Mega Man Anniversary Collection
-Also on: Gamecube, Xbox.
The almost complete adventures of the original Mega Man and the best compilation disc ever.
My favorite games of the NES are now in one convenient little disc on a system I actually have up and running. I can finally play all the games without worrying if my NES is going to work or not. I was surprised how much I remembered while playing the games, like whose weapon was best against what robot and the best way to advance in certain areas. A few times I had to experiment a little, but most of the time I knew exactly what to do. Mega Man Anniversary Collection contains all eight adventures of the original Mega Man. These games spanned from the NES with Mega Man 1-6, the SNES with 7, and to the Saturn and PS One with 8. Two unlockable games are the unfortunate Mega Man Power Battle games. Everything is the same as you remember it, from the usually good graphics and music to even the flicker and little slowdown of certain areas.
Please note that the individual scores do not affect the score of the compilation.
Mega Man (1987): The original Mega Man was revolutionary. It featured non-linear gameplay and it had one of the coolest ideas ever of allowing Mega Man to equip himself with the enemies’ weapons. I still feel that this is the most difficult installment in the series, mainly because you had to defeat it in one sitting, there were passwords or save back then. Sure, all the games featured precise jumping and fighting, but the original was the hardest. The graphics really show their age, but it is the original so you just have to love it for that. The evil robots still hold most of their originality, something that was lost as the series moved on.
Robot Highlights: Although many of these ‘bots had many imitators and bots with similar powers, the originals are just that: the originals. Gutsman is also the coolest of this game and he’s the only evil robot featured in three of the eight Mega Man games and had somewhat of a cameo in 8, and is still one of the only pure originals, but…
Robot Lowlights: …as cool as Gutsman is, his power in Mega Man 1 was useless if there weren’t any big blocks to throw around. This game also featured the hardest boss of all Mega Man games, the Rock Monster.
Rating for Mega Man: 7.5
Mega Man 2 (1988): The second game sees a few changes. The graphics look a little better and the music is some of the best in the series, particularly the theme song; it s the best of all the Mega Man games and still one of the best themes of any game. The energy and weapon power-ups look a little different and the energy tanks are introduced. The energy tanks can be used at a later time when Mega Man really needs an extra boost. Players get to see the outside of Dr. Wily’s castle for the first time. The evil robots move from robots with an actual function to robots with cool powers. For some reason, many of the robots are weak against Metal Man’s blades, making getting some of the other robot’s weapons a little pointless. Mega Man 2 was the game that really launched Mega Man popularity.
Robot Highlights: These ‘bots are so cool that they’re the only ones to all make an appearance in two games, Mega Man 2 and 3. For singular robots, Metal Man looked cool and had a weapon that many bosses were weak against. Gutsman returns as the meaner and much bigger Guts Dozer. I’ve also always liked the look of Quick man…
Robot Lowlights: … but I just hated fighting against him. He was definitely the hardest boss in the game, even with the Flash Stopper. Wood Man shows us that leaves can be used as an effective shield and Bubble Man shows the murderous ability of bubbles.
Rating for Mega Man 2: 9.0
Mega Man 3 (1990): Mega Man 3 sees further slightly improved graphics and more memorable tunes. It also introduces Mega Man’s robo-dog pal, Rush. Rush is a helpful little pooch that replaces the nameless “items” from Mega Man 2. Rush transforms into a jump platform, a jet board, and a mini sub. It may seem a little silly now, but back in the day this was very cool. We are also introduced to Break Man, later revealed to be Proto Man, Mega Man’s bother. Man, every time I play this game I get Proto Man’s theme stuck in my head. Upon defeating the eight new robots, and to lengthen the game a little, Mega Man travels through four of the stages again, although they are a little battle damaged. In these four stages the Mega Man 2 robots’ ghosts inhabit freakishly scary looking drone robots. The vicious Rock Monster from the first game also resurfaces, but thankfully, is much easier to defeat. All the evil robots’ weapons actually hurt another robot, so you never have a useless weapon.
Robot Highlights: Most of the Mega Man 3 robots are cool and still hold most of their originality, plus you get to fight the Mega Man 2 ‘bots again.
Robot Lowlights: Top Man is just an odd choice. Oooo, he’s gonna fight me with… tops? Hard Man: a large robo-phallus.
Rating for Mega Man 3: 9.0
Mega Man 4 (1991): The big change for Mega Man 4 is the addition of the charge shot for the Mega Buster. Now Mega Man has a decently powerful weapon available at all times. The designs for a few evil robots start losing some of their originality and get a little wacky. A new villain, Dr. Cossack, introduces himself, but is he really the one behind everything? Of course he’s not. Because of that Mega Man 4 has two castles to complete, not just Wily’s, which makes the game last a little longer. While the tunes are fine, they’re just not as memorable as those in the previous three games. Rush the Robo Dog returns and there are very useful items that are hidden in the stages. Proto Man also makes a very brief appearance.
Robot Highlights: Ring Man and Skull Man are my favorites in this game. Sure, Skull Man just uses the same shield introduced in MM2, but he looks pretty cool. Pharaoh Man seems like an odd choice, but he’s pretty good.
Robot Lowlights: Toad Man becomes very creepy when he starts gyrating his hips to attack. Bright Man is basically Flash Man (from MM2) in a new, tacky suit and Dive Man always looks constipated.
Rating for Mega Man 4: 8.0
Mega Man 5 (1992): It seems as though Proto Man has turned to the dark side as he kidnaps Dr. Light in the opening scene. Again, Mega Man has two castles to go through, one for Proto Man and the other for Wily, of course. If you collect all the letters of “MEGA MAN 5” then you receive Beat, a new bird robot that attacks enemies so Mega Man doesn’t have to. The letters are usually in harder-to-reach or risky spots. Rush returns, but this time the Coil is altered in a bad way and the submarine is absent. The strangest power-up of the Mega Man games also appears here. It’s the super arrow, an arrow with a suction cup at the end that can be used for as an additional platform. A cool gameplay tweak was Gravity Man’s stage, where most of the stage was played upside down. Star Man’s stage featured low gravity, which worked similar to the under water stages, but let Mega Man jump even higher.
Robot Highlights: Crystal Man and Napalm Man were pretty cool. The boss robots in Proto Man’s castle were also good and could almost have been headliner ‘bots on their own. I like to call them Tank Man, Shield Man, Mini-Gun Man, and Darkman. Darkman is the only one to have a name though.
Robot Lowlights: Charge Man, one of the absolute worst Mega Man robots, has a locomotive for a head.
Rating for Mega Man 5: 7.5
Mega Man 6 (1993): The final Mega Man game on the NES with a mysterious evil doer named Mr. X. I must say that Mr. X looks absolutely nothing like Dr. Wily wearing sunglasses. The music is really nothing special and it all sounds pretty similar. This is the first Mega Man game to feature multiple paths through some of the stages. Taking the harder path granted one of Beat’s parts. Collecting all the parts granted Mega Man the use of Beat. Rush’s forms are drastically changed. He transforms into power arms so Mega Man can bust up big blocks and the Rush jet gets changed to an awkward jetpack. As for Wily, the final battle with him is very easy. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something is missing in Mega Man 6. It just doesn’t feel much like the other Mega Man games.
Robot Highlights: There isn’t much here, but Centaur Man, with his four legs, is certainly an original design, but has a previously seen power (Flash Man, again). Seeing a few villains named after weapons is nice, but…
Robot Lowlights: …they just don’t look good at all. I didn't like them in '93 and I don't like them now.
Rating for Mega Man 6: 6.0
Mega Man 7 (1995): Wily has escaped from prison! Gee, I didn’t see that coming. 7 is the first and only 16-bit outing of the original Mega Man. This game sees lots of firsts for the series. This is the first time bits of story actually play throughout the game, not just the beginning and ending. This is the first appearance of rabble rousers Bass and Treble, Wily’s own version of Mega Man and Rush. This is also the first time Mega Man can collect bolts used to purchase power-ups and weapon upgrades from the new lame robo-mechanic Auto. For added gameplay, scrupulous gamers could hunt and dig around for the items instead of purchasing them. Various bosses’ weapons have certain environmental effects of some stages, certainly something new and welcome, but this means much back tracking and I hate backtracking. Rush’s coil and jet are back to the forms they’re supposed to be. However, Mega Man can still combine with Rush for extra firepower and jet-packing ability, which comes in very handy. Rush can also dig up power-ups and miscellaneous junk. Although it's better than Mega Man 6, Mega Man 7 seems to be missing a little of the Mega Man feel.
Robot Highlights: Slash Man has Wolverine claws and a never-before-seen slash attack that Mega Man can use. Although we’ve seen the power before, Freeze Man looks great.
Robot Lowlights: Shade Man looks stupid, is a sorry excuse for a scary robot, and joins the ranks of crappy Mega Man villains. Turbo Man transforms into a race car and shoots flame wheels. I’m not sure how Indy racing and fire fit together, but apparently they do. Shouldn’t the overweight Cloud Man be called Lightning Man? Wily’s final skull vehicle is the worst of the whole series.
Rating for Mega Man 7: 7.0
Mega Man 8 (1997): The original Mega Man makes his debut on the 32-bit consoles and the game is one of the best in the series. Right away you’ll notice the intro cut scene is fully animated. The same goes with the openings, ending and some additional story sequences through the game. These animated sequences would be so good if the voice acting wasn’t so incredibly bad. Seriously, this is some truly terrible voice acting, especially the dick-wad who voiced Dr. Light, making him the worst voiced character ever. EVER! Before each robot battle the robots say something, but they should probably have just kept their mouths shut. Mega Man 8 makes you realize how much more bad-ass it is to have a silent understanding of a battle between two fighters, rather than a lame comment. On the plus side, and I mean huge plus, the game features excellent visuals and some absolutely gorgeous animation. The amount of variety in the game is greater than ever before with each stage featuring some unique play mechanic. For example, Tengu Man’s stage gives you a full-fledged shooter section with plenty of foes and a boss at the end. Here Mega Man rides the Rush Jet and collects power-ups that bring Beat, Auto, and Eddie shooting along side you as options. Frost Man’s stage features a couple snowboarding sections and both of these gameplay elements welcome appear during Wily’s stages. Mega Man has finally learned how to swim and the water stages exploit his new ability.
Robot Highlights: Sword Man is nifty and gives Mega Man a brand new power of a flaming sword. Tengu Man is an original idea and while the snow/ice thing has been done plenty of times, Frost Man is friggen huge. Bass and Treble look way cool when they combine.
Robot Lowlights: Search Man is the Ambiguously Gay Duo of Mega Man games. Aqua Man shows you a rainbow before he fights you. Take that however you want. We finally hear Mega Man's voice and it is that of a 7-year-old girl.
Rating for Mega Man 8: 8.5
Mega Man: The Power Battle (1995): Take the sometimes epic boss battles of the Mega Man games, eliminate any sort of challenge or difficulty, make the game for kids and you’ll have Power Battles. Power Battles takes away any sort of challenge that the regular Mega Man games had. Mega Man still obtains the other bosses weapons, but you really don’t have to use them. The Mega Buster and every weapon pretty much take off the same amount of damage. The game is divided into three quests, one featuring robots from Mega Man 1 and 2, one with robots from 3-6, and one with robots from 7. Not a very good way to divi up the robots if you ask me. I’d say it should have been 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5-7. This could have eliminated some of the lamer robots making reappearances. It is nice to see some of these robots updated with better graphics, but the game is simply way too easy. You can choose to play as Mega Man, Proto Man, or Bass. There’s really no reason to play through it more than once with each character though as the endings are the same in each of the three stage selections.
Rating for Mega Man: The Power Battle: 6.0
Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters (1996): This is basically the same as Power Battle. It’s again incredibly easy and some of the backgrounds look almost identical to those in Power Battle. The biggest differences are a few different evil robots and the addition of Duo, the intergalactic super space robot from Mega Man 8, as a playable character. There are three different quests in this game. One has you rescuing Roll, one you just want to take down Wily, and the other you search for a new weapon. However, you do each of the three quests in every quest, so separating them completely pointless.
Rating for Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters: 6.0
The PS2 and Gamecube versions each have different extras, which is a stupid idea, so I'm only reviewing the extras for the PS2 version. The big extra is Navi mode, which gives the games remixed music during play and makes the games tons easier because Mega Man can do a triple shot from his Mega Buster. The remixed music is very cool, but not all the robots’ stages have remixed music. I am especially disappointed by the lack of remixed music in Mega Man 2 and 3, the two games that had the best music of all the Mega Man games. There are a few remixed tacks in each, but they should all have been remade. It makes the game feel incomplete, but I suppose any kind of extra like this is generous, considering Capcom didn’t have to do it at all.
The rest of the unlockables consist of more remade music tracks, a few concept art slide shows, and an episode of the horrid Mega Man cartoon. I would have liked to seen more concept or early design stuff, or some creator interviews. The Gamecube version has the interviews, but I’m not planning on buying these games a third time.
Also, why have the Power Battle/Fighters games when there are two other and better games that exist? I’m talking of initially strange, but highly entertaining Mega Man Soccer, and the Sega Genesis’ Mega Man: the Wily Wars. Wily Wars is a remake of Mega Man 1, 2, and 3, with improved graphics and an original game called Wily Tower, featuring some new robots. Both of these games would’ve been much better than the Power games. Heck, I would have been happy with just Mega Man Soccer.
Overall, Mega Man Anniversary Collection is the best compilation disc currently out, and it’ll probably hold that title for a long while. Now all we need is Mega Man 9; just think of how awesome it could be with today’s gaming tech.
Compilation Score: 9.0