Back in the day Capcom was one of the best developers when it came to creating platformers (that’s my opinion, but I think many would back that up.) Whether they were licensed properties like Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers, DuckTales or original properties like Mega Man they’re platformers had an elegance, a complexity and fun yet frustrating factor that few outside of Nintendo could match. Mega Man was the king of difficult platformers and for years people relished when a new game would come out. In recent years fans have been begging for another entry in the franchise, but the well has been dry.
Capcom recently released the Mega Man Legacy Collection and without giving too much away it’s a brilliant package of nostalgia, platforming excellence and a history lesson that many publishers should take a lesson from.
If you grew up in the 80’s then there was a very good chance you spent many hours yelling at your TV because of a death in Mega Man or a section of the game that you just couldn’t get past. When you conquered one of the robot masters it was a cause for celebration. You would spend hours playing these games that after you learned all the patterns, weapon weaknesses and platforming sections you could beat in 20 minutes.
If you’ve never played Mega Man then you’re in for a game that doesn’t pull any punches. It will beat you up, nurse you back to health only to repeat the process over and over again. The games are hard. There’s a reason that when people describe platformers today they’ll use the term “Mega Man Hard”.
I’m not going to talk too much about the games, because they’ve been talked to death for years. Rest assured that these are about as pixel perfect a port as you can get for all six games included. From the slowdown to the glitches and everything in between. If it was in the original versions of these games it’s in this package as well. What I will talk about is all the other stuff that’s included because it makes this a fantastic retro package to own.
When you choose a game you have two different options that you can choose from. You can choose to play either the Japanese or the American versions of the game. These are complete with the different box arts, title screens and everything different about these versions of the games. The Japanese versions of the game are generally harder with different enemy attacks and damage amounts. Many of the later American releases included a Normal and a Hard mode, which was the only option in the Japanese version of the game.
Challenge Mode has more than a dozen different challenges to attempt that give you NES Remix style mashups to play. You’ll go through small sections of the game as fast as you can to set your best time in each challenge. You can save your replays to revisit later to try and better your times. These challenges test veterans of the series to compete with their friends to get the best possible time and helps newcomers to the series by showing them different sections that they can replay over and over until they’ve mastered them and learn the intricacies of different parts of the game. It’s a great way to revisit some of these games in ways you haven’t gotten to do before.
The Databases included with each game show you every enemy you’ll encounter, gives you information about them and even shows you what weapons they are weak against. If you’re having a particularly difficult time with certain bosses you can try out practice fights against any of them straight from the database without having to play through the game to get to them. Hone your skills in these practices and you’ll be ready when the time comes to actually face them. If you’ve never been able to figure out the boss weaknesses before this database will also give you the low down on just which weapons you need to take out the different Robot Masters.
Fans of concept art and behind the scenes features will love the gallery that shows off hundreds of concept drawings from the development team, many of which you’ve never seen before and all of which are viewable from the first time you boot up the game. No need to unlock them as you go.
Mega Man Legacy Collection is easily one of the best packages for a retro game I’ve seen. The interface is crisp and easy to use. The higher resolution visuals stay true to the original ROMs while making them look better than they ever have before. The additions of the Challenge Mode, Save States and the Database give you tons of content to play and view outside of the six included games. It’s a shame that this Legacy Collection didn’t include all 10 of the “proper” Mega Man games in one package, but the ones that are here are a history lesson in how to create a great platformer. If you haven’t already picked up this collection then do so as soon as you can. It’s a great addition to any video game collection and a package that many publishers should look at when they release their classic titles.