Christian’s extremely informative review of the Metal Slug Anthology reminds us that sometimes anthologies can wrap in their splendor those thorns that might serve to sully and distort our otherwise wonderful memories of a franchise.
Though Metal Slug Anthology’s load issues, weird menus and interesting controller choices may serve to take the edge off of an otherwise perfect arcade port, there are some cases, indeed some entire franchises, where these issues are not merely — as those that would use the word ‘niggle’ might say — a niggle.
I purchased the Mega Man (Megaman, Rockman, Blue Bomber, etc) 20yr Anniversary Collection for the GC with, literally, a big toothy grin. I have tiny little teeth, and this sort of thing is hard for me — but I did it. Though I had obliterated each and every one of these games on each and every (three, actually) platform, I was absolutely ready to take them all, 1-8, out behind the work shed and show them what’s for. One after another. In one sitting. Seriously.
I prepared. I got Electric Blue Jolt — a case of it. I called in sick. I popped in my “Electric communication” bootleg and prepared to get Wily. Mega Man 1: Engage!
Then it happened. I pressed the A button. You know, the jump button — to jump. Mega Man, my long time friend and confidant, the kid I drew pictures of in middle school and who taught me that the best way to defeat an evil robot horde is to find the leader and steal his pants, that very same Mega Man stood right there and fired his mega blaster.
My stomach went into my shoes. You see, those of us who are hardcore Mega Man fans — those of us who, in mixed company, refer to him only as Rock and insist that Biometal W is actually Dr. Wily — we do this thing with our thumbs when we play. Even in Mega Man 1 in which Mega Man has yet to be endowed with a charge shot, we hold that B button. When we need to jump we sort of rock over with our thumb. Some have said that this is a vestige from Super Mario Brothers, others have said that it is an ancient skill bred into us by those who would know the future and others still have said that it is just plain the way to play a goddamned game.
Strange that they would default the controls to some strange and alien design. Maybe it was an Australian copy. Maybe since the water swirls backward so too do they rock their thumbs backward. Easy fix. Pop into the control options and patch it up, right?
Nope. Dead wrong. There are no control options. I can listen to the every sound that Beat, the little bird from Mega Man 4, makes in an easy to use special edition sound browser. I can watch the terrible cutscenes from Mega Man 8 where Dr. Light is speaking through a garden hose with his mouth full of peanut butter and bees but I can’t change the controls from Aussie to awesome.
My dream of (legally, and without spending $100+) sitting down to a day of Mega Man was rent asunder and replaced with a useless tea coaster. And I don’t own a tea set.
I have been told by quite a few people that I should just try to get used to the fact that something that has been veritably muscle memory for two decades for me was randomly changed. Look at it as a challenge, I have been told. Test my might.
I refuse. Flatly and with impunity I refuse.