ReviewBen Butzow (pestulio07)
I love Mega Man. I mean, I LOVE this guy. Yes, possibly even in that way.
As a kid, I couldn’t beat any of the Mega Man (MM) games I owned. Still, there was just something about the “Blue Bomber” that I absolutely adored. Every Saturday, I’d watch the super cheesy Mega Man cartoon (the whole series of which is available on YouTube), I had (and still have) all sorts of action figures from the series. I’d frequent fan site MMHP on a daily basis, and even though I couldn’t beat them, I’d still play the games all the time.
What better way is there to celebrate this fan favorite character than with the mega month of Mega May! Last Year, Nintendo began this young tradition by releasing six Mega Man games on the Wii U and 3DS virtual consoles, and they’re doing it again in 2015. Capcom may be dropping the ball with this cash cow, but Nintendo sure is trying to keep the spirit alive!
As of May 7th, Nintendo has released the Gameboy Advance version of the 1998 SNES game Megaman & Bass. This side-scroller gives players the choice of Mega Man or his rival, Bass, as they fight through an original story. The look and feel of the game is very similar to that of MM8, so if you enjoyed that one, this is worth a try.
The rest of Mega May’s 2015 Wii U virtual console releases will play out as follows:
5/7 – Mega Man & Bass (GBA)
5/14 – Mega Man Battle Network 3: Blue/White (GBA)
5/21 – Mega Man Zero 2 (GBA)
5/28 – Mega Man Battle Network 4: Blue Moon/Red Sun (GBA)
Each game is priced at $7.99, so unless you happen to have your old copies laying around, chances are you won’t get this deal on eBay. Also released this week was the Mega Man Legends spin-off title The Misadventures of Tron Bonne on the Playstation Network Store. $5.99 on PSN will get you what $250 would on eBay.
So let’s start out Mega May with one of my favorite and more recent acquisitions, the Mega Man Anniversary Collection!
Released in 2004 for Playstation 2, GameCube, and Xbox, this package included MM 1-6 (NES), MM7 (SNES), and MM8 (PSOne). It also included both Mega Man: The Power Fighters, and The Power Battle (Arcade) as unlockables. Among the other unlockable content was game music, concept art, and even a full episode of the Mega Man cartoon (PS2 version only).
As if all of that wasn’t enough to make this one of the must own games of the PS2/GC/Xbox era, the game also included interactive menus, a save function, easy mode for people like me, and a “Navi mode” for newcomers to the series. Navi mode teaches players the very basics of the series, and gives hints on how to find some of the series’ shortcuts or hidden items along the way. Of course the easy difficulty and Navi mode are completely optional, so hardcore fans can still play the games just as they were on their original systems. If you’re ever planning on picking up even one of these games in the future, this is the way to do it.
Going through each game individually, while fun, would take me months. So instead, I’ve chosen to highlight a few must-try parts of the Anniversary Collection.
1 – Mega Man: The Power Battle/Fighters
No matter which one of these two you decide to try, the arcade-exclusive Mega Man fighting games are a great time. When I was 12, I bumped into an arcade that housed one of these games once; never again until I saw it at a convention last year. They’re not easy to find, and this is a perfect way to play them: quarter free.
In The Power Battle (1995) players can choose to fight as Mega Man, his brother Proto Man, or their rival Bass. The game foregoes the typical level system, and instead pits one or two players against the bosses of six previous Mega Man stages. After that, it’s time to take on Dr. Wily and his mini-bosses.
The Power Fighters (1996) added newcomer Duo of Mega Man 8 to the mix of playable fighters. The core game play remained the same, but gave players three different story lines to play through, each with it’s own unique set of robot masters to fight. Fun fact: This game also includes the first appearance of Mega Man X’s partner Zero!
Both games are very easy to unlock within the Anniversary Collection. Either game can be unlocked by entering a password, or reaching certain areas in the original games. These two arcade brawlers carry a lot of charm within their well crafted sprites, beautiful stages, remixed music, and enjoyable co-op.
2 – Mega Man 2
It is very true that MM 1-6 are largely the same, albeit with varied bosses, stages, and the occasional new power-up. That said, MM 2 has a reputation among the originals of being the easiest. So why suggest this one?
Chances are if you’re playing this collection, you’ve tried the originals. The Anniversary Collection, while holding within it the same games that you would remember, do feel quite different when played on something other than an NES controller. Because of that, I suggest using MM 2 to break yourself in, and get the hang of the control scheme. Fundamentally, the game isn’t drastically different from any of the others in the series, but there are moments and stages within 2 that have become some of the fondest memories of dedicated Mega Fans.
3 – Mega Man 8
Yeah, I said it. For those who aren’t dedicated fans, let me fill you in quick: People HATED this game. Whether it’s because of the cheesy opening cutscene, the different feel of the controls, or the ludicrous bosses (yeah I will admit Clown Man is pretty dumb), it was far from a fan favorite.
You should, however, still give it a play through. MM 8 was the first non-Nintendo Mega Man game, released on the PSOne in 1996. With the graphical capabilities at the time, the game oozes charm. The visuals and sprites are a treat in every level, there’s plenty of challenge in every level, and the music is some of the catchiest I’ve encountered in any of the Mega Man games to date.
There you have it, all the proof you need that the Mega Man Anniversary Collection is a must-own title. All of this doesn’t even take the value into account! Given that the original cartridges can be anywhere from $50 into the hundreds, and this collection will only run you from $10 – $50, the choice is obvious. It’s never been easier to get your Mega Man fix on than right now.
Next week, we’ll be discussing some of Mega Man’s stranger outings…