Mega Man X and Zero are a couple of the coolest 2D action game heroes so let's see which of these radical robots comes out on top.
Note: this Versus article will only discuss Mega Man X and Zero from the X series (X1 to X8).
Mega Man X was created by Dr. Light with a human-like intellect in the hopes that he could establish robots as equal beings. Meanwhile, Zero was created by the nefarious Dr. Wily to simply overpower Mega Man. Much later, the 2 characters met as Maverick Hunters and Zero became Mega Man X's mentor and friend. At that time, Mega Man X's conscience would often get in the way of his performance on the battlefield so Zero outranked him as a soldier. Personality-wise, Mega Man X is a determined warrior with a strong sense of justice while Zero can be rather cold and mysterious which only makes his heroic self-sacrificial actions more admirable. Also, although Zero is considered the superior soldier, he sees Mega Man X as nobler than himself and holds him in high regard. Their evolving stories and strong personalities really shine throughout the X series but I think Zero is the more engaging character so he wins here.
At their core, Mega Man X and Zero play quite similarly, especially when it comes to platforming as they can both dash and scale walls with ease. Their main difference is their primary weapons. Mega Man X uses the X Buster which is a lot like Mega Man's classic Mega Buster and Zero wields the Z Saber which is a powerful melee energy blade. Zero also has the Zero Buster in the first 3 games even though you can only play as him in X3. This was replaced with the Z Buster in X5 and X6 but it was very limited in its power. Anyway, shooting enemies with the X Buster and slashing them up with the Z Saber are both very satisfying although there's something more immediately gratifying about Zero's melee attacks so I award this category to him but it is a close call since both characters play very similarly.
As Mega Man X defeats Mavericks, he receives their weapons just like the original Mega Man did back in the day. Cycling through these weapons as you traverse grueling stages only to eventually take out a boss with whatever weapon it's weak against just feels awesome. With that in mind, Zero is very different in this regard as he acquires special moves that are executed with simple button combinations. For example, in X4, he can double-jump, slash upwards with a flaming sword, stab downwards with a huge chunk of ice, and perform a spinning slash in mid-air all without the need to change weapons. This fluid special move system continued in the following games then in X7 and X8, he can even equip a lance, kunai, a giant hammer, knuckle dusters, and even a couple of fans. Plus, is anything cooler than the massive Sigma Blade? I think you know who I'm going to pick here but I'll say it anyway: Zero has the better special weapons.
Of course, the series is known for its super-rewarding upgrades and Mega Man X has a ton. For starters, he can enhance his armour. Doing so in the original is fairly nifty as you can dash, charge your special weapons and X Buster more, take less damage, and destroy certain blocks with your head. However, as the series went on, these upgrades went from nifty to awesome as Mega Man X could then store energy for a powerful Giga Crush attack, dash in mid-air, and recharge his health by standing still. Starting in X4, he has an awesome unlockable Ultimate Armor and in X5 and further sequels, you can unlock even more armour sets such as the agile Falcon Armor, the heavy Gaea Armor, the ninja-like Shadow Armor, and the Blade Armor which makes him play like Zero. How could Zero compete with all this? Well, he can't as he doesn't really have any notable upgrades. So, Mega Man X wins this category by a landslide.
There's no denying that both of these robots are Maverick slaying machines but I have to pick a winner which is...
Although the Mega Man universe wouldn't be complete without both of these heroes, Zero is such an awesome character when it comes to both story and gameplay. Mega Man X is incredible, though, especially with his wide array of upgrades that make him a much more capable Maverick Hunter. That being said, Zero doesn't really need any substantial upgrades to kick ass.
That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!