Being a Mega Man fan these days means making peace with the fact a new game isn't incoming any time soon. But when we feel the itch to re-live the Blue Bomber's glory days, oh boy, do we have choices. Mega Man game collections are plentiful, affordable, and with the recent release of Mega Man Legacy Collection on Nintendo 3DS, more convenient than ever.
Mega Man Legacy Collection for the Nintendo 3DS is more or less the same package that came out for consoles and Steam last summer. Each NES-era Mega Man game is present and accounted for, from 1 through 6. You can save states (one for each game), take on challenge events, and flip through galleries of enemy information, high-resolution concept art, and other cool features.
The Nintendo 3DS edition of Legacy Collection does feature some minor but noteworthy additions to said galleries. There's a new "Antiques" category in each game's Museum that offers international box art, promotional materials, and even Japanese manuals. These are all great, though it'd be nice to see the English manuals preserved as well since some people (totally not me) ruined their originals because they thought it'd be funny to draw bad words coming out of Mega Man's mouth.
But the additional materials probably won't be enough to sway critics who believe the asking price for Mega Man Legacy Collection ($15.99 USD for digital copies, $29.99 USD for hard copies) is too high for what's effectively emulations of six NES games. Said critics are quick to point out the Mega Man Anniversary Collection for the GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 is dirt cheap, and it features Mega Mans (Mega Men?) 1 through 8 in addition to the hard-to-find Power Fighter and Power Battle arcade games.
Here's something that's important to remember about game collections, though: There's bad emulation, and there's good emulation. Mega Man Anniversary Collection is sloppy to the point of being nigh unplayable on the GameCube thanks to backwards, non-adjustable controls. Also, Mega Man 7's ending is missing.
It's true you get less content with Mega Man Legacy Collection compared to Mega Man Anniversary Collection, but Digital Eclipse's work is crisp, tight, and clean. And if you opt for the Nintendo 3DS edition of the Collection, all that historical NES goodness fits in your bag or purse.
Obviously, you can make a case for simply buying the Mega Man games you want for $4.99 USD each on the Nintendo 3DS eShop and doing without Legacy Collection's supplemental materials. But when you switch from a game in the Legacy Collection to its Virtual Console counterpart, you immediately notice how the latter looks blurry and muddy compared to the former, which is razor-sharp.
Again: There's bad emulation, and there's good emulation. The process of building a collection isn't as simple as dumping some ROMs and calling it a day. Digital Eclipse obviously took pains with Legacy Collection's clean-up.
There are some noteworthy quirks in the Nintendo 3DS edition of Mega Man Legacy Collection, though. Red sprites occasionally skew closer to purple, though the problem isn't consistent. Peterchy (you know, the walking eyeball guy in Mega Man 3) sometimes looks purple on one screen, then is his normal red self on another screen.
I primarily encountered the red / purple swap in Mega Man 3. A fellow reviewer noticed it most in Mega Man 6. Jeremy didn't notice the problem at all in his copy of the game, so it's hard to pin down the cause of the variation. Maybe aliens spontaneously decided to experiment with the eyesight of people playing the 3DS edition of Legacy Collection. Who knows. Either way, it's a minor issue that doesn't detract from the experience in any significant manner.
It can also be argued the games in Legacy Collection are preserved a little too perfectly. There's sprite flicker and slowdown, and the option to turn one or both of them off would be fabulous.
It's clear Mega Man Legacy Collection is worth owning if you're a Mega Man fan, so here's the final question: If you already own a version of Mega Man Legacy Collection for a console and / or the PC, is it worth grabbing the Nintendo 3DS edition as well?
Personally, I think Legacy Collection is at its best on the PlayStation 4. It just looks magical on an HD TV, and the supplemental art is certainly easier to appreciate on the big screen. The PlayStation 4's controller arguably trumps the Nintendo 3DS d-pad too, though that's a matter of opinion (note: You can play the 3DS Legacy Collection with the circle pad if you want to, but obviously you don't want to).
Ultimately, all the editions of Mega Man Legacy Collection are great. If you don't own one of the new-gen console, the Nintendo 3DS edition is hardly a let-down. It's also a great tag-along for a long commute or airplane trip.
So, Digital Eclipse … how's that Mega Man X Legacy Collection coming along? You're working on that, right?