Thumbing through an old SNES mag from 1996 this morning (Yes, it was Super Play), I found myself reading a piece on the Japanese Mega Man X3, in which the reviewer said of the interminable blue bastard: "One more outing like this and his shiny armour will be unable to withstand the blows I shall rain upon him." We're currently closing in on 30 Mega Man games total, and 20 since X3. In fact, it looks like the 20th since then (if you discount ports, and include the PSX Tron Bonne spin-off and as-yet unreleased X7/Zero 2 titles) will be The Mega Man Anniversary Collection, a PS2 and GameCube compilation due out in the US next February. A fond farewell? No chance.
However for those of you who don't own Mega Man's classic NES and early SNES adventures, the compilation of Mega Man 1 through 8, along with two previously Japan-only arcade titles, Mega Man the Power Battle and Mega Man 2 the Power Fighters, may well serve as a decent introduction. In addition to that, unlockable producer interviews and footage of Mega Man's TV ads and shows should help fans and newcomers alike to understand his timeless appeal.
Although Mega Man has been around for over 15 years (the NES adventures were released between 1987 and 1993, the two SNES adventures included here are from 95 and 96), he's rarely deviated in pure gameplay terms from Keiji Inafune's original formula, earning him many critics but also accumulating many fans. As Capcom is only too happy to point out, Mega Man is a multimillion unit selling franchise, which has appeared on pretty much every platform going apart from Xbox. However, despite his enduring appeal, The Mega Man Anniversary Collection will be the first Western compilation of games in the series.