If you’re interesting in playing old games, you’ll be faced with a dilemma. Unless you want to head over to eBay and pay lots of money for a good copy of the original game, your only other option is pirating ROMs of the game. Unless of course, the original creators decide to re-release a compilation of the games you’re looking for. And if you’re a fan of the Mega Man franchise (who isn’t?), the Mega Man Legacy Collection is an absolute godsend. Capcom’s legendary character has been through several iterations over dozens of games in the past three decades, and is a staple of gaming history.
Mega Man Background:
Mega Man is an iconic franchise that has inspired and created several gameplay mechanisms that modern games utilize. In this collection, you’ll be able to play through the first six games of the Mega Man series. Even if you aren’t as impressed by the games now as you did when you were a wide-eyed kid with your first console, this compilation is still an invaluable window into gaming history. Capcom hasn’t polished and repackaged any of the original games. This is Mega Man exactly as you first played it – glitches, bugs and all.
If you haven’t heard of or played a Mega Man game, your insulation to pop culture is truly astounding. Even so, for players new to the franchise, the concept is fairly simple. You’re a benevolent little robot called Rock, who is one day called upon to defeat the evil Robot Masters created by Dr. Wily. To accomplish this task, you volunteer yourself to be transformed into our favorite blue superhero – Mega Man. Armed with your trusty Mega Buster and several other weapons you’ll find along the way, you have to beat the Robot Masters and ultimately confront Dr. Wily. It’s the standard “the fate of the world rests on your shoulders” plot, but Mega Man acquits itself well. The colorful 8-bit graphics, innovative enemy and level design and catchy music makes playing the game an absolute blast. You’ll come up against a lot of memorable enemies – Star Man, Guts Man, Bomb Man and Ice Man, to name a few. The Mega Man franchise is a testament to clever design even while working within the limited capabilities of old consoles.
The Game Play:
While the design and presentation is fantastic, actually playing the Mega Man games is less fun than you might remember. You start off with a Mega Buster gun and work your way through different bosses, each of which drops a new weapon. But there’s a catch – this new weapon is what you’ll need to take out a specific boss. Therefore, the game becomes about figuring out which bosses you can take down with your existing arsenal before moving on to the next one. If you come up against a boss without the weapon you need to finish him, you’ll keep banging your head against a brick wall.
The game doesn’t give you any hint about which weapon might work against a certain boss. If you don’t have several hours free to indulge in some good old trial-and-error, you’ll be better served by heading online to find out the order in which you should attack the bosses. Even if you do have the right weapon, if you don’t kill the boss on your first try, you’ll most likely have to restart the level because a large portion of winning boss fights depends upon the energy meters of your special weapons. And these weapons don’t always recharge during boss fights.
But before we talk about boss fights, let’s spend a little time getting to the boss fights. Because as any Mega Man player knows, just reaching the end of the level is a task in and of itself. You’ll start off with three lives which you’ll lose almost immediately if you haven’t figured out enemy attack patterns. There are traps, hidden obstacles, lasers, spikes and several other things that stand in your way. You’ll die. A lot. Once you’ve run through the gamut a few times, you’ll be able to predict and avoid these hazards. And even then, you’ll have to time and place your movements absolutely perfectly. Literally one pixel on either side could mean the difference between living and dying.
The platforming mechanics in these Mega Man games are fairly unresponsive. So all of those jumps you need to land perfectly to progress are basically a test of your luck. Bosses, enemies and level geometry is completely governed by patterns. Patterns that you’ll have to memorize if you want to stand any chance at success. Exhibit A – Mega Man 3’s Snake Man stage. The later games overcome a lot of the frustrating elements of the first couple of Mega Man entries, but they’re still far from perfect.
As a compilation of gaming history, Mega Man Legacy Collection holds tremendous nostalgic value. Trust me I know, I grew up playing Mega Man 2 on the Nintendo NES. These are the games that shaped 2D platforming and gaming in general. You’ll experience a lot of frustration while you’re at it. You’ll have several moments where you’ll want to slam the controller into the screen. Really, the only reason you’d keep playing is if you want to see what games were like, or if you want to beat the Snake Man level that you never could as a child. Remember you will still need to hone your retro “NES Skill Set” if you want to beat these classics!
Game Review Score: 9.0 Out Of 10 – They just don’t make games like this any more!