These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Most people see X as either a strong but doubtful hunter who truly wants peace, a half-crazed macho warrior killing his supposed enemies on sight, or a spineless wimp who relies on Zero to save his ass at the slightest hint of danger.
Here's a new one for X, due to sourcebook info stating that Dr Light created a "suffering circuit" to enable X to examine moral matters more deeply: Is he putting himself through all this because he truly wants to make the world a better place for human and reploid alike, or did the 30 year testing phase in his capsule enslave him to Dr. Light's ideals? (At least the OVA clears this by showing that, while he hesitates sometimes, he fights Mavericks out of his own choice.)
Zero is seen off duty as either a warrior who does nothing but train, or a goof and a prankster who loves partying. On duty, too: Zero is either a womanizing loud-mouth warrior, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, a nice guy with a Jerkass Fašade because he's been betrayed so many times, or a cold-hearted killer.
Axl ranges from a hyper-active little kid, a good-natured rookie, a creepy Child Soldier who sees everything as a game, or an angsty cutter. (Yes, really.)
The fact that there's a certain amount of Depending on the Writer to characterization in this series doesn't help. Compare X in X7 and Command Mission, for instance.
Iris, Zero's romantic interest, varies from a saint, a seemingly sweet person who is secretly crazy, a cute girl who (somewhat hopelessly) wants everyone to get along, or a petty little brat who doesn't want to realize that Zero doesn't like her or tries to get between the Ho Yay. Alia tends to fall into some of these as well.
There's also the recurring idea that he's messing with X for his own amusement due to the ridiculous placement of some of the capsules. This is probably not canon.
Thanks to the first game's remake, is Sigma just a Maverick infected by Wily who wants to dominate the world, or is he just staging a rebellion to test X's abilities in the interest of the good of the Reploids?
For that matter, the entire "Maverick" thing. Canonically it's caused by viruses, but especially in the first and fourth games, there's very little to suggest that it was anything other than what it looked like on the surface: a rebellion. If that's what it was, were they necessarily bad? This is compounded severalfold by the fact that in the Zero series (same universe, just a hundred years or so later), the Irregulars are a genuine robot rebellion (and the good guys) against a tyrannical society which seems to hate all reploids, and the leader of their enemies is a copy of X.
Similarly, fanon popularly puts up a dividing line between "infected" Mavericks and just regular reploids who are criminals. What becomes of the latter falls into this as well - are they shot on sight in a display of Fantastic Racism?
The Liberion Army of Command Mission: Initially they seem to be a bunch of greedy, power-hungry sociopaths who cruelly oppress and subjugate everyone in Giga City - until you find that a few of their members (namely the Cadre) are surprisingly fair and honorable people, and the fact that they're the project of unethical experiments as well as being manipulated by The Man Behind the Man. Even Ferham, the seemingly sadomasochistic Baroness, has a genuinely tender moment with a fellow comrade. Their leader might even have a point that using force really might be the only way for a group of reploids to be heard. Despite all the horrible things they've done in the game, they're a hard lot to figure out, which is even reflected in the game when they're posthumously deferred Maverick status.
Maverick Hunters didn't really start their Knight Templar tendencies until after the Repliforce incident. Did the Maverick Hunters start their shoot first, ask questions later because of Repliforce, where free-willed Mavericks proved to be just as dangerous as viral Mavericks? Magma Dragoon dropped a floating city killing millions to draw the protagonists into a fight with him, and the Repliforce preferred to start a shooting war over clearing themselves from a frame job for incredibly petty reasons. Is it any wonder humans don't trust reploids? Was Repliforce the catalyst for the later games' morally ambiguous nature of the Maverick Hunters?
The humans themselves, particularly the government. Not helped by the fact that humans rarely get their own views, or even appearance, shown in game (the only human we see, Dr. Cain, even disappears after X4). Are most of them really well-meaning, seeing the Reploids as equals, and valuing the hard work they do, or do most refuse to see the distinction between them and the Mechanaloids,(which are literal machines) seeing both as tools and are only happy as long as the Reploids do what they want, as Sigma believed? As for the trust issues, are they simply being Properly Paranoid about them, given their capabilities, or are they fanatical bigots, taking their paranoia too far, seeing nothing wrong with treating innocent Reploids citizens, who, just as the humans, would like nothing more than for the wars to stop, with hostility and suspicion, much like Weil, who felt the entire race "got off too easy" because of crimes that Sigma and other Mavericks committed?
In X8 it is revealed that the New Generation reploids (and by extension, Axl himself) were built via the manipulations of Sigma, who considers them his children. This bothers Axl roughly a thousand times less than Zero's similar origin eats at him; in fact, he's the only one of the three not driven into a Heroic BSOD by the Breaking Speech delivered soon after. It helps that Sigma and Lumine don't press the point (when Axl outright asks Lumine whether Sigma's influence will affect his sanity, Lumine dismisses him), unlike what Sigma does with Zero.
Zero was having nightmare visions of a crazy, disappearing block-loving old man even before Sigma started playing with his head, though.
Also of note is his lack of angst over being forced to kill his adopted father. In his defense, Axl didn't really deal the killing blow. He just beat the guy in a fight. It was Red's decision to set the place to blow if he lost and to go down with it.
Sigma's first form in X1. Climb the wall and he'll jump between walls to climb up to you, then when you drop down he'll make his way back to the ground too. He'll never attack, just jump between walls as you take potshots at him with your buster, so as long as you aren't stupid enough to drop down from the wall on top of him, you can beat him without ever getting hit.
Dr. Doppler in X3. His attack pattern is almost insultingly easy, though his ability to absorb your attacks can make the fight seem harder than it is.
Iris in X4. Compared to Double in X's route, Iris isn't terribly difficult. Justified as Iris was never meant to be a fighter and the project that spawned her and Colonel, well, spawned the two for a reason. note They were originally one and the same reploid meant to replicate the paradox X had with technical pacifism, but Iris' innocence and pacifism doesn't go well with Colonel's spirit of combat and honorable nature, so they were Split at Birth.
X in X5. You realize how inconvenient charge attacks are when they telegraph every move X makes as a boss. You'll also realize why it's important to move while charging.
Zero in X5. Also like X, the battle isn't very spectacular due to the fact that Zero's AI makes him spam his easily avoided (with some practice anyways, but you're certain to get some) Giga Attack over and over again. This results in a decidely unspectacular battle.
Sigma in his X6 form, especially since he's fought after Gate (and his goddamnedlaboratory.) Subverted for his second form, however.
Base Breaker: A fan's introduction to Axl matters more than a little in terms of what that person thinks of him. Was it X7, where most of the dialogue is about him, the voice acting is awful, and the title character is a no-show for much of the way? Was it Command Mission, where his powers are at their coolest, outright turning into bosses (a Power Copying variant his Expy later takes to the traditional platformers) and able to become immune to pretty much everything at will? Or was it X8, where he's fun to use, gets a nifty moment in the storyline without stepping on X or Zero's screentime, but annoyingly necessary for item collection?
Broken Base: Up until now, there has been fans who believe the X series should be put to rest at X5, as many believe many key plot points (such as X and Zero's destiny to defeat each other despite being best friends), and the plot picks up at Zero 1. Inafune even indeed stated that the game has the "finality" feel to it. Others want X9 to be made. Of course, by this account, X5 is still the end of the series, as each post-X5 games has a time period during the 3 years the epilogue states, while X6 took place after Sigma's defeat in a few weeks of X5.
As an additional note, Zero's ending in X6 is supposed to take place after the end of the series, allowing sequels to be made. Of course, the debate won't stop even with that.
A lesser example; whenever X3 is brought up, expect to see much discussion on which has the better soundtrack, SNES version or PS1 version.
Continuity Lockout: Zero's ending in X6 is said to take place after the very end of the X series. However, Zero's presence in X7 and X8 is highly confusing to most fans because the status of Zero's X6 ending is only revealed All There in the Manual in the Mega Man Zero Official Complete Works.
Die for Our Ship: Despite actually dying in canon, many fangirls still want to say this to Iris for "stealing" their Zero.
Draco in Leather Pants: Fangirls like to think that Vile is secretly sexy under his helmet and try to slash him with X (despite trying to kill him multiple times), and that Dynamo is a lovable goof who joins the Hunters and is paired with Alia (despite nearly destroying the world with a Colony Drop). Lumine is also starting to get this treatment.
Zero and the Green Biker Dude. Zero's English voice actor for the later games, Lucas Gilbertson, has the darkhorse thing going for him a bit, too. iX, a manga-only character, is also especially popular among sprite fan artists.
Iris only appeared in one game in the main series, but fans tend to squee whenever she reappears. This has apparently prompted her re-appearing in Mega Man X-Treme 2 and as a NPC in Project X-Zone.
After the "X is the original Mega Man after an upgrade" theory got Jossed, more than a few fans have decided that he might be Bass from the original series. Unlikely as all hell, but yeah, people still think it.
Everything about Dr. Wily's existence in this series counts as this. Here are a couple of popular ones:
Alternately, he's just using the Time Skimmer he used to obtain Quint.
Speculation on whether or not Serges is Dr. Wily, because of his physical resemblance and strange interest towards Zero. An even more outlandish theory is that Wily somehow "lives on" in all three X-Hunters.
To elaborate, Serges was able to repair and upgrade Zero (or possibly made his new body entirely from scratch), despite Zero being notoriously difficult to analyse and repair, due to his Black Box status. Arguably, the only one who could show such an understanding would be Wily himself. Also, in the Japanese script, he expresses regret over being defeated by "Light's robotic memento". Maybe he just knows his history?
Made worse by the fact that the manga adaptation leaps to the conclusion that Serges is Dr. Wily.
Due to Axl's ending, many fans suspect that Lumine has somehow transferred his consciousness into Axl after his defeat.
The first stage is called "Noah's Park", a space elevator is named "The Jakob Project" after Jacob's Ladder, and the final boss appears as a fallen angel whose ultimate attack is called "Paradise Lost".
Sigma's true form is called Belial Sigma. Fans have also likened Lumine's name to that of Lucifer, the "light-bearer" and fallen angel who would eventually become Satan, due to the aforementioned angel motifs. Similiarly, the Maverick's plot to migrate to the Moon and escape a war-torn (and thus useless) Earth is seen as an allusion to the story of Noah and the Flood.
First Installment Wins: It's very rare to see anyone argue otherwise. In fact, most fans agree that X4 and X5 are the only games which even begin to approach the original in quality, to say nothing of surpassing it.
X4 though is considered by some to be even better than the first X game.
Dashing at an enemy while firing a normal shot dealt double damage in X and X2; "fixed" in the third game. In X8, Zero (and Layer) can fly!Note Contrary to popular belief, this isn't limited to the PC version of the game, as the PS2 version uses both the D-Pad and the left stick for movement, so the glitch can be performed using both.
In X4, standing on Colonel's saber swing area when he fires his Sword Beams doesn't do any damage.
Vile in Maverick Hunter X can use his shoulder or leg weapons to stop his descent, allowing him to move horizontally through the air. Use a weapon with low enough energy requirements and you can practically levitate into places early that would normally require a late game weapon upgrade for. This might be a case of Throw It In, as stopping Vile's descent using the weapon drops is the only way to avoid getting hit by X and Zero during a certain attack phase.
Growing the Beard: Many believe that the X series did so with the jump to the PlayStation, which allowed both games and story to reach new heights that they never could have within the SNES' limitations.
At least in story order — while X taking a beam saber through the chest in The Day Of Sigma cues a Moment Of Awesome, it's also reminiscent of...something more permanent that happened to him later on., especially considering the parallels drawn by one character between Sigma and Elpizo.
Similarly, in the same OVA, Sigma launches a missile strike against Abel City (although with the intention of giving Reploids a future). In Zero 3, the Neo Arcadian Government (specifically Copy X and Dr. Weil) launched a missile strike against Area Z-3038, a human population, of which the missile contained Omega, so they could acquire the Dark Elf, an action that was implied to have resulted in severe casualties in the city.
Also, in X4, Sigma tells General that humanity, and by extension the Maverick Hunters, are perfectly willing to destroy anything that doesn't obey humanity absolutely. The Zero series shows just how correct Sigma turned out to be, with main bad guy in Zero 3 even stating that humanity enjoys controlling everything, considering it to be the ultimate joy. Considering who's saying that... That said, it was their genocidal campaigns that pushed things to the point where Sigma's actions become the basis for a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
At one point in Day Of Sigma, X wonders what could have caused the Maverick uprisings. Funny when you realize who he's talking to (and it's not Sigma).
In the climax of Command Mission Zero yells "What were we fighting for?!" One cannot avoid to think about the memetic line from X4 which was famous for its poorly delivered voice acting (and later the much more awesome voice acting provided by Lucas Gilbertson in a YouTube video).
The X3 finale. X scrambles desperately away from Sigma to avoid possession and freaks out at a dead end, then Dr. Doppler or Zero shows up and gives his life (minus the sacrifice in Zero's case) so that Sigma will not infect X with The Virus and take over everything with all the wonderful armors and weapons and whatnot. It turns out, Sigma can't actually do any of this; the whole thing was pointless.
Martei, a mermaid-based Reploid who becomes X's Love Interest in the manga, was introduced before the release of Mega Man 9, which included mermaid Robot Master Splash Woman. The original Mega Man is sometimes shipped with her.
Egregion, the enormous dragon intro stage Boss in X4, who was originally named Eregion. Apparently named from one of J.R.R. Tolkien's works, yet it also brings to mind another piece of literature...
The Ze-ERO series, a series of MADs (a rough equivalent of YouTube Poop) that mainly involves characters from this series, on Nico Nico Douga (and some of it have been exported to YouTube as well). Warning: NSFW.
He really starts crossing it in X3, X4, and X5. In 3, he corrupted Doppler and halted an effort that was leading to end to the Maverick Wars. In 4, he manipulates the Repliforce into fighting the Maverick Hunters, causing the events of the whole game, and in the end tries to decimate the Earth with the Repliforce's Kill Sat. His biggest is in X5, when he spreads the Maverick Virus across the planet and plans a Colony Drop with the infected Eurasia just to get Zero to go Maverick, and dialogue with X shows him saying that he figured the Maverick Hunters would keep the planet from being completely destroyed, but he clearly doesn't care about the damage caused even if it wasn't world ending.
In the Japanese version, he frequently shouts "Moero!" which exactly means "Burn!" Less annoying, but still.
Ride Boarski, also from X7. "Here goes nothing! You punk! You punk! You punk! You punk!"
In Maverick Hunter X, X calls out the name of the weapon he's using every single time he fires it.
Interestingly, Mega Man X8 pokes fun at this. Ignore Pallette long enough when she's trying to contact you, and she will squeal, "Listen to me!!" Fortunately, she doesn't nag you with it nonstop, and comes across as more cute than annoying.
In X4, the poor voice acting ruins what is supposed to be a legitimately affecting scene between Zero and Iris. Though this one crosses with Narm Charm because of how poorly delivered the entire death scene is. It strengthened Zero as a character, because people will NOT forget it.
X's voice actor before Mark Gatha.
Never Live It Down: Fans mistook Zero for dying and coming back for countless times. In reality, for this series, he has only died twice.
There's also quite the contingent of fans who mistake X for a whiny, hypocritical wannabe-pacifist because of his portrayal in X7, ignoring all of his previous characterization that establishes him as not one of them.
Periphery Demographic: While most fans despised Axl, there's a few fans (mostly made of young women) who can't resist his cheerfulness.
Player Punch: So the series finally allowed Zero to be fully playable? Iris dies. In fact, she was probably introduced into the story just to invoke the trope to Zero.
Earlier, Zero ends up being a major player punch when he kamikazes Vile. And it also seems that X himself channels the player punch by breaking out of an electrocage, having his health refill and finally having his weapons restored. Then it comes up again after defeating Vile with the conversation, and gift, that Zero will give you if you didn't get the buster upgrade.
By the by, if this scene is too much for someone to handle in the SNES version, do not play the PSP remake. It's much worse.
The aptly-named Nightmare System in X6. Whenever you complete a level, two other stages become affected by the Nightmare Phenomena, which amounts to making those stages much worse to put it lightly. For starters, giant metal blocks that crush you against floors or ceilings, pitch-blackness over the stage, or even fireballs coming at you.
Last Lousy Point: In Mijinion's secret area, in particular. All the hostages are in mid-air, and there are a LOT of Nightmares hanging around. Most of them require a blind jump; if you miss and the Nightmare appears on the same screen as the hostage (it WILL happen to casual players), say goodbye to the latter forever.
Sequelitis: After the original game (which, as mentioned above, nearly everyone regards as the best in the series), there seems to be a "rule of two" as to the quality of sequels. X2 and X3 are regarded as decent, but not offering a whole lot over the first game other than being able to play as Zero in the latter sequel (and even then in a very limited way). X4 is seen as a major step-up in quality and the best game after the original, and X5 is also generally considered to be pretty good. X6 is regarded as an overly difficult Mission Pack Sequel with poor level design and a ton of annoying game mechanics, while X7 is not only considered to be easily the worst game in this series, but arguably the worst Mega Man game of all time. Command Mission and X8, while not exactly regarded as masterpieces, are if nothing else regarded as way better than the two previous games, and not too bad by their own standards.
Strangled by the Red String: Iris appears inone game, only for said game to kill her off (there was the prequel, but there's not much in that game regarding their relationship). The end result is that her relationship with Zero feels rushed.
The series has done this for all sides of the conflict (Maverick, Hunters, and Humans) since the fourth game. A lot of the later games have Mavericks fighting because they feel Reploids don't get a fair shake, that the governments are too willing to declare them Mavericks, stemming from Repliforce being declared Mavericks for an incident they were not guilty of. At the same time, the Maverick Hunters are increasingly seen as Knight Templar with a "shoot first, ask questions later" attitude. However, these same Mavericks, free-willed or not, refuse to negotiate and try to kill the heroes in a fit of paranoia (when they're not outright genocidal), fueling the same problems that they rebelled to stop. Furthermore, the Repliforce was not declared Maverick on a whim. They're an army answerable to the world governments, and their refusal to stand down in light of an atrocity they were implicated in looks extremely suspicious. Eventually, even the main characters begin to show the strain of dealing with so much moral ambiguity and admit that the villains, while usually wrong in both methods and goals, have a point. Anyone who has seen the plot of the Mega Man Zero series knows exactly where this culminates.
Especially in Mega Man X8, where many of the Mavericks, depending on who you reach them with, will try to discuss their point of view and point out some pretty obvious facts about the state of the world. Bamboo Pandamonium reminds X that the very first rockets created were for war, and that humanity has been seemingly trying to destroy itself for centuries. Burn Rooster angrily tells the Hunters to listen to the voices of all the Reploids that were retired and sent to the volcano waste-disposal center, asking how many of them were destroyed for reasons other than being truly Maverick (infected by the Maverick Virus). Even Sigma (as well as Lumine) points out that the world is worn out and crumbling, and when you look back through the games and see that everything is mechanical, even the animals and plants, you think that maybe Earth and humanity really are running out of steam.
Awakened Zero's Genmurei, a gigantic Sword Beam attack that is a One-Hit Kill and only used if the battle lasted long enough.
X8's Bamboo Pandamonium's Desperation Attack, a lunging attack that takes off half the screen, comes off without warning and does obscene damage.
Lumine's first form uses the desperation attacks of the 8 Reploid bosses, including the one mentioned above. However, there are two attacks that he modified; Avalanche Yeti's attack, which causes gigantic snowflakes that freeze you on contact to rain down, lasts a lot longer, and Lumine can still blast you with other attacks while it's in effect. And then Burn Rooster's attack, which engulfs the walls in flames, never wears off. After it hits the field, you can no longer wall-jump. Then his second form...When his health dips low, he uses an attack that opens up a rift in space. If you don't kill him within 30 seconds, you die, game over, no matter how many continues you have.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Later versions of X3, such as in the X collection, had the synthesized SNES music replaced with sampled music, and the classic X sound effects were completely replaced. Not everyone was happy about that...
There's a short prophecy that was introduced at the end of X3, stating that "To save mankind, X must destroy Zero". Two games later, the prophecy was fullfilled, but in a twisted way. The battle doesn't involve the fate of mankind directly (at least in the true/canon ending; the alternate path, however, shows another side), but instead it's simply about a question of trust between two friends.
The games vaguely allude to reploids falsely being called Maverick and destroyed for unfair reasons, thus indicating the Hunters themselves could be corrupt, but was never really explored. There's also the fact that the Hunters fight to protect humans, and yet humans are never seen or heard from in the games (except Dr. Cain). It's not until the fourth Mega Man Zero game that we ever see the human perspective on the Maverick wars.
The whole thing about Dr. Wily being alive somehow that they started in X5. There, it was blatant, with his giant logo in the background, a Nostalgia Level and bosses, and he actually talks to Zero when he awakens his Super-Powered Evil Side. It was all but dropped later, with only a few subtle hints in X6, regarding Isoc, and from then on absolutely nothing. Rumor has it that Executive Meddling made them drop it because it was supposed to be resolved in the Zero series. It never was.
The game makes a big deal about Sigma and the Mavericks rebelling against humans, but since there's only one minor human character in the entire series (who disappears after two games) the player never really gets to see the human perspective on Reploids constantly fighting each other and them and tearing the Earth to pieces in the process. This continues on into the Zero series (which also includes only one human character not including Weil, who isn't revealed to be human until the very end of the series) until the very last game, where we finally get to see what the humans think of the Reploids always wrecking everything (and, unsurprisingly, they're none too happy about it and just want to be left alone.)
Tier-Induced Scrappy: Take a fighting game in which Zero appears. Any game. SvC Chaos: SNK vs Capcom. Tatsunoko VS Capcom: Ultimate All Stars. Marvel VS Capcom 3. Whereever he is, he's always packed up with effective specials, goddamn powerful supers, and wine-o-cheesy combos with the only balancing factor being his low health. Proof? Look. No, not look. STARE. Would you say he's a definite candidate for a tournament ban or a new member of The Four Gods after you watched it?
Not really. He was a mid-tier character in VanillaMarvel vs. Capcom 3. In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, this is played straight, because of a certain infamous buff: BUSTER CANCELLING. This allows him to cancel any move with a fully charged buster, which can make a very savvy Zero player almost untouchable when he's in midair. This is what makes him a Tier-Induced Scrappy in that game.
Toy Ship: Axl is often shipped with Pallette or Cinnamon, both considered young characters.
Because of his long hair, sleek body and — no other way to say it — Booblights, many people think Zero is a girl. Well, now everybody knows the truth, but then again, there's some who don't know or outright.
Lumine. It's difficult to explain without looking at him.◊ The fact that he has a womanly voice doesn't help.
Visual Effects of Awesome: X2 and X3 including the Cx4 chip that allowed for usage of wireframe graphics, like the Final Boss of X2. The developers made it a point to show it off in the games as much as they could find excuses to do so, and the times they use it are very memorable and stand out against the normal sprite-based enemies.
Wangst: Most of the endings feature some form of this on X's part.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Hoo boy, Sigma takes the cake here. Aside from the Grim ReaperOmnicidal Maniac bit, there's also X8. For starters, his X8 form vaguely resembles the Devil note the form is called Belial Sigma, Belial being the name of a demon king, and then there's the very logical conclusion that he's weak to light-based weapons...
Again, two of the three main characters (hint: the ones that aren't Axl).
Also, some of the Mavericks that were infected or deemed Maverick, most notably those of the wrongly accused Repliforce in X4, though YMMV on the Repliforce given that they were not innocent of the multitudes of crimes they proceeded to commit over what was essentially a robotic dick-waggling contest.
Woolseyism: The name change for Bit and Byte changing them from an obscure mythological reference into something memorable, if not a bit Narmy.