If you’re from the Nintendo generation, you probably remember the Mega Man games. Capcom was releasing a lot of those games on the NES and they were all huge hits, spawning a new serie on the SNES and, later, on the Playstation. If you’ve started gaming on the N64 or on the GameCube though, you might have no idea what game I am talking about, but we’re going to change that. If you call yourself a true gamer, you have to get this collection. It features 8 of the best platform games ever made as well as 2 never released games here in America! Still not convinced? Keep on reading.
First of all, developer Atomic Planet had to port all of the games for the GameCube so you get more features than what you had in the original versions. You can still use the basic controls and the password screen, but they’ve added 2 new buttons as well as a save feature that saves how many bosses you’ve killed, so no need to write down all of those passwords again. The 2 new buttons are autofire and slide. Even though the button to slide is included in both Mega Man 7 and 8 since the SNES and PS controllers had more than 2 buttons, the NES controller only had 2, so it is a nice thing they’ve added it as it is much more simple to slide pressing 1 button than having to press down+jump. Secondly, there’s the autofire button. I’d say that using it is kind of like cheating, because in the old days we had to press the fire button extremely fast sometimes in order to destroy some ennemies, but with the autofire, you can just hold it down and it fires extremely fast and makes everything seem easy. They’ve also added R and L buttons on older games so you can switch abilities on the fly rather than having to open up the menu. Something that older gamers migh not like about the new controllers though is that they have inversed the fire and jump buttons and it doesn’t seem natural when you first pick up the controller. It only took me a few minutes to get used to it, and those playing for the first time won’t notice it, but some people were getting frustrated because of this. I don’t really see why as it’s really easy to get used to the new controls.
Then there’s the fact that they’ve added an easy difficulty setting as well as the possibility to start with more lives, and it removes all the fun in the games. Sure, it’s optionnal, and it can be helpful if you can’t get past a certain boss, but it kind of removes the challenge in the games. We had lots of fun restarting the same bosses over and over and trying to learn their patterns to defeat them, or remembering what was their weakness. With the easy difficulty, it seems like there isn’t any challenge anymore, so you’ll be blasting through the games in no time, which isn’t exactly something everyone wants. But since it’s only optional, there’s no reason in complaining here. You also get maps in some of the games and even though they’re not really useful, they’ve at least taken the time to do it. Something else I really liked about the presentation of the game is the fact that instead of having standard menus, you have to walk MegaMan around and enter doors for the different options or games and I thought that was pretty original and that more developers should take the time to do it. It even has one of the best Mega Man songs remixed playing in the background!
Now, doing a review of 10 games would be quite a task, so I’ll just give you a good idea of what the games are if you’ve never heard of Mega Man before. The story is quite simple: we are in the future and there’s the evil doctor Willy who has made some evil robots and wants to do evil things, so the good Doctor Light creates Mega Man in order to stop him. Nothing too complicated here, it’s your standard good and against evil thing, but it’s still good to know that there is some backstory to it, even though doctor Willy comes back in every game. So the goal of the game is to go into each stage and beat the end-stage boss, which is some kind of super robot, just like Mega Man. Those bosses also all have a certain ability, and by defeating them you gain that ability and you can then use it. So if you are fighting a robot that uses fire and you have the water ability, you’ll be able to deafeat it a lot more easily than with just your standard blaster.
On the way you’ll also get energy tanks that you can use to refill your energy bar when it is nearly depleted. Off course, your new abilities can’t be used indefinitely, so you’ll also have to refill those with some energy balls that you find when killing ennemies. But Mega Man also has other abilities he can use! He has his own dog, called Rush, and he can do various things. He can be used as a spring to help you get to higher areas that were unreachable before, as a jet to blast through the air, or as a submarine to go underwater. Rush is more used in certain games than in others, but when you defeat all bosses and then have to beat the doctor Willy stages, you get to use it a lot more as those stages seem to have more platforming elements that require Rush to complete them.
In Mega Man 7 and 8, you also find bolts when killing ennemies. Those bolts are used to upgrade Mega Man and make him stronger throughout the game. You spend those bolts on whatever you like when you are between 2 stages and it can help you by making the game a little bit easier. Something that was also really nice in Mega Man 7 is the fact that you can use certain weapons on walls or other machines in order to activate, for example, elevators or to reveal secret areas. There were also letters to find in order to spell a word and get some more stuff, and you could go back in stages you had already completed if you had missed them the first time.
Even though all of the Mega man games are classics, I still think that the more they made, the less original they were as it seems like the bosses in the later games weren’t really original compared to those in the first Mega Man games. Off course, there’s always at least one that you’ll remember, like Pharaoh Man from Mega Man 4, but it’s like the rest of the bosses in that game really sucked and you didn’t really care about them. It was still fun to play though, but not as fun as the first Mega Man, or, my favourite, Mega Man 2.
For this compilation though, they’ve added 2 Mega Man arcade games that were only released in Japan. You have to unlock them first in order to play them, and even though they don’t last very long, they are still fun and are a nice addition since most of us didn’t really know about them. They are Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters. As you probably guessed, they are fighting games featuring characters from the Mega Man universe as well as bosses from all the games. Everything that applied to the other games also apply for this one. That means that when you defeat a boss you get to use his ability, every boss has a weakness, and at the end you have to fight with doctor Willy. So you go from stage to stage and you fight every boss in order to save your friends and, of course, save the world.
Since these are all really old games, except maybe for the SNES and PS games, the graphics are exactly the same as they were in the 80s and early 90s. It might turn some gamers off, and it could have been cool if they had updated the graphics. But the most important thing about those games was the incredible gameplay they offered, and that hasn’t changed one bit, so you’ll get as much fun as you’d get with any newer games that uses the latest technology. Like I said, when you play on normal difficulty, it offers an incredible challenge. It also seems like they hit a peak with the last Mega Man games on the NES, and then it became easier afterwards. Some bosses really require some skills, while some you can nearly run after them and fire away.
The music also hasn’t been changed. On the PS2 version, you get the choice to use remixed music, but on the GC version, you only have the original music because there wasn’t enough space to fit it on the disc. Still, if you are nostalgic like me, you’ll only want to play with the original music anyway, and if I still remember some of the songs more than 10 years later, it’s probably because they were extremely good! Some of the music on the 7th and 8th game sound more kiddy, but if you go back to another one like Mega man 2, you’ll see that they were able to do some amazing stuff, even with only the NES hardware.
Since it doesn’t cost really much and features 10 wonderful games as well as some picture galleries, a few remixed tunes and interviews, I think that people should buy this compilation. Wether you are nostalgic or not, there’s no way you won’t like playing any of those games. It still offers a good challenge and with 10 games, it’ll last for some time. If you don’t believe me than rent it first, but I assure you, you’ll be hooked on those games for the next few weeks!