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Snufflepus Penguin

X4 is a game I wanted to love, but it didn’t quite hit the mark like it’s SNES counterparts.

X4 has a lot of redeeming qualities, however. The music is quite nice, the graphics can be beautiful at times like Web Spider’s stage and enemy variety has increased. There are some creative stage mechanics like Frost Walrus and the melting stairs, or the speed running type strategy in Cyber Peacock’s stage.

My favorite stage, by far, is Web Spider’s. This is a full fledged platforming stage with tons of fun enemy types. I really love nature themed water stages, and this really rocks. From the crawling snakes, to giant bee nests, flying fish and mermen sea creatures, this embodies a fun stage. Minus points for resetting your health and ammo halfway in the stage, however.

Unfortunately, the rest of the stages aren’t very fun. Most of them are either too short, too forgiving or/and forgettable. You’ll usually just run past everything while taking mere scratches of damage. Things like Electric Stingray’s stage is just a glorified biking section that causes frustration and ends without any platforming at all. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fun parts of the stages and they resemble bare minimums for Maverick stages but lack the charm and wit of the predecessor games.

X4 really excels with it’s boss fights, however. Most of them have good telegraphs for their attacks and put up a good fight.

End-game stages are horrendous, however. Short, lifeless stages crammed with enemies and hidden pits. The endgame bosses vary in quality, but Sigma’s final form is pretty fun to fight.

Weapons are below average, they aren’t really that useful. Things like Soul Body and Aiming Laser are pretty good, however.

I think X4 is an overrated game, but it’s certainly not a bad game, either. It’s a shame the stage design drags down the whole package, and I really hoped that stage designs like Web Spider would have been implemented more into the other stages.

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