After releasing the first six Mega Man games in one collection, developer and publisher Capcom has decided to fill in the remaining holes from the main franchise with Mega Man Legacy Collection 2. Much like the first Legacy Collection, this new batch includes entries from the main Mega Man series that led to the creation of the Mega Man X series and other countless spin-off titles. However, unlike the first group of games from the NES, the four titles offered are from the post-NES era of consoles, including Super Nintendo’s Mega Man 7, PlayStation’s Mega Man 8, and cross-platform released Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and PC). What makes this new collection stand out is its culmination of the odd balls of the franchise, as the first six games were relatively similar, offering a set number of bosses to defeat that leads to an encounter with Mega Man’s enemy, Dr. Wily.
As a Mega Man fan myself, it’s important to note the games here are not widely loved or received by the entire fan base, but I find them to be standouts for how dividing they can be in the community. Mega Man 8, for example, was the first game to include voiceover work, and despite being one of the worst aspects of the game, the art style and tight controls make it one of the strongest entries in the franchise. The same praise can be said for the other three games, as their difficulty and deviation from the typical formula through added sub-bosses and extra Wily stages showed how creative the franchise could be. Of course, while housing all of these gems in one handy digital package is tantalizing enough, it’s the added content that makes the collection worth studying and discussing.
When it comes to the games themselves, Capcom avoided tampering with their original versions and didn’t offer anything new in terms of a normal run through. The games seem to be direct ports of the originals, with only new options for aspect ratios as a variation on the gameplay. Players can choose from original, widescreen, or fullscreen, with four different wallpapers per game to fill in the extra space depending on the screen size. The wallpaper options typically range from portraits of each of the bosses to official art of Mega Man in his different forms. Of course, these options don’t offer a great deal to the gaming experience, but what is helpful is that they are all easily accessed from a quick button, allowing the player to switch between the available options in mere seconds. The most modern feature, quick saves, is also found in this menu, allowing for a save at any time, even in the middle of a boss battle. There is an auto checkpoint save option, too, that will utilize the save state whenever a major moment in the game occurs, such as finishing a stage or earning a weapon, and is a welcome idea for players that might forget to constantly save after a boss fight or finding a rare item.
While it’s nice to have the often overlooked games from the franchise in one package, it’s difficult to position needing this collection if a player already owns the originals. Thankfully, a majority of the meat of the Legacy Collection 2comes down to the Challenge Modes, which offer a completely new experience for both seasoned and introductory gamers. The collection even treats it as its own entity, separating the new quests from the main games, allowing a player to jump into them without having to clear a normal run through of any of the games. The Challenge Modes offer various remixes on stages and bosses, with each game housing its own unique take on the offerings.
Starting with Mega Man 7 and 8, both games follow the same format for Challenges, offering ten different tasks: two sets of remixed stages, a sub-boss rush, a boss rush, four separate time attack battles against the sub-bosses found in Wily’s Castle, as well as sub-boss and boss rush modes where Mega Man can only use his Buster Gun. The two remixed stage Challenges pit Mega Man in various stages to rush through the areas as quickly as possible. The sub-boss and boss modes work similarly, but all have a different “time to beat” to truly award completion to the player. What’s best about these Challenges is that it spurs players on to tackle the game differently than they might otherwise, as rushing through a stage or boss fight is never really the focus of the main game. Even greater, the player’s score goes onto an online leaderboard, which will add more competitive value to the games and show off the true best of the best when it comes to Mega Man.
The 8-bit Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 are completely separate beasts on their own, offering the original games’ Challenges as well as new Extra Challenges created for Legacy Collection 2. In Mega Man 9’s Extra Challenges, apart from Mega Man’s task to complete remixed stages and boss rushes, Proto Man is also a playable option, essentially giving the player twice the amount of work to do. While at first that sounds like a cheap trick by Capcom to make the game seem longer, Proto Man plays rather differently than his blue brother, as he can slide, charge his buster, and has his own set of boss weapons, all of which are available to use in every Challenge. Mega Man 10 works the same way, but another added character, Bass, makes the list of Challenges even longer and more engaging, as he can dash and fire rapid semi-automatic buster shots. Players that take on the extremely difficult task of completing all original and Extra Challenges will unlock more bonus content, including a Time Attack mode and fan service that makes the effort feel valid, but that’s a secret to discover on your own.
In terms of non-playable bonus goodies, the Music Player offers all 146 tracks available from the four games. Despite mixed critical and fan reviews, the games themselves hold some of the best music from the franchise, including Mega Man 8’s Frost Man and Grenade Man stage themes. Another gallery-esque offering, the Museum Mode, holds design concept art for characters, stages, enemies, and pictures from the original games’ strategy guides. While a player most likely won’t spend more than ten minutes looking through the pieces, it was a nice touch to show off so much more than the gameplay, as the art style and music have always been a large part of why Mega Man continues to be a sought after name. The idea to make both the Museum Mode and Music Player accessible from the start was also a great one, as the new Challenges, especially when looking at Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, will take up enough time to unlock.
However, even with the much needed bonus content and Challenge Modes, the question of if every Mega Man fan needs to make this game as part of their library arises. Overall, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is a slightly complicated sell that takes some explaining. Keeping the games in their original art styles may seem like a lazy decision on Capcom’s part, but the word “Legacy” in the title of the collection suggests a history lesson, and not a complete graphic overhaul to fit modern visuals. The included four games offer a great deal of variation and are worth experiencing at least once, but for new players, it will require playing the first Mega Man Legacy Collection to appreciate the differences between the NES and the post-NES eras. As for seasoned fans, though, it’s truly a no-brainer, as the Challenge Modes alone create a competitive playground that accommodates the current trend of speed running and leaderboards.
Mega Man fans will either love or hate returning to the later entries from the franchise found in Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, but the new Challenges will give any player a run for their money and should be worth checking out.
E10+ - Everyone
|Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. Primary version played was for PS4. Product was provided by Capcom for the benefit of this coverage. EGM reviews on a scale of one to five stars.