Review by DJellybean

"Easily one of Capcom's rare gems."

It's been 15 years(or 17 depending on how you look at it) since Mega Man made its way onto the 8-bit world(albeit on one of the most horrid box arts for a game) and it's amazing that the formula hasn't changed. Though the Mega Man name has died somewhat the past few years, many still remember one of Nintendo's finest gems in Mega Man. Amazingly, what separates Mega Man 1 and Mega Man 8 are the graphics. You still play through various stages of your choosing, defeating bosses and taking their power to use against other robots and eventually making your way towards Wily's Lab to thwart Wily's plans once again. The game offers 10(well, maybe 8) quality games, and no...this isn't some poor arcade collection of various Pac-Man incarnations and Pong(although who can't resist 20 straight hours of Pong?) or games you'll never play. Even the first Mega Man game is worthy of attention to next generation gamers engulfed in the current days of Playstation 2 and Gamecube. The game's collection is MM1-8 and Mega Man Power Battles and Mega Man Power Fighters. Though I would have gladly traded for Rockman and Forte for the 2 latter titles, nonetheless this is an impressive collection all bundled onto one neat disc.

Graphically, the games are pretty much untouched. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing depends on the player. It would have been nice to see graphical enhancements done to the first 6 Mega Man games (like Nintendo did with Super Mario Bros. 3 in Super Mario Advance 4), but that probably would have jumped the price of the game up a notch, so I'm not complaining. All the glitches and old palettes that you remember from Mega Man games are still here. This was probably Capcom's way of allowing new Mega Man players to witness the transformation that the franchise has gone through the past 15 years in the US. There is a clear boundary between the graphics in MM1-6 and MM7, but that boundary isn't so clear between MM7-8. MM7 and MM8 do not stand out from each other significantly with exception to MM8's greater variety of color usage and nearly 4x the animation. The 2 extra Mega Man arcade games are pretty much your standard CPS-2 affair; bright and vivid colors, motionful backgrounds, and smooth 2-D animation.

The first Mega Man game had some sound difficulties, as one sound would overlap the other, but that "problem" has been fixed here. You can adjust the sound effects and music settings in the options, which is a blessing as I find myself turning down the sound effects at half notch to reminisce in some retro music. With exception to MM7-8, MM1-6(though it appears the music in MM1 seems to be untouched for the most part) has most of its tracks remixed. Some sound a bit orchestrated while most is remixed with computer generated music that seems to have a techno/trance feel to them. You do get to hear them while playing in stage, but for those purists out there, an option is available to turn the remixed tracks off (the game's Navi mode). Otherwise the music is just as you expect, untampered. Though I do suggest leaving Navi Mode on, as some of the remixed tracks really keep the music up to date.

The game's replay value is tremendous. Of course you wouldn't want to play all these games over again, as many of them provide very frustrating challenges. The extras in the game however aren't so tremendous. Completing each game(with exception to Mega Man 5) will unlock an extra that the game provides. Though these extras usually don't warrant completing an entire game, they all depend on the player. Most of the extras are just soundtracks of the MM series, pictures sets(sets of 10), and even credits to Atomic Planet, who helped produce this compilation. The main gem in the extras is the dubbed first episode of Mega Man "The Beginning." They even left in the parts "Mega Man will be right back" and "Now back to Mega Man" that were meant for on-air broadcasts. Nonetheless, this single DVD gives players a tremendous history about Mega Man and gives them a first glimpse of the short-lived Mega Man animated series. The games alone warrant a high replay value.

Gameplay is your traditional Mega Man fanfare. The formula hasn't changed since MM1 and even the 2 arcade games included use this very formula. Mega Man really requires 2 buttons and a directional pad, one to jump and one to shoot. Although this simple layout often hides the somewhat complex gameplay that is Mega Man. Every Mega Man game allows you to choose which stage you want to pursue first. Each boss in each stage has its own patterns to memorize and you therefor absorb the power of the boss to use against other robots. The stages themselves can be relaxing or frustrating to play through at times. These games simply are not just run and jump affair, they require real skill to pass through and these challenges can even irk the most veteran of gamers. These patterns persist throughout the entire Mega Man series.

There are no major enhancements to these games, but MM1-7 seems to have been given a slight touch (though there is an option to turn this off). The game's Navi mode allows in-game hints as well as a new pause menu interface that makes it easier to select which weapon you wish to use instead of having to guess between the letters that the previous versions of the games had. What's new to these games are additions, not alterations. The X button acts as jump and square button acts as fire. However, the triangle button acts as rapid fire (which is a blessing in a sense), and the circle button acts as a dash(at least in MM3-7, otherwise it's just another jump button). What's a welcome addition is the use of the R1 and L1 buttons. These buttons allows Mega Man to change into his acquired powers without having to go to the pause menu, a nice change for folks too lazy to spend 5 seconds on the pause menu. In later games like MM6, R2 and L2 allows Mega Man to switch from his peripheral powers such as Rush and Mega Man's jet pack. The use of R2 and L2 buttons are a welcomed change for those who don't want any stop in the action.

MM1-2 didn't have a slide for Mega Man, a signature move that's a part of Mega Man. It wasn't until MM4 that Mega Man was able to charge his Mega Buster. Obviously these 2 features had a significant impact on Mega Man's history and it allows the player to see the progession, not only in Mega Man's ability, but also the progression of boss strategies. Another plus is that the games' password systems are unchanged. So you can sift through codes to play Wily's stage and get the extras in about an hour, or however long it takes to beat the 8 Wily stages and the pre-Wily boss stages.

There really is no gripe about the gameplay in Mega Man, except one. Although the auto-save feature is a welcomed feature, what it doesn't do is save the amount of energy tanks one has. In MM2-6, you can have 9 energy tanks, but once you turn off the console, the energy tanks are gone(this does not happen in MM7 as obviously you usually pay for energy tanks). Though continuing the game or selecting a new stage does not lose the player any energy tanks. Another gripe about saving is that the game makes unnecessary saves during Wily's stages and pre-Wily-post-Master-robot-stages. Because you cannot save the amount of energy tanks that you have and every time you turn off the console you must start the boss stages completely over again(of course Master Robot stages are saved). Though this is a minor gripe, it would have been nice to see a save feature actually save everything.

This game is not worthy of a rent, it's an obvious buy. Though this collection is generally aimed to appease those familiar with Mega Man since the late 80's, next generation gamers can appreciate this collection as MM2-6 were generally the most sought after games for the Nintendo in its prime. To get these games conveniently in one disc is truly a blessing, no number of emulators or ROMs can match the collection of playing all these games on your PS2 console. Though in recent years, Capcom's quality of games have taken a bit of a dive and even its Resident Evil series isn't nearly as appealing anymore. However, nothing says Capcom more than Street Fighter or Mega Man, the true and original franchises that put Capcom on the video game map. Not buying this collection would truly be a shame to gamers everywhere, even to those new to Mega Man.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/14/04

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