Mega Man X (after X4 stylized as Megaman X), known in Japan as Rockman X (ロックマンX, Rokkuman X), is a Mega Man series of action platform games released by Capcom. It was initially released on December 17, 1993 in Japan (January 1994 in North America) on the Super NES/Super Famicom and spawned sequels on several systems, most of which were later ported to the PC platform. The plot is a continuation of the preceding series, Mega Man. The game play introduced new elements to the Mega Man franchise including the ability to dash and climb walls. The first six games in the series were compiled in the anthology Mega Man X Collection.
Mega Man X, commonly known as "X", was created by Dr. Thomas Light an unknown number of years after the Mega Man series. X was a new type of robot with the ability to make his own decisions. Recognizing the potential danger of this model, Light sealed X away in a diagnostic capsule for over 30 years of testing. Though what happened to him during these years is not specifically mentioned, it is assumed that Dr. Light died and left his diagnostic experiments unfinished. X's capsule was uncovered by an archaeologist named Dr. Cain almost 100 years after X's creation. Excited by the possibilities X presented, Cain disregarded the warnings Light had logged in the capsule and created a legion of new robots that replicated X's free will; these robots were called "Reploids" ("Repliroids" in Japan).
However, a virus that caused Reploids to turn against humans (later discovered to be originated by Dr. Wily, and implanted in Zero) began to spread. These Reploids were dubbed "Mavericks" ("Irregulars" in Japan), and a force called the Maverick Hunters ("Irregular Hunters") was formed to combat them. The Maverick Hunters were led by Sigma until he, too, became a Maverick and declared war against the humans, thus starting the Maverick War. X took it upon himself to join the Maverick Hunters under the new leader Zero, on a mission to save Earth from Sigma. Throughout the series, X, Zero, and later Axl—a prototype of the next-generation Reploid—battle against Sigma and his Maverick followers to stop their many diabolical plots to destroy the human race.
Capcom released Mega Man X for the SNES to give a new image to the Mega Man game series. There are a total of 11 games in the Mega Man X series: Mega Man X through Mega Man X8, Mega Man X: Command Mission, Mega Man Xtreme and Xtreme 2. Mega Man X Collection was later released in 2006 exclusively in North America, which comprised the first six Mega Man X games, plus Mega Man Battle & Chase, part of the original series.
In 2010, Armature Studio, a development studio founded by the creators of Metroid Prime, were developing a first-person shooter titled Maverick Hunter, which was intended to build on the mythology of Mega Man X. However, it was cancelled by Capcom after six months of development.
Mega Man X plays similarly to its predecessor series Mega Man, but with various new features: X has the ability to dash along the ground at any time (which is very similar to the original slide move from the original, but with better accurate controlling), cling to walls and Wall Jump, and dash and jump at the same time, increasing his speed in the air. This all gives X more mobility than his Classic counterpart; these modifications make it easier to go through the majority of the game without using any other gun than the default, which is different from previous Mega Man games where players were more inclined to rely on weapons won in previous fights (like Metal Man's infamous Metal Blades) against boss characters in previously conquered stages.
X is also able to locate capsules that permanently upgrade a part of his armor, such as his helmet, boots, chestplate, or arm cannon. An upgrade common to each game is the ability for X to charge weapons earned from bosses, which gives them an enhanced secondary fire mode. In later games, there are multiple armor types available that can either be mixed and matched, or completed for additional armor set bonuses.
In X3, Zero (the leader of the Maverick Hunters in the first Mega Man X) is a playable character from the beginning. In X3, Zero is armed with a beam saber in addition to the traditional "buster" gun, but relies on his saber almost exclusively starting in X4. In X5, both X and Zero gained the ability to duck; an ability previously unavailable. In X6, there is a new rescue system where the player must rescue reploids. In X7, a new character known as Axl is introduced, playable alongside X and Zero. Axl utilizes two guns known as Axl Bullets. In X8, the latest entry in the franchise, a new Double Attack feature is introduced, where two characters can attack at the same time.
Mavericks replace the Robot Masters, and Sigma replaces Dr. Wily. The stage boss Mavericks are based on various types of organisms (usually animals) instead of being humanoid in appearance, as were most of the bosses in the classic series, although their attacks and names are usually based on mechanical or chemical phenomena or laws of physics like the original games. The exception to this usually applies to the main group of antagonists in each game, which are normally humanoid in appearance. Repliforce is an example of humanlike antagonists, who appear in Mega Man X4.
The popularity of the series prompted a crossover into the Mega Man cartoon from Ruby Spears, in which X travels back in time in pursuit of several Mavericks and teams up with the original Mega Man.
The storylines of several of the X series games were adapted into manga form.
Archie Comics included characters and elements of the X series in its Mega Man comic, beginning with adapt story "The X Factor" and continuing in an original story entitled "Dawn of X" that switched back and forth between X's timeline and that of the original Mega Man during the early stages of the Mega Man 3 adapt. Shortly thereafter, the series would be incorporated in the series' second crossover with the Sonic the Hedgehog comic lines from Archie, Worlds Unite. The plot of this crossover centers around Sigma forming an alliance with various other villains-including the Deadly Six from Sonic Lost World-from different dimensions in a bid to take control of the multiverse. This prompts the Maverick Hunters-whose membership includes X, Zero, and Axl due to the story being set between the events of X7 and X8-to join forces with Mega Man and the Robot Masters-shortly after the conclusion of the Mega Man 3 adapt-and other heroes, including Sonic the Hedgehog and his various allies. The crossover includes not only the classic Mega Man and Mega Man, Mega Man X, and the new Sonic series Sonic Boom, but also includes various other Capcom and Sega video game properties. These included-but are not limited to-Okami, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Viewtiful Joe, Nights into Dreams..., Ghosts 'n Goblins, and Alex Kidd.