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Macon, GA – In my time as a reporter for The Kohlrabi I have learned that there are certain absolutes, but that many of them hide a truth further behind them. Mega Man X is one of the best games ever made: that is an absolute that is rarely argued, and when it is there is no basis for any other conclusion. There is more to the X series than just the fast-paced action, clever level design, and awesome soundtracks; something, but this deeper element of the game has remained allusive since its historic North American release in 1994.
I had almost given up hope until a six pack of IBC Root Beer and an insomnia-driven replay of the game at 5:00 a.m. led to my ultimate discovery in Mega Man X; the love story that it held.
I was always interested in why X did what he did, volunteering to become a Maverick Hunter. He was special; the first of his kind to be given a semblance of free will. Special people are always looking for someone else as equally unique or captivating to be with, and for X, who is constantly fighting, this also had to be someone who understood his choices and lifestyle. So, this ultimate love story made sense when I realized that it was actually between our titular hero and Zero.
I know this may startle some readers; sound blasphemous even, but the evidence is clear as day in the game. It seems that Zero was the original carrier of the virus that caused the Reploids to turn into evil Mavericks. X did not just want to fight the new evil robots, but joined Zero’s team specifically to help share the burden his superior felt for being the cause of the Maverick outbreak. Zero has a lot to make up for, and cannot focus on things like relationships at the time, but realizes that X is trying to impress him. Players see these aspects in the beginning during the first encounter with Vile; that X is not as virile as the robot he respects—it is about presence and strength—which is why he must defeat the other robot masters to become strong and be as powerful as Zero. It is his challenge and the meat of the story—while Zero is off doing who knows what—as to not let the love story overpower the game. Mega Man wants to be so much like his potential lover that his armor upgrades and changes in appearance after finding Dr. Light’s capsules even make him look more like Zero—minus the weird long hair.
“The hair does make Zero look like too much of a pretty boy,” Dr. Albert Wily told me in off the record in confidence.
As I said above though, the main parts of my evidence are in the game itself. Following my reporter’s instinct I began piecing more of the story together. Not only does X attempt to become Zero’s equal to make them even closer, his actions towards the end of the game speak volumes. During the final confrontation with Vile, it is Zero who attempts to protect X, still feeling he is too weak, and caring about him too much. Zero goes as far as to tell X to stay back before getting decimated. I have even heard rumor of a scene that was cut out of this part, where Zero actually says the three magic words—I love you—but that it was too risqué to leave in. Knocking on death’s door, Zero gives X his most prized possession, his arm cannon. It is the final thing that makes X as cool as his dying partner—it completes him. These events with this new information gives more credence to why X seems to go nuts when Zero is killed, watching the robot he loved and who had finally come to respect him; die right there in his arms. There is a primal rage to that new pink burst of x-buster power—a fierce passion.
Even after Sigma has paid the price for the destruction and death he wrought, X is still saddened. He sits upon a cliff overlooking the devastated fortress staring at Zero’s arm cannon, agonizing over his fallen comrade. As with all good love stories, one of them had to die to make this good, to deliver that punch to the gut and produce what the younger generations are now calling “feels.” Players will simply be crushed after going through this journey again with this new understanding.
Mega Man X is not given the credit it deserves. Sure it is regarded as a good fundamental game, but no one recognizes it as the true passion this love story delivers. Perhaps it was the time the game came out. I am not sure people were ready to accept such a true in-depth love story. I was happy to stumble onto some notes though from another fellow news investigator, [name redacted], who has some convincing evidence that award-winning writer Annie Proulx of Brokeback Mountain fame has actually played and beaten Mega Man X. I am still looking, still on the search for more proof, doing my reporting duty, but I now believe that Rockman X may have been the actual inspiration for her most notable work. I continue to search for more links of X and Zero’s influence on people; I continue to play this masterpiece of a game, experiencing something new about the greatest love story ever told (in video games) each time.