Digging up the Mega Man Legends Series

Digging up the Mega Man Legends Series

Rockman dashes into the 3D realm

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Retrospectives on

Although we don't see much of Mega Man these days, his legacy lives on in many classic series. In this retrospective, I'll take a look at his 3D debut, a spin-off, a sequel, and what the future has in store for the delightful digger.

Mega Man Legends screenshot
Meet some of the cast: Professor Barrell Caskett, Roll Caskett, Mega Man Volnutt, and Data

An introduction to a legendary series

I first heard about Mega Man Legends in a gaming magazine that described it as a Mega Man RPG. At the time, I was a huge RPG fan with Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger almost constantly in my SNES. What would this mean for Mega Man? Well, after it finally came out and I popped it in my PlayStation my first thought was, "This isn't an RPG..." I guess that's what you get for trusting the media, however it didn't disappoint. Being a long-time fan of Mega Man and finally seeing him rendered in 3D made me incredibly happy. Also, I haven't played anything quite like it. I think the closest thing I played was Tomb Raider with its square-based stage layouts and controls being similar. In the end, it captured my imagination and still continues to impress me more than 15 years later.

One aspect that still makes Mega Man Legends a delight to play today is its wonderful setting. Taking place thousands of years after the previous Mega Man series, the world is mostly covered in water (was that your fault, global warming?) and people survive by digging beneath the surface of the planet to retrieve energy sources known as quantum refractors. The most sought after resource is the fabled Mother Lode which may have what it takes to supply the world with an infinite amount of energy. This colourful world and its equally vibrant inhabitants are masterfully presented with soft palettes and minimal textures, cheesy voice acting reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons, and an overwhelmingly positive vibe. Helping local chums with their trivial chores, dealing with pirates and their occasional assault attempts, and slowly upgrading Mega Man to become a powerhouse is an absolute joy. Anyway, let's talk more about pirates.

The Misadventures of Tron Bonne screenshot
Tron Bonne hangs out in the lab while wearing a cool pair of glasses

I smell trouble; here come the Bonnes!

Who knew that a spin-off starring the pirate family from the first game would come out a couple of years later? The Misadventures of Tron Bonne is more than just an average spin-off since it consists of a variety of gameplay modes that all add up to one hilarious and ultimately satisfying experience. Between raiding ancient ruins, robbing banks, stealing cargo with intriguing puzzle mechanics, and commanding the adorable Servbots to follow your orders and venture off on their own missions; you know that you're in for one diverse multi-tasking misadventure! I still find it incredible how they tied all these fun ways to play together to make a cohesive and enjoyable game. But, the icing on the cake was the delicious Mega Man Legends 2 demo that it came packaged with. Speaking of which...

Mr. Volnutt makes a triumphant return

Mega Man Legends 2 kept the elements that I loved from the original and actually managed to improve them. The most notable upgrade is the control scheme. No longer would you have to move Mega Man around with the directional pad since the DualShock Analog Controller would be utilized in all of its glory. Also, the graphics are much more detailed yet they remain almost as innocent looking as the first installment. In this journey, Mega Man gets the opportunity to travel between many different islands instead of being confined to one and the overall adventure is a lot longer as a result. Along your quest, you can also decide whether to be good or bad and your actions are reflected in how bright or dim Mega Man's appearance is. Mega Man Legends 2's plot is significantly more convoluted than its predecessor which results in a more anime feel. Personally, it makes me miss the simplistic nature of the first game, but it's still interesting to watch it all unfold. Overall, this sequel took what made the original great and elevated it to a new level.

Mega Man Legends 2 screenshot
The last boss of Mega Man Legends 2 looks like it belongs in a Final Fantasy game

What's next for the blue bomber?

It may come as a surprise, but Mega Man Legends 3 was actually being developed for 3DS five years ago. Just a matter of months after it was announced, Capcom officially declared its cancellation. Many fans from around the world (including myself) were devastated by the news. However, a spiritual successor to the series (now known as Red Ash: The Indelible Legend) is being developed by many of the same staff. It began as a crowdfunded venture that unfortunately didn't meet its goal but has since been picked up by a Chinese game publisher (Fuze Entertainment). Whether it'll live up to its roots has yet to be seen, but I'm definitely excited to find out!

Do you have any Mega Man Legends memories that you'd like to share? Leave a comment below and let's talk!

Gameplay video for Mega Man Legends 7:24

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