Sections

Mega Man Legacy Collection Xbox One Review: The Robot Museum

Finally, six NES classics get the treatment they deserve. But is less truly more?

Review by Jeremy Parish, Mike Williams, .

Jeremy Parish Editor-in-Chief

The first time I kissed a girl — my first real, teenaged, hormone-driven, let's-go-for-it kiss, the kind that makes your jaw ache the next day — happened early in ninth grade. As it happens, I played my first Mega Man game (actually the first Mega Man game) just a few months before that, in that lazy summer interim between eighth and ninth grade.

I mention this not because these facts are related (they're not, and that would be weird), but rather to make a point: I've literally grown up with Mega Man. I discovered the series just before making that perilous leap from childhood into adolescence (followed all too swiftly by adulthood), and my interest in the games remains one of the handful of things to have weathered that transition in my life. After that fateful kiss, I lost interest in an awful lot of things... but not, as time (and probably a quarter-million words of articles and blog posts) have demonstrated, Mega Man.

Remember: Noses, not mouths.

So it's fitting, I think, that just as I've grown up with these Mega Man games, they sometimes grow up with me, too. With the Legacy Collection, Mega Man echoes my growing interest in the way classic games are displayed, preserved, and curated. It makes sense, given that this project was overseen by Digital Eclipse's Frank Cifaldi, whose outlook on and work for the science of game preservation has helped inform my own thoughts over the years. (Disclosure: Cifaldi and I worked together at 1UP.com; you can take this as a sign of games journalism collusion, or you can simply read it as a sign that video games are a small industry and people with similar interests and obsessions invariably cross paths.)

The last big Mega Man collection — 2004's Anniversary Collection for GameCube and PlayStation 2 — was one of the first game collections to make me pause and say, "No... this isn't quite right." At the time, I had a difficult time putting my finger on what precisely bothered me about MMAC, but minor complaints like the backward button mapping in its GameCube version ultimately pointed to the bigger issue: It simply didn't do the games justice. It was OK, but I haven't played through Mega Man 2 more times than I care to admit because it's merely OK. I loved the game then and love it now because it's a masterpiece of design: Visually imaginative, cleverly arranged, and aurally phenomenon. It deserved better than the soft visuals, bungled controls, and faint input lag of MMAC.

It's taken a decade, but Mega Man Legacy Collection finally presents these games with the clarity, fidelity, and reverence they deserve. It offers a nearly perfect recreation of six NES classics running on modern hardware, absolutely demolishing any other reproduction I've played of the games since they debuted. It fixes the dim colors of Wii Virtual Console, the fuzziness of Wii U Virtual Console, the distorted pixels of the 3DS version, the clunkiness of the PlayStation remakes, and the numerous flaws of the Anniversary Collection. It also avoids the stuttering frame-skips that I've noticed on emulators like the RetroN 5. In fact, the only more faithful rendition of these games I've ever encountered is to play the original carts on actual RGB-modded NES hardware... and considering MMLC costs $15 versus the "authentic" option's $800, that makes it kind of a no-brainer.

I realize, however, that developer Digital Eclipse's approach to MMLC won't be to everyone's liking. They've taken the "less is more" philosophy with this compilation, and the prevailing sentiment in games is "give me more for less." It arrives on the heels of Rare Replay, which cost twice as much and offered five times as many games, all reproduced nearly as well (if not quite so consistently) as MMLC. But Rare Replay is, fittingly, a rare exception to the rules of compilations, which generally sacrifice the quality of reproduction for sheer numbers. MMLC goes the other direction, offering a few games presented with nearly exhaustive detail and fidelity (and for a budget price), essentially making this compilation the first time the U.S. has received a package equivalent in concept and quality to the Sega Ages collections developer M2 produced for Sega of Japan on PS2 — a set of roughly half a dozen releases that I hold as the gold standard of game archiving. That same spirit lives on in the 3D Ages titles for 3DS (most recently Gunstar Heroes), and it's nice to see it make its way beyond the borders of Sega and M2.

Admittedly, MMLC isn't entirely flawless, and it's not quite as exhaustive in its scope as those vaunted PS2 import compilations. But it comes remarkably close, and given the poor treatment Mega Man has suffered in recent years, that's doubly surprising. Besides the simple fact that MMLC allows you to play six nearly perfect recreations of the NES games, the package also includes a ton of options and extras. You can display the graphics with emulator-style crispness, with simulated scanlines equivalent to a high-quality CRT monitor, or via a "television" mode that introduces a number of graphical artifacts to simulate the visuals of the consumer-level CRT televisions we old-timers used for playing these games in their original incarnations. MMLC should satisfy the 1080p/60fps fetishists, with the only slowdown on display being an artifact of the original games. By default, the games output at what appears to be 960p with a border (presumably to produce the cleanest possible graphics — 960p is exactly four times the NES's 240p signal), but you can resize the visuals to a full 1080p vertical resolution... or even stretch the graphics to fit a full widescreen television, if you have no sense of decency at all.

All of this, of course, amounts to fussy particulars that make me happy but which most people won't care about. The more important question is, "Are the games themselves any good?" Yes, absolutely. The original Mega Man trilogy in particular stand among some of the greatest 8-bit action games of all time, and they still hold up remarkably well (despite the first game's rough edges, glitches, and occasional moments of sloppy balancing). Before the Super Mario Bros. 3 versus Super Mario World debate, there was Mega Man 2 versus Mega Man 3. They're fast, imaginative platformers with perfectly responsive controls and an open-endedness that makes them wonderfully replayable.

OK, not ALL water levels are terrible.

The idea of allowing players to tackle any of the game's first eight stages (six in the original Mega Man) was a stroke of genius that still has yet to be topped in terms of clear, accessible player choice. Defeating each of the bosses at the end of a level rewards you with a new weapon that both alters your play style throughout a stage and dishes out extra damage to a boss at the end of a different level. The initial appeal of a Mega Man comes from figuring out which of the bosses you can beat with just your basic gun, and who is weakest to each new weapon you acquire. In subsequent playthroughs, the thrill comes from using this knowledge to refine your approach or simply mixing things up to try new challenges.

Supplementing the game's fundamental hook to play forever is a collection of dozens and dozens of custom challenges, ranging from simple fights against a specific boss to difficult chunks of multiple stages strung together in sequence. Some of these are simply a task to complete (though, ever faithful, the first game's pause trick does work against the Yellow Devil), while others are much easier and simply demand you outdo countless other practiced Mega Man fans to earn the best time on each system's leaderboards. Admittedly, I didn't spend as much time with the challenges as I'd like, as I reviewed the game on Xbox One. To use the ever-popular steak metaphor, playing these games with the Xbox One's controller is like eating a steak through a straw... but I'm certainly looking forward to putting in some serious time with these events once I pick up the PS4 version.

And finally, MMLC includes tons of character and concept art, full manual and packaging scans, and a fully-translated database from the Japan-only PlayStation remasters. The latter is a completely ridiculous feature that provides utterly exhaustive information on even the most minor enemy robots, but it's a great sign of just how much affection these games' creators poured into them.

Each game has its own optional border featuring Keiji Inafune's artwork of a curiously geriatric-looking Mega Man. Seriously, he's like J.F. Sebastian or something.

MMLC also offered me an opportunity to revisit and reconsider some of the Mega Man games I've spent less time with. Playing Mega Man 4 in this context, for example, finally helped me pin down why it's probably the worst entry in the classic Mega Man platformer franchise (it's bogged down with cheap gimmicks and poor level design). It also gave me a better appreciation for Mega Man 5 and 6, games I had skipped back in the day because I thought I was burned out on Mega Man. Turns out I wasn't; Mega Man 4's mediocrity had simply soured me on the series. But taken on their own merits, the fifth and sixth entries are pretty solid after all.

All of this being said, there are a few things that could have made MMLC the perfect, complete, ultimate Mega-Man-on-NES package. It would have been great to be able to use the controller's shoulder triggers to cycle through weapons as in previous compilations. I would like to have seen versions from other regions for the sake of completeness. I wish they could have found a way to sneak in Japan-only Famicom board game Rockboard, even as a hidden bonus, just to make this a truly comprehensive 8-bit package. Or remakes like The Wily Wars, a rare and expensive remix of Mega Man 1-3 for Sega platforms. And given that all my nephews and young cousins know and love Mega Man because of his appearance in Smash Bros. 4, the lack of a Wii U version is beyond baffling.

But none of these things are crucial oversights, and whatever is lost by their absence is more than made up for by the exceptional quality of the overall collection. We've reached a point at which classic video games have been badly devalued by ROM hoarding and all-you-can-eat compilations of middling-to-poor quality. Mega Man Legacy Collection makes a striking argument for the case that these classics do indeed have value, and that their worth becomes self-evident when presented with such tremendous care. Certainly that's been my perspective for quite some time now, and there's something personally satisfying about seeing the case being presented through a franchise that's been so dear to my heart for so long.

Mike Williams Associate Editor

There's a weird juxtaposition that happens in Mega Man Legacy Collection from the first time you load it up. You're faced with a title screen that uses high-resolution art alongside a font that's meant to mirror the original font used in the 8-bit games. That's a solid metaphor for Mega Man Legacy Collection, the best of the past, mixed with the technology of today.

For me, MMLC has been a trip down nostalgia road. A trip where I stopped to take a breather early in my travels, got mugged, and lost my rose-colored glasses. My plan was to play all the games in order, seeing how Mega Man evolved over the years. Right from the beginning, Mega Man 1 was a harsh slap in face, a game that did not play around in any way, shape, or form. The level design is rougher than Mega Man 2 or 3, and some of the bosses — hey, Elec Man! — are painfully hard without their specific weapon. The first game makes the subsequent sequels feel easier.

Mega Man 2, 3, and 4 were largely what I remembered from my childhood and my brief time with the Mega Man Anniversary Collection for PlayStation 2. (I was more of a Mega Man X fan.) These are still amazing games, though Mega Man 4 trails along behind the others, despite introducing the charge shot into the series for the first time. Realizing which games introduced certain ideas to the series was also a bit of a shock, as I figured the charge shot came earlier than 4, and I thought Rush had debuted in Mega Man 2 for some reason.

I was also surprised with how much I don't remember Mega Man 5 and 6. Did I not play them as a child? No, because I vaguely remember Gravity Man, Napalm Man, Tomahawk Man, and Blizzard Man, but for the life of me, nothing from those games stuck with me as a kid. For adult Mike, playing 5 and 6 was largely an experience in discovery. Sadly, that discovery wasn't a pleasant one; both of the latter titles felt exploitative and phoned-in, releases created just to keep a brand alive. A quick Google shows Mega Man to be one of the original annual franchises — the more things change, the more they stay the same — and it shows.

Like it or not, MMLC carefully preserves the slowdown you experienced when the games pushed the poor NES hardware in ways nature intended — sometimes annoying, sometimes a lifesaver.

The entire Mega Man nostalgia parade is joined by a whole host of options and additional content. You have a single save state per title, the ability to play the games in their original resolution or stretched versions, an odd TV filter if you want to feel the pain of ghosting images on your big-screen, a ton of character art, and bios for every enemy in each title. Most of the options you can access on the fly by clicking the Dual Shock 4's touchpad, and jumping between titles is a breeze. If you just want to play old Mega Man games, developer Digital Eclipse has delivered the most authentic experience possible.

That wasn't enough, though. They also added challenges, which stitch together different bits of Mega Man levels via portals. You're tasked with finishing each level under a certain par time. These are a ton of fun, jumping from level-to-level within various themes: single-game remixes, boss rushes, and multi-game mashups. The early challenges are baby steps that unlock the longer, harder levels, and once you finish a challenge you can watch a replay of your best time to see where you screwed up and where you can improve. The best times for each challenge end up on the Top 20 leaderboards, so you always have a pinnacle you have to conquer.

Challenges are the magic, folks. They are heaven and hell. Fun and frustration. There's around 50 in total, but I'm hoping Digital Eclipse lets some people get in there and create other challenge levels. A nice infusion of new challenges is just what Dr. Light ordered for this collection.

If you love Mega Man, buying Mega Man Legacy Collection should be a foregone conclusion. This is Mega Man 1 through 6, exactly as you remember them, with a whole bunch of additional content for Mega Man buffs. All for $15. That's like stealing a power from Capcom Man.

The Nitty Gritty

  • Interface: While not all modern controllers are ideally suited for this style of game (ahem, Microsoft), both the controls and front-end for MMLC are excellent
  • Lasting appeal: Six endlessly replayable games, dozens of challenges.
  • Sound: Pretty much indistinguishable from Capcom's official soundtracks. I noticed a couple of sound effect glitches, but they were fleeting and minor.
  • Visuals: Perfectly reproduced, all the way down to the flicker when the NES chip barfed on too many sprites, and with ample display options to suit any tastes (no matter how poor).

By far the best and most impressive Mega Man compilation ever assembled, what Legacy Collection sacrifices in reach it more than makes up for with refinement. It presents six games almost (though not quite) flawlessly, while providing enough display options to satisfy the obsessive and casual fan alike. Add to six beautifully preserved classics a massive database and dozens of addictive custom challenges and you have an excellent package that treats the classics with the respect they deserve — something that's traditionally been absent in the U.S. market. A must-have for any Mega Man fan.

4.5 /5

Mega Man Legacy Collection Xbox One Review: The Robot Museum Jeremy Parish Finally, six NES classics get the treatment they deserve. But is less truly more? 2015-08-25T14:00:00-04:00 4.5 5

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 49

Comments on this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

  • Avatar for ShawnS #1 ShawnS 3 years ago
    I am not even in the mood to punish myself with challenging old NES games right now but for whatever reason I keep getting drawn towards this collection.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SargeSmash #2 SargeSmash 3 years ago
    You know you've played a ton of Mega Man when these games don't really feel hard anymore... good on Digital Eclipse for taking such care in preservation.

    Agreed with the Wii U sentiment, though. Why on Earth isn't it there? Making more money with the Virtual Console releases, maybe? Seems like a natural fit, for sure.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #3 Captain-Gonru 3 years ago
    @SargeSmash I feel like it has to be because of the VC. They were all, in fact, on sale not too long ago (maybe a couple months or so).
    Not that this is a GOOD reason to skip Wii U, of course, but it may be the reason, nonetheless.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Voncaster #4 Voncaster 3 years ago
    Can the sprite flicker be turned off?

    Its a minor thing, but if the option is there, I prefer to play without sprite flicker.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for ShadowTheSecond #5 ShadowTheSecond 3 years ago
    As the review points out, 4 is the weak point of the six NES entries. In terms of my favorite NES Mega Man games, I usually say that 2 and 3 are the best, with 6 being the next closest to them in terms of fun.

    I'll still play 4 over 7 though. Never did like 7...
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for yuberus #6 yuberus 3 years ago
    I really do love Mega Man 6. It's a bit easy, but the Rush upgrades were really cool, and the game ran with some clever level design. It's no 2 and 3, but it's right up there.

    I've never really messed with 5 much, even though I know I've played it. Maybe I should revisit it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for mobichan #7 mobichan 3 years ago
    While I want to support these sorts of efforts, I just feel like companies with these cherished classic IP's just milk the same thing over and over each generation. As someone who lived through all the generations of this practice, I feel like I have given my money for this already. No amount of tiny tweaking or "slightly better attention to detail" will be worth the repurchase. I am a collector and a purist, but even emulators back in the 90's were "good enough" to give me the fix of Megaman I needed. They still are. And with consoles becoming less and less important in my life and PC's and handhelds being the more convenient option, I would much rather see these products on those machines. hell, I would much rather buy a $100 + compilation of ALL 2D Megaman games with this attention to detail.

    This constant comparing to M2 is nice and all, but the context of those packages in the East is not the same as the West. Japan has always had a boutique market where people will shell out a TON of money for something niche. It has existed since the economic bubble of the 80's and (strangely enough) has not gone away even though their economy has. The West has always wanted "more for less".
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #8 SuperShinobi 3 years ago
    I'll also take quality over quantity when it comes to the contents of a particular retro collection. This collection is a no-brainer for me, as the first three games are easily some of the best NES games ever.

    The Rare Replay collection sounds appealing too, even if it's not quite as meticulously made as this one. It's still a decent retro collection and there's never enough of those around.Edited August 2015 by SuperShinobi
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Roto13 #9 Roto13 3 years ago
    @Captain-Gonru They're all on 3DS VC, too, though, and it's getting a 3DS release eventually. I think they're not putting it on Wii U just because nobody has a Wii U.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thad #10 Thad 3 years ago
    Mega Man 4 trails along behind the others, despite introducing the charge shot into the series for the first time.

    I wouldn't say despite, I'd say because of. The charge shot seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight it completely breaks the entire conceit of the games; it renders all your special weapons essentially useless and redundant.

    (Plus it uses an entire audio channel, and the music suffers as a result.)

    The Mega Man X series got the charge shot right, largely because special weapons can be charged too and have a wide variety of effects that aren't all offensive.

    Realizing which games introduced certain ideas to the series was also a bit of a shock, as I figured the charge shot came earlier than 4, and I thought Rush had debuted in Mega Man 2 for some reason.

    Could be you're thinking of the Game Boy series? The first Game Boy game with Rush is 2. That's because each Game Boy game (except 5) draws from two NES games, the one it shares a number with and the one that followed. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge includes elements of NES Mega Man 1 and 2, Mega Man 2 includes elements of NES Mega Man 2 and 3 and introduces Rush, Mega Man 3 includes elements of NES Mega Man 3 and 4 and introduces the charge shot, Mega Man 4 includes elements of NES Mega Man 4 and 5, and...Mega Man 5 actually goes in its own direction with original levels, bosses, and weapons (notably replacing the charge shot with Mega Man shooting his fist) and doesn't remix any NES games.

    Interestingly(?), later Mega Man games (and some X games, and to a lesser extent the Zero games) borrowed elements from the Game Boy series, including currency used for upgrades and splitting the levels up into two sets of four instead of making all eight available from the start.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for MetManMas #11 MetManMas 3 years ago
    @SargeSmash It's also a shame there's no 360 or PS3 release, either. I guess Digital Eclipse was limited as far as what platforms they could release the game on, but it's a pity those platforms were omitted considering Capcom had absolutely no problem with allowing 360 and PS3 releases for Strider 2014, Resident Evil Revelations 2, and the HD remakes of the formerly Gamecube and Wii exclusive Resident Evil installments.

    Anyway, I'll definitely be looking forward to the 3DS release when it comes out.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Avante #12 Avante 3 years ago
    Remember: Noses, not mouths.

    You just blew my mind.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SargeSmash #13 SargeSmash 3 years ago
    @Thad : Yeah, there's a reason that I break the NES games into two trilogies, because the charge shot completely changes how you approach the game. There are benefits to both styles, but balancing is a lot tricker when you've been given access to what amounts to a super-weapon.

    Really, I think that's the primary reason they stripped the charge shot in Mega Man 9. It'd been a long time since I'd had to rely on so many different weapons to complete a game.

    Of course, some of the weapon selections have been a bit off, too, and the Metal Blade may be even more unbalancing than the Charge Shot! But it's so much fun. :)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for DiscordInc #14 DiscordInc 3 years ago
    @mobichan The MMLC is actually on Steam and 3DS as well. They just weren't the versions reviewed here.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #15 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @DiscordInc 3DS version isn't out until probably next year.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Kadrom #16 Kadrom 3 years ago
    I was lukewarm on this when it was announced, but at $14.99 and with the amount of care that Frank and co. have put into it, it seems like a no brainer to me. The last time I played through all of these was on an NES emulator back in the 90s on a 17" monitor which I'm sure did them no justice.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for docexe #17 docexe 3 years ago
    I still have a soft spot for MM4 given it was my introduction to the franchise. Admittedly 2 and 3 are the jewels of the crown, but I think 4 holds up better than 5 and 6, and probably better than the very first game.

    Like other people here have pointed out, I’m sad by the absence of a Wii U version, especially given the delay of MN9 and that I won’t have a PS4 for another year (and that’s probably only if the dollar parity stabilizes). But I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t get enough resources to port this game to that many platforms and decided to simply go with the bigger install base. I suppose I will have to blackmail my brother to buy this game whenever the 3DS port comes out, and lend me his handheld as usual.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for swiller #18 swiller 3 years ago
    That's a good point. I will get the PS4 version over Xbox One version due to position and feel of the d-pad.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for docexe #19 docexe 3 years ago
    @Thad I never really played any of the GB games, but I knew about them from magazines. To this day I still find it curious how so many subsequent Mega Man games took cues from them, especially considering how often they are forgotten or overlooked by the fanbase.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #20 LBD_Nytetrayn 3 years ago
    @Voncaster Apparently it was coded into the games themselves, I guess to help take the strain off the system, maybe?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for imanasshole #21 imanasshole 3 years ago
    Are you mentally ill? I've been able to play the game in HD since I got my first widescreen monitor in 2002 and loaded a ROM on an emulator. And don't start with that "It's illegal!" crap, because I owned and still own the original carts. All Capcom did was dump the ROMs into an emulator and charge $15 then throw some WarioWare/NES Remix crap together and called it a day. This a piece of crap. MM9 and MM10 are the standard of performance these should be held to. 60fps with no slowdown or flicker unless you enable the option. This is a lazy cash grab and any support I can't tell if it's nostalgia from not having played the games since initial release, ignorance to the HD availability since widescreen monitors became a thing, or being paid by Capcom to write a glowing review.

    And considering they slapped this together in a rush I think the latter is the least likely, if they can't afford to do a Mega Man release justice then they can't afford to pay you off. I guess you're just ignorant. Fuck I wish I was you. I would've been happy today. The games are great but for a paid product this collection is barely a 3/10. And that's probably me being a bit too generous because I like Mega Man.Edited August 2015 by imanasshole
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for imanasshole #22 imanasshole 3 years ago
    @BigPrimeNumbers The game has Save States, they didn't program rewind because that would've been too much like work.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Voncaster #23 Voncaster 3 years ago
    @LBD_Nytetrayn Interesting. But in MM9, which I realize is not developed on NES, allowed for sprite flicker to be turned off.

    I can't imagine that the designers wanted it there. Sprite flicker I would imagine would be a side effect of the hardware limitations. That they coded it in is fine. But Its sure not integral to my enjoyment of the series.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for metalangel #24 metalangel 3 years ago
    @docexe Mega Man: Dr Wily's Revenge was my favourite MM game. I rented MM3 a lot for my NES but was never compelled to buy it because I never enjoyed it as much as I did Wily's Revenge.

    I wish this was a definitive collection with all the games from all platforms, but I know business interests means they'd rather gradually sell you tiny ROMs a handful at a time.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for UnknownJones #25 UnknownJones 3 years ago
    @imanasshole Username checks out.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Pacario #26 Pacario 3 years ago
    I can completely respect, on an intellectual level, the concerted effort to duplicate these excellent action-platformers to perfection. But the very best compilations also need to pack an equal amount of fanservice and charm into their presentations. Call it "heart," if you will.

    Mr. Parish already mentioned the sublime Rare Replay collection, but other memorable, noteworthy collections from the past are those that also added that extra bit of nostalgic, loving goodness to their proceedings. Activision Anthology, for instance, is set in a teenager's bedroom with classic '80s pop music blaring in the background, while the PSX Namco Museum collections provide actual virtual museums in which the player can walk through and study classic '80s memorabilia. Even the Mega Man Anniversary Collection from a decade prior offers a slew of cool unlockables--most notably, the Mega Man Power Battle arcade games.

    I commend Mr. Cifaldi on his efforts here, and Mr. Parish on his fine review. But in truth, this particular collection leans so heavily towards historic preservation, it forgets to also embrace and celebrate the sheer fun, art and fandom these games still provide and inspire. One can appreciate the extras that are included here, of course, but an icon like Mega Man probably still deserves a little bit more.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Windwhale #27 Windwhale 3 years ago
    @Voncaster To me the gold standard of Mega Man games are the japanese-only PS1 Complete Works editions (I am actually playing the Rockman 6 version right now, and it feels great). These keep the beautiful 8 bit visuals intact, but without flickering or slowdowns. Additionally they offer other goodies like optional arranged soundtracks and the ability to map weapon cycling, sliding or rapid fire to specific buttons. Seemingly the developers of the Legacy Collection did not go that route, opting for "most faithful" only, instead of giving players the best possible versions (or even both) - which is okay, but still feels like a wasted opportunity in my opinion.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Windwhale #28 Windwhale 3 years ago
    @metalangel I absolutely agree! Wily's Revenge was my first Mega Man - and it is still one of the best. The other GB games are pretty great, too. The only exception is MM2, which looks and sounds a little off (especially in terms of music) - it's not a bad game by any means, but of notably lower quality than the rest (it was developed by a different team, which might be an explanation).
    Maybe the next Legacy Collection could feature all the classic Gameboy games - including additional deluxe versions with recolored graphics in the style of NES or GBC games (and eliminating slowdowns and flickering) plus an optional new soundtrack?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for yuberus #29 yuberus 3 years ago
    @Windwhale I actually completely agree with Cifaldi - the NES games are the definitive versions of those games, even with the hardware weirdness and glitches. That was how the games were originally made and how they were originally meant to be presented, and those are the versions that should be held up for preservation and re-release. Those bits from the PS1 versions are nice and all, but then you're changing the game... and that's when you're getting into Lucas' Star Wars Special Edition territory.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for paraclete-pizza #30 paraclete-pizza 3 years ago
    @Windwhale "Best possible" is a completely subjective assessment - so much so as to be completely meaningless. I'm sure the team looked at all of the options people already have to play these games - VC releases, the Anniversary Collection, straight-up emulation - and thought about what they could provide that those options don't. This turned out to be a historically-accurate representation of the games as they played on the original hardware, which I appreciate.

    If I want to play a smoothed-over, flickerless version of the game, I can easily do that via emulation. However, if I want to play the game as it ran on the original hardware, I can either dig our NES out of my mom's basement several states away, or I can boot up this collection. Its "preservation" angle is what gives it value, IMO, and sets it apart from the other reissues.

    And, in going through the extras, there's a LOT of artwork and stuff there that I've never seen before, even as a life-long MegaMan fan who spent much of the 90s scouring Japanese Rockman sites for exclusive content for his Geocities-era MegaMan page. Some of those rejected Robot Masters are really strange and interesting, and a previously unreleased look into Inafune's design process.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for secularsage #31 secularsage 3 years ago
    Every review I've seen thus far has been from the perspective of a Mega Man fan who, like Jeremy, sees the series through a nostalgic filter. That's the primary audience for the game, of course, so I don't begrudge the reviewers. But I can't help but wonder...

    For those who don't have great memories playing these games, is Mega Man really so great? The games are hard as hell for a newbie who's not used to learning levels by rote, are loaded with conventions that can make them tedious to play today, and aren't as easy to pick up and play as a classic NES title like Super Mario Bros. 3 (or a modern game in the style like Shovel Knight). Additionally, the first and fifth games in the Mega Man series really aren't that good, even by 1980s/90s standards.

    (The series didn't really come into its own until Mega Man 2, and it experienced somewhat diminishing returns from there on until Mega Man X debuted on the SNES.)

    That the collection is missing so many little touches and that it doesn't include Mega Man 7 or 8 (or the later 9 and 10) for completeness is also surprising. It seems like an essential purchase for anyone who enjoyed the games, but a "try it first" purchase for anyone who isn't so sure they'll love the Mega Man franchise.Edited August 2015 by secularsage
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for vagabondarts #32 vagabondarts 3 years ago
    No WiiU or 3DS version means I'll wait until there is one. Glad to hear the collection is good.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Voncaster #33 Voncaster 3 years ago
    @secularsage Without having played the collection, your summary sounds accurate. Mega Man collection is for the Mega Man fans who likely grew up with the NES.

    I find a lot of NES stuff hard to go back to now and I grew up with the NES. Games have generally, in my opinion, gotten better with time.

    I can't imagine a person new to Megaman, starting with Megaman 1 (the logical starting point) and enjoying the game.

    Even the brilliance of Mega Man 2 gets pretty fussy once you get to the crash bomb boss.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Voncaster #34 Voncaster 3 years ago
    Double PostEdited August 2015 by Voncaster
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Marcusen #35 Marcusen 3 years ago
    @secularsage I'm currently playing MM2 (or should I say Rockman 2) on original hardware and it's an absolute blast, and I barely have a tint of nostalgia for the games as I didn't play them back in the day.

    You don't have to start from the first one, as it's been said multiple times that it can be rough. Believe me, MM2 is well balanced and not that difficult (at least up until Wily's castle), and, as Jeremy points out, choosing your starting stage is BRILLIANT game design. Have a tough time with Quickman stage? Jump onto another one and find the special ability that will help you topple it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SlackMaster #36 SlackMaster 3 years ago
    Although I own the original games and have digital version on WiiU and 3DS, I picked this up as soon as it was available on PSN. I'm always a sucker for Megaman and I want to support releases like this so we get more in the future.

    It would be great to be able to pick up a physical copy in Europe but am I right in thinking that the PS4 is region free so I can import?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for VotesForCows #37 VotesForCows 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Any thoughts on which one to start with, if you haven't played any before? The consensus seems to be for MM2.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for pennybags #38 pennybags 3 years ago
    Game preservation seems like a worthy goal, but Mega Man is one of the widely disseminated games of all time. It isn't going anywhere. I realize there are market problems with this, but what about truly rare games? PC-98 stuff, let's say, or obscure Japan-only Famicom games, or Satellaview releases, or in general anything that hasn't already been released on several different, recent consoles.Edited August 2015 by pennybags
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for asteroidB612 #39 asteroidB612 3 years ago
    @secularsage@voncaster
    I'm sure I can't speak for everyone in this situation, but as a 20 year-old who discovered gaming with the GBA when it came out, and who developed an interest in retro gaming a few years after that (thanks in no small part to Retronauts), I found a lot to love in the Mega Man games when I finally played them. The thing that really appeals to me, I think, is that it has a lot of personality. I love discovering each boss' stage, the way they're so different from each other and all the little intricacies of their design. It's really what's driving me forward through these games, and it's probably also why I generally lose interest once I reach Wily's castle, because it doesn't feel as different anymore.

    For some reason though, I'm a little annoyed at the weapon system. I don't really like trying out all the weapons, and I tend to rely on just a few and barely ever use the others. I don't really know why though, and I feel I'm probably missing out on something, but it just doesn't click with me.

    As for which game to start with, I'd say 2 is the best option, because it's so much more polished than the 1st one, and probably more immediately approachable than 3 for a beginner. In terms of difficulty, maybe it's because I started with 1, but I don't find it that hard. I actually had a harder time with 3, maybe because it gets more complicated, whereas 1 is just very straightforward? I have yet to play 4, 5, 6 so I can't speak for those.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Voncaster #40 Voncaster 3 years ago
    @asteroidB612 Your story is interesting to hear. I always wonder how people born after NES heyday find their way to playing NES games. Clearly a lot do, as a lot of speed runners are playing games released well before their youth.

    So my gut reaction to the target audience is at least partially wrong. Mega Man will appeal to people who did not experience the NES games in their youth. There is also cameo's in smash, comics, cartoons and later Mega Man games (X series, Battle Network, ect.) that may cause people to want to go back and revisit the origins of Mega Man.

    I do think its harder to appreciate older, simpler games when compared to the depth of games now. Maybe action games, like Mega Man and Mario, have staying power, because they are pure gameplay exercises and don't rely much on story.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #41 LBD_Nytetrayn 3 years ago
    @Voncaster I do recall that; not sure why they added it for the NES, but considering that almost the entire development team was probably different, it could have simply been a matter of preference?
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Windwhale #42 Windwhale 3 years ago
    Deleted August 2015 by Windwhale
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Windwhale #43 Windwhale 3 years ago
    Deleted August 2015 by Windwhale
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Windwhale #44 Windwhale 3 years ago
    Deleted August 2015 by Windwhale
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Windwhale #45 Windwhale 3 years ago
    @yuberus First of all: I totally get the historic preservation angle and ideally one would be able to play BOTH an accurate version and a remastered one. But then the games in this collection ARE already emulated and they are supposed to be played on non-CRT screens (albeit with filtering options, but those still do not look like the real thing) AND they already have additional extras and options, they are not straight 1:1 ports. The developers try to come as close as possible to the originals, which I find commendable, but would a few more options hurt anybody?
    Star Wars Special Edition, seriously? Assuming that you are not a troll, let me state this: I do not want to be associated with any kind of Lucas-hatemob, but I prefer my Star Wars despecialized. So I have no intention in getting rid of the original versions (neither of Star Wars nor Mega Man), if that is what you are implying. But having said that, careful remastering of a movie or a videogame (like Grim Fandango) is in no way the same, as completely altering a work of art.
    @paraclete-pizza basically what I said above. And thank you for pointing out the subjectiveness of my very own personal opinion ;)

    [EDIT: Sorry for all the deleted (re)posts, I did not intend to go into "Special Edition territory" with altering my comment :P, but I got error-messages and assumed my comment had not been posted yet.]Edited August 2015 by Windwhale
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Marcusen #46 Marcusen 3 years ago
    @VotesForCows As I stated earlier, I'm currently playing MM2 and I find it quite fair. Can't tell about the others.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for VotesForCows #47 VotesForCows 3 years ago
    @Marcusen Thanks - probably will start there. I have a vivid memory of playing MM2 for one glorious afternoon in a friends house when it was released. Blew everything I'd played on my PC to that point away. Looking forward to trying again, only been a 25 year gap.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for DiscordInc #48 DiscordInc 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Okay, I didn't know that. I'll probably pick it up on PC now just to support it around the launch window. Shame it isn't coming to Wii U, but I can understand why they might have skipped it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for ruler26 #49 ruler26 3 years ago
    I have a soft spot because it had the best screen-to-screen transitions. When Mega Man ran from one room into another, the transition was smooth and fast.

    Oddly, Mega Man 6 had slow-as-molasses transitions.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thad #50 Thad 3 years ago
    @SargeSmash Yeah, I've remarked before that you can see later games make iterative changes to fix balance issues with MM2's weapons. Mega Man 3's Shadow Blade is a nerfed version of the Metal Blade; it fires in 5 directions instead of 8, uses more energy, and has a limited range. Mega Man 4's Flash Stopper is an improved version of the Time Stopper; using it once doesn't force you to sit there and wait until it's entirely depleted, and you can still shoot things while it's active.

    If that's how the weapons operated in Mega Man 2, we'd have used the Time Stopper a lot more and the Metal Blade a little less.

    While obviously I understand that the point of the Legacy Collection is to create as exact a reproduction as possible, I'd sure be interested in seeing rebalanced versions of the old games. It's a real pity Mega Man: Powered Up never got a sequel, as that game did a phenomenal job of fixing what was broken in the original version and adding an eye-popping amount of original content and replay value.

    (On the other hand, the followup to Powered Up was Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, which was pretty much the opposite. While Powered Up added balance to a game that needed it, Maverick Hunter X removed balance from a game that had it. To that end, MHX may serve as a cautionary tale for what can happen when you try to fix something that's not broken; Mega Man 2's balance may not be perfect but it's the best the series has, and fixing the things that are broken would have a lot of potential to break the things that aren't.)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Makgameadv #51 Makgameadv 3 years ago
    @secularsage@Voncaster Someone new to Mega Man should start with Mega Man 2 (Normal mode) or Mega Man 3. Mega Man 1 is really difficult, there's no password system, and the physics are rougher.

    Even if a player has a hard time playing Mega Man 2 and 3 for the first time, they can still have fun skipping around levels with the non-linear boss select screen, or look up passwords that let you skip to later stages or give you extra E tanks. Mega Man 3 even had the super jump debug code on Controller 2 that was fun to play with to jump in and out of pits (I don't know if they preserved that in the collection.) This was how I played through Mega Man 3 as a kid, and got to see most of the game even though I wasn't good at the game to beat it like I can today.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for docexe #52 docexe 3 years ago
    @Voncaster@Voncaster
    Honestly, I see it in similar ways to how Cinephiles go and revisit classic movies, even from the black and white era. The layman will probably not have interest in them or find them boring, but the enthusiast will appreciate them and their particular merits, not to mention their place as foundational blocks in the evolution of the medium. I think something similar applies to games.

    Now, if someone who had never touched a NES game before asked me where to start with the classic Mega Man series… I think I would rather direct them to try MM9 and/or MM10 first rather than any of the NES games.

    9 and 10 are still very challenging, but they are more accessible in several respects than the classics. Then, if they liked those games enough and wanted to see how everything started I would direct them to this collection or any of the other reissues of the NES games. Granted, I would tell them to skip the first game and jump directly into MM2.
    Sign in to Reply

Comments

Close