Review by CarbunkleFlux
"...and what an anniversary it is! O_o"
This is honestly the kind of approach I feel developers -should- be taking when putting together 'classic' compilations, unlike say...what Nintendo did with their GBA 'NES Classics' series. All 8 Megaman games, plus Power Battles and Power Fighters (two co-op fighting games that never made it to America) all in one package with various goodies. God, how i've been anticipating the release of this collection. Whelp, a few weeks ago; I did indeed get it. And yes, there was a lot of awesome nostalgia fun ever after...but surely enough; the major flaws in this collection managed to get through the gleam of nostalgia :\. See more on that below.
Megaman Anniversary Collection is a straight up port (with enhancements) of Megaman 1-8, Power Battles and Power Fighters. For the most part, every game looks exactly like its original counterpart. Right down to the pixel. While most would see this as bad graphics; for a port the faithfulness to the originals, graphics-wise, is outstanding. The biggest standout here is the Navi mode, which provides Hi-res menus and HUD; though this is all pasted onto the original graphics and is only availiable for the 8-bit games. Said Hi-Res menus and HUD look fantastic for what they are. Oddly, it even fits the original graphics kind of well. The only major problem I see is that some games have odd resolutions- namely, the Power Battles/Fighters games where the characters look a bit squished.
Being straight up ports, the original OSTs for each game have returned in their 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit glory. Even the music in Megaman 8 skips in the same places it used to. Fantastic for nostalgia! Capcom, however, decided to take that extra step and provide a remixed OST in the Navi mode for Megaman 1-6. While the remixed OST sounds fantastic- the process of implementing it gives off this air of being not finished by any stretch of the imagination. You see, this is because there are many songs in Megaman 1-3 that have no remixed version. You'll go to a stage, hear the remixed boss-select; and suddenly be dumped in a stage with the original 8-bit track playing. Or play through a remixed stage only to fight a boss to a sine and square wave ensemble. To top that off, Megaman 4-6; which had fully remixed OSTs, have very poor music quality; often sounding like they're coming through a small mono-speaker radio. Ugh. In my opinion, if you're going to do something; you do it -all- the way. That they simply reused the remixes from Power Battles and Power Fighters in the first place for the remixed OST (for Megaman 1-3 at least) is irrelevant, as those remixes sound good anyway and fit the 8-bit games like a glove. It's that they didn't go all the way for the character and game series that put them on the market that bothers me. The pros still overwhelmingly outweigh the cons at this point, though.
Being ports, the gameplay is naturally left completely intact for all of the games. Which is fine by me! Pick one of the 8 bosses and go through your action-based stage to have a showdown with him at the end XD. You also take the boss' weapon when you defeat them; and bosses have a paper-scissors-rock style weakness to eachother's weapons. Megaman never really deviated from this formula, so that's all there is to the games. You can enjoy Megaman the way you remember it, with glitches and all completely intact; or you can turn on Navi mode and read characters throw useless and badly translated tips at you like 'Don't touch the spikes or you will die!' and have little character road-signs along the stages. There is also an auto-map provided in Navi mode; but why this is needed is completely beyond my comphrehension; as selecting bosses in any order notwithstanding, Megaman tends to be quite a linear experience. There is also an 'Easy' difficulty level for people who aren't used to the higher difficulty of older games or just feel like breezing right through. The oddest thing about all this, though, is that these options are entirely absent for Megaman 7 and 8. Which is extremely weird. Did Capcom just not want to implement it? It shows a huge laziness, which again really bothers me when it concerns the character that, you know, made them. The secrets are good for the nostalgia fan, but I didn't really care for them. There's a few songs, some picture galleries, a few episodes of the old Megaman cartoon and some more. It's a nice diversion from playing Megaman.
There are some big downsides though, in that one game in the collection isn't left completely "intact". This would be Megaman 7. Not only did Capcom cut out the ending, but they also chopped off a password that let all 8 bosses be unlocked at once in an extremely confusing move. Again, what do they have to gain from these weird and lazily done edits?
Either way, in this case; I reiterate that the pros still far, far outweigh the cons.
The Megaman games have never been huge on story; but some tend to be more cinematic then others. Then again, this translates to a single cutscene every so often. Most of the plot is either implied or in the instruction booklet. Basically, Rock is a robot made by Doctor Light to help around his lab. Lab assistant Dr. Wily betrays Dr. Light; which prompts Dr. Light to modify Rock into Megaman to combat Dr. Wily and his robot masters. Such is the beginning of a veeery long war against him that spans 8 games and who knows how many robots.
So, in closing; Capcom did more than expected for the Megaman Anniversary Collection...but yet, at the same time, didn't do enough O_o. They added remixed music for Megaman 1-6...but did a lazy job of it. Games are completely intact, though...with the exception of Megaman 7. Navi mode for all games...except Megaman 7 and 8. Yeah. It's weird how Capcom won't even lift their fingers nowadays for the character that really made them what they are today. Even so, the bottom line remains: This collection is very much worth your money. It has 10 excellent games and for the price its going now, it really can't be beaten.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 06/28/04
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