If there's one series retro gamers can't get enough of; it's Mega Man. As a huge fan for the past 25 years, I'm happy to see a new compilation for modern consoles, but was it worth releasing yet another collection?
Mega Man Legacy Collection consists of the first six Mega Man games in one cohesive package. Once you boot it up, you'll be delighted to hear a rocking interpretation of a classic Mega Man tune. However, as you enter the menus and browse around you might be a bit disappointed by how strictly utilitarian they are. The decade old Mega Man Anniversary Collection at least had some flair to it since you ran around as Mega Man when selecting menu items. Anniversary Collection also contained a couple of nifty features that are unfortunately absent here such as the Complete Works' Navi Mode and the ability to switch weapons on the fly with the shoulder buttons. Of course, I'm nitpicking but these seemingly unimportant inclusions are what big fans like me are looking for. Anyway, enough about the superficial aspects; let's get straight to the games!
Gamers regularly complain about how similar Mega Man's first adventures are and although I agree, I don't see it as a bad thing. The series is awesome and more of it is always welcome in my living room. The first entry is undeniably rough around the edges but it's fun to revisit the origins. Where the series started to shine was the second title which raised the bar for action platformers. The catchy soundtrack, refined graphics, memorable stage layouts, challenging boss fights, and epic finale made it one of the most impressive NES games around. Number three took the torch and built upon its predecessor's greatness with more legendary stages, awesome mid-bosses, a cool new slide move, and a transforming dog named Rush. One of the most noteworthy components of Mega Man's arsenal was introduced in the fourth installment; the chargeable Mega Buster. Mega Man 5 saw the debut of a helper bird named Beat and 6 allowed Mega Man to combine with Rush to form two useful transformations and also included many secrets and alternate stage routes. As you can tell, the innovation tapered off in the later few games, but they still remain great examples of retro gaming at its finest.
Each game is emulated quite well. Even technical issues such as slowdown and glitches remain which makes this one authentic collection. Although this is welcome for nostalgic fans, if you're looking for a smoother experience then it would have been nice to be able to adjust settings related to performance. The visuals may be emulated well, but I wish I could say the same thing about the audio. As I worked my way through all six games, a few occurrences of glitches arose. One such instance had the music playing on top of itself after I paused then unpaused the game. It became so loud that it started cracking, but after quitting and restarting; it was okay again. This could have been a one-off fluke, but insignificant clicks and snaps were regularly heard through the rest of the time I've spent playing. I hooked up my NES and played the original versions to see if they had these issues and I couldn't hear anything out of the ordinary. In the end, this is only a minor quibble but I mentioned it because I expect so much more from Mega Man.
Finally, let's discuss all of the included goodies. The most substantial addition is a list of over 50 challenges that are reminiscent of Nintendo's NES Remix series. Being able to ace them and climb the leaderboards requires a lot of skill so this will make Mega Man veterans thrilled to show off their abilities. However, you could always cheat your way through by taking advantage of glitches if you're really that despicable. Extras such as each game's soundtrack, loads of artwork under various categories, and a database complete with the ability to challenge any robot master you want are rather impressive inclusions that are sure to satisfy fans. Overall, Mega Man Anniversary Collection has a more complete offering but the bonus content in Legacy Collection is admirable enough to make it worth owning as well.
Mega Man Legacy Collection may not be the ultimate compilation of Mega Man games, but being able to play the origins of such an incredible series on a modern console complete with plenty of extra content definitely makes it a warranted purchase.
- + Mega Man's first six games all in one place
- + New challenges are incredibly thrilling skill tests for series veterans
- + Substantial amount of included extras
- - Utilitarian menus could use more flair
- - Some valuable features from previous compilations are unfortunately absent
- - Odd technical issues with audio occur