|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|
Though the Zero games were initially designed for the GBA, Capcom gives players the ability to customize the controls in the Zero Collection. Let me tell you, it might seem like a minor thing, but it really changes the gameplay quite drastically and for the better. Rather than having to press both a shoulder and attack button in order to fire off your sub-weapon - oftentimes a requirement while jumping or clinging to a wall - you can assign each weapon to a separate button on the DS.
Another little extra diehard fans should truly appreciate is the addition of mod cards, an element of the Zero games that never surfaced in the original U.S. releases. The mod cards are unlocked after completing each of the games, offering both minor aesthetic changes and gameplay enhancements. Wallpapers and character cards are among the other various unlockables included in the package, and for $30, Zero lovers will likely find a lot to love here.
Unfortunately, not everything from the past holds up to today's standards. Enemies re-spawn anytime you move slightly from one area of a level to another (nothing new for ZX fans), and it's an element of these games that can cause unnecessary frustration, especially when attempting to navigate some of the more challenging platforming segments. The level design is also somewhat barebones in some areas, and by the time the series starts to wrap up, you can begin to feel a waning of inspiration.
Though newcomers can opt to get their feet wet with the Easy Scenario, I found it to be a tad too easy. Your weapons are upgraded to the fullest, you're given all sub tanks and elves, and a massive, double-layered health bar means you can tank pretty much anything the game throws at you. The Easy Scenario is a fun option for folks who just want to fool around, but it borders on being an invincible mode that pretty much removes the need for any skill.
If there is one aspect of the Zero Collection that continues to shine, however, it's the controls. Dash jumping is excellent, and wall climbing never gets old. The mechanics are darn-near pixel perfect, making for many gleeful moments as you trudge your way through missions. The construction of most missions too is very entertaining, though things start to become a bit formulaic by Zero 4.
Graphically, the Mega Man Zero Collection is still something of a treat. Some environments and enemies are more interesting and detailed than others, but there are still lots of great 2D art to admire along the way. The animations look really good, though there were some odd framerate spikes here and there. I was disappointed the screen size wasn't formatted to fit snugly on DS, but it's a minor quibble, really. The music is as tight as ever and there is plenty of variety. The smattering of voice blurbs is also a nice touch, and the sound effects are satisfying and well matched with the gameplay.
The Mega Man Zero Collection is a sweet, little anthology that is as surprisingly relevant and fun today as it was when the games released on GBA back in the early part of the decade. The games are pretty short and not every element of the Zero Collection can be labeled a classic; however, the meat of the experience is still completely solid. Meaningful extras round out the package nicely, and fans of the blue err, blond bomber can consider the Mega Man Zero Collection with confidence.
CCC Freelance Writer