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Mega Man Legacy Collection

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Classic/Retro/ Compilation

Graphics & Sound:

Mega Man. Rockman. The Blue Bomber. What can I say about him that hasn't already been said a million times over? His series quickly became synonymous with quality and challenge. So much that it received not only a ton of sequels, but a ton of spin-off franchises, as well. Granted, most of those varied in quality, but the point remains: he was everywhere back in the day. And now, it's been a while since we've seen something truly new from Mega Man. Don't get your hopes up yet: Mega Man Legacy Collection isn't original by any stretch, nor is it as complete a collection as it should have been, but if you're a purist who hasn't taken to Nintendo's Virtual Console to relive some of these classic adventures, you might be interested in this compilation.

Pixelated goodness and cohesive color schemes. That's the Mega Man franchise in a nutshell, as far as visuals go. Capcom refrained from changing the visual style of the series until Mega Man X, and it shows. From Mega Man to Mega Man 6, everything looks like it's part of the same universe. And this was indicative of a time when sequels didn't technically necessarily look any better than their predecessors. Mega Man Legacy Collection captures the first six adventures exactly as you remember them. Exactly. But that's a good thing; the art style, while retaining a certain universal design to it, is compartmentalized with regards to the Robot Masters and their stages. And, in an oddly OCD way, I still think it's super cool that Mega Man's armor changes color when he switches weapons. It's organized. Controlled. Perfect.

Mega Man Legacy Collection features a couple of tweaks that you can play around with. If you want, you can stretch the action out to wide screen and remove the slowdown that accompanied certain mechanics. However, it's recommended that you play the game in its native form, slowdown and all.

Let's talk sound. The Mega Man series, as a rule of thumb, has amazing chiptune soundtracks. All of them are incredible. Some are better than others (I still think 3's is the best), but remember, this was Capcom at their best. All of their NES games had awesome music; while the reins switched hands multiple times between 1987 and 1993, the music remained universally excellent. Each track sounds perfectly in place with the theme of each Robot Master, and the complex, multilayered nature of each composition gives the music the rare distinction of being catchy, yet not an earworm. As far as sound effects go, it's all classic Nintendo era onomatopoeia. None of it is cacophonous or random. It's clean, pure, and perfect.


Mega Man Legacy Collection presents, in their original forms, the entire classic Mega Man series: that is, from 1987's Mega Man to 1993's Mega Man 6.

Bear in mind, this is from a time when storytelling in video games was, shall we say, an afterthought. Each and every single Mega Man game follows the same basic template: Dr. Wily is a megalomaniac with aspirations of ruling the world. And he has a series of robotic warriors who are more than capable of helping him achieve that goal. But Dr. Light, a much nicer robotics expert, dispatches Mega Man to stop all the Robot Masters and take Wily down. Literally each Mega Man game follows some variant of this story.

Pick your level, fight through it, defeat the Robot Master at the end. Easy, right? Hell to the no, but more on that later. The Mega Man games were unique in format; most games (action or otherwise) were strictly linear. You started at the beginning and went along one path to reach the end. Mega Man has never forced you down one path; while you have to complete each level to see the end of the game, you can do it in whichever order you choose. Granted, there is always a more "correct" order than others, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Gameplay has always boiled down to two primary mechanics: movement and combat. Of course, you'll have to completely master both if you want to get literally anywhere in these games. And considering the level design and artificial intelligence, that's no small feat. So run, jump, climb, and blast away to your heart's content, but that can only get you so far.

Given that this is a celebration of the Blue Bomber, it's only right that there's more to this package than the games themselves. Special challenges are there for those who are feeling particularly masochistic, and the Museum fleshes out Mega Man's world with some amazing concept art, sketches, Robot Master bios, remixed music and more. It's great stuff that really gives meaning to the use of the word "Legacy."


Talking about difficulty in a Mega Man game is like talking about olive salad in a muffuletta. They are the opposite of mutually exclusive. If it is Mega Man, it is difficult. It's not only a matter of Einsteinian physics, but it's probably also a core tenet of some religion somewhere.

Put simply, these games are from a time when Capcom did not screw around. If you wanted to see the end of a Mega Man game, there was a price to pay. And it was steep. Oh, God, was it steep. And it still is, to an extent. These games haven't gotten any easier in their nearly thirty years of existence. Granted, some of them aren't as brutal as others, and thankfully, none of them approach the unfair stupidity of Mega Man 9 or Mega Man 10.

You can save literally anywhere. That definitely takes the edge off the otherwise ridiculously sharp teeth, but it only goes so far. The process by which you save your game is okay, but it pulls you out of the game for too long. I know I'm just spoiled, having recently reviewed a retro compilation that features a rewind mechanic, but it's a legit nitpick. And hey, this is Mega Man. You're supposed to suffer.

Game Mechanics:

On the surface, there's not much to say about Mega Man Legacy Collection. All of the games are two-button action platformers. There's running, there's jumping, and there's shooting.

By far the coolest part of any Mega Man game is in the acquisition and use of new abilities and weapons. When you defeat a Robot Master, you absorb his primary weapon. Each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses -- excluding Mega Man 2's Metal Blade, which has no weaknesses. You can use these weapons in a variety of ways, from manipulating specific parts of the environment to simply wrecking other robots. But the most useful application of these weapons is against other Robot Masters: each one has a specific weakness. Capitalizing on these weaknesses invariably results in a ridiculously short and (lopsided) fight. Hence, the "correct" order I mentioned earlier.

There are already so many different ways in which you can play the Mega Man games. But if you get this one, you get perhaps the best deal of them all; besides the extra content that comes with these six excellent originals, you get the opportunity to let Capcom know that we want more Mega Man. Whatever that may entail.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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