A Dark Angel production
(Warning, Potential Spoilers)
Megaman Zero Collection (Part 1): Megaman Zero
Yes, I have finally started to play some of the Megaman games. I still have yet to play the majority of titles, but there is one series I’ve been playing very faithfully and that is the Zero series. The way I’ve been playing this group of four games is through the Megaman Zero Collection for the DS.
Now, because this card covers four games in one, this review will be split into four parts, one for each of the four games, starting with the first Megaman Zero.
Megaman Zero, where do we begin? The plot. From the opening scene of the game we see a girl named Ciel, her Cyber Elf partner Passy, and a group of reploids in green uniforms being chased by golems and enemies that look like X, called Pantheons. With very few soldiers surviving, Ciel, Passy, and the two remaining soldiers reach a dead end with Passy telling the group that there’s a strong energy on the other side. They blow open an entrance with one sleeping reploid on the other side… However the Pantheons catch up killing the last two soldiers, cornering Ciel and Passy. Passy tells Ciel that she has no choice, but to use her power, Ciel does this with Passy dying, and with that Zero is resurrected.
When Zero is resurrected, all he has, at first, is this small buster pistol (Before anyone tells me, yes, I know it’s called the Buster Shot) that can’t be charged and nothing else. This is the only mission in these four games that’s like this, after reaching a dead end a hand bursts through the wall and grabs Ciel. After a little bit, a mysterious… monitor, gives you the thing Zero is most known for the Z saber which gives you the ability to charge your attacks one grade. Strike the golem once with the Z-saber and it explodes, dropping Ciel, and finishing the intro stage.
After returning to the resistance base, Ciel informs Zero that X, who rules over the Human utopia of Neo Arcadia, is trying to kill them, with Zero going to fight the Neo Arcadian army. Stages are separated into missions each with their own objectives and bosses. Instead of giving you weapons, there are three elemental chips you obtain throughout the course of the game: The Thunder, Fire, and Ice Chip. Most bosses pertain to a certain element that’s weak to one of the three elements. Ice is weak to fire (Obviously), Electricity is weak to ice (Because, uh, reasons), and Fire is weak to electricity (Once again, because reasons). It’s rare, but some bosses have no specific element, meaning there’s no element you can use to shave their health down quicker.
The stages are, for the most part, pretty manageable. I say “for the most part” because the Factory stage can just go fuck itself. Not the first mission, it’s relatively easy, but the Protect the Factory mission is why I hate it, more on that mission later.
In terms of player ability, you can do pretty much everything you could in the X series. You can still run, jump, dash, wall kick, and attack. However, in addition to your main weapon, you now have a sub weapon to use at the same time. I highly recommend switching to Attack Mode B at the start of the game. There are also two weapons other than your Buster and Z-saber, the Shield Boomerang and Triple Rod. The Shield Boomerang is self-explanatory and the Triple Rod can be aimed up, at an angle, and down if you’re in midair. By aiming it down, you can bounce off an enemy’s head, which I find pretty amusing.
There are also two more things I’d like to cover before I get into my main problem with this game. First of which is pretty small, you can now dash while scaling a wall, allowing you to climb walls faster. Second of which are Cyber elves. Cyber Elves are essentially upgrades that can give you additional effects, increase your health permanently, turn into sub tanks, etc. However, using a Cyber Elf will deduct some points from your mission results, but that’s the only penalty and ranks don’t really mean anything, at least in this game. There’s nothing special you get from being high rank, so, unless you’re a speed runner, go nuts.
*Sigh* unfortunately, this game is a fucking grind-fest. Let’s start with those weapons, when you first obtain them your weapons have skills you need to unlock. How do you unlock said skills? By killing enemies, this wouldn’t be a bad thing if the EXP requirements weren’t completely outrageous. Trying to max out your Z-saber and buster before the second stage will boost your play time significantly.
Weapon skills aren’t the only thing you need to grind for, you also need to grind for E-Crystals for your Cyber Elves. In order to use them, you need to feed them a specific amount of E-Crystals to do it. Meaning, to get those upgrades, you’ll have to continuously slay enemies with meager payoff. The only E-Crystal drops in the game are 4 and 16, combined with the ludicrous requirements, you will spend hours trying to get all the E-Crystals you need. And if you run low on E-Crystals, you have to do all of that all over again.
Now the graphics and sound, now I think all four of the Zero games look pretty good. But, the graphics in the first game had one thing that always bothered me, one thing and one thing only. What the heck is with these faces in the dialogue? They look like they were drawn with crayons. But, other than that, it looks great. Vibrant colored environments and enemies. The sound is a different story, other than a few tracks, nothing stands out.
There are four special missions later down the line, where you meet the four guardians. Sage Harpuia who’s element is electricity, Fairy Leviathan an aquatic ice user, Fighting Fefnir who specializes in fire, and Phantom a ninja.
The latter of which reminds me of something I need to express, my hatred for the mission you encounter him. Protect the Factory, oh CHRIST I hate this level. Not so much the fight against Phantom, he’s pretty manageable. But the fact that you are on a 3 minute time limit to defuse eight bombs Phantom planted around the factory. There are plenty of enemies that are such a pain in the ass to deal with, stopping to kill them is a huge waste of time, so just run past them. There’s one specific section where you have to take outright leaps of faith while platforming across constantly moving platforms hovering over bottomless pits with enemies that want nothing more than to push you into said bottomless pits. I’m not in the midst of pre-hibernation week you assholes.
Anyway, right before the final 3 missions the Resistance Base falls under attack. It’s then revealed that the X after The Resistance is actually a copy created by Ciel. Immediately afterwards the same being that gave the Z-saber to Zero says that he’s cracked the security on the Transerver in Neo Arcadia, allowing Zero to go after Copy X.
The final missions are the hardest in the game. The first stage has, not one, not two, but THREE bosses. It also has vanishing blocks, oh joy. Thankfully this is the only time in the Zero series we come across these things. Stage two can be summed up in two words: spike central… Unless you’re playing the Zero Collections Easy Scenario, in which case: you don’t need to deal with grinding and spikes don’t exist. The final stage contains a boss rush split into two sections of four bosses. Not only do you have to rematch four regular bosses, one of which you faced in the first stage of Neo Arcadia, but also the four guardians. Upon defeating them they retreat, except for Phantom, upon his defeat he attempts to take you down with him. Making him the first of the, soon to be three guardians, to die. Upon reaching the final room, the three guardians attempt to stop you before being sent away by Copy X.
The first phase is pretty easy, but, like with most final boss fights, there’s more than one phase. The final phase involves Copy X flying overhead with two wall like surfaces on either side. The head is the only thing you can hit to do damage, but to reach it you need to jump off the walls that are hovering over bottomless pits. Meaning if you fuck up or get caught in his ring attack, which immobilizes you until you break out, while in midair, you die and have to start both phases all over again. But, if you made it this far, you can do this.
Copy X goes down and attempts to pull a Phantom and take you down with him. After escaping, the Cyber elf is revealed to be the original X who asks Zero to watch over the world and allowing him to rest in peace for a while. Zero says that if an enemy appears in front of him, he’ll destroy it. Ending the original Megaman Zero.
Let me make this very clear, Megaman Zero is an overall solid game. However, it’s not my cup of tea, both literally and figuratively speaking. I won’t beat around the bush, I think this is the low point of the Zero series. What the game does right it does pretty well, but the excessive and repetitive grinding just bog it all down for me. But go ahead and try it, you might see something in it I don’t. Unless you want to buy an original cartridge for the Gameboy Advanced, which I highly doubt at this point in time, you better look for a copy of the Zero collection or buy it from the Wii U Eshop for Virtual Console.
Well, there you have it my review of Megaman Zero. Even though I’m on ok terms with this game, I personally think the future installments do a much better job. After all, we still have three more games to go through. So, next time: we’ll be tackling Megaman Zero 2. This is The Dark Angel and I’ll see you next time.