#2 FRIEND (旧友)
Rockman X (Yoshihiro Iwamoto)

Review by HF
Published on 2018/01/10
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Vile aims his shoulder cannon at X, but is interrupted by a buster shot from a distance. The shot his his Ride Armor, leaving a hole on its chest. Vile turns around, and sees Zero who demands to know where Sigma is. As the Death Rogumer airship approaches, Vile tells them to go look for it themselves, and escapes to the ship as Zero fires a second shot. Zero looks up at the retreating Death Rogumer, commenting that this isn't something he can take on alone. Zero walks up to a recovering X, telling him to think before acting next time. X was worried that Zero went with Sigma, but Zero assures X that he's still a hunter. Zero tells X that Sigma has been reclassified as a Maverick, and the strongest one to-date. Zero tells X that Sigma has assembled 8 former Special A Rank Hunters who are currently running rampant and currently taking over the rest of the world, and that they must be defeated in order to bring peace. Zero tells X to go defeat those 8 while he goes look for Sigma's whereabouts. X is flustered, saying that such a task is beyond him but Zero tells him to turn around and look at all the people he saved thanks to his actions earlier. Zero tells X to have some self confidence, which X replies happily. Zero them tells X to first head to the 13th Unit's station in Alaska where there have been reports of unexplained avalanches.

X arrives in Alaska. He notices the city right below the mountains has not been evacuated yet, and that next major avalanche would consume the city if nothing is done about it. X remembers that the commander of the Alaskan unit is Marth, someone he knew from before. Flashback to a year ago, X runs to Marth asking why he's transferring to the 13th Unit. Marth replies that he's their leader, and that the city is both literally and metaphorically a bit too small for him, and that he wishes to continue his work in the large mountains. X heads towards the mountains while having doubts, wondering if Marth has really changed so much and is behind the recent avalanches. X come across a Ray Bit, which X tells to escape to safety only to fire beams at X, who is forced to destroy it. X is hit by an airborne log launched by an Axe Max, which X destroys with a shot that goes through both a second incoming log and the Axe Max. X finds it strange that both the supposedly unarmed Ray Bit and Axe Max are capable of attacking, and concludes that they must have been modified. X again wonders if this was Marth's doing. An earthquake occurs, but stops shortly with no avalanche taking place. X hurries towards the Alaskan base.

X arrives at the base, realizing it has been changed into a menacing fortress. X rushes in, and is ambushed by Batton Bones followed by a sequence of Spikeys. X fights them off as he scales upwards the fortress, and fires a charge shot that destroys a group of them in his path. X is about to proceed but is greeted with a soft voice calling his name. He turns around and sees a capsule projecting a hologram of an old man. The old man says it's been a long time, and that he wished that the future had been peaceful but that it is perhaps fate that it was not meant to be. X listens to the old man, wondering why he feels such at ease despite being the first time they have met. The old man tells X to enter the capsule, and X obliges. As the upgrade process begins, X thinks that it's strange that he feels no fear and this old man gives off a sense of kindness and warmth, as if being reborn. X leaves the capsule with his upgraded legs, with the old man telling X that there are other capsules like this one and he needs to hurry forward as an earthquake approaches. The capsule deactivates and falls apart as the ceiling starts giving in. X notices the tremors growing in size and as he's about to run, his leg thrusters activate and is sent flying forward unable to stop. He stops right before a Flammingle which fires a circular saw towards X. X dashes forward avoiding the saw and destroys the Flamingle with a shot to the head while commenting on how powerful the dash is.

X rushes outside towards the summit but is ambushed by two Armor Soldiers in Ride Armors. One grabs X by the head as X prepares a charge shot. The other Armor Soldier says to not beat up X too much as they need to deliver him to the boss. The Armor Soldier looks back, noticing the other Armor Soldier followed him back only to realize X has taken over the Ride Armor, saying that he'll go directly to their boss instead. Both ride armors face off, grabbing each other by the hands locking them both in position as X aims his buster at the Armor Soldier, saying he'll let him live if he vows to never work for Sigma again. The Armor Soldier surrenders, and runs off. X says that he'll still have to destroy his Ride Armor, and shoots through it causing both to fall down a ridge. X continues running up the mountain and dodges a barrage of rolling snowballs from a Snow Shooter. X sees the Snow Shooter, and fires a charged shot through a rolling snowball, hitting the Snow Shooter. The earthquakes worsen as X notices small avalanches taking place in the distance as he continues upward.

X reaches the summit where the commander room is located, and notices the Sigma mark on the door. X rushes inside, and is struck by a huge blizzard. As the air calms down, X opens his eyes and sees a frozen Marth, realizing that he wasn't the cause of the avalanches after all. X cries, lamenting that he was wrong to suspect Marth of wrongdoing. Several icicles fly towards them from behind while a voice boasts that this is all a work of art. X fires his buster destroying the icicles, shouting that the person reveal themselves. The voice reveals himself to be Chill Penguin, who says he's tired of someone huge like Marth acting all bossy so he dealt away with him, and the same he'll do to X.

Artwork by Yoshihiro Iwamoto


This chapter pretty much follows a typical playthrough of the original game, starting with getting the essential leg upgrade in Chill Penguin's stage. A few extra details have been added to Zero telling X to become stronger, such as the short scene with survivors glad to be alive from Sigma's initial attack, which I felt worked to further reinforce X's self-confidence especially after being easily beaten by Vile earlier. For the most part there is little deviation from the main events of the game, with exception of the avalanche subplot and introduction of the first original character Marth (no, not that one). The addition of the avalanche subplot gives X a stronger sense of being on a time limit, and shows one of many things Sigma is willing to do in order to not only exterminate mankind, but to invoke terror as well.

As for Marth, I personally don't mind him as an original character insert as I thought his inclusion worked as another senior X looks up to but doesn't work alongside with in the same capacity as Zero. Given Marth's kind-hearted mentor role which contrasts with the condescending Chill Penguin, it's pretty obvious that he's doomed from the start.