Capcom's newest compilation is a nice improvement over the last one…and the games inside are better, too.
Although I love all Mega Man action games, Capcom's compilation of the main series annoyed me with its goofy controls and technical problems. With the spin-off Mega Man X (MMX) series now anthologized, Capcom has returned with a much better effort. Every game in Mega Man X Collection has customizable controls, and the ports are virtually flawless. In fact, the PlayStation games (MMX 4-6) have much shorter load times on GameCube, so you could say that they've actually been upgraded.
All of these games are best played with the D-pad, so if you are serious about Mega Man, I highly recommend Hori's Digital Controller for GameCube. (As of this writing, it's out of stock at our import partner, Lik-Sang, so check around at other import stores.) In addition to its big D-pad, the Hori controller has a more convenient Z-button for activating Giga Attacks.
So, given that the ports are well done, how good are the games themselves? In general, the SNES games (MMX 1-3) are tighter and more fun than the PSone games (MMX 4-6). The best (and rarest) game of the lot is MMX 3, an epic technical masterpiece that is arguably one of the best SNES titles of all time. An original copy of MMX 3 usually sells for what this entire compilation costs. It should be a huge draw for any fan of the series. It has excellent graphics and special effects, killer music, clever level designs, the most upgrades to find, and for the first time, you can play as Zero, Mega Man X's mysterious friend. For what it's worth, the game also packs a surprising amount of anime-style FMV to tell the story and introduce bosses
MMX 4 is a big change for the series, with Zero now a fully playable character and not just a sidekick. Level designs seem less inspired, and the designers start to run out of ideas for new upgrades. The graphic style is also completely different, with computer-modeled backgrounds replacing the old "hand-drawn" style. And, for those fans who actually care to follow the story through each game's convoluted machinations, the plot in this game steers the series into decidedly militaristic territory. MMX 5 continues the downward spiral, though it tries to inject some life by adding a timed mission flavor and further shoving the (confusing) story in your face. MMX 6 is just a mess, with poorly translated names, some of the most annoying levels ever created, and overly complex upgrade systems that would also plague the early Mega Man Zero games on GBA.
MMX Collection also includes one bonus game: Mega Man Battle & Chase, a kart racer for PSone that was never released outside Japan. Although the controls and graphics are a bit weird, the game is rather amusing, and it has a ton of customization options for your kart. It's a nice gift to fans, but you have to beat the first three MMX game to unlock it, and those games are hard.
The other bonus features are concept art, arranged music tracks, and a few hints that you could easily get from GameFAQs. The arranged music is pretty cool, but you can only listen to it from the gallery. It would have been really nice to play the games with upgraded sound or even better graphics. (Progressive scan doesn't count, but it is appreciated!)
There's not much else to say about Mega Man X Collection. The extra features are hardly big selling points, but the majority of the games are great, and they tend to be quite a bit longer than the main series Mega Man games, so don't be turned away by the reduced number of titles included in this set. Again, having a perfect version of MMX3 is reason alone to spring for this package, so if you're a fan of 2D action, you really can't go wrong with it.