From the moment I booted up this compilation, I knew I was in store for something special and teeming with nostalgia as my 26 year old mine regressed to a child and memories of my favourite blue bomber came flooding back. Mega Man Legacy Collection is a gathering of the NES era of games from the Classic Era of the series. These games span the years of 1987-1993 and while that was a few decades ago, these games are still as delightful and gruellingly punishing as they were all those years and iterations ago.
This leads to my first and really only gripe with this collection though. These are the first 6 games in a series that spans 11 games in it’s canon and as of 2010, when it’s latest addition was released, has not met a conclusive ending. Given the power of the most recent machines, I highly doubt that the current gen consoles lack the power to emulate the whole series of titles rather than just the NES era ones. Some could argue that the game’s were upgraded graphically and such over the course of time to fit with updating hardware, and that the decision to include just the first 6 was to keep things uniform in that regard, but it still would have been nice from a collectors point of view that the compilation include all the games.
Minus that, there isn’t really much to hate about this collection. The games have not changed since that era, so this is basically just a collection plus extras…and boy is this game full of extras. The whole collection is enveloped in a menu that is straight out of the 80’s, white text on blue with an 8-bit soundtrack rocking in the background. You use this to navigate through your menus, decide which game to play or which of the plethora of extras you want to experience. Each game in the series is accompanied by the entire soundtrack for said title as well as artwork and descriptions for each character and where they fit into the story of each game.
This is also a way of assisting new players as these descriptive profiles also feature the bosses to each game and make mention of what each is weak to. In a game which punishes bad timing and poor stage selection, this helps to plan a path to the game’s completion. These profiles will also be welcome to Mega Man collectors as this is the first time they have been translated from their Japanese counterpart, Rockman.
Alongside these are options which allow you to play the game in a variety of different presentations. This could mean you could play it stretched out to the size of your display and let your eyes bleed as the pixels explode in size, or scaled down to its original size (maybe with an overlay to make your fancy tv look like something from the era of these games. But it doesn’t matter how you chose to play these games, it’s the same experience.
And it truly is the same experience anyone who played the original would remember, lag and pixel issues intact. Capcom stated that they ensured these were still there as any change to the lag issues of the hardware past would throw off the timing of people who have grown up playing it religiously. And in a game that punishes not getting the timing correct, I can see it being important for older players, but not necessarily for newcomers. That said, when you are playing a game like this you go into it expecting to play a 20 year old game and not something new, So its my belief that sticking to emulating the game as it was all that time ago is fine and shouldn’t be criticised (even if the lag can be annoying sometimes, whether you are playing it in the 80s or now).
Mega Man is set in the ambiguous year 20XX and each game follows the same basic plot. Bad Guy makes robots. Fight through level based on each robot. Defeat robot boss to aquire powers. Beat Bad Guy. Rinse. Repeat. Now while that might not sound that fun on paper, it’s different in practice and it’s a lot of fun if not just difficult. That said each game still feels both different and the same, with new locales and enemies to learn the patterns of and work your way through to the big bad at the end. Also for those who don’t have large bursts of time to play, or to help those who aren’t gluttons for punishment like me, there is the ability to save and load your game at any time, a common but handy inclusion for these sorts of emulated omnibuses.
Regardless though you will be in for a challenge with this game, and for those who have completed all the games there is a challenge mode as well. This mode will pit you against timers to complete certain tasks a certain way, with each challenge unlocking more. This is a great addition to the collection to help keep old-comers of the series on their toes and experience something new.
Bottomline, Mega Man Legacy Collection is great bang for buck especially if you grew up playing these games as a kid like me. There is enough here to bring hours of challenge and enjoyment to both new and old players alike. While not all the titles in this series are here, it’s certainly included the games that helped lay the foundation for this series and plant roots for platformers to come.