|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 9, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
There are few gaming franchises more revered than Mega Man. The series has seen many transformations over the years, including a complete return to 8-bit with Mega Man 9 and 10. The Zero games, however, stand out as being some of the most popular entries in the beloved saga, and Capcom has now wrangled the complete collection together to sit on a single Nintendo DS card. If you consider yourself a fan, there's cause to rejoice.
The Mega Man Zero Collection is comprised of four numbered Zero games originally developed for the Gameboy Advance (GBA). You can choose to either play each game individually or tackle the experience as one, long adventure in Easy Scenario. If you've played either of the ZX games for DS, you'll likely know what to expect from the story. The writing is barely a step above Saturday morning cartoons, but it still manages to convey a compelling message.
Zero is a Reploid discovered by Ciel and the Resistance fighters. Human factions have been using Reploids to wage war on one another, and surprisingly, the Zero Collection does a decent job dealing with the grey matter and collateral damage of such a tale. From Zero 1 to Zero 4, there's a powerful saga that unfolds, and though the series concludes on a somewhat bittersweet and stunted note, the batch of games should prove especially satisfying to fans of the ZX games.
Fans of those games will also appreciate the more straightforward approach of the Zero Collection. Though I enjoyed the almost open-world nature of ZX and ZX Advent, it was easy to get lost within environments that looked very much the same. Knowing where to go and how to get there is never an issue in the Zero games. Though there is some wiggle room in terms of how you take on the adventure, the mission structure cuts out most of the guesswork.
If you're new to the series, the Mega Man Zero games are platforming shooters that fall easily in line with the likes of Castlevania and Metroid. Gauntlets are littered with secrets and challenging pitfalls, and deadly bosses await you at the end of each march.
At the heart of every Mega Man game are the gadgets, and the Zero games each have their own interesting tidbits to offer. For instance, in Zero 1 you'll acquire EX Skills that will add elemental attributes to your charged attacks. Knowing how and when to use these abilities is crucial to your survival against the game's very challenging bosses.
Elves also play a big part of each of the four games, offering temporary assistance, as well as permanent power-ups to Zero. By the time you reach Zero 4, you'll be creating your own items out of various parts found while trampling through levels - ample reason to make repeat visits to the different locales throughout the game. Since each of the four games is incredibly short, these incentives are a major part of the games' lasting value.
You're ranked at the end of each mission, and if you play the games individually, a high rank will earn you various extras in Zero games 2-4. The ranking system forces players to master the games' many nuances. You can scrape by and still make it to the end of each game, but elite players are rewarded well for their hard work.