A Critical Look at Mega Man 6 Stages: Mr. X Stage 4

Not a lot going on yet, but the opportunity to skip part of a room through weapon use is nice. Even if it's almost simpler to do it normally, just having the option can make a player feel clever for doing it.

Here we finally have a segment designed solely for the Power armor, somewhat held back by the incentive to remove it to slide through all these small corridors, which don't serve any useful purpose here. Only the most impatient of players is going to fall into the spikes at the start, since it's easy to see where they're going before choosing one, and anyone this far in the game is going to want to check out the breakable blocks anyway.

On the far side, the spikes are no longer a danger and the goodies are already behind blocks, so having to slide is just an extra hassle. A neat trick to pull here is to slide into the top of the spike pit, switch to Jet to get across, and exit the bottom with Plant or Beat to take out the Wall Blaster. I'd love this room if there was any advantage to doing it this way, but sadly, there isn't. However, one nice use of Power here is taking out the Blaster facing away from you with a charge punch, in a rare case of the wide hitbox being more useful than the damage.

Peat is a unique addition to the game's enemies. Rising from tubes we need to stand on, its egg hatches at a set height or when hit with a normal shot (Power destroys it outright), after which it dives at the player. These X boxes can be punched onto the tubes to stop them, and while the falling box won't destroy the first egg that appears, this is at least a good way to give Power more interesting things to do.

After some shielded enemies round out our exploration of Power's advantages, we're presented with an area more suited to something else. Since Beat hasn't seen much action, this is a good spot to use him. Beat, or any upward weapon, makes Colton easier to deal with while making these jumps. This is about the limit of Beat's usefulness against medium-strength enemies, as these four took almost all the energy he had.

This is a dirty trick, and I love it. Punching this box makes our life a bit easier, but also blocks off that E Tank.

With less footing and more enemies, the Jet armor starts to become a much more attractive option in the final screens, though many of the special weapons can be helpful as well, especially Centaur Flash if the player hasn't been using it yet.

Exploring that ladder from earlier leads to an extra life and a lot of enemies that would have resulted in very boring screenshots, so here's a gif of Beat being useful instead.

The X Crusher swings back and fourth while firing energy balls at the floor, which then split. This attack is slightly out of sync with the swinging, so the timing for avoiding them changes over the course of the fight. While weak to Flame Blast, the Power armor deals just as much damage and can slam the Crusher against the back wall repeatedly to end the fight fast.

I'd have liked to see more from this game's fake final boss, and from the sprite and artwork it looks a lot like that bottom spike was meant to slam into the floor like a piston. Since we have no need to leave the wall, this probably wouldn't have helped it much anyway.

Despite Jet Mega Man's clear advantages whenever pits are involved, this stage does a respectable job of letting the Power armor have the spotlight outside of a boss room for once. The obvious approach would have been a gauntlet of tougher enemies, but between hitting Wall Basters from behind, destroying Peat in one shot before it hatches, and pushing blocks, this stage gave it some advantages than weren't seen in the initial set of stages, capped off with the ability to push Mr. X around, which at least feels satisfying regardless of difficulty. There was potential for more here, especially the early sliding section and upper route, but the rest serves its purpose well.