Mega Man X
I remember I was sitting on the couch in our basement when I reached the final stage of Mega Man X.
In my usual spot on the furtherest right of the couch, working in a strong set of grooves that indicated my dedication to a non-physical world.
My sister was watching, sitting to my left.
I was maybe 9 or 10 at the time.
It may have been the greatest moment of my life up until that point.
It must have meant something strong to me because, suddenly, while reading something I can’t even recall now, the memory came shooting back into my consciousness.
I felt a little sting in my chest, and then my heart was racing.
It didn’t stop until I finished writing about it.
I remember having already taken care of the 8 main levels, defeating the “Mavericks” or bosses for each stage.
I’d been stuck on the final stage for some time.
According to an online guide I looked up to fill the gaps in my memory, when you defeat the main 8, you get to the final level which has 4 stages. Sigma is encountered in a battle at the fourth stage where you face three final bosses.
First is Sigma’s dog, Velguarder.
Want to fight a man with some kind of energetic cannon for an arm? Send your dog.
Then it’s Sigma himself. Sigma is the mastermind behind whatever disaster that was going on in the game. He’s the final boss but appears in two forms.
Finally, there is Wolf Sigma. Wolf Sigma is some kind of fire-breathing mechanical wolf with floating arms. And spikes, cause why not?
I remember beating Sigma and reaching the monstrosity that I hoped was the true final boss. Sigma does some power ranger shit and comes back as this wolf atrocity.
As a 10 year old, this was practically David vs Goliath. Before this, you were fighting something that was maybe twice your size. Now it felt like the enemy was everywhere, he was able to reach you from anywhere on the screen with ease.
I don’t know how long it took for me to find it’s weak spots but it must have been weeks if not a month or two. Even after I figured it out, I didn’t find it easy to damage him enough, even with all the capsules and whatnot you can bring with you.
I’m not sure if I figured out this trick that day or previously, but the cannon that shoots the energetic blue balls could bounce off things and hit his head if you timed it right. They did decent enough damage, unlike most of the other cannons.
Well, this one day sitting on that couch, with my sister to my left, I find myself in some kind of rhythm with Wolf Sigma.
I’m wall jumping, using the tops of his hands as short-term platforms and shooting these energy balls at his tiny head.
My timing was great.
I was in the zone.
And then I needed to hit pause.
It became so intense that I had to stop to collect myself.
Both our health bars had reached the bottom.
Next hit wins, it was sudden death.
My sister suddenly bolts out of the basement.
I remember mentally acknowledged my sister bolting out, but it was so secondary to everything that I had just experienced on the screen, I didn’t even question why in the moment.
I’m not sure how long it was paused, maybe a few minutes.
With no plan but a prayer, I unpause the game.
Off the left wall, I do a wall jump.
I shoot my last blue ball.
His floating left hand suddenly jerks up and inadvertently hits the ball I shot.
The ball ricochets directly at Sigma’s tiny face.
I loved playing this game.
Moreso back then though.
Even after I barely defeated Sigman and finished the game, I haven’t been able to meaningfully play it again.
It’s got various levels that have their own theme to check out but the motivation isn’t there to keep going.
I play a little bit, it feels familiar and I get bored.
It was never like the first time around.
Years later, I asked my sister why she ran out of the room at that moment.
She told me she didn’t want me to blame her if things went south.
I wasn’t always a good brother.
In my past I was a bit of a blameshifter, blaming others for my actions.
She’s always known me well, fortunately she’s fluent in my flaws.
I had no plan but a prayer.
And it was enough.
Mega Man survived.