10 Handy Things to Know if Mega Man Legacy Collection is Your Introduction to the Series

New to the series? Intimidated by the unrelenting meanness of these ancient games? Don't be!

List by Jeremy Parish, .

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6. Some challenges are B.S., and it's OK to cheese them

Look, the NES Mega Man games were created a long, long time ago. The most recent of the bunch is 22 years old. Video games were the wild west back then, especially when the series debuted! Developers were still just figuring out how things even worked. So you can forgive them for the fact that the ideas they crammed into those games didn't always work as intended.

The floating platforms in Ice Man's stage. The Yellow Devil. The disappearing block gauntlets, especially in Heat Man's lair. That stupid penultimate boss in Mega Man 2's Wily stages, which requires precise, economical placement of Crash Bombs with no room for error. The Doc Robot stages in Mega Man 3, which were a mix of inventive coolness and total cheapness. Pretty much the entirety of Mega Man 4. And so on.

These imperfect elements drag down otherwise exceptional games, and in the cold light of retrospection, they don't hold up well. If you find them particularly irksome, well, that's understandable. And if you decide to cheese them and take an easy way out, like the Yellow Devil pause trick or skipping most of Heat Man's level with Item-2 (or Quick Man's level with the Time Stopper), that's totally fine. Some of those choices were even accounted for by the level designers — completing the Quick Man laser gauntlet au naturale is a great party trick, but Capcom dropped a ton of weapon refills along the way so you can basically skip the whole thing by freezing time.

Remember, they're games. They're supposed to be fun. So have fun playing, however you manage it, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

7. E-tank tradeoff

Mega Man 2 introduced E-tanks, special items you can collect in the course of the game to allow poor Mega Man to recharge his health if he takes too much of a beating. He could collect up to four at a time, which comes in especially handy against final bosses. But: E-tanks don't carry over when you continue. The tradeoff, however, is that your special weapon energy only recharges completely when you continue. So you could easily find yourself at the end of the game against a bunch of tough foes with plenty of E-tanks in hand and a deficit of weapon energy. It may be tempting to just burn through your stock of lives for a recharge, but don't just give up. Use those E-tanks while you can, in classic roguelike style.

8. Mega Man 3's super jump

One of the weirdest undocumented features in a Mega Man game came in the form of Mega Man 3's "super jump," which has admirably been reproduced in MMLC. This was evidently a debug feature that allowed you to hold Right on the second controller in order to cause Mega Man to perform an impressive screen-high leap — even out of pits. Of all the ways to cheese these games, this one's the most fun... provided you have a second controller and someone willing to hold down the D-pad for you.

9. After Mega Man 3, Robot Master weapons became basically useless

Mega Man 4 made the tragic mistake of introducing the Mega Buster, an upgraded arm cannon that allowed Mega Man to charge up his attacks for extra power. A good idea in principle, the Mega Buster ended up being so powerful and so versatile that it undermined a basic tenet of the series: Swapping weapons on the fly and making use of all those special abilities you gained by stomping Robot Masters. You can't remove the Mega Buster from Mega Man (at least not until Mega Man 9), but you can choose not to use it and make a conscious effort to keep the series' spirit alive throughout its darkest hours by using the special weapons in Mega Man 4-6 for something other than just fighting bosses.

10. Mega Man 5 is good, but it added auto-scrolling to the series

I never cared for Mega Man 5 until recently, but I've seen the light. However, the game does include Wave Man's stage, which features an auto-scrolling vehicular segment. This means Mega Man 5 is directly responsible for the worst element of the Super NES and PlayStation Mega Man and Mega Man X sequels.

As such, you are still allowed to hate Mega Man 5 despite its overall quality. You're only human, after all.

Images courtesy of VGMuseum

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Comments 22

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  • Avatar for ShadowTheSecond #1 ShadowTheSecond 3 years ago
    "Remember, they're games. They're supposed to be fun. So have fun playing, however you manage it, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

    Indeed! It can be annoying to hear crap like "oh it violates the spirit of the sacred game to...(insert thing, like magic in Dark Souls)". I support people that want to tough it out in various games, but there's no shame in playing how you like (unless you're cheating or being a total jerk in a PvP game, in which case it is quite shameful).
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #2 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @ShadowTheSecond Yeah, that's my stance. Don't be a jackass to other people in multiplayer, but single player games are like sex: What you do in the privacy of your own home is totally your own business.
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  • Avatar for grappler51 #3 grappler51 3 years ago
    Great article! I love MM2 and 3 but was never able to beat 1. I really want to pick up MMLC on steam but all I have is a 360 controller and I don't think it's dpad will do the games justice... Maybe I'll have to see if I can hook a Wii remote up somehow.
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  • Avatar for Andronian #4 Andronian 3 years ago
    Disliking MM5? What a strange opinion, I've always thought it was a bit better than 4. Not that any of them are BAD but yanno
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  • Avatar for Andronian #5 Andronian 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Well, you say this but do also demonize the use of the Mega Buster in 4-6...
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #6 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @Andronian Not the use of, the existence of. The fault's in the game, not the player.
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  • Avatar for Andronian #7 Andronian 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish When I read that section I kind of felt like you were taking a jab at people who do use the Mega Buster, although I do agree with the statement that it does overshadow the master weapons in general. I'm just being pedantic about a tone that you probably didn't intend but I somehow read, I guess. Probably just me lol
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #8 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @Andronian Nah, it was meant as an encouragement to play counter to the design of the game. Not "stop being so lazy" but rather "the game doesn't really encourage you to do this, but maybe try it out anyway."
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  • Avatar for MontyForever #9 MontyForever 3 years ago
    So here I am, a SNES kid, someone who missed out on the original series and started with mega man i set to crash and burn? I love platformers, and proudly have every steam achievement on rogue legacy (shameless plug, sorry), so I'm by no means terrible at the genre...something about these games gives me a nervous twitch.
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  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #10 renatocosta90 3 years ago
    I played through (and streamed, even!) Mega man 1 yesterday and man, even though the game has some of the potential we'd eventually see realized in the sequel, it is downright hostile to the player from time to time. If it had limited continues, I don't think the series would have gone on.
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  • Avatar for Daikaiju #11 Daikaiju 3 years ago
    As glad as I am to have beat the Rock Monster (yeah, yeah. That's how I remember the Yellow Devil) via jumping and such, I'm never going through that hell again.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #12 SatelliteOfLove 3 years ago
    #11: Prepare to rock the fuck out! \m/ >_<

    That example is the sort of thing is sort of Miyazaki trick that he musta learned from well-crafted games like this, especially Demon's Souls.
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  • Avatar for jihon83 #13 jihon83 3 years ago
    You can tell there is a Retronaut at the helm, when MMLC is receiving the kind of article-attention that will greet Phantom Pain. It is a great thing, though all of your attention made me forget this collection isn't coming out for the PS3. So that said, do you think the PSN versions of these games are worth picking up, in lieu of this Criterion-like curated collection?
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  • Avatar for scarritt #14 scarritt 3 years ago
    I want to smack the person who came up with the disappearing blocks.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #15 MetManMas 3 years ago
    In Mega Man 5's defense, while it did introduce the dreaded auto scrolling vehicle segments, its take on them was the least offensive in the series. Within the context of Mega Man 5, it's just a low risk set piece for showing off parallax scrolling effects on the NES where you shoot lots of guys on bikes and fight a giant octopus.

    As for the SNES, I think there was only a brief one in Overdrive Ostrich's stage? Been too long since I played X2, but I think it wasn't too bad.

    Things definitely went to crap with the PlayStation games, though. That's where all the Jump Jump Slide Slide nonsense starts popping up as well as bits where you have to have clairvoyance not to smash into an obstacle or go falling down a pit.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #16 VotesForCows 3 years ago
    Thanks for this article@jeremy.parish - very useful!

    I think I'm an even more statistically unlikely buyer - I played MM2 for one afternoon in a friends house when it came out, then never laid eyes on a NES in the wild again. That said, I was so impressed by the game that the memory is still vivid, some 25 years later. Looking forward to getting stuck into it when I get paid tomorrow!
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  • Avatar for ronaldaugust28 #17 ronaldaugust28 3 years ago
    "Toad Man is the easiest Robot Master in the whole series"Edited August 2015 by ronaldaugust28
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  • Avatar for presagiador #18 presagiador 3 years ago
    I'll never be able to look at the Air Tikis the same way again!!
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  • Avatar for Thad #19 Thad 3 years ago
    @MetManMas IIRC the vehicles in Overdrive Ostrich's stage on the SNES were optional, like the Robot Ride armor in the other stages. The mandatory autoscrolling version of Overdrive Ostrich's stage was in the Game Boy Color version. But you're right, it wasn't bad.

    Yeah, I can't think of any offensive auto-scrolling Mega Man levels on the SNES off the top of my head. Plenty on the PS1, though, and at least one on PS2 that's the reason I never finished Mega Man X8.Edited August 2015 by Thad
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  • Avatar for jessica38 #20 jessica38 3 years ago
    Deleted August 2015 by jessica38
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  • Avatar for docexe #21 docexe 3 years ago
    Honestly, I remember how part of the fun with these games (and not only with the Mega Man series, but NES games in general) was actually finding a way to “cheat” your way to victory.

    I want to believe the designers wouldn’t have left behind so many exploits and debug features if they didn’t know how brutal things could get at times.
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