I recently got a couple of art books that cover Capcom’s Mega Man games that I thought I’d review for you. In Japan they published one thick volume titled R:20 (2oth Anniversary) Rock Man & Rock Man X Complete Works, but for the English version they split it into two separate books, one for the original Mega Man series (200 pages) and the other for Mega Man X (144 pages). This of course means you’ll have to shell out a few more bucks to own the whole collection (about $50), but one thing with really large paperback volumes is the spine tends to get cracked, so it’s actually kind of nice to have them this way.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Mega Man is embossed on the covers, both of which look really great. Chances are you are already familiar with the series if you are interested in these books, but in case you’re confused about the differences between the original Mega Man and Mega Man X, let me briefly explain. Mega Man was the original series that began on the 8-bit Nintendo that started it all, and it has a cute, somewhat simplistic style reminiscent of ’70s anime. The robot masters that Mega Man fights are virtually all humanoids. Unfortunately the two downloadable games, Mega Man 9 and the soon to be released Mega Man 10 are not featured in this book as the original Japanese volume was published prior to their release.
Mega Man X was the 2nd series that began on the 16-bit Super Nintendo and has a more mature style like that of mid ’80s to early ’90s anime – generally more detailed, with more colors reflected in the metallic parts. To mix things up, the robot masters in this series are based on animals. Later on Capcom made a series called Mega Man Zero which carries on the tradition and style of these games (a collection of Mega Man Zero 1-4 for the Nintendo DS was recently announced, which I would highly recommend if you missed them on the GameBoy Advance). An art book for the Zero games is also available which I’ll probably get next.
I’m lucky enough to have been there from the start, and have followed the series over the past 20 years, so these art books were a must-buy. There’s no doubt that Mega Man has had a huge impact on me personally. I like games from both of these series, with Mega Man 2 and Mega Man X being my favorites from each, but I like the designs from all of them. The original series has such a cute hand-made charm that reminds me of Astro Boy, while the X series has such a sleek, cool vibe. Besides the artwork, you also get the added bonus of designer notes! Each page is filled to the brim with drawings and designer insights which help shine a new light on the games. It’s fantastic to get such an in-depth look at gaming’s most beloved robot, so if you’re a fan you shouldn’t hesitate to get these books!
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