also accessible through a code or by starting a new game from a save file being cleared with X reaching 100% on upgrades (including obtaining all 8 Armor Parts) and cannot be mixed in with other armor parts.
When all of the Icarus Parts or Hermes Parts are equipped at once, the armor is named accordingly, and a special Giga Attack feature is added to the full armor. While equipping the Icarus Armor, X can perform the Giga Crush in a similar way to that of the Second Armor in Mega Man X2 and the Glide Armor in Mega Man X7, and while equipping the Hermes Armor, he can perform the X-Drive, which powers-up X's normal Hermes Armor abilities. Finally, with the Ultimate Armor, X can perform the invincible dash known as Nova Strike. Unlike previous Armors' Giga Attacks, the Hermes and Icarus Armors' Giga Attacks do not require X's weapons gauge to be completely full to be able to use them. However, if the weapon gauge is not completely filled up before using the attack, the Giga Crush won't be at full power and attack range, while the X-Drive will last a shorter time. While the Nova Strike requires a full weapon gauge to be performed, its energy auto-charges extremely quickly. The weapon energy charge rate from slowest to fastest is as follows: Icarus Armor -> Hermes Armor -> Ultimate Armor.
Both Zero and Axl get armors as well. Zero's is his traditional black armor, but is different from previous games as it can be equipped at the start of a mission rather than being a permanent attachment (the original Red Armor can still be chosen). It doubles Zero's attack power and allows him a longer dash distance and running speed while halving his defense. The code for this armor (for the PS2 version) is: L1(x2), R1(x2), L1(x4). To get this upgrade, Zero must finish the final stage with 95% of his upgrades redeemed. The final upgrade will be made available when the New Game+ is used, and the Black Armor will be made available immediately when the final upgrade is redeemed (making Zero's upgrades 100%).
Axl's armor allows him to obtain a longer dash distance and speed, and allows him to hover indefinitely while shooting, plus unlimited energy while using the A-Trans feature. The code to unlock this armor (for the PS2 version) is: L2(x3), R2(x3), L2(x3), R2. This Armor will only be available when the final boss is defeated by Axl and a New Game+ is saved after the battle.
- List of Mega Man X8 enemies
- Mega Man X8 walkthrough
- Mega Man X8 Chips (Parts)
- Mega Man X8 Script (X's story)
- Mega Man X8 Script (Zero's story)
- Mega Man X8 Script (Axl's story)
X8 beta tracks:
|Problems listening to these files? See media help.|
A demo of this game is available on the PS2 version of Mega Man X: Command Mission. It includes the entire Noah's Park intro stage with some differences:
- Some of the songs that play (especially the ones before the actual stage) have been improved on the official release.
- In the English version, Japanese voices for X, Axl, Zero and Alia are used with English dialogue.
- Hitting pause only gives players the option of returning to the title screen.
- One area that can be opened in the official release remains sealed in the demo.
- Only one life is given, and the player must replay the entire stage from the start if defeated at any point in the stage.
- One major gameplay difference is Axl's blaster. There are more gaps between the shots, so it is does not fire as rapidly as it does in the final release. This is due to its final attack pattern not being fully implemented yet.
- Mega Man X8 was the first game in the series not available to Japan first.
- The PS2 Japanese and PC Version opening theme is "WILD FANG" by Janne Da Arc, from the album JOKER. Mega Man X8 is also the first game in the PlayStation Mega Man X series games not to feature a vocal ending theme, using an instrumental credits song for both Japanese and Western versions instead.
- Although the graphics are 3D, the game is played mostly in a sidescroller perspective, with the exceptions of Gigabolt Man-O-war and Avalanche Yeti's ride-chaser-esque stages.
- This is one of only two games, the other being Mega Man X5, in which Sigma is fought as a non-final boss; he is fought at Gateway (the second to the last stage), albeit only a copy, and as the penultimate boss as well. In X5, he is also fought as the first boss in the intro stage.
- This is, however, one of the two games where Sigma is not the final boss (excluding easy mode), with the other being Command Mission (as Sigma is not present in that game at all, stills from X7 in one of the cutscenes notwithstanding).
- Paradise Lost is an epic by John Milton, which this game is named after, where Satan (formerly Lucifer) rebels with one third of the angelic hosts of heaven. Parallels can be drawn to Lumine and the New-Generation Reploids.
- The Jakob Orbital Elevator is based on the Biblical story of "Jacob's Ladder" where Jacob, later named Israel, has a dream of a stairway that leads to Heaven that angels use to travel to Earth. The stairway is shown in Paradise Lost and is destroyed after Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
- Interestingly, a lot of biblical references are made in Mega Man X8, such as the level "Noah's Park", which is quite possibly named after the biblical character Noah, who is best known for building an ark and bringing two of every kind of animal onto it.
- This game, like the Zero series, has a slightly different art style compared to the past X games, taking on a more proportioned humanoid design for some of the cast
- Much like Mega Man X7, Mega Man X8 features no interactive ladders. However, the Boss Shutters that are missing in the previous game has been restored with a new design, different from the previous incarnations.
- Cut Man appears as a hidden mini boss with his original 8-bit appearance in Optic Sunflower's stage. If playing the PlayStation 2 version, the memory card must contain a save of Mega Man X: Command Mission or a code can be entered at the title screen. In the PC version, the player must get all the upper lights lit up in the training sessions to activate the portal. This makes Mega Man X8 the only X game where the player can fight against a classic Robot Master.
- This and Mega Man X4 are the only games in the series to have more than one music track per stage. Unlike Frost Walrus, who had a theme for each of his two areas, changes in music happen only in the portions of some stages in Mega Man X8. Most of these are variants of the main stage theme, but all of them have the purpose of emphasizing a particular event within the stage (such as the sudden lava rise in Burn Rooster's stage or entering a Ride Armor in Bamboo Pandamonium's stage as well as certain mini-boss battles).
- The same happens with the Maverick battle theme. On Normal difficulty and up, each of the eight main Mavericks will enter Overdrive mode after sustaining a determined amount of damage (75% in Normal, 50% in Hard). When this happens, they'll execute a special attack and become immune to any attacks until they finish their special attack. The music will switch to a more frantic pace and melody, and will stay like that for the rest of the battle. This feature is exclusive to this game.
- This is the first game in the X series that allows the player to replay the intro stage. This feature was first seen in Mega Man 8 and Mega Man & Bass, then later seen in Mega Man Maverick Hunter X and Mega Man Powered Up.
- Mega Man X8 is one of two games in the entire Mega Man franchise whose boss rematch portals give some hint as to which boss is inside, the other being Mega Man Powered Up.
- Mega Man X8 is also the first game in the X series where a new voice actor took over the role of the series protagonist. Takahiro Sakurai took over from long-running Shoutaro Morikubo in that role, giving the titular character a new more mature personality.
- If one listens closely to the track "Oncoming Generation" (played in the cutscene between Lumine's first and second forms battles), the music features a great resemblance to the final portion of "X, The Legend" from the Mega Man Zero series.
- Rockman X8 official site (archive)
- Sepelak, Greg (2004). Mega Man X8 Official Strategy Guide. pg.18. BradyGAMES Publishing
- Sepelak, Greg (2004). Mega Man X8 Official Strategy Guide. pg.74. BradyGAMES Publishing