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Mega Man X: Command Mission, released in September 2004, departs from the conventions of the Mega Man X series in favor of a more Final Fantasy-like, turn-based approach to battles: there is no longer a choice about which Maverick to fight when, and lesser Mavericks are encountered randomly throughout the stages. The game also featured new characters Spider, Massimo, Marino and Cinnamon - and no Sigma!


Best time: 4:26 by Alex 'AquaTiger' Nichols on 2008-04-25.

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First Notes

Well, my first RPG speedrun project finally gets a serious makeover - more than two years later. It was 5 hours and 46 minutes in 20 segments. This one is a tidy 4 hours and 26 minutes (according to the game clear save at the end of the run) and took just one segment.

I should be regretting submitting my old run, right?


For without a run like that, we would not have this. Without a first run to show to people for ideas, the really good runs would never exist on SDA. However, most of the time, these first runs are only ever posted on the forums (or YouTube). So the casual viewer who does not visit the forums never sees the works in progress - and they only rarely see the concept I'm trying to describe.

As I promised in the comments for the last run, I WILL go into great detail about this one. But before I get started, these comments are more designed for someone who is NOT familiar with the game. People who are familiar with the game will know most of the stuff I'm saying, though they may not know the subtleties. Also, just because this beats my old run significantly, don't call my old run 'sucktastic' - while it may pale in comparison to this, my old time was somewhat acceptable for what I knew at the time I made it (even though it looks uglier and uglier each time I look at it now).

The first hint to me that something was wrong with my old run was something that occurred during the third iteration of the SDA Awards. For the uninitiated, Trihex (yes, the same Trihex that did the Yoshi's Island runs, the Sly Cooper run, and the Crash Bandicoot 2 and 3 runs) started the whole SDA Awards idea - basically people vote for what they think best fits into a bunch of categories (I can't list all the categories, but it's things like 'best speedrun', 'best in-run mistake', 'most unique trick', 'most entertaining commentary', and things like that, as well as a bunch of forum-specific categories), very similarly to more well-known awards shows. There's two phases of voting - the initial votes and then a 'finalist' set of votes with more restrictive choices. In the third iteration of SDA Awards, my old Megaman X Command Mission run was a finalist for 'Best in-run mistake' for revisiting the equipment screen too often and being slow in optimizing equipment.

The nail in the coffin came when early in December 2006, out of boredom, I decided to have another look at my old run. I was fairly appalled at my boss fights, especially the ones in Chapter 10, and I decided a revision was in order. Originally I was just going to add one more segment, in order to clear up the disgustingness that was Chapter 9 (although not everyone thinks the chapter was awful it seems).

In steps JagwarKnight, whose advice last run, while still helpful, came a bit too late for me to really change much. One thing that he talked about right away was using Massimo. I'll admit, I was not initially sold on the idea. I revisited the save file from the end of my last run, and took the time to build Massimo's Action Trigger (I'll explain this later), as well as checking out Ultimate X and Absolute Zero, the two secret Hyper Modes (another thing I'll explain later). Upon testing Massimo's fully-powered Action Trigger, I was blown away by the amount of damage done.

Further ideas were bounced back and forth, totaling about six pages of forum posts just between the two of us. And that was just the practice run, which embedded about 80% of the strategy necessary. Then a segmented run was completed on December 30th of 2006. THEN, after five months where I couldn't capture and was in no mood to label anything, I went back and discovered I lost a segment's footage entirely. Due to aggravation over this, I lost interest for a long time. That is, until Carcinogen pointed me toward a no-save speedplay of Final Fantasy X-2, seeing it on my speedruns-to-do list. I got inspiration to finish this game finally, and within five days I had done a 12-segment test run to apply what I learned long ago to this game. That learned stuff will be discussed later. I'm going to discuss the characters and how certain things about them affected my strategies, then talk about the deployment system, which was much more crucial in this run than last run.

Game Basics

Characters (in order of long-term appearance)


You start the game with X, and he's the only character who's with you every single chapter, so getting used to him is a must. He's pretty likable, though, with decent stats, an Action Trigger (a powerful action that can be done only if your character has 50 or more WE during their turn - hereafter this will be referred to as an AT) that can hit everything, and the ability to equip four Force Metals with decent immunity (which counteracts the erosion from Force Metals - if erosion exceeds immunity, you start getting penalties in battle). Unfortunately, his individual attacks are very weak, and his AT is reliant on Weapon Energy ('WE'), making it weak in some circumstances. X's attacks normally are all of the Shot-type, which can hit air targets well but is often deflected by some ground targets' defenses.

X's normal Hyper Mode, X Fire, trades out the buster for a very nasty claw (officially known as the X Collider). In this form, X's normal attacks are all of the Combat-type - his only ranged attack is the Shell Buster sub-weapon - and almost all of his attacks are Fire element. Plus, his defense is increased quite a bit, his Life Energy ('LE') is increased by 50%, and his WE per round is 25% more than in normal mode. His AT in this form, while also dependent on WE like his normal AT, is a much more powerful claw-spinning attack on one enemy called Charge Collider. The AT is the only non-elemental weapon in X Fire.

X's earnable Hyper Mode, Ultimate Armor, swaps the buster for some really scary-looking guns - a grenade launcher and a gatling gun, I believe. X's attacks are still Shot-type in this form, but he lacks an element even if his equipped weapon had one. X's defense in this form is pretty good, and although his LE does not change, his WE per round is 40% more than normal (for instance, if he had 50 per turn before Hyper Mode, he now gets 70). This form's AT, Nova Strike, works much like the Final Strike used to finish off enemies that are weakened significantly in one turn - and the power is nearly comparable, even with lower WE. I figure the AT is why so many people advocate getting this form - my original plan was to include it, but I just found Rafflesian (the secret boss you must fight to get the Ultimate Armor) too close to impossible at that point in a run.


Spider joins up at the end of Chapter 2 and sticks around until Chapter 6 is over, then you never get to use him again. Spider is actually pretty similar to X stat-wise, although he's quite a bit faster, his weapons (which are all Shot-type) don't grant nearly as much extra Power as X's can, and Spider also has the highest start-of-battle WE of everyone. Spider's selling point is that his weapons all have unique effects at 75+ WE: Heart cards boost experience on finishing blows, Diamond cards boost Zenny (the game's currency) on finishing blows, Club cards (the suit I actually use in this run) allow 2-hit attacks, and Spade cards hit every enemy at once. The Joker in Chapter 4 (which I skip this time, though I got it last time) has random effects chosen out of these 4, although it does those effects even without the 75 WE normally necessary. Spider's Hyper Mode, Trickstar, makes him invincible and at the very least doubles his attack power. Trouble is, it only gets two turns unless you up it through Build Hypers. Two turns isn't enough to lay the smack down on a boss, but I leave it that way because he's the only never-permanent character.

An explanation of Spider's AT, Fortune Card, really deserves its own subsection in any strategy guide that could be made for this game, but I'll try my best here. It works like Draw Poker, with each hand giving a different attack (note that higher WE gives you better starting hands):


Massimo joins you in Chapter 3, and is always available after that. A lot of people bash Massimo, claiming that bad defense and a bad AT make him worthless. They are right about one thing - Massimo naturally takes 150% damage from all elemental sources. Another issue is that Massimo's stats are skewed toward Power while avoiding Speed - thankfully his HP is very high - and he only has two Force Metal slots, though with a fairly high immunity. Lastly, his AT, Berserk Charge, requires some skill to level up. Despite this, Berserk Charge, especially at higher levels, is a button-masher's dream come true, and you get more time to button-mash with higher WE. The two buttons of it you have at the start of the game increase the attack's base power and allow you to inflict every kind of status condition except for Freeze and DOA. Once you inflict 3000 damage with it for the first time, you get the third button, which increases the chances of a critical hit by as much as 80% (it feels like way more to me though, as I've only NOT gotten a critical a few times at maximum charge of this button). Once you inflict 10000 damage with the AT for the first time, you get the fourth button, which increases the number of hits the AT can do. The thing is, all hits past the first one deal about a tenth of the base damage of the first strike. Still, that pretty much doubles the attack's power.

Massimo's Hyper Mode, Glint Armor, doesn't do much for his elemental defense, but it increases his health and his WE per turn by 50% each. Additionally, like all Hyper Modes, it makes his attacks pretty powerful. Massimo's AT does not change in this form, but a fully-powered AT in this form is rivalled in terms of damage only by Ultimate X's Nova Strike and Absolute Zero's Calamitous Arts, and that's if you get good results on the latter two.

All of Massimo's normal attacks are Combat-type, which has reduced accuracy against air units, while his AT at any level is a Shot-type.


You first learn about Marino in Chapter 4, but she doesn't join up with you until near the end of that chapter. Marino's a variation of the stereotypical thief, and as you can imagine, her speed is fairly high. Marino's the only character who has access to both major kinds of damage through main weapons alone - she can deal Combat-type damage with beam weapons such as knives and chakrams, or deal Shot-type damage with a variety of elemental throwing star weapons. She gets access to three Force Metal slots, but she, along with Spider and Massimo at least, gets a unique FM - in her case Fat Slicer, which increases her dodging rate. Despite these facts and her AT (discussed below), I decided not to use Marino all that much in this run, as even with an item-dumping trick described by Suzaku during my last run, other characters generally deal more damage per turn. She does have her uses however.

Marino's Hyper Mode is really something else. It's called Quicksilver, and in addition to making her more powerful and increasing her LE, she goes so fast with it that oftentimes, she can expend her whole Hyper Mode without the enemy ever taking a turn. Usually my favorite use of this is to have her sub in for the healthiest character, heal the other two characters in at the time, then swap out for someone better capable.

Marino's AT is interesting - it's called Emotional Reel, and it works like a slot machine. If you don't get a winning result, you wind up with a weak physical attack, but line up three of the same icon and you suddenly get an attack with either a strange property or some real power. The AT changes slightly at various experience levels, and it goes slower with higher WE, but I seem to do better with this at higher speeds for some odd reason. Here's the results I know of:

These are all the ones I've seen. There may be more for all I know.


Cinnamon joins at the absolute end of Chapter 4, and is available at any time thereafter. Many people seem to like Cinnamon for her defense, although I'll admit I'm not a big fan of her. She does take 50% normal damage from elemental attacks, though, and if she had more offense I'd use her more frequently because of that. It's just that she's not a very attack-minded character unless you set her up a specific way. She's very good for setups however, having three Force Metal slots and HUGE amounts of Immunity (put it this way - she's the only character easily able to handle the Supra-Force Metal fragments that doesn't have four Force Metal slots). Plus, she gets access to a unique sub-weapon that increases allies' WE per turn by 10. I don't think I used her at all last run, and I don't use her much here either, though she does actually get use.

Cinnamon's AT is called Angelic Aide, and it allows you to heal, although to generate each heart - worth 10% LE - you must spin the controller's analog sticks in circles. Higher WE gives you more time for this, and higher levels allow higher maximums in LE restored. As far as Cinnamon's Hyper Mode? It's called Iron Maiden, and it does the standard things most Hyper Modes do - make her somewhat stronger. However, the real beauty of Iron Maiden is that it makes everyone else in the front line gain 25% more WE than normal - this includes allied WE gains from Energy Field, so that sub-weapon adds 13 WE (it's rounded up from 12.5) instead of 10. In fact, it's this gain in WE that gets her any use at all in this run.


You run across Axl in Chapter 5, and he'll be able to help for the rest of the game. I believe Capcom had been trying to come up with ways to reduce the number of comments about Axl being an awful addition to the Megaman X series. Their way of saying 'STFU' to the whiners? Make him better than he ever was in X7 or X8. (I like to vouch for new characters in a well-established series, but even I think Axl was lacking in both games.) Axl is actually a pretty decent addition to the team when you get him, and although he doesn't get quite as much use as he did last run, I still find it crucial to use him for those moments when I put him in the front line. His stats lean a bit toward speed, and he can equip a full set of four Force Metals, although his immunity is very low for this wide array. (I'm guessing this is tied in to his shapechanging abilities - maybe form changing makes him and other copy-capable Reploids unstable. It makes sense to me.) Also, save for an attack or two I'll mention later, all of his attacks are of the Shot-type. Finally, all of his weapons either allow multiple hits per attack or are specialized for fighting specific kinds of enemies. His Hyper Mode, Stealth Mode, works just like Spider's Hyper Mode - it makes him invincible (this is more abusable with Axl than with Spider because of when you have them) and increases his power pretty dramatically. One thing I noticed with both Spider's and Axl's Hyper Modes that I hadn't mentioned before is that the critical hit rate with normal attacks seems to go through the roof (well, they're invisible, so it makes sense to me). It also starts with only two turns, but I'm less shy about pumping this up because Axl stays long enough to make it worthwhile.

Axl's AT, DNA Change, is perhaps the most fun of all the ATs in the game. You get a grid of buttons, and at the other side are eight path endings with different bosses you've previously beaten (or question marks for those bosses you haven't beaten). What you need to do is hit a series of buttons to get to the other side, ending at the boss whose attack you want to use. Higher WE gives you more time to do this, although I've memorized the necessary combos, so I don't need high WE. I'll list the bosses, what they do, and their usefulness here, in order of where they appear on the grid:


You first get to use Zero in Chapter 1's boss fight. From there, you don't get to use him again until near the end of Chapter 5, and he leaves again at the start of Chapter 6. Finally, he permanently joins around the middle of Chapter 6. Zero strictly fights with saber-class weapons and has access to three Force Metal slots, although his immunity is somewhat iffy for a Maverick Hunter of his skill (Axl at least has a reason for low immunity). I guess Zero prefers to rely on experience to win his battles. Only other possibility I can think of is the incidents in Mega Man X5 (where he actually WENT Maverick depending on how a certain random event turned out). Regardless, Zero is quite powerful, especially with the multi-hit weapons, but as you've probably guessed, all of Zero's attacks deal Combat-type damage. However, Zero does get access to one extremely valuable sub-weapon that only he can use - Heat Haze, which gives an illusory double that deals another hit at reduced power. With the right setup, this can make an already nasty melee character a vicious and dangerous threat. Zero's AT, Command Arts, basically allows you to deal as many hits as commands you can enter in a set amount of time (as you may have guessed, higher WE grants more time). Zero starts off with three commands - a standard slash (Zero Slash), an armor piercing attack (Zero Breakthrough), and an anti-air attack (Zero Dragon Slash). Input a total of 300 commands over the course of the game and you get a variable power strike called Zero Wave Slash. Input 999 commands over the course of the game and you get Zero Skull Crusher, which supposedly guarantees critical hits. I barely got Zero Wave Slash last run, and I don't bother with either extra command in this run.

Zero's normal Hyper Mode, Black Zero, increases WE per turn by 25% and makes Zero quite a bit more powerful. He has the same AT in this mode as he did normally.

Zero's secret Hyper Mode, Absolute Zero, is kinda scary. Absolute Zero is all about Water-type attacks and has higher WE than normal (I don't remember just how much offhand). Absolute Zero's AT is called Calamitous Arts. Basically, it's similar to Command Arts except you don't get to pick what commands you do - they're given to you randomly and you have a set amount of time to input each one. If you miss, the game just moves on to the next command. I believe higher WE, in addition to giving more time, also allows for stronger attacks. I was not successful in getting this Hyper Mode because with low-level deployables, getting anything from Melda is just not feasible.

Status Effects

I mentioned some status effects earlier, and either I'll mention them again or they'll show up in some format during the run, so I might as well list those now:

Note that going into Hyper Mode will cure Virus, Blind, and Bind (the three conditions where you still have control) immediately, and anyone in Hyper Mode is immune to status effects. Bosses are immune to them too, though.


I get enough deployables to field three full teams and that's all. I may not have even needed that many, in all honesty, but it's not a large enough time loss to be worth redoing the run over.

There are exactly two things I critically need from deployment - the Lagrano Key and the Generator. The former is more important, for it gives me a chance in an SS to power up Massimo's AT all the way (thanks to the Interceptor). Getting the latter, in Chapters 9 and 10, completes the combo that allows Massimo to unleash a once-charged Berserk Charge on every one of his turns.

Section Comments

Okay, now with that out of the way, I can finally get to covering the different parts of the run. I've separated the game's chapters into semi-arbitrary parts, based on the game's story and events, then tied a nickname to these parts. My explanations and opinions are listed after each nickname.

So without any further ado.......

Chapter 1, Part 1
"The Outset"
Covers: From game start to when Zero joins

Chapter 1, Part 2
Covers: The Hippopressor fight and the rest of Chapter 1

Chapter 2, Part 1
"Enter Spider"
Covers: Start of Chapter 2 up to the shopping portion

Chapter 2, Part 2
"Save my Base!"
Covers: From the shopping portion to turning the alarm off

Chapter 2, Part 3
"Cat Call"
Covers: The Wild Jango fight

Chapter 3, Part 1
"High Security"
Covers: Start of Chapter 3 to just past the special locked door

Chapter 3, Part 2
"Secret Codes"
Covers: The last full lift area

Chapter 3, Part 3
"The Steel Warrior"
Covers: The Silver Horn fight

Chapter 4, Part 1
"Treasure Hunter"
Covers: Start of Chapter 4 to meeting Gaudile

Chapter 4, Part 2
Covers: Eternal Forest and the path before Dr. Psyche

Chapter 4, Part 3
"One Shell of a Situation"
Covers: Dr. Psyche and Mad Nautilus

Chapter 5, Part 1
"Got it Memorized?"
Covers: Start of Chapter 5 to when Axl joins

Chapter 5, Part 2
"The Belt Battle"
Covers: From when Axl joins to when Zero joins

Chapter 5, Part 3
"Berserk Factory"
Covers: Mach Jentra and Duboar

Chapter 6, Part 1
"Dregs of Decency"
Covers: Chapter 6 up until Shadow

Chapter 6, Part 2
Covers: From the Shadow fight to the Incentas fight

Chapter 6, Part 3
"The Demise of Spider"
Covers: The Incentas fight

Chapter 7, Part 1
Covers: Start of Chapter 7 until the laser puzzle

Chapter 7, Part 2
"Shades of Sheldon"
Covers: The laser puzzle sequence

Chapter 7, Part 3
"Giga City Rhapsody"
Covers: The Botos fight

Chapter 8, Part 1
"Supra-Force Missile"
Covers: Start of Chapter 8 until entering the main missile silo

Chapter 8, Part 2
"An Old Cartoon Escape"
Covers: Exiting the main missile silo to just before the Ferham fight

Chapter 8, Part 3
"Heatsink for a Heart"
Covers: The Ferham fight and remainder of the chapter

Chapter 9, Part 1
Covers: The initial Scarface fight

Chapter 9, Part 2
"Beaming with Pride"
Covers: The beam rooms

Chapter 9, Part 3
"Around and Around"
Covers: The Revolver Room and Top Security Area

Chapter 9, Part 4
"Last Stand of the Rebellion"
Covers: The real Scarface fight and Epsilon

Chapter 10, Part 1
"Back for more Agony"
Covers: The five boss refights

Chapter 10, Part 2
"The Fish Rider"
Covers: Depth Dragoon

Chapter 10, Part 3
"More than Traitorous"
Covers: The original Redips

Chapter 10, Part 4
"A Typical Close"
Covers: Great Redips

Final Notes

Besides JagwarKnight and the people from last time, the one person I want to credit is Axel_Ryman (yes, THAT Axel_Ryman), who encouraged me to try again when I got a 4:41.

What's next for AquaTiger? There's three games I'm considering, all aiming for single-segment runs: Valkyrie Profile 2, Final Fantasy X-2, and Golden Axe 3. There's also one project I'm not letting on, although it is related somehow to one of the games I have mentioned.

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