Review by Zotmaster

"Looks Like I've Lost a Step"

Let me first start by saying that this game was, for me, a very interesting look at the fact that I have grown up. I have been playing games since I was about five, which was, well, before the 1990s. I guess that qualifies me as old. Needless to say, I remember Mega Man quite well, and once this collection came out, I was eager to take a step back in time and see how far it's come.

The journey was harder than I remember, but it was still a ton of fun.

For you purists, there are no Mega Man X games to gum up the experience. What we have here are Mega Man 1 through 8 immediately available, and two other games you can unlock as you play.

As you can expect, you won't get a whole lot of innovation once you get past the first three, but who cares? Tried and true gameplay is not, altogether, a bad thing. And who can argue with how cute lil' ol' Mega Man was? Not me. The series always had good music, too...oddly addictive. Of course, it's gameplay that matters, so I'll give you a quick rundown on the games, if, in case, you somehow managed to not play some of them (shame on you).

If you're afraid that Capcom messed with your favorites, don't fear. With a few exceptions (notably being able to save to a memory card), the games are exactly as you remember them, from 1987's Mega Man to the somewhat ill-fated but still sort of fun Mega Man 8 of 1997.

Speaking of the original, I have to say that "frustratingly hard" kind of begins to describe the first one, to me. Sure, I knew the perfect boss order to optimize killing them in rapid fashion, but you know what? I still died, over and over again, trying to get there. Jumping usually gets Mega Man killed, I've learned. It's not unlike the original Ninja Gaiden in that regard: every time you jump over a cliff, you can only guess as to what will hit you and cause you to fall into oblivion. There are also enemies capable of taking off more than one-third of your health in a single hit, and the bosses can dish out serious damage as well. Nonetheless, it's a true challenge of your reflexes and your ability to shoot really, really fast. So what can I say, it's still a ton of fun.

Mega Man 2 was more enjoyable than the first, simply because the regular bosses were more fun. I mean, come on, who doesn't love Quick Man's stage? The bosses were fun, the stages themselves were fun, and the "Item" powerups were cool too. My friend and I would argue about the best route through the game, so that's always a plus too. Needless to say, I played this one a lot.

Mega Man 4 and 5 weren't so bad, but they weren't exactly memorable. By the time the series had hit 6, I was wondering why they were continuing since Mega Man X was on the horizon, but 6 still has its moments.

7 and 8...ugh. The fruitiness of those games kind of threw me at first. I eventually got used to it, but by then, it was clear Capcom had more than milked this series for all it was worth. Not that these two can't still be fun, but to tell you the truth, the experience was kind of lacking for me at this point in the game.

The "Power Battles" - the games you can unlock - are something like Mega Man meets Street Fighter without the move set. I'll go ahead and recommend it if you're like me and are a huge Proto Man fan, because hey, you can play as Proto Man. It's good for one trip through but you probably won't play it much past that.

It's Mega Man 3, however, that continues to amaze me, even after all these years. Despite being the third one in the series, and not wholly innovative, it has some sort of simplistic charm that keeps me playing again and again. While the "hold right on controller 2 to jump really really high" trick has unfortunately been fixed, it's still just as enjoyable this time around. The fact that you also got to fight the Mega Man 2 bosses really added to the gameplay for me. The weapons were fun, sliding was cool, and to top it off, the game introduced Proto Man. How cool is that?

Bottom line: If you liked any of these games, go ahead and pick this up. If you're like me, though, the game just might have been a little easier when you were nine or ten: there's a ton of challenge here. Don't say you weren't warned.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 9
Innovation: 5
Gameplay: 9
Replay Value: 9
Overall: 92, rounded down to a 9

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/07/04

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