The Gameboy Advance was a remarkable system with remarkable games. Of course, it wasn't called a PORTable for nothing as companies far and wide placed ports of hits gone by onto the system. Instead of doing the same and possibly putting Mega Man I-V Game Boy versions on the GBA, Capcom opted to bring a whole new series with a new attitude to the Gameboy Advance. What transpired was Mega Man Zero, a balls-to-the-wall difficult game that would clobber even the most elite player out there. The game would see three sequels and now this collection for the DS, Mega Man Zero Collection. Is this collection worth... well... collecting?
A resistance group is having their backs against the wall against Neo-Arcadian forces. With little room to run, the leader of the resistance, Ciel, stumbles upon a dilapidated capsule in a dank forest. Right when she needs help the most, our long lost hero in Zero, leaps out of the capsule, destroys the pursuing Neo-Arcadian forces and agrees to assist Ciel in destroying the leader of Neo-Arcadia-- Mega Man X himself! It turns out the big bad is just a copy of the real Mega Man X thankfully. Oops. I spoiled Mega Man Zero for you, didn't I? I'm an ass.
In Mega Man Zero 2, the resistance base is destroyed, so Ciel, Zero and the rest of the resistance team up with another group led by the charismatic, Elpizo. Meanwhile, Neo-Arcadia had put one of the Four Generals from the previous game as leader of the foundation. Elpizo was hell-bent on destroying Neo-Arcadia head-on (apply directly to the forehead) with Operation: Righteous Strike. Unfortunately, they were no match for Neo-Arcadia. Now it's time for another plan. The mysterious Dark Elf was Elpizo's target this time. It is Elpizo who wants the power of the Dark Elf for himself, and it's up to Zero to stop him!
Mega Man Zero 3 begins with a spaceship that has crashed nearby, threatening an energy reaction strong as the Dark Elf is looming at the spaceship's crash site, Zero and the rest of resistance high-tail it to investigate. It's up to Zero to find the source of the energy and eliminate it.
Finally, in the ultimate chapter of the Mega Man Zero saga, Mega Man Zero 4, Zero and company have left the resistance base feeling that constantly being in movement via cargo vehicles is a smarter plan than just being sitting ducks. Suddenly they drive into an attack by a swath of reploids. They soon learn of Neo-Arcadia's fate via a reporter at the attacked base. Neo-Arcadia has been hideously transformed into the base of the evil sci guy, Dr. Weil. Dr. Weil is no mood for peace and harmony and demands any reploid, human, or Maverick be disintegrated immediately! The cargo vehicles Zero and the resistance joined up with left Neo-Arcadia because of this, and planned to reach an all-human settlement before they were attacked. Zero must once again stop Dr. Weil's sinister plans before all robot and humankind is eliminated!
The Mega Man Zero games follow a different formula than the Mega Man X games. This time around you choose from a list of missions from destroying bombs before they explode to taking down a specific target or targets. Some of these missions are incredibly difficult while others are a breeze to take on. Each mission usually ends with a boss confrontation against a wily robot (did you see what I did there?). These encounters all have patterns of attack and openings for Zero to attack.
As you use your weapons, the Z-saber, the Z-buster, the chain rod, and the shield, they level up in abilities. They grow stronger as you take enemies down with them. In Mega Man Zero 4, by performing certain feats such as taking out fifty enemies with your Z-buster, your body type changes to things like Active type, Speed type, among others. This changes the game considerably with new abilities given from these new forms.
Also a mainstay in the Zero series are Cyber Elves. These give Zero new abilities, more health, extra lives, spike death prevention, and more. However, using a Cyber Elf detracts points from your ending mission score where you get scored by completing the mission, not taking damage, not using Cyber Elves, time you took on the mission, and enemies defeated. Gaining a high point score will give Zero an S or A rank which will give him boss bonuses after they're defeated.
New to the collection is Easy mode. This is basically hard-to-die mode where you get all the Cyber Elves, double damage on enemies, double-health for Zero, and lessened spike damage when stabbed. You play through Mega Man Zero 1 all the way to 4 with the obvious ability to save. It's a fun mode for younger players or those looking for a more relaxing experience.
Visually, the games were impressive for the Gameboy Advance. On the Nintendo DS, they're simply capable visuals. Still, there's nothing ugly to be noted of, and characters are designed very well. They still hold up as all good art usually does. Sound-wise, the music is very good with some rockin' beats to play along to as you blast away enemies and other baddies. The voices are all Japanese, so that doesn't bother the ears as would a poor dub. Still, it would have been nice to have had English voices. Regardless, the text in the game is nearly error-free.
Ultimately, Mega Man Zero Collection is a winner. It has modes for both new and experienced players. The gameplay still holds up to this day (well, it's only been less than a decade) as do the vibrant visuals. Overall, the experience is a good one with four games on one game card, Mega Man Zero Collection is one collection worth owning even if it doesn't have as much new content as I'd like.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.25/10]