Preview: Mega Man Anniversary Collection (Game Boy Advance)

Preview: Mega Man Mania, Developer: Hanhoe Asia, Publisher: Capcom, Release Date: February 15, 2006

Does anyone else remember the old US Mega Man cartoon that came somewhere in between Captain N and Mega Man: NT Warrior? I’ve had the jingle stuck in my head for some time now (Super fighting robot ba ba ba bum MEGA MAN!), and I just can’t seem to get my mind off Mega Man. I tried playing through the Anniversary Collection and the recent X Collection, but there is no hope. I need Mega Man 24/7, but like most people, I also need to go to work and away from my PS2 and Gamecube. I think the Mega Man Anniversary Collection (formely called Mega Man Mania, a much cooler name in my always humble yet hardly ever wrong opinion), the soon to be released Mega Man compilation for the Game Boy Advanced may be the last Mega Man game that can possibly save me from this horrible set of Mega Man induced fever.

Mega Man Anniversary Collection is the first Mega Man compilation on the Game Boy Advanced offering players the chance to experience the first five Gameboy Mega Man games. Hanhoe Asia is handling the port on to the GBA and is offering games a few extras to go along with the collection. The big draw of this collection is that this will be the first time to play these Mega Man games in true color, not some crazy Super Game Boy colorized version. Purists will also be able to play Mega Man I-V in the original black and white if they feel so inclined. The colorization will be a true retooling of the graphics though as stages will offer shading and other finer graphical details.

Speaking of the Super Game Boy, the GBA collection will emulate the GB games perfectly, meaning there will be some dead space on screen at any given time. This is alright though as Capcom has included several different boarders a la the Super Game Boy, some of which are bound to be unlockable. Additionally, there will be an art gallery full of Mega Man goodness and some sort of history of Mega Man. Sounds pretty decent.

So the big question is, why has this game been delayed so many damn times? Well the early reports say that the game was a perfect emulation of the GB games which means that there was some pretty awful slowdown. I personally remember in Mega Man III fighting one of those giant snakes on the small screen where the game slowed to about three frames a second. One can only hope that Hanhoe Asia is going back and spending some serious time smoothing out what could potentially be a game killer.

Speaking of which, how are the Mega Man handheld games? I fired up my GBA with a copy of Mega Man III to take a trip down memory lane and I have to say, they’re pretty damn good still. The set up of each game is a tad different from the original NES Mega Mans. Rather then fighting eight Robot Masters, you’re given a selection of only four. After beating those four, a set of the next four unlocks. Even more interesting is that Mega Man: Dr Wily’s Revenge features four Robot Masters from Mega Man and four Robot Masters from Mega Man II. This pattern is followed in the five games in the series. The games themselves capture everything you could possibly love about the blue bomber. They’re challenging platformers that offer similar experiences to the original NES games, but differ in level design to some extent. Since there are much fewer sprites on screen at a time, Mega Man himself is a little bit bigger then his NES counterpart meaning it’s easier for him to get hit. In short, the experience is similar to the Mega Man games you know and love, but not enough so that you’ll be bored playing the same game over and over again.

Mega Man Mania (screw the new name, I like this one better) has the chance to be a pretty big hit. It is one of the few compilations on the Game Boy Advanced and in terms of sheer number of games, it is one of the largest. Mega Man Mania has the chance to be a hit if the slowdown issues can be addressed and the game can get released. Hurry up though Capcom. Mega Man Mania is starting to enter into the vaporware category and before long, all interest in this game will be dead. It has missed the Mega Man Anniversary by two years now, here’s hoping that it won’t be three. We’ll have a full review on Inside Pulse if this game makes its February 16th release date.