Recently I've been watching playthroughs (on YouTube) of the Mega Man Game Boy games (having already watching playthroughs of the main games in the series by RoahmMythril and PikKittyRose, both of whom do much better jobs playing through those games than I'd ever manage). In the midst of watching all these games, though, a little flight of fancy struck me.
Capcom, for one of the Mega Man anniversaries, needs to put together a true compilation of the Blue Bomber's exploits. Sure, he's had Anniversary collections in the past, but only the first collection had the "complete" series at the time (which, even then, didn't include Mega Man and Bass/Rockman and Forte) while more recent collections only covered the NES era -- Mega Man 1 through 6. None of these collections touched on the Game Boy games at all, which is a real tragedy since Mega Man V GB doesn't borrow from the main series entries (unlike I through IV).
But sure, you're going to say, putting together a "proper" collection is unnecessary since you can just most/all the games through legal, downloadable means, such as the Nintendo eShops. Maybe, but that's why the collection should sweeten the pot and do something Mega Man hasn't seen since the Genesis -- go the route of the Wily Wars.
For those unfamiliar, the Wily Wars was a collection of remakes of the first three games, giving them extra spit an polish. It also had a system where, once you beat the games, their weapons were unlocked to take into a final special "Wily Tower" that served as an overarching "plot" for the compilation. Let's take that idea -- playing through the games to unlock weapons and content, and extrapolate it out further.
Firstly, let's get all the games loaded into the same engine. The first 6 won't be hard, since they all used largely the same engine to begin with -- the way I propose it the games would all have to be remade/ported to the engine of the newer two games in the series, Mega Man 9 and 10, but since those were more or less NES games for modern systems, they at least provide the engine we need.
Harder will be Mega Man 7 and Mega Man 8. Both of those games were made for the next generation(s) of systems and don't really fit the look of out NES/Neo-NES era compilation. But hey, people online have made NES-style "demakes" of 7 and 8, so why can't we? We already have the engine in place at this point, so it's more a matter of getting the sprites together and some new enemy coding for the bosses. The series, even when changing generations, still felt more or less like the series -- Mega Man doesn't evolve much, game to go, nor do his enemies, or the tricks Capcom would throw out.
And since we're putting in the effort to demake these two, let's go all out and include Mega Man and Bass in the set as well. Then our whole collection really is an overview of the whole series, start to finish.
(To appease some gamers, MM7, MM8, and MM&B can also be included, in emulated form, as unlockables. That way anyone that doesn't like the ports can at least play the originals.)
So now we have all 11 games (including MM&B) in one place, all running the same engine. Let's then talk unlockables. Once you beat each of these games in their original mode (in the case of the demakes, their "Classic NES" mode instead) you would unlock a few things. One, you'd unlock the boss weapons to bring into the other games (call this "arranged mode" -- completing arranged mode is for trophies and bragging rights, but only original/classic would unlock new bonuses).
Two, beating the games would unlock new heroes to play in the other games. This could be as simple as the different versions of Mega Man can be played in the other games (so Mega Man 5, with his upgraded buster, could go into Mega Man 1 and clean house). Certainly some limitations would be necessary, such as Mega Man 1 (without his slide) wouldn't be able to play through Mega Man 3 through 8 because he couldn't clear the levels... or the levels have to be slightly rearranged for him to take sliding out of the equation. Other times, this would include new mechanics into the older games, like P-Chips (and the P-Chip store) showing up in the early games when playing with a later version of Mega Man.
Plus, we could have other heroes show up as well. Beat Mega Man 3 and unlock Protoman for use in the various games. Beat Mega Man and Bass, gain Bass for use. Additional hero unlocks could be possible, like maybe have Roll available after defeating Mega Man 1. You could even go the Mega Man Powered Up route and have bosses become playable characters (although that would require even more programming, so that might be too much for this compilation, especially if Capcom tried to do it on any kind of safe budget).
The third item, and one that is actually pretty economical, is that clearing the NES era games would unlock remakes of the Game Boy games. Beat Mega Man 1 and Mega Man 2, Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge would show up (since that game was a semi-sequel/remake of the first two games). You could do this for each game -- beating MM2 and MM3 unlocks MM II GB, and so on through the series.
Why is this economical? Because by and large all the assets for these games have already been ported into our big compilation since we have the NES run already loaded in. We'd have to remake the levels, but all the rest of the work is done -- it's just some object assembly and boom, more games.
Sure, Mega Man V GB would need to get some spit and polish since it doesn't borrow assets from the NES games, but that's one game we have to upgrade (and we already did this kind of work for the SNES/PlayStation games so upgrading a Game Boy game that used NES style assets won't be so bad). If we're really going out there, we even might even want to think about renaming Mega Man V GB to something more appropriate, like Mega Man in Attack of the Solar Robots (working title), and then doing new iterations in the Game Boy series, Mega Man V through X, to round out the series properly. Just a thought.
Even Mega Man and Bass would get a little portable love since that game, too, had a portable sequel, Rockman & Forte: Mirai kara no Chosensha for the Wonderswam system. It would need some cleanup work, of course, and we might have to tweak elements of that game to bring it fully inline with the rest of the series (for starters, the game only featured five collectible weapons -- let's get that up to eight).
Beating those portable iterations would unlock further bonuses, such as "nostalgia mode" where the main games could be played in black and white (using a filter, obviously). Plus, there were some collectible weans exclusive to the portable games, like the Quint pogostick and the Punk Buster, that would become unlocked for use in the giant, cross-series weapon chest.
Finally, with all these games being brought it, let's finish out our Wily Wars setup. Let's first bring back the Wily Wars tower (which would need to be demade slightly to bring it back down to NES standards) so that the whole of the series is all located in one place. Then let's add a second, bigger Tower after that, a final last scenario for players to play through once they've completed all the games in the series. This is the last hurrah, the big showdown... and it serves as a nice capper to the series if Capcom never makes another Mega Man game (which seems possible at this point, since the series creator left and no further games in any part of the greater Mega Man universe have been announced).
This idea would never happen, obviously -- it would cost money, so much more than Capcom can make just releasing emulated ports to eShops. And yet, this is better than any of that, and at 60 bucks it would probably get more interest in it than people would devote to any one game in the series. For most of us, maybe we'll buy one or two of the games from the eShops, those we loved to play back in the day (I know Mega Man 2 and Mege Man 3 are the ones I care most about) and that's, what, ten or fifteen bucks Capcom makes? But with a compilation like this, I'd spend the $60 or so without having to think twice. it's a value for everyone involved, players and game company alike.
A guy can dream, right?