Mega Man Anniversary Collection Playstation 2 Review

Created in 1987 by Keiji Inafune, Mega Man has truly become one of video gaming's true icons. His image has spawned a cartoon series, action figures, and of course a series of video games that have lasted for 15 years. To celebrate this occasion, Capcom has produced the "Mega Man Anniversary Collection." Holding the 8 games from the original series and 2 bonus games, this is a must own disc for any classic gaming fan and anyone who may not have had the chance to experience these titles before. The entire idea of Mega Man was completely unique upon its launch on the NES. Taking the blue hero into action to combat 6 bosses, players gained their powers once they were defeated. Using one of the other bosses weapons that you earned also easily defeated certain bosses if used correctly. Playing the stages in the correct order was always the key to conquering the games quickly. Once everyone was defeated, players needed to conquer Dr. Wily by playing through his stronghold. Mega Man 2 is widely considered the highlight of the series. Bumping the number of bosses up to eight (where it would stay for the rest of the series), players continued their quest to eradicate Dr. Wily and end his reign of terror. The stage design here is the textbook that every game after it would follow and the challenge for a newcomer is set perfectly. The rest of the series was solid, though many the games hardly differ from each other. Mega Man 3 introduced the slide maneuver; MM4 has the distinction of being the first with the mega-buster, while MM5 and MM6 just coasted along (the sixth sequel was released on the NES by Nintendo themselves as Capcom thought the console was no longer profitable). Mega Man 7 was the only 16-bit entry to get a stateside release and it upgrades everything wonderfully. Some of the robots are a stretch (Spring Man?) but the solid gameplay and challenge the series is known for is still intact. Mega Man 8 was released for both the Saturn and Playstation and was the final game of the series (so far). The version included here is the Playstation rendition (the Saturn had a few extras that were not included on the PS One). Again, this is a solid entry that takes advantage of the hardware but does little separate itself from the rest of the series. The 2 extra games are "The Power Battles" and "The Power Fighters." These are unique arcade titles never before available in the US. Taking a cue from Capcom's hugely popular Street Fighter series, the game drops Mega Man, Bass, and Proto Man into 1-on-1 conflicts with just the bosses. These are a fun ride, but they are probably the weakest games on the disc. The most important aspect of any emulated game disc is how close these games play to the originals. In this case, almost flawlessly. There are a few odd glitches, but these are usually minor graphic hiccups and nothing that will not hinder gameplay. The controls are occasionally spotty (probably due to the pressure sensitive buttons), but a small adjustment period and you'll be on your way. All the little tricks are still intact as well. You can still make the chickens appear in Mega Man 2 and the select trick still does extra damage in Mega Man 1. A save system now replaces the passwords of old, but you can still use the passwords if you want to. All the old ones you remember will still work as well. Adding to the value of the game is the navi mode. This requires players to beat all the games in order. Once you have started the first game in this mode, you cannot play any of the other games in the series until it is beaten. As a bonus, you will have help to guide you through the stages (though the text clues are very poorly translated). Also while playing in this mode, die-hard fans will be pleased to hear re-mixed music for almost every game. Oddly, the first two games have the new music, but only certain stages. Beating specific bosses in the games will reveal loads of extras from a full episode of the original cartoon series (which is also available on DVD), new music, picture sets, and of course the two extra arcade games mention above. For those interested, the Gamecube version contains an interview with the series creator that is not on the PS2 version but not the cartoon. The Gamecube did not get the remixed music either. There has been no graphical upgrade to any of the games to preserve them properly (the navi mode does upgrade the menus and life bars, but that's it). The 8-bit games will look archaic to those who are used to millions of polygons, but the games still have their charm and for the hardware they ran on, they look spectacular in most cases. The 16 and 32-bit entries of course feature an upgrade in this department, re-drawing the title hero both times. The superb animation and luscious backgrounds are a sight to behold still today. This is a series that has long been known for it's spectacular music and this disc proves why. Though you'll always hear it debated, I've always felt that Mega Man 4 produced the best tunes (check out Dive Man and Skull Man's stages). The remixed music brings these games up to new levels (these are the same remixes from a Japanese collection of these games). It is a shame you just can't pop in the game and play with the music since you have to be in navi mode to hear them, but rest assured the challenge of playing the games in order is well worth it. This is a collection of games that every true gamer should own. These are not only some of the most famous games in the industry, but some of the best as well. Even if you own the original carts and either of the CD versions, the meager $29.99 retail on this set is worth it. This is a game that should require an immediate purchase. Note: The Gamecube version has been getting panned due to reversing the A and B buttons. If you have played this series for years with the original controller set, adjusting may very well be impossible. There is no controller config. If you have never played the games previously, you won't even notice the change.

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