|Mega Man X8|
|Developer(s)||Capcom Production Studio 1|
|Publisher(s)||Capcom/Taito Corporation Japan|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
|Media/distribution||1 DVD (PlayStation 2), 2 CD-ROMs (PC)|
Mega Man X8, known as Rockman X8 (ロックマンX8?) in Japan, is a video game developed by Capcom for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) console. It is the eighth game in the Mega Man X series and the most recently released game in that series. It was first released in North America on December 7, 2004. The PS2 version, as well as a PC iteration, were released in Japan and Europe the following year.
The plot of Mega Man X8 focuses on the abduction of a next-generation "Reploid" from the construction site of a space elevator, and the subsequent pursuit of his captors. During the course of game play the motivations of these captors comes into focus, and it is up to the heroes, led by Mega Man X, to stop them. The gameplay of Mega Man X8 is similar to the other games in the series, in which the player must complete a series of stages. Defeating their bosses will earn that player character its special weapon.
The story is set during the late 21XX. The Reploid rebellions across the past years continue, seemingly with no possible solution. To escape these troubles, mankind has begun the next generation of research and development by constructing an orbital elevator able to take equipment and handwork to the moon which they seek to colonize. This operation is labeled as the "Jakob Project", with the orbital elevator bearing its name, and a Reploid named Lumine is placed in charge of the project. As another part of the project, an advanced generation of Reploids is dispatched to the moon surface in order to work on the project. These New Generation Reploids are able to use DNA data to change their shapes. They are the perfect workers because they can change their shape according to a task, and have subroutines built in to prevent them from going Maverick. (In Mega Man X7, it was revealed that Axl is the first of his kind, a prototype next-generation Reploid.)
Everything seems to be running smoothly until Vile, who has apparently been resurrected from his earlier defeat in Mega Man X3, kidnaps Lumine for unknown reasons. It becomes the Maverick Hunters' mission to rescue him. However, what the Hunters do not know is that Sigma has returned. Contained on every single copy chip in these robots is Sigma's own DNA, meaning that the next-generation 'Maverick-Proof' reploids are in fact able to go Maverick. Sigma seeks to remove the "old generation" and repopulate it with his "children". When Sigma is defeated in his palace, Lumine steps in to take the entire operation over and kill the Maverick Hunters. Lumine gloats to the Hunters that, in order for evolution to take its course, he and his fellow new-generation Reploids must destroy both humans and "obsolete" Reploids. After a massive struggle, Lumine is defeated. When Axl walks up to Lumine's body, however, he is shocked as a tentacle springs from it and damages the crystal on his head. As the three different characters ride back down the Jakob 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. Axl is unconscious, but his shattered crystal can be seen glowing with a tiny fragment of a crystal shard.
Gameplay in Mega Man X8 is similar to previous Mega Man X games. After an introductory stage, Mega Man X8 presents the player with a choice of 8 stages, with a Maverick robot serving as the stage boss. After defeating the 8 bosses, a series of fortress stages open up for the player to complete in linear progression until the final boss is defeated. This general format is the template of all X series games. X, Axl, and Zero have character-specific attributes to assist them in navigating the terrain and defeating enemies:
Mega Man X8 was developed by Capcom Production Studio 1. The game's direct predecessor, Mega Man X7, was the first entry in the Mega Man X series to feature full 3D graphics, as well as 3D gameplay. However, as stated by Capcom producer and original Mega Man illustrator Keiji Inafune, the development team chose not to pursue 3D gameplay for Mega Man X8 simply because of its graphical style. Inafune himself was not involved in the production of Mega Man X8, although the game's art designers did consult with him before changing the overall style of the characters. The game's main illustrator, Tatsuya Yoshikawa, was responsible for designing the protagonists, the Maverick bosses, and the newer ancillary cast. Yoshikawa took into account what the characters may resemble if they were toys, and even imitated the joints of Revoltech figures.
The musical score for Mega Man X8 was co-composed by Yuko Komiyama, Naoto Tanaka, and Shinya Okada. The 51-song Rockman X8 Original Soundtrack was released in Japan on April 13, 2005 by Suleputer. The Japanese opening theme is "Wild Fang" by Janne Da Arc; the band had previously done television advertisement themes for Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Battle Network 2. However, the theme was not included in the soundtrack and was even omitted on the game's localization in English.
- Axl has the ability to fire his gun in any direction, hover and glide horizontally for short distances, and stick in place on a wall as long as he is firing. He also has a 'Copy Shot' which allows him to assimilate the DNA of certain enemy reploids and take their forms and abilities for a short time. By defeating bosses, Axl gains new types of guns which have unlimited ammo.
- X can find and equip individual body parts, obtained from capsules hidden by Dr. Light. He can equip any combination of previously obtained armors to a "Neutral Armor," a new addition to this game. As X defeats bosses, he gets special weapons which have a limited supply of ammo, just as in previous games in the series. Unlike X7, X can only fire his shot in a straight line.
- Zero uses many different short range weapons and is the only character that can double-jump, but in this game Zero moves slower than X with armor - what was never been in any other series. He learns new attack techniques by defeating bosses, some of which change depending on which weapon he has equipped.