Anyone who knows of classic SNES games knows how good the original Super Mario rpg is and how despite it being held in such high regard its incredibly hard to have legally played it in Europe. The major shift of a game icon to a non-sports game is not known too much of outside of Mario (but then he is Mr video game). Command Mission is one of the few times a prominent game icon moved to the rpg genre (not counting Battle Network as that’s an alternate universe, and I’ll review those if Capcom releases a collection so I can own one other than 5).
Released in 2004 for the GameCube and the PS2, Megaman X Command Mission is a spinoff of the Megaman X games but as a turn based RPG rather than the side scrolling action platformers.
That said it goes about converting the Megaman X gameplay into a turn based rpg. If you have played Classic Final Fantasy (especially 10) then you know what kind of gameplay this is. As X you explore an Overworld area during which you may get thrown into a random battle resulting in a turn based combat. Similar to 10 you can see the order of actions that are going on allowing you to plan out your targets and actions. It’s a system that while really good sadly didn’t get used much of as shortly after this era developers and people not actually playing the games all claimed gamers didn’t want turn based battles anymore (yes cause it’s not like we have multiple examples of games with turn based battles now that have massive critical and commercial success)
The game is set in the year 22XX (further confusing the line between when X ends and Zero begins, but they hit that problem when they made X 6 despite 5 going to have been the end of the era). You play as the maverick Hunter X and his colleagues who have been sent to Giga city where a rebellion has occurred and the Reploid rebellion evicted all the humans. They were declared mavericks and you’re out to put a stop to them. There’s more to the story as it unfolds but it more leans on the classic Megaman level of story complexity rather than the much deeper standard for RPGs.
As mentioned the game works to translate Megaman X style games into a RPG format. As such rather than a large world to explore the game is split up into multiple levels each ending in a boss battle. X is not alone in this game, as well as recurring characters Zero and Axl (ok he’s only in 2 other Megaman X games but the rest only appear in this one) there are new characters such as Massimo and Cinnamon. Sadly, once Zero and Axl fully come into the story the new people just sort of fade away for the most part, but then their stories were usually only in the levels they were introduced in. They all have different abilities but by late on outside of Marino’s ability to steal things to get some items off bosses you usually end up sticking to the 3 main characters.. maybe X Zero and Cinnamon since she has healing powers.
Since these are robots, magic and thus MP doesn’t exist, which also means no one other than Cinnamon has healing abilities. You have a different resource now that you can build up to pull off special attacks as well as the option of entering a more powerful Hyper mode but outside of X and 2 optional unlockable more powerful forms these are just pallet swaps. As for standard healing that is done using E tanks just like in Classic Megaman, but these are a finite resource that while refilling over time won’t in battle so you do want to try and avoid taking damage.
There are other standard RPG elements like equip able gear and weapons but those are all standard. There are things to do other than the main game. As well as a post main game extra hard boss (killing it gives Axl an addition super attack). You can send out salvaged robots to go on missions to get hidden items in previously completed levels (this is how you get access to the areas to get the bonus extra forms) And a bunch of pointless collectables like statues, even more if you have the GameCube version and link it up to a GBA using the GC GBA cable (primarily used for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles)
The game isn’t bad and had a bit more of a deep plot than most Megaman games at the time. The battle system is probably the best element thanks to it being one you can be more strategic and plan out your attack orders meaning bosses are more thought provoking than just spam white mages… unless you do unlock the two bonus super powerful forms, in which case you are spamming those.