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Review: Mega Man Legacy Collection

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game's soundtrack is available! This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)! Steam Trading Cards are available!

Summary of major issues
This series focuses on battles between various human-like robots. But, while many robots are destroyed, no humans are ever harmed.

Screenshots


Air Man is possibly the internet's favorite Robot Master


'Rush'ing into things


Into the sunset

General Information

Genre:PlatformerAge Rating:Children (Ages 6+)
License:CommercialQuality Rating:Good
Played on:Martha & Thaddeus
Available from: Gamer's Gate, Humble Store, Steam
Soundtrack:Available indirectly; see below.
Save System:Since this is a collection of emulated NES games, you can use save states to save the game at any time. Alternatively, you can use the password system the games originally used to record your progress between levels.

If you need to leave the computer while playing these games, you can pause them at any time by bringing up your weapon select screen.

Game Overview

The Mega Man games are probably one of the most well-remembered and beloved of the games that came out for the old NES. In every game, Mega Man would fight against robots that were causing chaos, gain their unique weapons, and save the world from the evil plans of the villainous Dr. Wily. On the downside, so much of the gameplay is identical between the games that it's led to the series being paraded around as an example of mission pack sequels.

Things got a little weird later on as various spin off series continued the story through different timelines and adventures. This led to the original series -- the series featured in this collection -- as the Mega Man Classic series. Although the Classic series did continue on to reach at least ten games, only the first six are included here. The reason for this is two fold: firstly, after the sixth game, the series started jumping from console to console. This would mean that the newer games would encounter different technological and licensing issues than the originals, which would make it harder for Capcom to bring them over to the computer. The other reason is that the newer games also faced a mixed reception from players -- for example, while Mega Man 8 is near universally hated (even by fans of the Classic series), 9 and 10 seem to have recaptured both the franchise's original spirit and its devoted audience.

But for those of us that grew up with the Blue Bomber, this is the first time we've been able to legally play these games on the computer, and it's definitely something to be greatful about. As for the newer generations of gamers, this is a great way to experience what came before and perhaps find a new respect for where games are today.

Pros

The best of the series
The Mega Man Classic series changed after it left the NES, and judging by the amount of people mocking 7 and 8, I'd say the consensus is that it didn't change for the better. Thus, you get the best of the series in this collection. Of the included games, Mega Man 2 is often the one fans love the most, as it solidified the formula for the rest of the series without being too gimmicky.


Pure fun
These were the hot games for the NES for very good reason. They are a lot of fun to play, and each game changed the formula slightly. Every player has their own favorite path to take through the stages, and part of the fun is figuring out how to best each Robot Master.


Passwords still work
Some NES games could save a game in progress using a battery backup system. This worked much like how you save in today's games, but the early Mega Man games never had this feature. Instead, they used a password system where you place colored dots on a grid. These passwords can be easily recorded by simply taking a screenshot, so there's no need to draw the grid yourself.


Additional content
Each of the six games comes with a guide to every enemy and a gallery of concept artwork. There is also a music player, which allows you to listen to your favorite songs from the game. Unfortunately, it also requires you to be running Mega Man Legacy Collection, so it's not good for just general listening.

There is also the option of playing the Japanese versions of each of the six games, though the differences are generally minor.


Challenge modes
For veterans of the series, there's a collection of challenges to complete. Most of these involve rushing through parts of the various stages or attempting to beat a specific boss within a time limit. These are a good way to practice the game or a boss you're having trouble beating, but they really aren't that impressive.


Steam community features
This is the first time Mega Man has been available on Steam, and his debut comes with a handful of achievements and Steam trading cards. On the downside, the achievements are generally for earning a number of medals in the challenge mode or clearing the games, so while present, they aren't terribly special.


Cons

Emulated, not remastered
This is a bit of a deal breaker for some. The Mega Man Legacy Collection is basically just a menu and a virtual NES that can play the original games. This means that the NES' hardware limitations are enforced, and this isn't received well by the younger crowd. Also, the ability to play NES games on the computer like this isn't anything terribly new -- the catch is that it's normally illegal to do so, and unfortunately a lot of people simply don't care. So, while this collection allows you to legally play the old games, it doesn't offer pirates anything special.


Old games were HARD
Most games that come out today are well balanced or are tilted in favor of the player. Back on the NES, games were often brutally difficult, which led to the popularity of the phrase Nintendo Hard. The Mega Man series wasn't an exception, so don't expect these games to pull any punches. You will need to have a decent level of skill to beat them. That said, they did get easier as the series progressed, presumably because Capcom was starting to really hit their stride as a game developer during the early 1990s.


Bugs are a bit of a pain
When this collection was first released on Steam, it suffered from a lot of severe bugs. Fortunately, several patches have fixed most of them, and it seems to run reliably now. The worst offender was a "black screen of death" bug, where you'd start the game only to find that there was nothing displayed on screen. The audio would play correctly and you could make selections using the menus, but there was just a black screen. Restarting the game multiple times usually fixed it temporarily, which was quite annoying.

In a way, this was sort of a funny nod to the glitchy protection chip used on the original NES. You see, this chip often caused games to load improperly or not load at all. Thus, the bugs present in Mega Man Legacy Collection accidentally gave everyone a more "authentic" NES gaming experience. All that's missing is blowing on the cartridges between attempts.


Glitches and lag in the games
Many users are reporting glitched graphics and sudden lag issues when they're playing the games themselves. I can confirm this, but I'd like to point something out. These issues also appeared when you played the games on the NES. In other words, this is an unfortunate side effect of being authentic; you get to experience the games, warts and all. The bugs encountered outside of the games are another story entirely.


Concerns and Issues

Robot on robot violence
The Mega Man series has always featured robots fighting each other -- it's sort of the entire plot of the games. When these robots are destroyed, they either explode in a small burst or fly into a series of bright flashes. There aren't any parts left behind, save for powerups that might get dropped. The net result is that the violence is very mild and can be easily tolerated.


Humans cannot be harmed
When Mega Man fights a human, be it Dr. Wily or Dr. Cossack, he fights them in a large vehicle of some sort. The fight ends when the vehicle is totaled, not when the human is killed. In fact, none of the humans in the series is ever injured at all. Later games in the series make it clear that, while these robots are rebelling and causing a lot of destruction, they were programmed to follow the Three Laws of Robotics, making them unable to harm humans.


About the soundtrack

Being a very well loved series that is over 25 years old, it's not much of a surprise that Capcom has released the game's music in a six volume collection.

However, unlike the majority of video game sound tracks, it's not available as DLC or as a stand alone purchase on Steam or other gaming services. Instead, it's on Amazon.com and iTunes as a digital download.

To find the music on Amazon, search for "Mega Man Soundtrack" under Digital Music. On iTunes, just search for "Mega Man". All six volumes share the same "25th Anniversary" cover art, and are produced by the Capcom Sound Team.

If you're only looking for the music to a specific Mega Man game, then only buy the volume with the same number. For example, Volume 5 contains all of the music from Mega Man 5.