Review by DragonShadow

"6 Perfect Ports, 1 Good Port, 1 Unstable Port, and 2 Worthless Arcade Games."

Megaman Anniversary Collection

Because this is ten games in one, the newest of which is 7/8 years old now, I won't be rating by my normal methods. If you want this game, you're probably a Megaman fan, so I'll group the games depending on the comments I have about them.

However, before I do, it should be noted that I HATE THESE CONTROLS. Somebody thought it'd be a good idea to make the A button fire and the B button jump in every single game. Well it WASN'T! In the MM games you've ALWAYS pressed "jump" with the pad of your thumb and "fire" with the tip. It's got to be engraved in stone somewhere. But no they reversed it, giving you an automatic handicap in playing the games. Other than that though, the games control fine when you get used to using the GC's less-than-perfectly-accessible D-Pad (The analog stick is too imprecise for these games). Also control related, they took Megaman 1-6 and added two great options. 1, the L/R buttons now cycle through weapons like the SNES and up games. 2: C-Stick cycles through Rush modes and extra Items, which has NEVER been done before. Great stuff. Plus, the Y button is an auto-fire attack in MM 1-6 (It's REALLY good in 1-3, where you can't charge your Megabuster anyway), though why they made it the Y button I have no idea. The only way to jump and use it is to crane your right index finger over the top of the controller. Actually, I found this method of control probably more comfortable and intuitive than the B-Jump/A-Fire method. And the X-Button? Starting in games where you could do it, it slides.

Megaman 1-6: 10

These ports are simply perfect. Though how hard can it be to make something run an NES game? Not very, and they did a wonderful job. Everything in these games is perfectly reproduced. Though occasionally the control can hiccup. I think I was playing MM3 where if I grabbed an item and let go of the D-Pad, he would still keep walking, usually right off a ledge. Other than that though, great reproductions. If you've never played these games before, you play as "Super Fighting Robot: Megaman" (in the immortal words of the original cartoon series). You can play through any boss stage you like from the beginning. 6 in game 1, 12 in game 3 (counting the "second round"), 8 in the rest. As you defeat robot masters, you gain their powers, and the game becomes incrementally easier to play. For most of the games anyway. Let's split them individually...

Megaman 1: This game is the start, and as such, very simple. Only 6 bosses before Wily's castle, and one extra item to collect. The bosses aren't too hard if you defeat them in a certain order, in fact they can be downright easy. It can still be challenging though. Great fun.

Megaman 2: More bosses to kill, but nothing to collect (you get the Items from bosses), more great fun. The bosses can be difficult if you're unprepared, but again, take them in the right order and you'll smoke them all. On a side note, I don't know if this is how it worked in the original, but the Quick Boomerang can kill anything in this version with relative ease (Especially if you take advantage of the autofire button). Even bosses it's not really supposed to work against.

Megaman 3: The defining classic of the series, this set the groundwork for the future with the introduction of Rush, Protoman, and Megaman's patented slide. 8 primary bosses, with 4 extra levels, 3 Rush Modes, several extra items, and more play than you can shake a stick at. This game is revered as the best (along with Megaman 2), so having them both on one disk would probably be worth 30 dollars even without the others.

Megaman 4: Completed the picture by giving Megaman his charging Megabuster. One pathetically easy boss aside, the game is great fun to play through. The levels are fairly challenging without being pathetically easy. Once again, several Rush modes automatically gained plus several extra Items scattered around the levels. Great fun, of course.

Megaman 5: This one saw the introduction of Beat the Bird (who I didn't know was a real killing force originally). The bosses... well, I killed most of them with nothing more than my Megabuster, so they're actually quite a bit easier than the other games. Still, the levels are fun, and there's plenty to collect (You have to find an item in each stage to unlock Beat).

Megaman 6: It seems like every level has divergent paths in this game, depending on what powers you have and decide to use at any given time. Rush was redesigned as a bodysuit and condensed into "Jet" and "Power" modes. The jet is a jetpack that lets Megaman fly for short periods, and Power halves his charge time and makes him stronger, but makes his range a fraction of his normal buster. You still have to collect items for Beat, but only 4 this time instead of 8. The bosses are tougher than 5's too, so it's great fun all around really.

Megaman 7: 8

Megaman 7 was the Blue Bomber's sole SNES incarnation (in the proper series at least. There were various sports and subgames released) and made the last important character introduction of Bass and Treble. And honestly, I think it's one of the best games. There are LOTS of items to collect. Just about every "extra" power (aside from good ol' Rush Coil) has to be found in a level or bought from Auto's store (after finding his big bolt in a level, of course). That's a lot of collecting with two more Rush modes, Beat, the 4-part S. Adaptor (combination of the Jet and Power suits from MM6), a power upgrade for the S. Adaptor, and the 3 stage Protoshield. The weapons you gain from the bosses can be used to affect the environment of other stages, like powering machines with the lightning weapon or freezing lava with the ice weapon. For the bosses, you only got to select from 4 at first, with the others appearing halfway through, and the bosses could be hard if you used only the Megabuster, but were cakewalks if you had their weapons (Except Slashman, he still kills me sometimes). Levels were pretty entertaining too. And I absolutely loved the ending.

But this is a port, and the SNES is a bit more complicated than the NES. There are occasional frame rate hiccups and the sound can seem a bit off-kilter on occasion (I swear the music is way too high). Other than that, the game survived the translation from cart to CD fairly well. Strangely, they didn't add any controls to this one like they did with the NES games. You cannot use the C-Stick to switch between extra weapons and items, and the pause screen is just a three-selection menu (where in the other games it was a rather fancy display). Sadly, this trend of less-care-for-newer-games continues solidly into the next game...

Megaman 8: 5

This was a good game originally on the PlayStation. It was a little on the short side, with only 4 levels in Wily's Castle, but still good fun. It's basically the same as Megaman 7, but now all you collect in stages (that you don't get automatically from sub-bosses) are bolts you can spend to upgrade Megaman's core abilities. Not bad, but I preferred hunting for useful items than for bolts. The game's boss layout is the same as 7's. 4 at first, then halfway through the next four show up. It's a good game on its own, but for some reason in the transition from PlayStation to GameCube something went horribly wrong...

For the most part, the game is smooth (though it doesn't look quite as smooth and clean as the PS version). You can be barreling down a street with all kinds of enemies passing by you, and it runs fine. But when Frostman appears onscreen the entire picture goes into slowdown mode. Actually, it slows down for almost all of the bosses (especially Frostman, Swordman, and Searchman, but strangely, I didn't notice any for Tenguman or Astroman) I don't know why, but it looks pretty bad. The game just can't keep up. But probably the worst of the lot, by far, is Aquaman. I don't know who was in charge of the audio during the Aquaman fight, but they must have been drunk as a skunk and got fired the next day. The audio levels are completely random. Effects that should be moderately loud are BOOMING, while other effects are barely audible. And someone hit the fast-forward button on his voice, giving his annoying nasally tone a Chipmunk effect throughout the entire battle. This also happened to a few of Searchman's lines, but not all of them. Through the game any time there's a sudden pop or explosion it's so loud you'd better keep anyone with a weak heart out of the room. Fluctuating audio and slowdown during boss fights aside, the game isn't brought over too badly. But if you really want to play this game after you buy the collection, go find a used copy of the PS version for 5 or 10 bucks. It'll be a much better experience, and it'll control better too.

Megaman The Power Battles 1-2: 3

The much talked about and very rare Megaman fighting games. Honestly, I'm glad I never plunked a quarter into an arcade cabinet for this. But since I basically got them for free as diversions, they don't get 1's. Really, the experience these games provide can basically be had by taking the levels out of the actual Megaman games, your only attack is shooting and using the weapons you got from previous bosses. The bosses use the same patterns here they do in the opriginal games mostly. You can't even play as Cutman or Elecman, you're restricted to Megaman, Protoman and Bass (Plus Duo for number 2). I think they're not worth any money, but again since they're free, they're amusing diversions, and a great way to FINALLY get to play as Protoman. I will give the second one credit though for surprising me slightly with Protoman's ending, makes me mad that they ended the series with that kind of plot thread hanging loose.

Overall: 8

Megaman 1-7 alone are worth the package, they're all great games in their own right and having them all together is a great experience all around. Very well ported. Like I said though, if you wanna play 8, go find the original version, and the arcade games aren't good as much more than minor diversions. Still a great value.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/13/04

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