Written By Shaun McCracken

This game was long overdue, at least for me personally. For years, I have waited for SOME form of a collection of the classic Mega Man games be it on the Game Boy Advance or any home system. As the number of compilations grew from companies such as Midway, Namco, Atari and even SEGA, I wondered when would be the moment when Capcom would whether crap or get off the pot when it came to giving the Mega Man series a long overdue compilation, especially after seeing how well the Sonic Mega Collection did. Well, crapped Capcom did, in the form of the Mega Man Anniversary collection, which includes nearly every "numbered" game in the Mega Man series (1-8), as well as a couple of Mega Man based arcade games that has never been released in America. And all for $30. Is that a deal? Absolutely, considering that finding Mega Man 7 alone would cost you more than this collection. But as with all "classic" compilations, there is really the one big burning question: how well do they translate, that is, how well are they emulated?

In the past, we have seen many a classic compilation. While the games included are generally timeless and great in their own right, they can be horribly butchered by some bad emulation, and that's generally a concern with any compilation you decide to buy. Sure, things may be arcade (or console) perfect like the Namcomuseum series or Sonic Mega Collection, but you can't forget about the poor Sega Smash Pack for the Dreamcast or badly emulated versions of Midway's games on the GBA. Luckily, the Mega Man Anniversary Collection arrives on the Gamecube (as well as the PS2) with very few emulation quirks. It's not 100% perfect on every game, but it's very damn close to the original.

The NES installments (1-6) of the Mega Man games in the collection seem to have the best emulation, and that's great. The visuals are nearly identical (if not a little sharper), the sound is on key (other than the odd pause when the music loops after 10 minutes or so), and the control is tight. This is what you expect when you buy a compilation. Mega Man 7 seems to have suffered the most on the emulation front, and that may be because it came from Super NES hardware. The visual quality is very similar, but the music seems to be missing a layer or a channel. Maybe some might not notice it, but if you've played the original SNES version Mega Man 7 (like I have), you'll definitely notice that everything in the music is "not quite there". It's far from terrible, it's not like Sega Smash Pack here, but it's something I noticed. Mega Man 8 is pretty much a dead-on port, but it looks like they opted for the Saturn version than the PlayStation version. I remember the PS1 version of MM8, and there are small things in this one I didn't remember. Again, not a major problem. As for the arcade games, they seem fine, but since there wasn't a US release, there's nothing to compare it to. Overall, the emulation is solid, if not close to the level of quality seen in SEGA's Sonic Mega Collection.

For this collection, some adjustments have been made, and it's really for the better. The best thing this game does is actually SAVE your progress through each of the Mega Man games you're playing through. You're granted one save slot for each game to save your progress (except for MM8, which gives you 3), which means no more passwords. Atomic Planet did something that SEGA should have done in the Sonic Mega Collection, and I think that shows that other companies do learn from other companies mistakes. Another new "adjustment" is the Navi mode that you can enable for Mega Man 1-6. Here, you are given hints and the ability to switch weapons using L and R just like you could in MM7 or MM8. That in itself is handy. Unfortunately, for the Gamecube version, the Navi mode doesn't include remixed songs that play during the stages like the PS2 version does. I really didn't consider that a major thing, since CD-quality remixes would really clash with an 8-bit look, it just wouldn't match.

The controls are essentially the same within the collection, except there's one thing that some critics didn't like here. The jump and the firing buttons are ass backwards. On the NES, jump as assigned to the A button and fire was assigned to B. Well, on the Gamecube version, jump is assigned to B and fire is assigned to A. Not sure why that was decided, but it's something to get used to at first. That doesn't make this version impossible to play or enjoy. At least you can move around by either using the D-Pad or analog stick, which gives you a choice (unlike some games). Some new additions to controls (at least in Mega Man 1-6), which include a rapid fire button (Y) and a slide button (X). Rapid fire is actually pretty damn useful here, and it's a nice inclusion, especially for those who don't own a third party controller with that function built in. The control problem that jumped out at me was the way the developer mapped the pause screen for the game you're playing and the pause screen for the collection. In the past, to bring up your items screen, you would just press Start. But pressing start here would bring up the options for the collection itself. To get the item/weapon screen, you need to press Z. I found that more confusing than the jump/fire problem that others had. Again, it doesn't make the game unplayable, it just switches things around from what you remembered in the past.

As for the extras in the collection, you are given some artwork, song remixes (the ones I believe were supposed to be the Navi mode), and an exclusive video feature for each version. PS2 owners were given an episode of the Mega Man animated series (although I'm not sure from which era), and Gamecube owners get a Behind The Series documentary produced by G4. In all honesty, Gamecube owners got the better part of the deal when it came to features. A documentary actually makes more sense to include in a compilation, because it tells the back story of a game. And the one included here is actually pretty good and well produced (as it should be, as it came from cable network G4). Sometimes you're given some crappy video documentaries in games, but this one is one of the better ones I've seen.

Final Thought

It's about time that Capcom released a collection of Mega Man games, and it was a very wise decision on their part. Before this collection, you either had to resort to paying up to $50 for just one of these games or downloading an illegal rom. Capcom finally realized that they could cash in on games that are not in production anymore, and give people a legal and cost-effective way to get their nostalgia on. As great as it is to have Mega Man 1-8 in a collection, you can't help but pine for the Mega Man X series to be included in the series, or include other Mega Man titles such as Mega Man and Bass, Mega Man Soccer and Mega Man Legends. But for the price and the games you get in the collection, this is a no-brainer. The game play still holds up very well today, and even though the graphics aren't as great as what we see today, there is very much still a charm to it. If there was one collection/compilation to get, this would be it.



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By far one of the best compilations released, even if this version's button configuration was ass-backwards.

Sonic Mega Collection

Sonic Gems Collection

Namcomuseum 50th Anniversary Collection

Unless you hate Mega Man, there really isn't a compilation worse than this one.

2003-2006 SPM

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