Review by Forbin

"Required playing for any self-respecting gamer."

The current generation of game consoles may have amazing 3-D graphics and Dolby sound, but as a kid who grew up with an NES I miss the simplicity and fun of playing games with nothing but a directional pad and two buttons. The Mega Man series was one of my absolute favorites back then, so the announcement of MMAC last year sounded pretty good – ALL of the games in the original series on one disc! Well, after a delay or two, the collection has finally arrived and it does not disappoint.

This collection contains: Mega Man 1-6 (originally released on the NES), Mega Man 7 (Super NES), Mega Man 8 (Playstation), and two (never released in the U.S.) arcade games: Mega Man: the Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters. The inclusion of the arcade games was a nice little extra, but the meat of this collection lies in Mega Man 1-8, and boy is it a lot of meat!

Game Play: 10

If you've ever played a Mega Man game before, you know what to expect. Well it's all here and preserved faithfully to the originals, yet one important thing: The NES games are NOT emulations, but have been reprogrammed to run on the new hardware. The explosions and all other animations run noticeably smoother than on the NES. The controls are perfect and very responsive, as should be expected. There are a couple additions to the original control scheme: a rapid-fire button which fires three shots at once (just like if you had a rapid controller back in the day), but more importantly, the L and R buttons cycle through your weapons just like in the X series. You'll still have to open up your menu to use items or Rush, but it's great to be able to switch weapons on the fly and makes for a more fun play experience. While the rapid fire may make things a little easier, it is also more fun. I've already played through and beat most of these games anyway, so it's great to just blast through everything. If you don't want to use it, you don't have to.

The autosave is another great feature and you will never have to write down a password for any of these games again. Again, it makes the game more fun because all you have to do is turn on your system and you can pick up right where you left off.

There are some load times when loading each game – probably around 10 to 15 seconds – but once you see the title screen you won't see any more loads at all except for after each level or when you die (when the game autosaves – this takes around 7-8 or so seconds but technically this is actually a ‘save' time!) Not bad at all.

You've probably heard of Navi mode. I think it's pretty cool, and if you want the original games intact you can leave it turned off. It gives you hints whenever an exclamation point pops up on the screen, and while I don't really have a use for this, it obviously makes it easier for a newbie or someone who isn't a big gamer to get into it, and this is a good thing since these games can be pretty challenging! Navi mode in the PS2 version also features remixed music, more on that later. There are new graphics for the weapons menus in MM1-3, and either beat or flip-top will point you in the right direction when there are multiple paths (this can actually be helpful every now and then). MM4-6 also feature level maps in Navi mode. Also, in addition to the weapons bar, you can actually see the number of uses you have left for each weapon, as well as how many lives you've got left if you're just using the mega buster. Pretty cool.
As for the arcade games, they are emulated perfectly. They're pretty easy since you have infinite continues, but they're fun to play for a little bit and VERY nice to look at.. Which leads us to…

Graphics: 10

While not much compared to what today's hardware is capable of, each of the NES games featured excellent graphics for its time, and I still think they look great. Everything is very clear and defined, and there is less flicker than in the originals, although strangely it crops up in some other places now. Although Mega Man 8 goes a little heavy on the pastels, it also features very well-animated characters.

Everything looks just like it always did, however you will see a “crawling” effect in the NES games thanks to the interlaced video mode unless you are using an S-Video cable or better, in which case the graphics look crystal clear. To those who have never played these games - it's not a big deal and you probably wouldn't notice.

Sound: 9

Fans of the series are well aware of this: the original Mega Man games contain some of the best video game music ever composed. It's all here and preserved perfectly for your listening pleasure! In addition to the original tracks, Navi mode contains remixes of select tracks from MM1-3 and ALL songs from MM4-6. In case you're curious, here's what was NOT remixed in the first three games:

MM1: stage select, Bomb Man, Ice Man, Fire Man, Wily stage 3&4, boss music
MM2: Flash Man, Metal Man, Wood Man, Quick Man, Wily stage intro, Wily stage 3&4
MM3: stage intro, Hard Man, Needle Man, Snake Man, Spark Man, Wily stage intro, all Wily stages

It's a little strange to go back and forth from hearing the original tunes and the remixes, but I guess it's better to have some than none as most of the remixes are fun and a couple are very good. A couple are just totally cheesy and there are some odd choices (what is UP with Magnet Man's stage?? and for some reason they decided to replace Top Man's stage the MM7 intro stage music!) but all in all, I think it's better to have the option to be able to listen to them than not (the Gamecube version does not have this feature). I particularly liked the remixes of Heat Man, Air Man, Guts Man, and the boss battles from Mega Man 2 and 3, and most of what I heard from MM 4, 5, and 6 was pretty good.

Re/play value: 9

It's the original Mega Man series on one disc. That's a lot of gaming, and considering that these are timeless games, I think that you'll be playing them more than once. (I know I have.) Unlockable extras include music remixes, original artwork, and an episode of the (American) Mega Man animated series.


Final Score: 10

I bought this game 3 days ago and have been practically glued to it ever since. This is no mere nostalgia- these games are still fun to play because they are excellent games. (OK, the nostalgia surely plays a part!) But seriously, every time I start playing this I just can't put it down. And best of all, it's only 30 bucks brand new. For the amount of pure FUN contained in this package it is more than a bargain. Old-school gamers, relive the magic, and new-schoolers, know your roots, as they say. This is a must-own for any fan of the blue bomber, or of video gaming, period.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/28/04


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