Ride Armor (ライドアーマー) is the name for a giant mechanical armor that Reploids such as X, Zero, Vile, and Axl can ride in the Mega Man X series. Originally intended for civil engineering and transportation, it was used for combat due to its strong endurance and power. As the series went on, combat Ride Armors were created, each with different strengths and uses.
The player's character is safe while using a Ride Armor, with the armor taking damage in his place. However, Ride Armors are not invincible, breaking after taking several hits. In most appearances Ride Armors can only be used in specific areas that ends with an obstacle impeding its passage, requiring the user to leave the Ride Armor behind due to it being too big to pass a narrow path or not being able to reach a high area that requires Wall Kick. Due to this, they can't be taken to boss battles, except for Magma Dragoon in Mega Man X4, Vanishing Gungaroo in Mega Man X7, and Bamboo Pandamonium (and Vile V when he appears in his stage) in Mega Man X8.
This Ride Armor can walk, dash, jump, but cannot climb walls. Since it wasn't originally created for combat, it can only attack with punches. They can take a maximum of 16 hits before they start to flash. While flashing, no more damage can be taken. This is a good opportunity to "go berserk", as nothing else can negatively affect the Ride Armor. After a few moments, X is ejected from the machine and the Rider Armor explodes. There is no way to avert this.
Armor Soldiers, enemies that appear on the aforementioned stages, can pilot the Ride Armors as well, though with much less health. Their attacks however are very strong, so it is best to destroy them quickly and at a safe distance.
In its reboot Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, the Ride Armors share a resemblance with the ones from Mega Man X8, notably from its overall design and attack mechanism which is similar to Ride Armor Cyclops which utilizes piston punches.
Vile also uses Ride Armors as a boss and playable character. See the Vile's Ride Armors section below for details on his use of the Ride Armors.
Mega Man X2 introduces the Ride Armor type EG-2 custom "Rabbit" (ライドアーマータイプEG-2カスタム ｢ラビット｣), also known as Mobile Attack Armor, a modified mining Ride Armor model that was used for rock drilling. Due to its higher destructive power and short-range flight, it was deployed for combat by Sigma's Mavericks, being used by the Rideloid-G enemies.
Rabbit can be found in Crystal Snail's stage, Wheel Gator's stage, and the third X-Hunter Stage. Armed with spiked fists, it can destroy certain blocks that X cannot. By holding the fire button, the Ride Armor Rabbit can spin up its spikes and charge up a powerful attack. The spikes spin for as long as the fire button is held and will deal continuous damage to enemies that come in contact with them. Further, the Ride Armor is capable of dashing and changing direction while "charging". When the fire button is released, the armor dashes forward with a spinning spike punch attack. It can also hover for a short period of time if the jump button is held while in the air. Because of this, its dashing jump is able to clear extremely long distances.
Mega Man X3 takes the Ride Armor system further than any other game in the series. The Ride Armor type DRA-00 was developed for general purpose in the Hunter Base and can be customized by finding three Ride Armor Modification Parts (ライドアーマー変形パーツ Raidoāmā Henkei Pātsu), modification parts scattered throughout the stages that allow X to use a certain model of the Ride Armor. In the North American SNES manual, it is named Robot Ride Armor and is said to be a large armor created by Dr. Light.
The Ride Armor can be activated at Robot Ride Platform, a large transfer devices (転送装置 tensō sōchi) with a X or χ ("chi", Greek letter for Chimera/χιμάρα) on them. When X steps on one, he will be prompted to choose one of the Ride Armors available. Each Ride Armor has a visible life gauge, so it is easy to tell when one will begin to flash. All Ride Armors except for the Ride Armor Frog will short out upon entering the water. Recalling a Ride Armor in the transfer device will restore its energy. If a Ride Armor is destroyed, it cannot be recalled until the player leaves the stage.
- Chimera (キメラ Kimera) - The normal type, which is the template to the other three types and must be unlocked first to be able to use the others. Similar to the Ride Armors from the previous two games. It can walk, jump, dash, and punch.
- It is found in Blast Hornet's stage, and X needs the Tornado Fang to reach it. When crossing the garages near the middle of the stage, destroy all of the blocks with the Tornado Fang. One will be destroyed. Drop down and destroy the garage. Continue down to find the Chimera Armor suspended by a Hangerter. In the credit roll of Japanese version, it is called Kimera.
- Kangaroo (カンガルー Kangarū) - A Ride Armor designed for combat. It has powerful spikes on its fists, similar to the Ride Armor Rabbit in Mega Man X2, causing more damage than the Chimera's punches. Its charged attack differs, however: The Kangaroo Ride Armor's fist, a spinning claw, will lash forward on a chain, causing massive damage to all enemies in its range. To make the fist spin, simply hold the shoot button. While it spins, it is possible to dash forward, but impossible to walk or jump. Vile also pilot a black Kangaroo simply called DRA-00.
- Its parts are in Toxic Seahorse's stage. Use the Ride Armor Frog when X reaches the Ride Armor platform. Jump down into the water, and reach the high ground when X is given an option to go lower. Two fans will attempt to push X back; Use the Ride Armor Frog's torpedoes to destroy them. Climb out of the Ride Armor and surface-jump across the water to reach the parts.
- A second possible method is to reach said high ground, and use the charged Frost Shield, it will detach from the buster and be ridable to the surface of the water, and which point X can surface jump to the parts.
- Hawk (ホーク Hōku) - Designed for flight, equipped with a vernier jet in the back and missile launchers in the arms. If the jump button is held while jumping, the armor will hover, gaining altitude slowly. The hover boost only lasts for a few seconds. The armor can fire missiles in groups of two, which fly forward at a fast rate.
- Frog (フロッグ Furoggu) - An amphibious Ride Armor that won't break underwater. As it is focused on aquatic performance, it may be confusing and awkward to try and move it on dry ground. ← and → make short hops in that direction, and dashing will result in a long jump. Both functions work well underwater, with the armor jumping high distances. Instead of arms, it has screw propellers and homing torpedo launchers, but the homing function does not work well on land: the torpedoes will just go straight for approx. half the width of the screen then fall down in a sharp curve. By tapping the dash button repeatedly (When starting, the feet have to be on the ground, and do not hold the left or right buttons. Then, keep tapping the buttons rapidly to continue. Once the propeller stops, it will fall down and will not ascend before reaching the ground.), it can perform a 'sextuple jump' while in water, with the help of the propeller.
- Found in Gravity Beetle's stage. Once X gets outside, air dash upwards to ascend the left wall to find the parts.
Ride Armor usage
The Ride Armors are mainly used to get eight items in various stages:
- Tunnel Rhino: (n/a; anyway, the Maverick's Tornado Fang weapon is needed to get the Ride Armor Chimera)
- Blast Hornet (1): get the Chimera and the Life Up;
- Blast Hornet (2): get the Head Chip; the Ride Armor Hawk is recommended;
- Blizzard Buffalo: get the Life Up (while using a Ride Armor is an option, Tornado Fang can also be used to get the item);
- Volt Catfish: get a Sub Tank;
- Crush Crawfish: get the Heart and the Body Chip;
- Neon Tiger: (no items; just useful to navigate a harsh area);
- Gravity Beetle: get the Arm Chip.
- Toxic Seahorse: get the Foot Chip; the Frog or Frost Shield is needed.
Raiden (ライデン) - A melee combat Ride Armor found in Magma Dragoon's stage and Slash Beast's stage. Enemies also appear with this Ride Armor in those stages. The Raiden has a built-in electromagnetic blade in the arms, being able to perform a combo of two slashes if the fire button is pressed twice: a drilling stab and an overhead energy slash. It can perform a charged attack, which produces a lance of energy that is thrust forward. It can withstand lava, and can destroy certain rocked walls and train cars. Plus, for the first time in the series, the player can take the Ride Armor into a boss battle, in this case Magma Dragoon. Due to its high performance, it was a dominating Ride Armor that stayed in the front lines for a long time, also appearing in Mega Man X5 and Mega Man X6.
Eagle (イーグル) - A flight type Ride Armor that has higher stability in the air than the Ride Armor Hawk. It is available in Storm Owl's stage, and the firt Final Weapon stage. Iris takes on a form similar to this Ride Armor when she used her brother's control chip to battle Zero. By jumping in the air, the Ride Armor can hover for an infinite amount of time, and will only descend if jump is pressed, or if it is struck by an enemy attack. The Eagle exhibits enhanced offensive capabilities as well: uncharged shots are large masses of energy and charged shots split into three rays that home in on enemies. This is one of the few Ride Armors in the series that can also perform an air dash.
Mega Man X5 doesn't add anything new to the Ride Armor and family, and the two that exist are not used for very long. The Ride Armor Raiden is featured in the second part of Burn Dinorex's stage, which keeps the rider safe while underneath molten magma, and are also used by enemies in the same stage. This armor features a dashing slash attack that punches through enemies. There are also enemies known as Eagle G that use a modified Ride Armor Eagle with a buster that can shoot straight or diagonally and a shield, but the player can't use it.
Mega Man X6 only featured one instance of a Ride Armor — the Ride Armor Raiden, found in Metal Shark Player's stage. It can be used to avoid being crushed in the first compressor. However, a second Ride Armor will be available to the player if they enter the stage's "Nightmare Area".
Mega Man X7 features two Ride Armors, Gouden and Raiden II, that can be used by the player. There are also enemies with Ride Armors known as Proto Ride, and Vanishing Gungaroo uses a boxing Ride Armor in the battle against him, modeled after a mother kangaroo.
- Raiden II (ライデンII) - An improvement of the Raiden from Mega Man X4-X6. It has four legs and a drill arm, increasing its power.
- Gouden (ゴウデン) - A long range combat Ride Armor equipped with a cannon in the left arm and missile launchers in the back.
Mega Man X8 has five Ride Armors, two of which can be used by the player:
- Cyclops (サイクロプス) - A blue Ride Armor located in Bamboo Pandamonium's stage. It is a Ride Armor used to control electronic disasters in large facilities, being equipped with an "electromagnetic napalm gun" on the shoulder that can disable the EMC of electronic devices. In combat it can be used to temporarily paralyze enemies. It can also hover for a short time, use powerful piston punches, and destroy enemies with its weight by stomping on them.
- Golem (ゴーレム) - A light green Ride Armor used by enemies in Bamboo Pandamonium's stage. There is a small chance of only the pilot being destroyed, allowing the player to use the Ride Armor. It is similar to the Cyclops, but lacks the electromagnetic napalm gun on the shoulder. It is instead equipped with a drill as its right hand and claw on the left hand.
- Devil Bear - A modified Ride Armor Golem used by Vile.
- Dice: Small Ride Armor used by Mets in Earthrock Trilobyte's stage. This Ride Armor can't be used by the player (naturally since it's too small).
- An unnamed Ride Armor appears in the background of Earthrock Trilobyte's stage equipped with claws on both arms to help with excavation and construction.
Rockman X DiVE has a variation of the Ride Armor Golem from Mega Man X8 with two shoulder cannons. Its default attack is a punch with the claw arm, its first skill is a dash punch with the drill arm, and its second skill fires two missiles from the shoulder cannons.
Vile's Ride Armors
Vile is infamous for using Ride Armors throughout the series. His very first appearance is in a near-invincible blue Ride Armor that can grab and destroy Reploids with ease. However, Zero blasts the arm off of this one, and Vile retreats. In Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, Vile's use of the Ride Armor as a playable character differs from X. It's more powerful due to the heavy machine gun, so the trade off is that Vile is only allowed use of the armor for 32 seconds. When time's up, if Vile exits the armor, or if it suffers too much damage over time, the armor will self-destruct. Though, it is possible to extend the armor's life by collecting Weapon Energy.
Vile uses another Ride Armor when confronted by X in the first station of Sigma Palace, this one with a purple chassis. The battle ends with X captured by the Ride Armor again, but Zero yet again destroys it, this time destroying himself as well.
When Vile is resurrected as Vile MK-II in Mega Man X3, X can warp to his stage from hidden capsules in three stages. After traversing through his many traps, X will face Vile. He pilots Ride Armor DRA-00, a black Kangaroo, for the first bout. When it is destroyed, Vile fights X himself.
If Vile's stage is not accessed or if he is not defeated with his weakness, he will appear in the second stage of Dr. Doppler's fortress. He will appear first in the Ride Armor Goliath (known as Brown Bear in Japan), weak against the Parasitic Bomb or the Tornado Fang, and when that armor is destroyed, he will fight X one-on-one.
Vile V uses the Devil Bear in Mega Man X8, a modified black Ride Armor Golem, when the Hunters fight against him in the entrance hall of Sigma Palace. The Devil Bear armor is nearly indestructible, but executing a Guard Break knocks Vile off of it, albeit temporarily, allowing the characters to fight him normally.
After the battle in Hard Mode, Vile and his Ride Armor survive (although one can easily see that the armor is spouting out smoke at the moment Vile reappears, suggesting that the Ride Armor isn't at all invincible), and preoccupies the reserve character while the other character must traverse the rest of Sigma's Palace alone.
- In the iPhone port of Mega Man X, the player can earn an achievement for hitting Vile's Blue Ride Armor 32 times.
- Vile's Ride Armor in Mega Man X8, the Devil Bear, is shown to be capable of movement without Vile physically sitting at the controls. Vile spends the entirety of his time controlling the Devil Bear standing atop its cockpit, and rising on its own to return to him after it has recovered, implying a remote-controlled connection.
- In Mega Man X8, the Ride Armor has its own theme, which plays for as long as the player controls it.
- The Chimera and Hawk Ride Armors from Mega Man X3 were made into a single convertable model kit for Bandai's Mega Armor Model series. The Ride Armor's default configuration is the Chimera, and therefore maintains the Chimera's colors when changed into the Hawk Ride Armor. The model kit also contains some features not seen in Mega Man X3, such as miniature guns hidden in the Chimera's fist and the ability to combine the Hawk's Missile Launchers and hover dish into a small aircraft. Ironically, the standard Mega Man X model from the same line can fit in the Ride Armor, but Vile MK.II cannot without partial disassembly, due to the size of the leg armor pieces.
- An apparant prototype for a D-arts Ride Armor modeled after Vile's original Ride Armor from Mega Man X was displayed at a convention, but ultimately no toy was ever released.
- In September 2018, the Chimera and Kangaroo Ride Armors from Mega Man X3, along with Vile's second Ride Armor from Mega Man X (which also comes with Hawk Ride Armor parts) were made into convertable model kits for Bandai's Super Mini Pla series. They are compatible with X and Vile minifigures from the 66 Action Dash Mega Man Volume 2 set.
- Compendium of Rockman X pages 184-185
- Mega Man X2 SNES manual of North America version
- Credit roll of Mega Max X3
- Mega Man X3 SNES manual
- Page 59, Rockman X Super Encyclopedia (ロックマンX 超百科)
- Compendium of Rockman X page 140
- Sepelak, Greg (2004). Mega Man X8 Official Strategy Guide. pg.90. BradyGAMES Publishing
- Sepelak, Greg (2004). Mega Man X8 Official Strategy Guide. pg.107. BradyGAMES Publishing