Following that last batch of Awesome Video Game Memories from Ryan of Battle Geek Plus, we're finally at the one I've been waiting for: Mega Man X8. (Not Safe For Work, of course.)
If I'm being completely honest, this is one of my favorite games in the series, and always one I like to talk about -- save for a couple of areas I'll get to in a moment. I think it was the freshest entry in the series since Mega Man X4, managing to evolve the formula in several different ways while not going over the edge in the way that Mega Man X7 did.
For me, this felt like an arcade Mega Man game. I know we had the two actual arcade games from the Classic series, which were basically just series of boss battles, but this went the whole nine yards with full stages and bosses. Even the credit system seemed kind of like a home adaptation of something you'd see in the arcades.
The variety in the stages was cool; some were short, I'll admit, but I don't think the pure variety in objectives and progression has been matched by any other entry in the series. One stage has you running from a renegade Mechaniloid, ultimately taking advantage of the environment to send it into retreat, during which time you give chase; another has you descending to the heart of a volcano to flesh out out the Maverick hiding within, but beating him doesn't mark the end -- then you have to escape, Metroid-style!
The exception, of course, is in the vehicle-based stages. Vehicle-based stages in the X series has been downhill from their inception in Mega Man X4 (and some will argue that it wasn't even good then), and this game has not one, but two of the blasted things! Avalanche Yeti's reminds me a bit of Stage 2 from Neo Contra, only not done as well, while Gigabolt Man-O-War's is a spatially-disorienting 3D nightmare.
There are other things I enjoy about the game, from the design to the music to the many customization options, but in the interest of keeping this short, I'll just end by saying that I do sometimes wonder if it was Mega Man X7's quality that doomed Mega Man X8. I've seen it said that movie sequels tend to perform based on how the last entry in the series fared with audiences, an example being how Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen -- produced during a writers strike and hailed as the worst in the series -- made so much more than the original, while the third movie, Dark of the Moon, did worse despite being an arguably better film than the second.
That is, of course, merely conjecture -- I'm not sure there's anything to show that video games follow that sort of pattern, but it is enough to make one wonder if, in a way, Mega Man X7 really ate 9.
Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts (maybe someday I should write about these things at length) to go along with Ryan's on Mega Man X8, the game that may have been too little, too late. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments below, as well as those for the video on Battle Geek Plus's YouTube channel.