Before I actually ventured into the game I had been under the impression that a large number of the unlockable forms are rather useless But in my playthrough I managed to find most of them fun, relevant, and playable in their own way. I am going to list down the forms one can acquire in gameplay chronological order and add a score for general usability.
Disclaimer: no image below belongs to me. They are either taken from the Mega Man Knowledge Base or DeviantArt. Credits to Tomycase from DeviantArt for Buckfire’s image.
Default form: Reploid/Human
Nothing special here, this is your standard form that can run, jump, and fire basic buster shots. It is unique in the sense that one can crawl in these form into narrow tunnels or avoid certain attacks. Also, one automatically floats with this while in water which can turn out to be surprisingly helpful at times, but generally useless if you can wall climb with other Mega Man forms. It can be quite fun to try and play some parts of the game just using this. Generally, this form is lacking due to lacking serious attacks and inability to wall climb or dash, which are important features to get through stages.
This is your bread and butter basic form, and it is really a good one. It has the essential wall climb and dash, allowing you to access some previously inaccessible areas. The attacks are also very powerful: a charged shot (that other fires a large shot that covers a lot of vertical ground or a narrow bouncing laser) and Homing Shot which makes the gameplay really easy. It basically scans in a cone shaped area and identifies attackable targets and fires shots that homes on all of them. Combined properly one can last both shots before it triggers iFrames (invulnerability windows) of bosses, dealing a huge chunk of damage. Then, it actually has an ultimate attack Giga Crush, which expends all weapons energy to deal a lot of screen wide damage.
Overall: This form is really good for taking down minions and bosses due to its ability to attack from odd angles. Model A isn’t the fastest damage dealer or stage clearer, but it does the job cleanly and easily. 8.5/10
Your first Pseudoroid form is actually one of the most useful ones in the game. It perma-dashes and comes with two vertical charged moves that can break obstacles (one is a very high jump), making this one of the most crucial mobility form early on. It also has really powerful basic attacks in the form of three burning arrows, which can be surprisingly powerful for taking down minibosses (who don’t really have iFrames, allowing the damage to quickly add up). The charged attack that sends two boomerangs is the only blade-type attack (which can break large items into smaller ones) early on and also foes respectable amounts of damage. The only major downside is that it has one of the most difficult wall-jump to work with as it kicks off hard to launch into the opposing direction, often counterintuitive to use.
Overall: This is one of the more useful forms for overcoming obstacles and reaching out of reach areas, while also being one of the strongest miniboss destroyers. But otherwise it is a little cumbersome to against bosses and clear stages. 7/10.
This is obviously a situation specific form, only useful for navigating vertical poles (where no other forms can interact with 😦 bad design) and activating electric based switches. It climbs these poles, and can cling to the next one with its whip, and send jolts of electricity coursing down the poles with a charged attack. It can also fire stingers upwards, and has some fancy but situational charged moves. Otherwise, it is slow and clumsy. It is actually still rather clumsy to use on a pole since it moves much too slow for comfort, and taking damage knocks him off the pole. Use with caution.
Overall: This form exists purely for poles and is near useless when on the ground as it moves way too slowly and is not capable of dashing. It also has close to zero bossing powers even against elec-weak targets (perhaps one can always try doing a couple of charged moves, then transform back into a standard form again). One of the worse forms in game, but because of how poles normally (almost always) lead to important objectives you will use him again and again. 2/10.
This form is rather interesting. It is your first marine form which can navigate freely in water, and is the only form to have an invincible part. It fires ice arrows, which is an average attack you won’t find much use for the game (aside from deactivating some ice based switches). It’s most valuable part comes in the charged Time Bomb, which is actually one of the most broken abilities in the game. It basically slows time for a period, allowing one to pull off gimmicks like entering to-be-closing doors or fight hard bosses easier. This is Chronoforce’s only available ability when on the land.
Overall: Useful in water as it swims permanently (another aqua form Thetis gets knocked out of it upon damage), but is only used to drop Time Bombs on dry land. Time Bombs range from being useless (most bosses are perfectly manageable in Beginner mode) to extremely broken (if you ever have trouble with any fight, drop one for the difficulty to go down a few notches). Good support form. 5/10 (simply because of Time Bomb’s versatility).
Atlas (Model F)
Funny how Mega Man bosses are easier to beat compared to Pseudoroids, despite being way more usable.
Finally another Mega Man form (wall climbs and dash!). This form fires huge buster shots WHICH YOU CAN EDIT THE TRAJECTORIES (you can have two settings for your two arms). Absolutely amazing form to use at this stage as it deals generous amounts of damage. It can also fire straight up, which will destroy any mini boss that comes from above. You can half charge the attacks to throw a breaking-punch, or full charge it for a powerful short ranged fireball that ignites surfaces briefly or drop a fire mine. In terms of downsides, Atlas lacks the power to cover more close ranged threats from narrower angles and is weak to electric attacks.
Overall: Great form which can be used to replace Model A if one practices using this and the buster edit function. This is especially good to take out flying threats since it is so straightforward to use. Lacking in covering fast moving close range threats. 8/10.
Siarnaq (Model P)
This is the ninja form, with dark vision and a stage enemy scanner. One of my favourite forms in the game and being a Mega Man form is just one part of why. Its basic throwing knives are likely the fastest attacks in the game and they cover even a great deal of vertical ground as they spread out at further distances. This thing melts targets with no iframes like hot knife through butter. You can also tap the radar screen to fire knives at enemies even through obstacles, which can be coupled with your basic attack for even more damage, or use it to sneak cheap shots during hard fights. The charged attacks has two variants depending on your character, one forms a shield of shurikens around you which absorb hits, the other throws a huge shuriken which is tricky to use but can instantly destroy minibosses if used properly. This is all without taking account into its horizontal platform clinging ability, which allows him to navigate platforms, bars, and ceilings with ease.
Overall: One of the best forms to have and most satisfying to use. The ability to hang on stuff is also really appreciated for navigational purposes and the ingame enemy radar is one of the most useful functions so far. The game actually becomes much easier once you acquire this. 9/10
Aeolus (Model H)
Another Mega Man, and one of the most useful forms in the game. It has one of the highest maneuverability in the game due to being able to air dash, hover, and upward dash, on top of being able to wall climb. The enemy analyzer is not amazing, but it does gives you feedback on how far have you progressed with a miniboss fight. He fights with two sets of awesome saber attacks, and can be combo-ed in a sequence to fire a sonicboom slash which is always neat to have. Sabers are great for busting enemies quickly because they cover certain angles that shots are not able to reach. The charged shots involve wide-coverage tornadoes which is great for stunning foes and covering a large amount of enemies. Fights bosses and clears stages quickly if well practiced.
Overall: Personally I find Aeolus really overrated, or maybe I was extremely annoyed by his stage. Hovering is not that useful and the vertical dash is not as prominent as Buckfire’s jump (maybe because weapon energy regenerates really fast in Beginner’s?). Still it doesn’t take away how good of a boss fighter he is due to his access to a powerful saber attacks, triple slash and the tornados. Everyone loves swords and tornados. 8.5/10.
Thetis (Model L)
The Ice Mega Man form is actually pretty good to play with. While he is arguably not as useful as Model P or H, he is surprisingly rather solid. Firstly, it is an aqua form and it can swim and navigate underwater easily, and comes with a cyber elf that scouts items out, which is really neat to have when not using walkthroughs. Sometimes I find myself casually switching to Thetis just to scout stuff out on land. Secondly (or thirdly :/), his default melee attack is not shabby at all. It is quite a powerful halbard swing with good reach and can be used in rapid succession despite not having a hard-coded combo. Underwater this halbard absolutely destroys everything within melee range with rapid spinning attacks. Finally, he has two variants of Ice attacks that are tricky to use: a homing Ice Dragon and a Ice Spiked Ball which can be shattered into shards.
Overall: Actually quite useful on land to locate items (he also has the largest stage radar, allowing one to see whether pits are bottomless or not) and does quite a decent amount of damage with halbard. His only major downside is that the charged attacks are really tricky to use properly. Also, he gets knocked out of swim and can be difficult to determine whether he is swim mode or not, which can lead to a fair share of annoying mistakes. 7.5/10.
In my opinion, the most underrated form in the game ever. Many dismissed it as only usable to unlock those hanging scale obstacles, and absolutely outclassed by Queenbee. Vulturon is much more than that. Although his attacks (both the normal sound pulse and the guitar whack) are underwhelming, the sound attack hits through walls and platforms, which is useful to exterminate foes from weird angles. His mobility is in my opinion better than even Aeolus’s. The wall scaling/sticking ability gives one of the best vertical maneuvers in the game, and the horizontal hover is the best horizontal one. Combined, the two can be used to navigate difficult high areas easier than any other form in the game. Scale the walls for altitude, then hover to cross large horizontal distances, use sound attacks to clear any flying enemies from any angle. Most notably, he can be used to navigate the difficult Control Tower areas more effectively than Aeolus.
Overall: Not really much of a bosser a fast stage clearer, but his mobility is deceptively good. Give this a try when you see seemingly impossible objectives. 7/10.
The most mobile form in the game. The only playable form capable of true flight, quite possibly in the entire Megaman franchise. With careful tapping Queenbee can get anywhere, from high up areas to across long spaces full of spikes. The days of having to carefully calculate Buckfire’s jump or perform difficult Model H’s maneuvers are over. Queenbee is also the only form that can transport certain docked objects. Outside of flying though, she is quite difficult to use and you will never consider using her over the Mega Man forms or Buckfire.
Overall: It can really fly and transport stuff. Nuff said. Her attacks are sadly pathetic and clumsy to seriously use. 8/10.
Ohoho, this is The Mega Man form to use. It is no wonder you unlock this only late in the game. In terms of damage output, nothing in this game beats the almighty Model ZX. It has powerful charged buster shots which can easily blast through minions and bosses (you can keep your Model A’s busters in the locker now). Then we have the ZX Saber, quite probably the strongest weapon in game. You can perform wide triple slashes, multiple spinning slashes, and powerful charged slash with this, all of them dish out ridiculous amounts of damage. Timed properly, you can also release both charged shot and charged slash together for massive burst damage. This is the number one bossing form in this game (I have seen calculated spinning slashes instantly destroying a boss) and is still really good for dealing with stages due to its attack versatility with both gun and sword. Model ZX also has some extra attacks such as a downward stab that sends rocks flying, or an uppercut that launches a sonic boom.
Overall: It sucks that most plot scenarios automatically changes the character into Model A, because Model ZX outshines it in almost every possible way (except maybe Giga Crush). It is well rounded for melee and ranged, and becomes really easy to use once one masters the various saber moves (especially how to do multiple spinning slashes), and is borderline overpowered in beginner’s mode. It does nothing else aside from damage however. 9.5/10.
Argoyle and Ugoyle
This is the oddest form to use and is arguably the most useless form ever. It permanently skates-dashes but cannot perform the wall jump. It fires a weird bouncing throwing star projectile which can be aimed in various directions. Its specialty lies in its ability to summon Ugoyle in front of him, which can perform a kick. The kick can be combined with the throwing star to be launched at various angles. The only unique use this form has is to use Ugoyle and take items as it passes through any obstacle but only a short distance.
Overall: This form is confusing to use and doesn’t shine anywhere. It doesn’t clear stages fast, doesn’t do a lot of damage, doesn’t navigate well. It only use is to get close but out of reach items or do roundhouse kicks and launch the projectile for the lulz. Maybe it moves rather fast?..Many players never gave this form a second look for good reason. 1.5/10.
Surprisingly neat to use. It can replace the naked form entirely with its rolling dash. Definitely not Sonic inspired /sarcasm. If only it can well jump, which will make it almost as good as a Mega Man form. Otherwise it fires busters and can release fan-shaped charged electric blasts. The small size also allows it to pull off cute boss fights as most attacks will just fly overhead.
Overall: Essential for certain stages, cute and amusing during standard stage play and boss fights. Not really powerful but surprisingly usable and smooth to play. 7/10.
This is notable for being the largest form in game, perhaps the largest playable model in the entire Mega Man franchise. This is a giant crocodile that moves at a slow speed and can be difficult to control as it cannot pass through lower ceilings and is difficult to determine if it is in contact with enemy or spike. It offers no unique utility aside from being able to crunch through a certain kind of solid yellow block. It can also destroy other normally indestructible objects like EMP with the crunch attack. Sometimes it can also crunch normally unreachable objects and enemies through obstacles because of its tremendous reach granted by its size. Otherwise, it is useless and clumsy, although entertaining to use. Its attacks include firing metal wheels, a huge crunch, and firing a barrage of ice fangs. He can also use his size for certain hilariously powerful attacks, such as turning his body to perform a massive tail whip, and stomping on enemies by jumping on them.
Overall: Honestly as useless as Rospark, but way more entertaining to use. 3.5/10.
That is pretty much it for Megaman ZX Advent. I may add this into IGN, but otherwise I am mostly done with this title. For this segment, I didn’t really take into account of the differences in usability between Ashe’s forms and Gray’s. The differences are not exactly minor but I doubt they change my judgment much. It has been a great ride thus far, and I am happy to wrap this up. Looking forward to more Megaman ZX games! For those who haven’t checked this game out, feel free to read my review 🙂