I made some more comparisons with Protoman, and you're absolutely right, there's something very off about him...
It seems to me like it has a lot to do with his face, his visor, and the positioning of the shine on it. I'm finding Protoman to be quite a challenge because he has a lot of details to fit into a small space and much of them being diagonally positioned things, and if simplified I find it just looks kinda lame (most of all the white part on his head), as with the example you showed me.
I actually came across those sprites recently, but couldn't go with them. They are quite good as a basic functional sprite for a Wily Wars Protoman... though almost everything about his head just feels too similar to NES quality to me overall (but a little more colorful).
I don't feel like it quite matches the perspective used by Megaman in Wily Wars. His head and visor looks kinda right in the direction it's facing (though maybe a slight bit too much forward at the screen), and his face and mouth looks like it's facing to the side just a little bit more. Speaking of which I'm realizing that the white part of his head is wrong-ish in mine as well (the square and stripe on Megaman is pretty far to the front).
Here's something I threw together (this is in no way finished or what I'm going with), just demonstrating how some small changes to the face, visor, and helmet at the side of his face makes him look at least a little more Protoman like than the previous one I did.
I quickly made an alternate stance just to compare, though it kinda looks like more like a full battle stance.... oh well.
And Photoshop is really laggy for me on Windows 10 (3 seconds per click to draw after a few mins of drawing), so I can't even draw much right now (it fluctuates, the past few days it's been unbearable).
When it comes to X (I hope we're thinking of the same thing, I'm only referring to my second drawing of him, the first one was a rough and more partial attempt), yeah I'm not really liking his stance either.
I wanted to try him with the same stance as regular Megaman (and actually I messed up the back leg, it needs to be extended back slightly more to better achieve that), but I think he needs his arms up a little and his front leg bent more too, kinda like the example you put together. I do want the gfx to look a little more rich though, and not so plain and basic....
How do you feel about X's Helmet though (regardless of how his face or anything else about him came out)?
I also attempted altering his size to be more technically correct compared to Classic Megaman, but maybe it just looks too big... hmmm.
When it comes to Classic Megaman, perhaps it's the shine on his Helmet blending too much with the rest of the shading on it that you don't like (I reduced it slightly just now), or is it just everything?
Or maybe you just don't like the extra colorful and shaded look as I did it really at all (or maybe it's the small shine spots)?
Because what I changed was his coloring and a few other little details, not much of his shape.
How much / little in comparison do you like how he looks while shooting from a ladder?
Sorry if that's too much info to read, and questions to answer.
But it is helpful to have some feedback to know what other people are seeing, and I like to be a little more descriptive with things like this so I can get at specifics better. I'll try to keep it shorter normally though.