irregular hunter ex-lax

I forgot to mention a week ago or whenever that I managed to finish up Maverick Hunter X — although of course in these days of deeply-padded software bonuses that provide a bare minimum of actual additional substance to a game’s gestalt, having “finished” the game means “I completed the basic game but have not yet subjected myself to more than a few minutes of the remixed Vile mode due to the same aversion to debilitating pain that prevents me from running a cheese grater across my eyeballs.” Not that Vile mode is bad or anything, but it was clearly designed by a committee of frothing misanthropes who enjoy humbling others. The opening stage is packed with vastly more powerful enemies placed in strategically sensible places (making them therefore incredibly inconvenient for the player). It turns out that Vile is only tremendously powerful when fighting X; the rest of the time his exoskeleton may as well be built of delicate porcelain.

No, the game still doesn’t explain what a “kuwanger” is.

For those who find the frustrations of standard Vile mode too easy, there’s also a “hard” mode (ho ho ho) in which the mighty Vile explodes messily after two or three hits from the bad guys. And if you somehow manage to complete that, the game uses your PSP’s built-in wireless capabilities to send a message annoucing your incredible prowess to the mothership. A few days later, you’ll be abducted in your sleep, then brainwashed and impressed into the Space Death Corps. Thereafter you’ll live your final days fighting as a suicide troop on the frontlines of a brutal war where your chances of survival will be roughly one in 730,000,000. So really, it’s probably not worth the trouble of completely finishing the game, since all you’ll get for your troubles is a painful death thousands of light years from home, you know?

For all that I cluck disapprovingly at the PSP, I do think Maverick Hunter X is a sign that some developers are on the right track. Badly-controlling 3D platformers and half-hearted PS1 ports aren’t the right track, but games like MHX are. Granted, it’s a Super NES port, but unlike the vast majority of PS1-to-PSP trash Capcom’s actually made an effort with it. The graphics are pretty enough, even if the move from sprites tends to make collision detection a little tetchy; but more to the point, it’s a quality game that looks contemporary, plays well and has enough extra goodies to give old-tyme fans a reason to try it out. And completing the game unlocks a 25-minute anime (featuring unnervingly good animation and English voice acting) that is the best kind of fanservice: Expanding and explaining the MMX plotline a little more clearly and showing X and Zero having the stuffing beaten out of them by Sigma.

Sony’s cycnical bid to make low-capacity UMDs a viable video platform while the rest of the world — including, uh, other parts of Sony — is moving to Blu-Ray or HD-DVD is downright offensive, and anyone who opts to spend $30 for a barebones UMD version of a movie instead of getting the bonus-laden DVD version for $20 is a complete dope. But MHX’s mix of game and video actually has a purpose and marks the first time the PSP’s game/video hybrid nature has actually seemed like a good idea to me. Well played, Capcom. Truly you are the masters of milking.

Don’t panic, though. Most of my gaming time is still spent on the DS. After all, the flowers of the town of Ellysia need a little guidance before they’ll cross-pollinate, and the museum’s fossil collection isn’t going to complete itself. And now that Jacob’s Ladders are springing up all over town, I’m going to see if I can create some sort of hybrid super-plant that will devour my lamer neighbors.

14 thoughts on “irregular hunter ex-lax

  1. It’s to be expected (to the point of cliché, really) that super-powered enemies in video games will lose all their super powers when finally placed in the player’s control. “It’s a hard truth in life,” as a grizzled old man would put it.

    Kuwanger, of course, is a corruption of kuwagatamushi, or stag beetle. It’s weird that Capcom simplified all the garbled Japanese boss names except that one, especially when “Boomer Beetle” rolls so easily off the tongue.

  2. i saw the first level of the english version on game, and was just shocked at how pretty the backgrounds were, and how nice the voices were. If i had a psp and was capable of actually playing megaman with any semblence of skill, i’d be all over that game.

    unfortunately, neither condition is true, so i’m just gonna stick with ffiv. lali-ho!

  3. Haha, nice piece; I found myself chuckling throughout. 2 points really hit home: the uber hard mode that doesn’t even make sense, and Capcom being well trained in the arts of milking.

  4. Kishi> The name is also meant as a pun on “boomerang,” or more accurately “boomeranger”(is that even really a word?) in reference to his weapon of choice.

    Sort of like the new version of Spark Mandriller.

    LBD “Nytetrayn”

  5. “Kuwanger, of course, is a corruption of kuwagatamushi, or stag beetle.”

    Oh, of course. I was just saying to my friend the other day, “I sure would like a kuwagatamushi for Christmas!” — never once suspecting that this common word that trips so casually from my lips on a daily basis was in fact the answer all along.

  6. That pic of Boomer is hott. That’s right- two ‘T’s! I hope that all the robot masters in that game (beast masters?) look as new and awesome-tastic as Mr. Kuwanger.

  7. “All you’ll get for your troubles is a painful death thousands of light years from home.”

    Well, you never know –you might get a wisecracking, amphibian humanoid as a partner, and the Kodan Armada might fall easily to your hideously-overpowered starfighter.

    Explaining to Mom why your clone kamikaze’d her van into an enemy fighter, though? That’s a bit harder.

  8. you’d be surprised as to how many school aged kids actually wanted a kuwagatamushi for christmas. and even more surprised at how many actually got one.

    Damn mushiking!

  9. “Oh, of course. I was just saying to my friend the other day, “I sure would like a kuwagatamushi for Christmas!” — never once suspecting that this common word that trips so casually from my lips on a daily basis was in fact the answer all along.”
    I was just being extra cautious such as to not insult your intelligence. I don’t like to presume I know more than a guy who shares my general interests and is about ten years my senior. Unfortunately, I merely traded one presumption for another. Oh, Parish, is this your way of teaching me my folly?

  10. Hey, since I won’t have internet access until next tuesday, and I’m not sure of the best e-mail address to reach you at, I just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year from Michelle and I.

    Next time you’re in Texas, look us up if you can– we have a house instead of a cramped duplex this time around! :D

  11. Damca> Oh dear, you don’t know what a mandrill is? Beyond the context you’ve presented us with, that is?

    LBD “Nytetrayn”

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