Review by WhyNotAl

"Review the history of the Blue Bomber"

Mega Man Anniversary Collection was created to celebrate Mega Man's fifteenth anniversary. This compilation contains the original eight Mega Man games, two unlockable Mega Man arcade games (previously unreleased in the United States), and many other unlockables. For those who don't know what Mega Man is, it is a game series about a blue robot who maintains the peace and fights for justice using his trusty mega buster arm cannon. His creator, Dr. Light, and his sister, Roll, support Mega Man as he fights with the help of his companions, including Rush the dog and Beat the bird. The main antagonist of the series is Dr. Wily, a robot creator and former assistant of Dr. Light. In each game, Dr. Wily attempts to rule the world by sending his robots to wreak havoc around the world. As Mega Man, the player must thwart Wily's plans.

Story: 3/10
The story is simple in most of the games: Dr. Wily has created a batch of robots to rule the world, and Mega Man sets off to stop Wily. Several of the later games try to spice things up by attempting to "trick" the player into thinking that the antagonist is someone else, but it is always obvious that it is Wily who is behind everything. The story gets old and repetitive, and in most of the games, the story is only referred to in the beginning and the end. The focus of the games is more on action, not story.

Gameplay: 10/10
This is where the series shines. The first halves of the games consists of mugshots of several robot masters that Mega Man must defeat in order to proceed to Wily. Players can pick any robot they want, which takes them through a level they must fight through before fighting the robot master itself. Since the player can pick any level to play in any order, this makes the games nonlinear. After defeating a robot master, Mega Man gains a version of the robot's weapon. Many of the robot masters are weak against another robot master's weapons, so this adds some strategy to the game by making the player decide which robot master to tackle with next. After defeating the robot masters, the players must go through the challenging Wily levels, defeat the robot masters a second time, and fight Wily himself. The difficulty ranges from normal to hard. Many of the bosses and platform sequences can get quite challenging. For those new to the series, a Navi Mode can be turned on to give the players hints and tips, and the difficulty and number of starting lives can be adjusted.

Control: 9/10
Controlling Mega Man is a cinch and VERY easy to pick up. Mega Man can be moved left and right, jump, shoot, move up and down ladders, and slide (in the later games). Newcomers will have no problem in controlling Mega Man's actions. The controls are tight and responsive; Mega Man does not delay when you push a button. In the first two games, Mega Man slides a little bit along the ground after walking (which can throw off timing for some), but this problem is not present in the other games. The controls are top-notch for a platformer.

Graphics: 5 to 7/10
The graphics vary depending on which game you are playing. Most of the Mega Man games were originally made on Nintendo, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the graphics may look "primitive" to some. Although the graphics were good during the times they were released, most of it looks simple now. Slowdown and flickering occurs occasionally in the earlier games, which may detract from gameplay for some while bring feelings of nostalgia to others. The graphics become too "cartoony" after the Nintendo incarnations, although this may be to attract younger gamers. Overall, the graphics are what one would expect from older games.

Sound: 8/10
The music in the series is catchy and fits the games. The moods of many of the levels and sequences are set by the music. The music is also memorable, and some may find themselves humming along the tunes or thinking about the music in their own minds. The sound, although not extraordinary, also fit the game, although Mega Man sounds less robotic and his buster sounds very weak in the later games. Overall, the music is good, the sounds are alright.

Replayability: 10/10
There are ten games in this compilation to play and many unlockables, so many will not put this compilation down easily. Many players will also be tempted to replay several of the games just to see if they can tackle the robot masters in a different order. The two arcade games can also last for awhile, especially if played with two players. You'll be playing this compilation every once in awhile after you have completed it.

Overall: 9/10
A great compilation for fans and newcomers alike. Great action and platforming, and memorable boss fights. The compilation is also a good deal; thirty dollars for ten games that would cost at least ten times as much if all bought individually. Every gamer should have a copy of this game since it shows the history of one of games' most famous icons.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/16/04

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