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Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Review: Digging Even Deeper into Mega Man's History

Is there magic still to be found in Mega Man's less loved entries?

Review by Nadia Oxford, .

Here's a funny story from a Mega Man fandom old-fish. Mega Man X4 came to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1997, and Mega Man X5 came to the PlayStation in 2000. During that three-year stretch without a Mega Man or X game, we assumed the franchise was dead.

Ha ha! Three years. Know how long it's been since Mega Man 10 came to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii? Seven years.

...

All right. Well. At least we can visit and re-visit Mega Man's best years through game collections. 2015's Mega Man Legacy Collection from Digital Eclipse put on a great show, its only real failing being the lack of games beyond Mega Man 6. Digital Eclipse's Disney Afternoon Collection likewise does a loving job of bundling together some of Capcom's best work. When we got news about Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, we assumed Digital Eclipse would gather up Mega Man 7, Mega Man 8, Mega Man 9, and Mega Man 10 with the same passion and care it showed to the first collection and the Disney Afternoon Collection.

Then official word came in: Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is an in-house job from Capcom.

I initially wanted to avoid cynicism. I tried to avoid telling myself, "Capcom saw how well-received the first collection is, and it wants to cash-in while saving a few bucks in the bargain." There's no beating around the Planty, though: Barely a stitch of the love and charm we've come to expect from Digital Eclipse's collections made it into Mega Man Legacy Collection 2.

(This is a Planty, by the way.)

It's not a bad collection – it's certainly not as dismal as 2004's Mega Man Anniversary Collection – and the games' emulation is solid. But there's a noticeable lack of effort in the bells and whistles that ought to bind the collection together. Even most of the handy-dandy game features Digital Eclipse cooked up for Legacy Collection and Disney Afternoon Collection are gone, and sorely missed.

Here's what makes Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 a tough game to review, though: The games themselves are great, and unlike Mega Man 1 through 6, they're not easy to find outside of this collection. Mega Man 7 can be bought on Virtual Console, but Mega Man 8 is a PSOne Classic (meaning you can only grab it for PlayStation 3, PSP, or PS Vita), and even though Mega Man 9 and 10 can be bought on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Marketplace, neither will play on current-gen hardware. Legacy Collection 2 also marks the first time either game is available on Steam.

In other words, Capcom had a chance to dress up these rare gems from its history, but it slapped a potato sack on them instead. Well, it's a nice potato sack, I guess. It's one of those sacks that has an illustration of a farm and a horse. It's not just a plain canvas bag.

Let's break down each game in the collection, then go over the features of the collection itself. Just let me get equipped with my spectacles and thoughtful grimace.

Mega Man 7 (1995, Super Nintendo)

Mega Man 7 doesn't top many fans' "Best Of" lists, but I think it's more a victim of bad timing than poor programming. By the time Mega Man 7 came out, Mega Man X and Mega Man X2 were already on the SNES – and whereas both those games made a point of advancing Mega Man's classic NES mechanics, Mega Man 7 made a point of going back to them. Unlike his future-brother, X, Mega Man has no wall-jumping capabilities, and no dash. He moves a little slower, and he's a little heavier.

It's easy to see what Capcom was going for, but reviewers and fans were clearly confused. They couldn't understand why Mega Man's skillset would go backward, and I suppose I can understand their irritability. Still, I love Mega Man 7. It has a highly unique look and sound that Capcom adopted towards the end of the SNES' life, then dropped for the 32-bit era. I love its giant enemies, its jaunty soundtrack, and its clever stage design. Its visuals also strike a pleasing balance between "friendlier and more colorful than the X games" and "someone in the art department took one too many sips of hippie water."

Is it perfect? No, no. Not at all. Enemies are bullet-sponges, and I expect the final fight with Dr Wily was designed on a coffee-sopped paper napkin. But I still feel unmitigated joy when I summon the Rush Adaptor and jet around.

Mega Man 8 (1997, PlayStation and Sega Saturn)

Here's one thing that makes Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 an interesting bird: It immediately reminds you how little uniformity there is between Mega Man 7 and 8. The former is a one-off SNES experiment, and the latter is a one-off PlayStation experiment.

Interesting as Mega Man 8 is, it's not my favorite in the series. I'm not overly fond of how stingy the game is with the Bolts that are necessary to buy upgrades and power-ups (though the hunt for bolts from stage to stage takes you to some interesting places you wouldn't think to look otherwise), I don't like how Rush is only called on for very specific circumstances, I don't like the game's lack of E-Tanks, and I don't like its pastel color palette. I really don't like the auto-scrolling jet sled portion of Frost Man's stage. Jump, jump! Slide, slide! Dead, dead!

I adore the awkward, atrociously-dubbed FMV scenes, though. How can I not? Oh, '90s CD games. When I die, my heaven wallpapered with grainy anime stills.

Mega Man 8 isn't my bag, but I understand why fans generally love it. It's good to have it within easy reach on a current-gen platform.

Mega Man 9 (2008, Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

It's been nine years since Mega Man 9 was hailed as the Blue Bomber's savior, for whatever that revival was worth. Is it OK to admit I find this game far more frustrating than fun? I appreciate what it's going for, and I respect fans who enjoy letting the game hurt them (as long as a clear safe word is agreed upon first), but I don't dig how often the game asks me to conquer long stretches of single-block jumps while enemies swarm me. Also, the spikes. So many spikes. After playing Mega Man 9 for any amount of time, I see spikes in my dreams.

When I go back to older Mega Man games, they're certainly difficult, and there are certainly moments when they can be cheap. It just feels like Mega Man 9 goes overboard, plus it takes away Mega Man's slide. Why, Dr Light? Why? Did you sell the hydraulics to make money for ill pursuits? Just be honest with me. I promise I won't get mad.

Mega Man 10 (2010, Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

Am I the only person in existence who'd rather play Mega Man 10 than Mega Man 9? I probably am. That's where I stand, though. Mega Man 10 goes back to making classic Mega Man more hard than out-and-out frustrating, plus playing as Proto Man is a treat (so is playing as Bass, who was DLC in the initial release. You can unlock him in Legacy Collection 2 by finishing Mega Man 10). Also, can we just talk about how Proto Man spends his Bolts in a black market run by a shady merchant who is most assuredly Not Auto? I love that.

Oh, and if things get too intense for you, Mega Man 10 offers an Easy Mode that places safety platforms over difficult jumps and ups the drop rate of power-ups. Go on. Wail, snarl, gnash your teeth. I hear nothing. Nothing!

The Collection Itself

Here's where Legacy Collection 2 fizzles a bit, even if it doesn't outright plop. The basics are intact: Image galleries with nice, high-res images, music galleries (that are noticeably missing the songs that play in Mega Man 8's cutscenes), a couple of screen filters, and challenge modes with boss rushes and level gauntlets. There's also a feature that lets Mega Man take half-damage across all the games, which is nice.

But you start to miss Digital Eclipse's tender touch almost as soon as you navigate through your first set of menus. Unlike the original Legacy Collection and the Disney Afternoon Collection, Legacy Collection 2's presentation doesn't offer any custom art or shifting chiptunes. All the menus' graphics and sound are pulled straight from Mega Man 8. It doesn't look bad, nor is it hard to navigate, but talk about a let-down.

Bizarrely, Legacy Collection 2 offers no save states. Instead, the game makes automatic checkpoints as you play through each game, though these aren't made very frequently. Save states are sorely missed in Mega Man 9, and I'd sell my own mother to a horde of flesh-eating Mettaurs for Disney Afternoon Collection's "Rewind" feature.

"All Ice Bear's friends are future enemies."

Mega Man 7 even has one bizarre oversight in the PlayStation 4 version of Legacy Collection 2: If you change your button layout, you may wind up nixing the button that lets you visit Auto's shop from the Stage Select. It's not hard to fix by reverting the game's default settings, but it's still indicative of how the collection is a bit of a rush job.

And yet, I'm helpless not to recommend Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, even though I ask that you picture me throwing my hands up in the air as I do so. The games are great, they're emulated well, and they're not all easy to find and play otherwise. Have I been spoiled by Digital Eclipse's collections, or did Capcom phone in Legacy Collection 2? The answer is "yes."

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 gathers up four great Mega Man games that are otherwise hard to find and play. However, Capcom's stitched-together presentation for the titles and lack of extra options leaves a lot to be desired in this post-Digital Eclipse world.

4 /5

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Review: Digging Even Deeper into Mega Man's History Nadia Oxford Is there magic still to be found in Mega Man's less loved entries? 2017-08-08T07:01:00-04:00 4 5

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Comments 34

  • Avatar for retr0gamer #1 retr0gamer 12 days ago
    Yes, you are the only person who enjoys mm10 more than 9.

    I'm guessing this version doesn't have a Megaman 8 with the extra content of the Saturn version?
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  • Avatar for bigbadboaz #2 bigbadboaz 12 days ago
    Capcom can always be counted on to half-ass their rereleases. Doesn't matter how many sales disappointments they endure or what their executives may have to say about needing to turn things around.

    Is there any word on why they didn't use DE this time around?
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #3 VotesForCows 12 days ago
    I completely missed Mega Man first time around - never had Nintendo hardware in the 80s and 90s. I really enjoyed the first Legacy Collection, but it sounds like this one is a pass for me.
    When people talk about the first collection its all about the unparalleled quality of those games, but these latter 4 sound more like a mixed bag. Fair assessment?
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #4 VotesForCows 12 days ago
    @bigbadboaz It can be no other reason than to save cash. They'll have gambled that the value of any loss in sales from negative reviews will be less than the amount they'd have had to pay Digital Eclipse.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #5 link6616 12 days ago
    @VotesForCows Or I suspect they saw it did about as well as previous in house not excellent collections... Which naturally lead to them going "quality isn't really worth it. Just get them out"
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #6 LBD_Nytetrayn 12 days ago
    @retr0gamer Nope; it's PS1 through and through.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #7 riderkicker 12 days ago
    I'm glad I pre-ordered for $14 as I still don't own a physical copy of the original Legacy collection (hemmed and hawed and missed it at $10). It looks like a solid collection, but Capcom did a boner by not hiring M2 or Digital Eclipse to re-code the games to work on the One/PS4, since they refuse to say the E-word.

    I really wish there was a Sega Saturn shaped controller for the PS4. Dern.Edited 2 weeks ago by riderkicker
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  • Avatar for Talraen #8 Talraen 12 days ago
    I don't think the problem with Mega Man 7 had anything to do with going back to basic mechanics. MM7 just doesn't work in a lot of respects, particularly with Mega Man taking up so much more screen real estate. I can't put my finger on all of its issues, but it just seems to lack the incredibly tight design of its NES predecessors. It's not a bad game, but it doesn't stand out in the series.

    And this is coming from someone whose favorite Mega Man game is Mega Man 9. I'm not surprised to see your comments on it, though - all of my friends kind of hated it because it was so hard. But as a long-time Mega Man vet, I found it manageable, and aside from the brutal difficulty it is essentially the perfect Mega Man game. It's the only time in the entire series when every single robot master's weapon is really useful in many situations. But it could probably use an easy mode so people other than the most hardcore of fans can enjoy it. :)
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  • Avatar for mobichan #9 mobichan 12 days ago
    So I am a little confused here. Are the games in any way of poor quality (ie emulation is bad or there are some issues with how they play)? Or are people just complaining that there aren't enough bells and whistles and features that emulation have offered for more than 2 decades?

    I remember the PS1 (Japan only) Rockman re-releases being the quintessential home versions with all their galleries and extras. It is funny how they aren't the points of comparison. But at the end of the day, I never really understood galleries. I would just rather buy an art book. Good thing there is one.
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  • Avatar for dsparil #10 dsparil 12 days ago
    The lack of a translated Rockman & Forte is a big missed opportunity. We did get the GBA version, but the displayed area is shrunken and the translation quality is hilariously terrible. In the character database, Dr. Light's "bad point" is "douchie". The original is supposedly "gets tricked easily".
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  • Avatar for yuberus #11 yuberus 12 days ago
    I also enjoyed 10 more than 9, mostly because I was able to finish 10. (I'm sure I can finish 9, but have not yet felt the desire to go through the gauntlet).

    Ugh, the lack of Mega Man and Bass though! Even the GBA port would have been nice!Edited 2 weeks ago by yuberus
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  • Avatar for BulkSlash #12 BulkSlash 12 days ago
    I liked Mega Man 10 more than 9 too! MM9 was just too hard for me, although the option to halve all damage has me very interested in revisiting them. If only they'd done a Switch version! :(
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #13 Roto13 12 days ago
    @mobichan You wouldn't be confused if you read the review.
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  • Avatar for Zenbojay #14 Zenbojay 12 days ago
    C'mon Capcom and release Mega Man Legends collection!!!!
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  • Avatar for Thad #15 Thad 12 days ago
    @dsparil I've been looking for a screen cap of "douchie" for years.

    I could cap it myself, but then I'd have to play the GBA version of MM&B again.
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  • Avatar for LK4O4 #16 LK4O4 12 days ago
    I knew it wasn't going to happen, but I was secretly hoping that Capcom would put in an option similar to Digital Eclipse's "Monitor Mode" so that I could play Mega Man 9 with great-looking scanlines.

    ...but hey, it's Mega Man 9 on modern platforms. As long as they didn't mess it up, I'm already sold.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #17 MetManMas 12 days ago
    You may not like the pastel look (I'm not a big fan of it myself) but you got to admit that Mega Man 8 has some pretty awesome sprite animations, Nadia. Capcom was at the top of its game in the mid 90s.

    As for the hilariously awful dub, Fudd Light will always be my favorite Dr. Light.Edited 2 weeks ago by MetManMas
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  • Avatar for presidentcamacho #18 presidentcamacho 12 days ago
    @VotesForCows

    They are great games, especially 9. Honestly, despite growing up with the NES games I have to say 9 is my favorite. If you enjoyed the first collection, you will enjoy this one. Like the first collection, the quality varies a bit from game to game, but they're all well above average IMO. I will be buying this on steam despite having all but 7 legitimately owned on various consoles. One less reason to hook the old crap up.Edited 2 times. Last edited 2 weeks ago by presidentcamacho
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #19 VotesForCows 12 days ago
    @presidentcamacho Thanks for that - I'll keep an eye on it so. A few other things to play now, but perhaps I'll come back to this.
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  • Avatar for mobichan #20 mobichan 12 days ago
    @Roto13 I read the review twice now. It is basically a game by game review. The complaints seem to center on the lack of emulatoresque options. But I didn't read anything regarding the emulation quality or if there were technical issues with any of the games. I bring this up because many of the comments refer to problems that sound like the games don't play well.

    It kind of bugs me (as a developer) that people need all these bells and whistles to consider the package a success or worth their money. If these games hold up ( and that is subjective) then you are getting years of development time and quality for little money. To belittle it because you don't get a pseudo debug mode suite of features makes me sad. And that is the tone I get from the chatter going on.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #21 Roto13 12 days ago
    @mobichan "It's not a bad collection – it's certainly not as dismal as 2004's Mega Man Anniversary Collection – and the games' emulation is solid."

    "The games are great, they're emulated well, and they're not all easy to find and play otherwise."

    Read it a few more times, I guess.
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  • Avatar for Daikaiju #22 Daikaiju 12 days ago
    DAMMMIT, CAPCOM.
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  • Avatar for mobichan #23 mobichan 12 days ago
    @Roto13 thanks. How I was reading past that I have no idea. The comments really paint a different picture for me though.
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  • Avatar for camchow #24 camchow 11 days ago
    9 and 10 are both great. I love some of the ideas and levels of 10 but I think overall 9 is just a bit better (especially the weapons, no contest). Still, that Wily Stage 1 in 10 is probably my favorite in the entire series and that section at the end with the Wily stage map scrolling into space is definitely my favorite moment in any Mega Man game. I don't think I have ever just straight up LOLed at an in game joke like that in Mega Man before.

    Honestly maybe this makes me a bit of an asshole (and I know this is an impossible dream) but if the collection included the NES demakes of 7 and 8 this would be perfect.
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  • Avatar for mganai #25 mganai 11 days ago
    Dammit, I read that last Ice Bear caption in Ice Bear's (We Bare Bears) voice.
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #26 KaiserWarrior 11 days ago
    @mobichan If I'm paying more than a couple of cents for 25+ year-old digital data? Yeah, I expect there to be bells and whistles. Even Mega Man 9 is nearly a decade old by this point, and it was designed specifically to evoke (and have a very similar feature set to) games that are nearly three decades old.

    The Playstation 3 is still a thing that exists. It's not difficult to find one that functions, assuming you don't already have a perfectly good one of your own (as I do). If I just want to play MM9 with no 'bell and whistles', I'll just play the copy I've already got. And if I've got that PS3, then I can get a perfectly functional copy of Mega Man 8 for four dollars that will play on it. And that's from Amazon, with absolutely zero effort spent tracking down a cheaper copy.

    MMLC2 is retailing for 20 bucks, and contains 4 games. That means that MM8's share of it represents five dollars of the cost -- and I can get a copy of the game for four dollars without even looking.

    So yeah. I expect bells and whistles when I'm paying 125% of the going market rate for a game.
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #27 LBD_Nytetrayn 11 days ago
    @mobichan It's more a matter of precedent. Digital Eclipse set the bar with their two recent efforts, and while Capcom's is good, it doesn't meet the previously set standard -- which is kind of important if you're going to take the name that set said standard and slap a "2" on it.
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  • Avatar for mobichan #28 mobichan 11 days ago
    @LBD_Nytetrayn I can agree with that angle. It is just a bit sad that there needed to be a 2 at all. This should have probably been one giant "Megaman Collection!" in the first place. It isn't like Capcom are going to make more Megaman games now that Inafune is not with the company. But that would devalue the individual games in their eyes, so they would never go that route, in case they planned to rerelease them on digital platforms int he future (ie Virtual Console's successor).
    @KaiserWarrior I think the premium you are paying for here is the convenience of having it on a current system. I have never sold a system I have owned, so the value here (for me) is not having to hook up one of those old systems to play the game. Sadly, I feel emulation in the 90's all but removed that need as well as devalued the games to the point where people think they are worth very little. I count myself among those individuals who can't imagine paying more than a buck per game for old titles, but also have an appreciation for the game content as a creator. I don't want to see my own creations valued less over time just because they are older. I don't think books or movies lose their entertainment value because they are old. Games require just as much effort and creativity (sometimes more) so I don't think they should be seen as less valuable than their modern peers. Mind you, I am speaking on the basis that these things are here for entertainment.

    It probably sounds like I am a hypocrite, but all I can say is my current outlook has changed from my 90's self. But the damage from emulation is done and I can't see the games I have packed on a hard drive now as worth much. Certainly not what Virtual Console asks for them or many of these collection packs. I am not sure where I am going with this, but I am old... and probably too jaded to really put up much of a fight over collection packs.Edited 2 weeks ago by mobichan
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #29 KaiserWarrior 11 days ago
    @mobichan Well, the thing is that games are different from books and movies.

    Writing a book is a process that hasn't changed terribly much over time. Yes, people now do it on computers instead of typewriters or putting a quill to parchment, but at the end of the day, a person (books being largely a solo effort most of the time) sits down, thinks up a story, and writes it out over the course a a couple hundred pages. An editor checks over it at some point, but that's about it. Writing a book today requires approximately the same effort as writing a book a hundred years ago.

    Books, then, have a very noticeable depreciation curve. Initial release in hardback is pretty pricy (assuming the book gets a hardback release), then comes paperback for cheaper, then budget paperback for even cheaper, and eventually a digital release on e-readers for dirt-cheap. The order's not quite set in stone these days, but that's the general progression.

    A game from 1980, on the other hand, took substantially less effort to produce than a game from 2016, excepting real small indie titles which tend to be priced accordingly. An NES game typically took a dozen or fewer people a couple of months to perhaps a year to produce (Mega Man was a yearly title in those days...), whereas modern big-ticket titles take hundreds of people several years to make. There's also data volume to consider: words are words, and a thick book from 30 years ago has about the same word content as a thick book from yesterday. But Mega Man 7 took up a bit less than 2 megabytes of data, compared to a more modern game which can be upwards of 50 gigabytes -- quite literally thousands of times more data.

    Ultimately, the way I look at it is pretty similar to movies. If I just want to watch a movie as it was, I can get one of those ultra-low-budget DVD releases that just has the movie, in original format, with no extras for a buck or two. There's the convenience of playing it on my video disc device of choice rather than having to hook up a VHS or projector. But throw in a high-res master, a bunch of commentaries and other features? Sure, I'll pay a bit more for that.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #30 nadiaoxford 11 days ago
  • Avatar for mobichan #31 mobichan 11 days ago
    @KaiserWarrior My view on the book analogy is that the entertainment value of a book written today or 100 years ago is the same. The ideas and words remain as entertaining, regardless of whether it was written with a quill or with a computer. I might buy a paperback for $8 or the digital version (also for around $8) and feel like I am not getting ripped off. The difference with books is that you don't need the book to be recreated in a new format to enjoy it. So maybe that makes the analogy less relevant in this discussion.

    But as for movies, the analogy is much stronger. The product is still as entertaining even after 30 years. I can buy it in a remaster so it isn't as blurry on a modern display, but the movie is still worth the $15 to $20 dollars. Sure, there are budget movies for dirt cheap, but I wouldn't see Megaman as a "budget" style game. Maybe nostalgia is clouding my vision here.

    I don't think the cost to develop a game is a factor in why the game is entertaining to me. I am well aware of the team size differences between then and now (I am in my early 40's) but I don't think that should affect how we see the value of a game. Should the highend, indie games of today developed by small teams assume their work should be devalued in a decade? That is the kind of question I ask myself these days. And it is why it is hard to be a consumer of retro games anymore.
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  • Avatar for BigPrimeNumbers #32 BigPrimeNumbers 11 days ago
    Just a little aside: Mega Man 9 & 10 has been playable on modern hardware since the beginning of this year via XONE backward compatibility :)
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #33 LBD_Nytetrayn 5 days ago
    @mobichan Inafune's absence hasn't stopped Capcom so far, even if the efforts aren't much. There was Rockman Xover, another mobile game underway, and a cartoon that may get a tie-in.
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  • Avatar for mobichan #34 mobichan 5 days ago
    @LBD_Nytetrayn not sure I would count a short lived mobile game as much of an effort. To me, a cheap outsourced effort shows just how little Capcom cares about the IP. When they put out a first party, current gen Rockman game, I will consider it a legitimate effort. But without Inafune to push it through, I don't see that happening. He really was the last higher up at Capcom JP to condone spending real resources on a new Rockman game.
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