Capcom'sMega Man franchise has had a somewhat chaotic release history. The series was made popular in the late 80s and early 90s with early entrants in the original series and its spin-off series, Mega Man X. However, by the time the early 00s arrived, the original series had abruptly ended its run after the eighth entry - although it was a huge commercial success - and the X series was overstaying its welcome. Interestingly enough, several other spin-off series stepped up to fill the void: Mega Man Legends and Mega Man Zero became fan favorites and gained a following all their own.
Things start to get a little fuzzy in the minds of gamers after this point. The mid-2000s saw Capcom pivot to handheld gaming with a handful of releases in the Mega Man Battle Network, ZX, and Star Force series each. There seemed to be so many offshoots year after year that it was getting hard to keep track or keep playing all of the games. Capcom must have realized this, as aside from a few downloadable re-releases and retro throwbacks, Mega Man has more or less been out of action for the last decade. But lo and behold, Udon Entertainment has been playing necromancer with the series as of late, releasing Official Complete Works art books of varying entries in the franchise. Their upcoming release features Mega Man Star Force, the last major series to be realized before our robotic hero's untimely hiatus.
Knowing nothing of Star Force, I can only compare the designs and artwork to previous iterations of the games. The kid-friendly, Saturday-morning anime designs from Battle Network are ever-present, complete with Tatsunoko-inspired transformations and digital backdrops. If this is your thing, you’ll be happy to know that the designs are laid out and presented in an easy to follow and view format. The backgrounds are mostly white surrounded with appropriate digital abstractions along the edges. The bright, simplistic design choices highlight the artwork well and prevent any unwanted headaches (I’m looking at you Robot Master Field Guide).
I’ve been of the opinion that each of Udon’s Official Complete Work releases shows incremental improvements, and Star Force is no different. The sheer volume of captions and commentary on each page is impressive and helps launch the compilation above its competition. The additional information provides brief bios, data, and insights into the characters and enemies found within the series. As stated previously, I have no history with Star Force. Even then, the information provided was enough to get me up to speed with the series. There are hardly any pieces that don’t receive blurbs, giving readers no reason to question the amount of content they are receiving for their purchase.
Udon has also included significantly more pieces of in-game areas and maps. It could be that their limited inclusion in prior artbooks was due to availability, but their presence in Star Force is a great addition to an already great compilation. The locals, from modern indoor housing to digital dungeons, are varied and detailed, presented in such a way that I wished I had picked up a copy back in high school. Ah, the road not traveled.
Any knocks against Mega Man’s latest release are small. Other art books have gotten into the habit of including exclusive interviews with artists, creators, and directors, while others, including previous Udon releases, have included works from related merchandise. The lack of bonus material is, for the most part, covered by the page text and shouldn’t be weighted too heavily when making the decision whether or not to pick up the book.
Star Force is amazingly put together, chock-full of content, and sure to make any fan of Mega Man happy. Given that the final entry in the Star Force lineup was released in Japan back in 2008, this may be the last Mega Man Star Force release we get for quite some time. If that’s the case, Mega Man Star Force The Official Complete Works gives the lesser-known spinoff a proper send-off.
Mega Man Star Force: Official Complete Works Artbook features art by Capcom.
Charge up your Mega Buster and look to the sky, the Blue Bomber’s back! UDON Entertainment is over the moon to announce the release of Mega Man Star Force: Official Complete Works - Hardcover Edition! Released on the Nintendo DS, Mega Man Star Force, a spiritual follow-up to the popular Mega Man Battle Network video game franchise, explores the bonds of friendship in a whole new series of adventures for the Blue Bomber.
Mega Man Star Force: Official Complete Works collects the stunning artwork of every Star Force game, and features character designs, promotional art, rarely seen pieces, and plenty of creator commentary in a gorgeous hardcover edition. Mega Man Star Force: Official Complete Works is an essential addition to every Mega Man fan’s collection!