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Video Game / Mega Man X4

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Mega Man X4 is the fourth entry in the Mega Man X series, released on the Sega Saturn and PlayStation on August 1997 in Japan, September 1997 in North America, and October 1997 in Europe.

In the year 21XX, years following the Doppler rebellion and the revelation of the existence of the Sigma Virus, a global Reploid military called "Repliforce" is formed to help combat the constant Maverick uprisings. However, they consistently fail to protect humans specifically, leading to humanity distrusting them and their military might. This causes tension between Zero and his sweetheart Iris, who is the sister of Colonel, an influential leader in Repliforce.

One day, the aerial city Sky Lagoon is sabotaged by Mavericks, causing it to crash to the ground; with Repliforce suspiciously in the area, the Maverick Hunters request Colonel disarm his men and come in for questioning. However, Colonel refuses out of pride and contempt for human government. This incident is the last straw, and the head of Repliforce, a giant Reploid named General, launches a coup d'état to start a nation only for Reploids in space. This immediately causes the entirety of Repliforce to be labeled as Mavericks by the human government, forcing the Maverick Hunters to turn against them and obstruct their migration.


As the first Mega Man X game not to be released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, X4 marks a major turning point in the X subseries. First and foremost, series Deuteragonist Zero is made a fully playable character with his own playstyle; instead of essentially playing the same as X as in X3, his playstyle focuses on his Z-Saber. Much like X, Zero gains different sword moves from defeating each Maverick and can use these moves as weaknesses against other Mavericks; unlike X, he uses these with button combinations instead of switching to specific weapons and using them in place of his sword. In addition to Zero's unique playstyle, X4 marks a much Darker and Edgier turn from the previous SNES games, as the story deconstructs what it means to be a sentient robot when such technology is unfamiliar to society. These themes of the relationship between robot and man would be explored in later games in the X series, and eventually in the Zero series.


Maverick bosses:

  • Web Spider of Repliforce, gives Lightning Web to X, and Raijingeki to Zero; is weak to Twin Slasher/Shippuuga.
  • Split Mushroom, gives Soul Body to X, and Kuuenzan (as well as Kuuenbu) to Zero; is weak to Lightning Web/Raijingeki.
  • Cyber Peacock, gives Aiming Laser to X, and Rakuhouha to Zero; is weak to Soul Body/Ryuenjin.
  • Storm Owl of Repliforce, gives Double Cyclone to X, and Tenkuuha to Zero; is weak to Aiming Laser/Rakuhouha.
  • Magma Dragoon of the 14th Special Unit, gives Rising Fire to X, and Ryuenjin to Zero; is weak to Double Cyclone/Raijingeki.
  • Frost Walrus of Repliforce, gives Frost Tower to X, and Hyouretsuzan to Zero; is weak to Rising Fire/Ryuenjin.
  • Jet Stingray of Repliforce, gives Ground Hunter to X, and Hienkyaku to Zero; is weak to Frost Tower/Hyouretsuzan.
  • Slash Beast of Repliforce, gives Twin Slasher to X, and Shippuuga to Zero; is weak to Ground Hunter/Raijingeki.


  • A.I. Breaker: All of the special weapons when used against the bosses weak to them. It's possible to defeat all eight of the main bosses in the game without taking damage, because getting hit with their weakness tends to reset their attack pattern, and then you just hit them again the instant their invincibility frames are over.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Did you know that Colonel and Iris were designed to be one perfect Reploid by scientists working for Repliforce? And that said Reploid was supposed to be based on X? The irreconcilable personalities meant the project needed to be split to allow any sort of functionality, with Colonel gaining X's fighting spirit and sense of justice, whereas Iris retained X's compassion and pacifism. This is also evident in their relationship to Zero, as respectively, Colonel is The Rival whereas Iris acts as a True Companion to Zero. This is also what causes Colonel to decide to go to war instead of disarming himself and the Repliforce; he literally can't opt for a peaceful solution.
    • The manual for X4 also explains Repliforce's origins: they were founded to assist the Maverick Hunters in dealing with Mavericks, but after a massive spike in Maverick activity that even overwhelmed Repliforce, they were met with failure after failure until people started to suspect that they were secretly Mavericks themselves, with talks about potentially "retiring" the whole organization, which sheds a lot of light on the reasoning for Repliforce's rebellion.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: While the PS1 games like X4 only have 2 Sub Tanks to the SNES games' 4, filling them is easier since every health pickup fills at least a little bit of the tank even if the player isn't at full health. The energy meters have been increased as well, starting at 32 units and can be increased to 48 units, so characters are more durable then previous outings. Moreover, beginning with this game, any failed attempts at boss fights will also completely restore your weapon energy if it has been used.
    • The PS1 games also have permanent checkpoints at the halfway point of a level and just before the boss. Even if you game over, you'll still continue from these checkpoints.
  • Anyone Can Die: Of all the named characters in the game, only X and Zero survive. And the rest of the characters end up dying at their hands, including apparent allies.
  • Arrogant God vs. Raging Monster: It's revealed that Sigma and Zero fought before the former went mad and became the series Big Bad and the latter becoming a Maverick Hunter. Before X1, Sigma was the noble commander of the Maverick Hunters and the most powerful Reploid built at the time. Once he learned of a "Red Maverick" wrecking havoc and killing Reploids, he voluntarily set out to take care of him on his own to prevent more lives being lost. Zero, the Red Maverick who was built by Dr. Wily a century prior, had a program error in his brain that made him violent to anything that moved, thus he showed no fear or hesitation as he charged at the more experienced Sigma in a blind rage. Sigma, instead of finishing Zero off from the start with his Laser Blade, choice to fight hand to hand, waiting until Zero had an improvised weapons before drawing his own. For a while, they were even matched, with Sigma having a slight edge, until Zero gained the upper hand and savagely beat Sigma until his arm was ripped off, and half his was torn. Had the Wily symbol, which acted a fail-safe, not caused Zero enough pain to make him stop, Sigma would have lost his life. Though he won the fight, this event led to Sigma being infected by the Maverick Virus due to being in close proximity to Zero.
  • Ascended Extra: Zero was technically Promoted to Playable in Mega Man X3, but this game allows him to be chosen as the main playable character from the start, and gives a lot of Character Development. Unlike X, he gains three cutscenes involving him, as well as appearing alongside X's ending where X worries about being a Maverick and Double's betrayal.
  • Back from the Dead: Despite seemingly being destroyed for good at the end of X3 by Dr. Doppler's antivirus, Sigma somehow managed to survive it. His appearance in a Grim Reaper garb is quite appropriate for his comeback. note 
  • Background Boss: The Warmup Boss Eregion in its first battle. Its only vulnerable spot is its massive claw. It's actually optional to fight Eregion here, and X/Zero can instead just escape from it.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Colonel himself states he only went to the Sky Lagoon ruins to find Iris.
  • Bilingual Bonus: All of Zero's sword techniques retain their original Japanese names; for instance, Raijingeki translates to "Thunder God Attack" and Ryuenjin means "Dragon Flame Blade".
  • Bittersweet Ending: While X's ending is only somewhat bittersweet, Zero's ending really qualifies for this. Sigma is once again defeated and the Final Weapon is destroyed along with him, but the Repliforce fiasco has taken untold lives, not just the presumed thousands in the Sky Lagoon crash and the subsequent conflict, but including all of the newly introduced major characters such as Iris, Colonel and General (the former two being killed by Zero, the latter performing a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy Final Weapon). Also, Zero tragically rediscovers his former Maverick history as the unwitting source of the Sigma Virus. Even after he saves the day, he even wonders if all reploids will go Maverick after all. Whereas the first two games ended on a triumphant note and the third game on a mildly bittersweet note, this game really ended in a much more melancholy way. It also retroactively turns the ending of X3 into a Downer Ending; we find out in this game that despite his efforts, Dr. Doppler's antivirus is useless against the Sigma Virus in the long run, the latter finding a way to overcome it, and that Sigma didn't even need to infect others to incite another war, but instead pull strings and turn the Reploids against each other. Doppler's potential Heroic Sacrifice was all for nothing.
  • Blade Lock: Zero and Colonel are engaged in this in Zero's custcene fight against him.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Magma Dragoon's bio says he betrayed the "Irregular Hunters", which is the Japanese name of the Maverick Hunters.
  • Blood Knight: Magma Dragoon sabotages Sky Lagoon, not only killing thousands but also kicking off the war between the Maverick Hunters and Repliforce, just to force X or Zero to have to fight him in a final duel to the death. Frost Walrus is similar, with him being a Sociopathic Soldier (he was already wanted by the Maverick Hunters before he joined the Repliforce) who thinks that rioting around is a military man's duty. Slash Beast is yet another.
  • Boss Arena Urgency: The mini-boss of Split Mushroom's stage is fought over platforms above Spikes of Doom where the boss flies beneath those platforms and then jumps up to attack you, crushing part of the platform in the process; if you don't defeat it quickly, you'll end up with less and less moving room.
  • Boss Banter:
    • Who says more/engages with the Maverick Hunter in question depends on who of what allegiance is fighting. In the case of Zero, Repliforce members will engage in dialogue with one exception. The only time X gets involved with dialogue is between him and Split Mushroom, Magma Dragoon, or Cyber Peacock, all Mavericks from the start. Slash Beast won't engage in dialogue with either of them.
    • All of the bosses during the final stages have spoken quotes before the fight. The Japanese version extends this to the 8 Mavericks as well.
  • Boss Subtitles: After choosing which stage to enter, it begins with a single paragraph explaining what the Maverick did, along with the Maverick's name and sprite. Also, a Title Scream of the boss's name.
  • Boss Warning Siren: This game introduced them to the series.
  • Bowdlerise: The Legacy Collection port edits the opening FMV to remove the shot of General performing a Bellany Salute (obviously due to its unfortunate similarity to a Nazi Salute) and also tones down the flashing of certain shots due to epilepsy concerns.
  • The Cameo: Chill Penguin and Blizzard Buffalo can be seen frozen in the background of the Snow Base.
  • Casting Gag: One in both languages.
    • In English, X is voiced by Ruth Shiraishi, who also voiced the original Mega Man in Mega Man 8.
    • Meanwhile, in the Japanese dub, Ryotaro Okiayu, Zero's voice actor, voiced Proto Man in the same game.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Zero, in his opening cutscene.
  • Central Theme: Betrayal. Repliforce betrays humanity in response to being framed, Colonel and General are betrayed by Sigma, and X and Zero face their own betrayals. Double is secretly The Mole and X has to put him down, while Zero loses his love interest after being forced to kill her in self defense - something that Zero motivated thanks to betraying her by killing Colonel.
  • Character Development: Zero gets a lot of development in this game, something that would continue in the next games.
  • Colony Drop: Sky Lagoon during the intro stage.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Iris just happened to be at the Sky Lagoon (or the city that was crushed) for no other reason than to draw in Colonel, see Big Brother Instinct, and kick-start the plot. Sigma mentions her, but only to mock Zero.
  • Cool Airship: Many of them can be seen in the background of Storm Owl and the Space Port stages; they're apparently hammerhead shark-shaped airships.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss:
    • The mini-boss of Storm Owl's stage is a periodically opening-and-closing core on the wall which summons multiple Wave-Motion Gun-shooting drones to distract you.
    • Iris's boss battle is like this; she can only be damaged by attacking its outer crystal core, while her Ride Armor-like body acts as the "turret" that also summons floating mines if you attack it.
  • Cutscene Boss: Colonel's Memorial Hall battle in Zero's story. In X's game, it's a Boss-Only Level, but in Zero's version, it all takes place in Full Motion Video, culminating with Iris interrupting five seconds in and reminding her brother that Zero saved her.
  • Darker and Edgier: The X series was already darker and edgier than the Classic series to begin with, but X4 is where it really becomes apparent. For the first time, the Maverick label is used on a group not genuinely having flawed programming (except perhaps for Colonel, that isnote , whether by itself or due to Maverick Virus), but merely rebellious (albeit on an army-scale) and Zero's ties to Dr. Wily are revealed, not to mention Iris' death, which would continue to haunt Zero after the game.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Iris dies in Zero's arms.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Zero. His gameplay is balanced around fighting with the Z-Saber, giving him high mobility and a very damaging melee attack, but also with weaker defense and very few ranged attacks. He's a lot harder to use effectively than X since you have to get close to enemies to attack, his special attacks require specific button inputs instead of just selecting them, and he just plain dies faster than X, but with fast enough reflexes and finger speed you can rip through enemies and bosses extremely quickly and stylishly with him.
  • Double Agent: Double.
    • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Double again. He says "Mavericks" (the side he supposedly belongs to) as among the "idiots, all of them", implying that his ultimate loyalty isn't to Sigma and is working against him too.note 
  • Draconic Humanoid: Magma Dragoon.
  • Dream Intro: Zero's story-line starts with him having a nightmare of a mysterious figure telling him to destroy the world, as well as his past, involving lovely shots of mutilated Reploids by his own hands.
  • Dual Boss: Sigma's third phase has 2 forms, one is a robotic gunner armed with a BFG with his face on top, and another is his giant disembodied head that lies on the ground. They have separate health bars, as well.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: When playing as Zero. The Z-Saber's precision and his multiple movement options make him great in the main stages, but since he gains new moves rather than new weapons, he can't always exploit the bosses' weaknesses. He has no animation-interrupting move against Slash Beast and Magma Dragoon, for instance.
  • Elemental Armor:
    • Storm Owl produces a wind armor around him when he's damaged, preventing most forms of damage like a form of Mercy Invincibility.
    • Eyezard, the mini-boss of Frost Walrus' stage produces an ice armor around itself which it can use to attack.
  • Energy Ball: The Plasma Buster upgrade, introduced for the Fourth Armor, will make X's charged shot fire a piercing large ball of energy that leaves multi-hitting energy balls in its wake. It's also used for the Ultimate Armor, not just for this game but also in its subsequent appearances.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Sigma in his introductory scene with the General after the General dismisses him, but not before Sigma assures that the General would soon change his mind about the Maverick Hunters. And he laughs again when he realizes that the General has taken action against the Maverick Hunters in his speech to Repliforce.
    • Also, Double laughs after he reveals his true form and slaughters some Reploids at Hunter Base, vowing to target X. He also does the laugh before his boss fight.
  • Expy: Magma Dragoon is pretty much Akuma as a dragon Reploid.
  • Eye Beams: Sigma in the second phase can attack with this.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Magma Dragoon, who betrayed the Maverick Hunters.
    • Once accused of turning Maverick, Repliforce starts a coup d'état to create a separate nation only for Reploids.
    • Iris turns on Zero after Zero kills her brother.
  • Fauxshadow: Happened unintentionally. X, in his ending, tells Zero to retire him if he ever goes Maverick. This was supposed to come to pass in Mega Man Zero as the original Big Bad was the real X who lost his compassion due to countless wars and became a Knight Templar that Zero has to stop, instead of the copy of X (what ends up happening).
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Magma Dragoon, Frost Walrus, and Web Spider respectively.
  • Feathered Fiend: Cyber Peacock and Storm Owl.
  • Fish People: Jet Stingray (a stingray Maverick), as well as the King Poseidon enemies fought in the Jungle stage.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Jet Stingray, as well as the Kill Fisher enemies in the Jungle.
  • Flunky Boss: Web Spider and Jet Stingray can shoot out spider and stingray drones respectively. Meanwhile, Split Mushroom can deploy orange clones of himself, as well as creating a real body double.
  • Guard Stations Terminally Unattended: Double, X's assistant, reveals himself to be The Mole and starts slaughtering Maverick Hunter coworkers when X's away. One of them tries contacting X, but when X answers, Double kills the guy and then tells X that "it was nothing".
  • Get Out!: A calmer example than normal; in the opening cutscene, Sigma attempts to sway the opinion of General into turning against the Maverick Hunters, under the pretense that they're far too eager to please humans and hunt down reploids. General coldly turns down his offer and orders him to leave his presence. Sigma is unfazed though, and accurately concludes that he'll change his mind later before he departs.
  • Giant Spider: Web Spider.
  • The Grim Reaper: Sigma disguises himself in a Grim Reaper motif, complete with Black Cloak, shadowed face, and a Sinister Laser Scythe.
  • Growing with the Audience: With the X series freed from Nintendo's then-strict censorship policies, X4 finally gets to show the effects the Maverick Wars had on the Reploid race, as they are essentially treated as mindless robotic slaves when they are built to be completely sentient.
  • Guide Dang It!: A few:
    • Are you wondering why Web Spider is not affected by his weakness, Twin Slasher? Here's a hint the game never tells you about: try hitting his web with both projectiles.
    • When playing as X, if you defeat 4 bosses, you get into an intermission with the Colonel, which results in a boss battle. If you decide to try reloading your save file, you will immediately go to this battle. The battle with the Colonel will be a much harder battle if you did not get any health hearts, body upgrades, nor Frost Tower (Colonel's weakness). Worse, there are no walls to cling on, so you have to dodge his attacks with more precision.
    • Getting the Body Armor in the Volcano level. There was no mention that full-charging a Twin Slasher would break the rocks.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: When playing as X. As usual, you can rip through bosses like nothing if you know their weaknesses, many of which interrupt the boss's attacks and even weaken them beyond damage dealt. He also doesn't have to get too close to the bosses (except for using Rising Fire against Frost Walrus). He has to struggle in the levels, however, because he's not as agile as Zero and can (mostly) only attack things in front of him.
  • Heroic BSoD: Iris' death triggers one for Zero, one that lasts all the way until Mega Man Zero 4.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: General ends up sacrificing himself to stop the Kill Sat Sigma had commandeered to Kill All Humans.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The games cutscenes make it clear right off the bat that Sigma is alive and is going to be the real villain of the game, but X and Zero don't find that out until they fight him at Final Weapon. Split Mushroom lampshades this if you're playing as X; the Sigma logo also appears in his health bar (Magma Dragoon and Cyber Peacock have it too) instead of the Repliforce logo.
  • Honor Before Reason: After the Sky Lagoon incident, Colonel refuses to disarm his troops to come in for questioning out of pride, which, combined with their lackluster performance on the field, makes Repliforce as a whole look suspicious. Justified, however, in that (as the manual has stated) he was built without the supposed capability of compassion and pacifism that he was supposed to have, thus he lacked the capability of peaceful reasoning.
    • Several Repliforce members, including Storm Owl and Jet Stingray, start attacking and even destroying large civilian centers in order to drive attention to themselves and away from Repliforce as they prepared to launch into space. This, of course, simply justifies the mandate that Repliforce has turned Maverick and must be destroyed.
  • Humongous Mecha: Eregion is as tall as the screen. Frost Walrus is possibly the largest "eight stage bosses" character in all of Mega Man (Rainy Turtloid comes second), as he stands at 3/4 of the screen height, even larger than Frost Man. General is even taller.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: the Ultimate Armor, introduced in this game. It has similar capabilities to the Fourth Armor, including unlimited use of uncharged special weapons, but its Giga Attack can be used repeatedly without requiring him to fill its energy. It can only be acquired with a cheat code, then getting to a Light Capsule to retrieve it.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Eregion and Magma Dragoon.
  • Kill 'Em All: Every character except X, Zero, and Sigma are dead by the end of the game.
  • Kill Sat: Repliforce's space station, Final Weapon, with which Sigma plans to use its laser cannon to destroy all life back on Earth.
  • King of Beasts: Slash Beast is a lion Reploid, and he certainly acts the part.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: Slash Beast, Jet Stingray and Storm Owl represent the army, navy and air force of Repliforce, respectively.
  • Laser Blade: Zero now exclusively use the Z-Saber as part of the Superhero Speciation. Colonel also uses one.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Slash Beast is quite strong and hardy, and fast enough to outrun a moving train. Magma Dragoon as well.
  • Logical Weakness: Sigma's first form, a cloaked Grim Reaper, can only be affected by the weapons obtained from Magma Dragoon. Cloaks are pretty flammable after all, and getting hit with those causes his cloak to burn, causing damage.
  • Marathon Boss: The final fight against Sigma has a whopping four different forms with the latter two being fought back to back. The name of the Legacy Collection achievement for beating him even hangs a lampshade on it by calling it "It's definitely over."
  • Mini-Boss:
    • Generaid Core, the core of Storm Owl's flagship. While it doesn't attack, the Beam Cannons that come with it do, and it will also periodically close itself to protect itself from damage.
    • The purple Tentoroid faced in Split Mushroom's stage floats under a set of destructible platforms over a floor of spikes, and will jump up to destroy said platforms while also becoming vulnerable to attack from X or Zero.
    • DG-42L is a train car faced in Slash Beast's stage, and it attacks with a gun emplacement as well as three destructible but regenerating spiked protrusions. To destroy it, X or Zero must destroy the base of each of the spiked protrusions, which also prevents the spikes from regenerating.
    • Eyezard is a small robot that uses an Elemental Armor of ice to protect itself, and can form the ice into different shapes like a claw or fist to attack X or Zero.
  • The Mole: Double.
  • Monstrosity Equals Weakness: Eregion is the second-largest boss in the game and is also the most pathetic.
  • Mushroom Man: Split Mushroom.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Zero's meltdown after killing Iris.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Double is a rookie Maverick Hunter newcomer who likes to assist X, or so it would seem.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Sigma has turned the Repliforce against humanity and caused countless loss of life on both sides, and his string pulling results in Colonel and Iris getting killed by Zero and nearly destroying General, and Final Weapon is mere seconds away from accomplishing its goal by the time X or Zero mop the floor with him. If General hadn't been functional enough to perform a Heroic Sacrifice by destroying the Final Weapon along with himself, Sigma's plan would have actually succeeded.
  • Not Brainwashed: The entirety of Repliforce as well as (possibly) Magma Dragoon are Mavericks that are not infected with the Sigma Virus. Sigma just managed to play their Honor Before Reason and Blood Knight attitudes respectively to his advantage in order to incite their Maverick behaviour on their own accord.
  • Nice Hat: Many Repliforce officers wear one, like Colonel, General, Web Spider, Jet Stingray, and Storm Owl.
  • No Swastikas: Some releases, most recently the Legacy Collection, cut out Repliforce's vaguely Nazi-esque salute.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Even when it turns out that Repliforce didn't do anything to the Sky Lagoon at all, they don't do much to cover themselves either - see Honor Before Reason for why.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Double seems gullible and clumsy, but he's actually a competent mole and a dangerous fighter.
  • Ominous Owl: Storm Owl.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Shooting at Web Spider with the Twin Slasher will deal extra damage than normal, but if you really want to hurt him bad, you need to shoot at the web he's hanging from. It'll cut the web, and he'll go splat on the floor for huge damage.
  • Painful Transformation: It's hard to see, but Iris' change to battle mode brings her to tears.
  • Peacock Girl: Cyber Peacock. Even though he's not female, he acts a little campy.
  • Power-Up Mount: This game introduces 2 Ride Armors: Raiden attacks with a chargeable Laser Blade Below The Shoulder and can be used to crush some train cars in Slash Beast's stage and in a first for the series be brought into a boss battle: Magma Dragoon. Eagle is a flying variant with a chargeable Arm Cannon, available in Storm Owl's stage. There's also the Ride Chaser high speed bike section in Jet Stingray's stage; you use it to chase him.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Most bosses do this.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: X4 features fully-voiced anime-style cutscenes. One such cutscene elaborates on Sigma's Face–Heel Turn.
  • Promoted to Playable: While X3 is Zero's actual debut as a playable character, his use is limited and he can't fight bosses. This is the game that gives him a full gameplay experience.
  • Proud Peacock: Cyber Peacock's voiced pre-battle Boss Banter from the Japanese version of the game has him say "You're ten years too early to pick me as your opponent."
  • Remember the New Guy?: Repliforce. We're made to understand they've been around for awhile and have worked with the Maverick Hunters on several occasions. Based on the memo in the manual, they had been established after the third game.
  • Sad Battle Music: The Zero vs. Iris theme pretty much points out that it's a tragic battle. To a lesser extent, the vs Colonel and General theme; while suitably epic, it also has the vibes of a battle that shouldn't happen from the start.
  • Say My Name:
    Zero: Iris?! Iris! Iris! Iris...AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: There are two storylines, one for X and one for Zero. When you choose one, the other won't appear, except in one case: In X's ending, Zero contacts him.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Playing as Zero. Sure, it's cool to slice your enemies with your sword and the whole different gameplay, but the fact remains that Zero is strictly melee-range and cannot exploit certain bosses' weaknessnote  due to not having the requisite weapon.
  • Shadowed Face, Glowing Eyes: Sigma's first form has a pretty clear parallel to the grim reaper, with glowing yellow eyes from a face hidden by a dark cloak, while also floating and carrying around a huge scythe. Luckily for X and Zero, that robe is flammable, and they have Rising Fire and Ryuenjin, respectively.
  • Shoot the Mage First: In the second half of Frost Walrus' stage, there'll be a bird-like robot that tries to charge up energy, and when it's done, releases extreme cold that freezes that part of the stage, rendering it slippery and filled with falling icicles. Try destroying it before he's done charging!
  • Shout-Out: As typical, the game makes a few to fellow Capcom series Street Fighter.
    • Magma Dragoon is a big one to Akuma, complete with wearing the same large purple prayer beads around his neck. He even uses the Shoryuken (the basis for X and Zero's Rising Fire/Ryuenjin attacks) and the Hadoken by name.
    • When he does the Twin Slasher, Slash Beast does a somersault akin to Guile's Flash Kick.
  • Shotoclone: Magma Dragoon.
  • Sinister Scythe: Sigma uses a Laser Scythe.
  • Teleport Spam: Cyber Peacock and Colonel.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sigma, and how. His goal has gone from just Kill All Humans to "destroy the Earth outright."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Japanese commercial for this game shows the infamous scene where Zero yells "WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOR?!" while cradling Iris's corpse.
  • Turn Coat: Web Spider was once part of the 0th Unit in the Maverick Hunters before transferring himself to Repliforce some time before this game.
  • Underling with an F in PR: The leader of the Repliforce, called General, announced their intent of exiling into space to give themselves a new home, supposedly without violence. As Repliforce is supposed to be an army that answers to the government to deal with Maverick threatsnote , this is met with much suspicion, with the Maverick Hunters (our heroes' group, who, until this point, was Repliforce's ally) declaring the whole Repliforce to be Maverick. Then several elite Repliforce members are dispatched to defend themselves from the Hunters... and 2 of them, Jet Stingray and Storm Owl, would go on to terrorize cities to distract their attention, basically making their "vow of non violence" moot and justifying their Maverick branding.
  • Utility Weapon:
  • Video Game Settings
  • Virtual Reality Warper: Cyber Peacock is described as an artificial intelligence who has corrupted the cyber space and filled it with bugs. When the protagonists visit his stage, they find out he has altered the network to create a series of trials for intruders to overcome.
  • Warmup Boss: Eregion, the bipedal dragon Mechaniloid of the Sky Lagoon stage.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The airships of Storm Owl's level have big vertical laser cannons that fire at intervals; they reappear at the first part of Final Weapon stage. There are also big laser-shooting drones, again at Storm Owl's level. Iris' mecha form (and later also its crystal core) also fires big purple lasers.
  • Wham Episode: This is the installment of the series that asks "What measure of non-human are Reploids?" Whereas before X and Zero's enemies had gone Maverick due to a virus, now they are required to face off against their former allies, the Repliforce. Rather than victims of a virus, Repliforce have simply chosen their own way, independent of the will of their human creators. Their move to create a place of their own, for Reploids only, doesn't even necessarily threaten harm to humankind; it's simply that a group of Reploids acting entirely independent of their human creators causes humanity to label them Mavericks as a whole in fear of what their freedom and full self-determination might mean. Repliforce's violence is a response to the perceived injustice of this situation, initially begun as a matter of self-preservation and escalating on both sides from there. In the aftermath of this conflict, X begins to seriously worry that one day even he will go Maverick; meanwhile Zero's reality is shattered when he discovers he was a Maverick previously. Both of them begin to grapple with the possibility that Reploids may eventually, perhaps inevitably, become self-determining to such an extent that the Maverick label will ultimately apply to any and every Reploid who thinks and acts for themselves. This theme remains prominent throughout the rest of the X series, and is further explored and taken to its logical conclusion in the Mega Man Zero series.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Zero only has his Z-Saber, so most of his upgrades give him more powerful or versatile sword techniques.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: X and Zero are unquestionably good guys who want to maintain the peace between humans and reploids, but who are both willing to fight if necessary, while General and Colonel are just misguided well-intentioned extremists who want to gain their independence from the human world. Of course, they tend to resort to fighting before trying to reason.
  • Wily Walrus: Frost Walrus is a gigantic robot walrus with ice powers who looks down on the small and weak and acts like a roughneck.
  • Worth It: In his last moments, Magma Dragoon considers his actions (betraying the Maverick Hunters and joining Repliforce) worthwhile for the sake of fighting X.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Sigma pulls one here; if either the Maverick Hunters or Repliforce wins, he can aim the Final Weapon on Earth. The only reason he plans fails was because General survives his fight with X and Zero and stops the weapon himself.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: It's never brought up in the game itself, but finding the Helmet upgrade in the Cyberspace level allows you to actually use it in other levels which take place in the real world.


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