Welcome ladies and gents to The Mega Man Network's review of the third 'Collection' game for the Mega Man franchise, Mega Man Zero Collection. Following Mega Man Anniversary Collection and Mega Man X Collection, we have a complete chronicling of Zero's four Game Boy Advance escapades, all on one DS cart for your on the go needs.
Kinda amazing how the Zero series is nearly a decade old, when the games play just as good or better than today's action/platformer titles. But I digress, here we are and I bet you're wondering just how the Collection fares? Is it a flop like Operate Shooting Star or a game worth getting, even if you likely own the core games already? That, my dear readers, is what I shall tell you in today's review as I show the good, the bad, and the X7.
In the 8 years since the Zero series debuted, many a player have had a chance to explore its wonderful world while battling enemies and (most likely) getting his or her face plastered on the wall by the tough-as-nails bosses. However, many of the older titles have gone out of print over time or are difficult to find. Thus, Capcom has made a collection for DS so that anyone who has played ZX or Mega Man 9 and 10 can finally get a chance to see how Inti Creates became famous (infamous?) among gamers for creating what is often considered the hardest series of Mega Man.
In that regard, the Collection succeeds exponentially. Each game has been ported just fine, and dare I say improved over their original Game Boy Advance incarnations. The first thing that I noticed was how much better the music sounds thanks to the DS's improved capabilities. The music is more crisp and clear, a wonderful thing considering how badass the soundtracks are (the main theme for the collection is also Zero 3's stage select song, one of my favourite tracks of all Zero!).
The games also control just as well as they did on the Game Boy Advance and initially play using the DS's B and A buttons for shooting and jumping respectively, though thankfully you can use the Touch Screen to decide what your Y and X buttons will do (I highly suggest this!). Other than that and getting you to the main title screen, the Touch Screen does absolutely nothing, other than give you pretty wallpaper to look at... which I wouldn't do while you're fighting Phantom, but that's just me.
Graphically, there are no improvements that I could note while replaying all four titles aside from the implementation of the bottom screen artwork, so there isn't much to comment on in that regard.
Now that all of the old has been discussed, on with what neat things the collection bring to the table. Sadly the game as a whole lacks some of the perks of the Classic and X collections like trivia, concept art, or a jukebox to listen to, and there aren't any out of the way things to try and unlock; everything you can get is simply done by beating each game on the Easy and Normal Modes.
Easy Mode, you ask? Yes, indeed! One of the new features of the Collection is the Easy Mode, which takes you through all four games one after the other with Zero sporting maxed out weapon levels, a full stock of sub-tanks and all available Cyber-Elves with upgrades applied.
To say this cuts the difficulty a fair bit is an understatement, as I found it damn near impossible to kill myself outside of jumping into a pit. All in all, it's a neat idea, but I can't say I played around with it too much as the mode pretty much saps all form of difficulty from the games (I cleared Zero 1 in Easy in approx 40 minutes, and in 1:30:01 on Normal (a half hour of that was due to grinding weapons, something I wish they would have removed)).
I understand the idea of trying to make it easier for newer gamers or less skilled gamers to enjoy the games, but it really is nothing more than a glorified god mode with no challenge whatsoever that you're required to clear if you want to unlock 20 of the Collection's other big feature: Mod Cards.
Originally designed for Zero 3 through use of the Game Boy Advance's e-Reader accessory, these little doo-dads would let you pimp out your game in various ways. Want to make your Resistance Base pretty? Flowers on the deck and graffiti of Ciel on the walls to the rescue! Want your Flame EX Skill for the Buster Shot to kill a boss in 4 hits? There's a mod card for that too!
100 of these exist, and to get them all you'll have to clear each game, which is a good thing and a bad. It gives you added incentive to replay Zero 3 again, but may put off people who find the games daunting. Still, it makes a fun game even better, albeit even easier than it already is. And sadly, the Mod Cards only apply for Zero 3; had you been able to use these with Zero 1, oh boy that would be epic...
Other things to note are some of the minor tweaks to the game, with Ciel getting a whole new frame of animation when she walks, Zero 2's multiplayer being removed, and all references to death being removed. I'm serious, nobody really dies anymore, it's either perish, finished, retired or something else similar to it. Ah well, it's not like it could get any goofier or the like.
Shut up, Heero.
Nonetheless, the Collection is very good and sports FAR more extras than Operate Shooting Star did, and the price is right, too. But is the game worth it? I have to admit that even with all of these new additions to the core games, if you already own Zero 1 to Zero 4, then you're better off not getting this. If you don't own all the Zero games, though, then by all means go nab this little gem. It's worth your money.
That's it! Now go play your copies of Zero and splatter the walls, be it your face or the enemies faces all while hoping we get a collection for other games, like Legends *HINT HINT COUGH COUGH*
Sorry about that, something in my throat. I'm all better now.
~Ryudo, who found the games enjoyable in the order of Zero 3, 4, 1, and 2.