Capcom have a bit of a dilemma on their hands. Despite Mega Man series creator Kenji Inafune having long departed from the company, the character is a highly popular one with fans. So much so, that a spiritual successor to Mega Man is being created by Inafune. Capcom’s answer to this is to remind fans of why Mega Man was so special in the first place and the Mega Man Legacy Collection aims to do just that.
Included in the collection are the six classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Mega Man games, presented in various forms thanks to a robust visual filter system. Some of course look way better and crisper than others, but all the games regardless of the filters play just like they did back in the late 80’s/early 90’s.
In some cases, the age of the game shows. Mega Man’s first adventure has a more arcade-like feel as it is at times unfairly hard, while his later adventures add the slide and charge shot to his basic arsenal and more cinematic presentation for the NES. Obviously the seminal game in the collection is Mega Man 2, thanks to its nigh-on perfect level design, but the other games have their own charm.
Trouble is; the emulation is too perfect. Not only does it capture the look and feel of the classic Mega Man games, but also the same frame rate problems when there are more sprites than usual. Because of this, some particularly tough, densely populated sections can be made all the more hellish when the frame rate tanks to a crawl.
Chances are as fans or newcomers, the appeal of six remastered games that one could easily grab from various sources may not appeal as much. Capcom have seen it fit to include a Save State feature and an autofire button. The latter’s value varies with enemies it is used on, but the Save State is a great optional addition that makes the games accessible without being intrusive.
For the fans, Capcom have included the entire soundtrack of the six games and a gallery of wonderful artwork, but the most important new feature is the Challenge Mode. Taking a leaf out of NES Remix, each one puts you against the clock as you defeat certain sections of the games, occasionally splitting between multiple titles per challenge. It’s an interesting idea, but they could have gone further by assorting the weapons between games for added challenge.
However, one bizarre drawback is the game selection. Mega Man Legacy Collection features the classic NES titles, but completely omits nearly half of the entire classic Mega Man franchise, though I’m not including the two arcade games and football game in that count. It can of course be argued that the price of admission is still great value and it indeed is, but I’d actually pay slightly more for a complete collection.
Get this though, such a collection actually exists. Back in 2004, that generation of consoles got eight of the franchise on one disc, including the two arcade games as unlockables. Adding the last-gen revival of Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, plus the “spinoff” Mega Man and Bass, and you have half of the entire library missed out. Of course, Mega Man 8 was a bit of a dark horse, but the others were great!
As such, Mega Man Legacy Collection feels incomplete. It doesn’t feature any of the games that launched after the heyday of the NES era and even then brings them to modern systems with performance warts and all. Yet somehow with the six games it does bring to the table, it provides enough for fans to indulge in with challenges and archive artwork, while also bringing in new players with conveniences such as the save system. For those wishing to step back to an era where these games were king, this is a good way to experience Mega Man’s origins.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4