Review by Klaej
"Video Game History and a Fantastic Game"
Mega Man Anniversary Collection--this is not simply a game, or simly a game compilation. This is a masterpeice, composed of 10 masterpeices and a hoarde of unlockable goodies. Mega Man was an incredible and groundbreaking video game released in the US in 1987, which introduced many great concepts, including a nonlinear stage progression, and stealing your foes' own abilities from them. It spawned numerous direct sequels and countless spinoff series, both directly and indirectly connected to the original, classic and in my opinion, best of them all--the classic, original series, which is almost completely contained in this disc. Combined with Mega Man and Bass for the gameboy advance as well as the counterpart to this collection featuring the old Gameboy Mega Man titles coming out for the GBA later this year, every single major installment in this series will be playable on the Nintendo Gamecube, provided you have a Gameboy Player. Now for the breakdown.
The graphics in this game aren't enhanced (for the most part) from their original versions. This may be an obstacle or even a shame to some player, but to fans of the originals or even new players who respect how games were meant to be, this is the best way. It might have been night to have an option for enhanced graphics like there are options for so many other enhanced features in this collction, but the lack of it really isn't a big deal at all. Each title has superior graphics for its time, and the graphical emulation is so amazingly smooth that it almost seems even better now than it did in the old days, even if it does still keep all the little graphical quirks like blinking sprites at certain places, which are really more good than bad for nostalgia's sake. In addition, there is the new option for 'Navi Mode' in the Anniversary Collectoin. I'll explain Navi Mode in more detail in the Gameplay section, but for now I'll just tell you that in addition to many other things, it gives you a HUD (heads-up display) similar to newer Megaman games, much smoother menu screens for the older games, and well-drawn icons for all the special weapons.
The sound and music of the Mega Man games are equally as well-implimented and brought to the GameCube as the graphics. The sound music of Mega Man was already outstanding, but the sounds seem even better on this collection. You can even change the sound/music volumes in the main options menu to suit your tates, and I can't fail to mention the unlockable remixes of Mega Man tracks and the remixed medley of Mega Man intro tunes in the game's main menu. The downside is that the GameCube version doesn't have the remixed music in 'Navi Mode' that the Ps2 version does, but don't fret! I was disappoined for that reason since I had the GCN version pre-ordered at the time, but honestly, it's NO big deal! From what I've heard the Ps2's remixes aren't anything to get worked up about, and the originals are good enough anyway. But there is one other problem with sound that keeps me from giving it a perfect score--sometimes the music will 'cut off' at parts, a problem that I've especially experienced with Megaman 7, but it seems to only be a problem with short tunes. And also, it seems like longer, stage tracks will 'reset' sometimes, unlike on the NES/SNES/PSX where they looped forever. Of course, so far I've only experienced the latter sound problem with some of the NES games.
The gameplay of all the originals was just as unhindered as the graphics and most of the sound. And better yet, with Navi Mode and the addition of the two unlockable arcade blasts, the gameplay is even better than what you'd probably have expected. 'Navi Mode', in case you've been wondering up until this point, is a feature that you can turn on or off, that enables several small but nonetheless cool improvements in the older Mega Man titles that make them as accessible and easy to play as the newer titles. Among other improvements, some listed above, Navi Mode assigns rapid-fire buster shooting to the Y button, quick-use sliding to the X button, and quick shifting between weapons with the L and R buttons. Also, this collection has the option to put any game on Easy mode, whereas before that was only possible on Mega Man 2. You can also add the number of lives you begin with. These options combined with Navi Mode make the games in Anniversary Collecton much easier to play, and easy to pick up for newbies who missed out the heavy challenges of the original versions. Of course, all options can also be turned off for a true classic Mega Man experience.
The popular gripe is that the controls are horrible in the GameCube version of MMAC because Jump is assigned to the B button and Shoot is assigned to the A button, whereas in older consoles and even current ones the setup was opposite, or the closest thing to opposite as the newer consoles can get. But honestly, coming from a true Mega Man veteran that melded himself to those controls for years, I find it very easy to adjust to the new ones. The way the GameCube controller is set up, it's really the better decision if you think about it. And besides the two main actions, the rest of the controller is great for all the other features such as Navi Mode buttons and controls with either a joystick or control pad. The Z button is also great for easy access to your menu screen while the Start button gives you further options and in-game hints/maps with Navi Mode. The controls aren't perfect, but they are nothing to worry about at all.
There are some slight flaws with this game, and honestly the controls and added music might give the PlayStation 2 version a slight edge. But really, you get the better deal as far as unlockables on the GCN as you get creator interviews instead of a cartoon episode (the dvds are on their way, anyway) and there's such a lack of things wrong with this game, even in the GameCube version, that I don't see why you wouldn't instantly buy this for the system that continues the lineage of those which housed most of Mega Man's origins in the first place. Get Mega Man Anniversary Collection for the Nintendo Gamecube, whether you're a longtime Mega-vet or a newcomer that wants to see what the Blue Bomber was like before Battle Network and Legends. You will not be disappointed.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 06/24/04
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