To look at the Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 & 2, we must first look to the past. In 1987, to the Famicom circuits a new cartridge arrived from the legendary Capcom. This game didn’t turn out to be the conversion of any of the wonderful arcades of the Japanese company. As it had been customary until then, but a title created from scratch, the first in the history of Capcom. His name: Rockman.
A team of six people (including Keiji Inafune, a young creative who had just collaborated in an arcade video game called Street Fighter) stood up to develop something that, without their knowledge, would end up making history. Clearly inspired by the Astro Boy imagery and philosophy, Osamu’s fabulous creation “God of Manga” Tezuka, Inafune and company signed a video game with great graphics, fast-paced action, varied development and, above all difficult and challenging.
Rockman’s success, later exported to the West under the name of Mega Man, was incontestable, giving rise in subsequent years to an innumerable myriad of titles starring the Blue Bomber, from nine more sequels of the initial saga to spin-offs like X or Battle Network. Games for all the existing systems and for having, dozens and dozens of them, and not just platforms. In his most glorious days, Mega Man was as recurring in the video game world as Mario himself.
Just Like Old Times
It is time to break down what both compilations offer. The first Mega Man Legacy Collection includes half a dozen titles released on NES, originally released between 1987 and 1993 (yes, the Famicom / NES, born in 1983, stayed in shape well into the 90s, there is nothing). Time has treated these six titles very well, as long as we keep in mind that their technical section is that of an 8-bit console released in the early 80s.
The original Mega Man was a somewhat rough game, but it already intuited the tremendous potential of the franchise. Mega Man 2 was already the definitive consecration of the saga, with most of the virtues that have made it a legend being implemented in it. Mega Man 3 added the dash as a great novelty, providing an evasive movement to the Blue Bomber. In Mega Man 4 the grateful loaded shot entered, tremendously useful at the beginning of the game, when we do not have more possibilities of attack than the standard weapon. In Mega Man 5 the cute Beat debuted. And Mega Man 6 became the flagship of the franchise on NES, although it was never released in Europe, only in Japan and the United States.
We can play these titles in a low resolution, with which the game screen will be less, but also the pixelation. Of course there is also the option to play full screen, in its original 4: 3 format, with the possibility of including arts that fill the edges to the right and left. And finally, there is the 16: 9 widescreen format, which will force the image to fill our entire tv, although choosing this is a real crime since the graphics will be deformed and flatten.
Of course, the graphic filter that emulates the scaling lines of the screens of yesteryear is present. This gives rise to a very well achieved effect that manages to disguise the pixelation with remarkable efficiency. We will have two extra options: TV, which will lead to slightly unfocused graphics, or Monitor, which will offer a perfect definition.
Finally, it is necessary to highlight two extra configuration options, that aren’t usually present in this class of retro compilations. In the first we can modify the CPU speed, selecting between Original and Turbo. With the “Turbo” option we’ll play each of the six titles with total normality. If we select “Original” the hardware limitations that the NES possessed will be emulated, occasionally showing technical defects; as slowdowns in the games, in the same places exact from the original cartridges. All to achieve an experience as close as possible to the one that could be enjoyed in your day. Of course, the flickering of sprites, so common in NES games, will be present in both Original and Turbo. The second option give us the possibility of choosing between playing the western version or the Japanese original.
As extras, we have numerous material that covers from a database with all the characters and enemies; Including information about their weak points and the possibility of fighting directly with them. Even a museum that registers illustrations of cover art of each market, cartridges, instruction manuals and conceptual arts. The extras take the form of a number of challenges consisting of time trial sections and remixes of various phases. Some of these challenges are really difficult to complete; they increase their difficulty compared to the already high levels of demand that the original games have.
The second Mega Man Legacy Collection covers MM from 7 to 10. These are already very different from each other on a technical level since they were released on various platforms. Mega Man 7 originally appeared in 1995 for Super Nintendo, and it’s a true graphical wonder. The 8th installment further raises the audiovisual bar, as it launched in 1996 for Saturn and PlayStation, the historic 32-bit consoles that revolutionized the video game industry at all levels.
Mega Man 8 is the title that has the highest technical quality of the entire classic Mega Man series. Given that MM 9 and 10, did not take advantage of the technical capabilities of the consoles by having a development and finish in the purest NES style. This fact generated controversy at the time, given that there were not a few users who would have preferred titles that supposed a clear evolution at the audiovisual level with respect to MM 8 instead of taking several steps back in this regard. Controversies aside, Mega Man 9 and 10 are still sensational games that complete a quartet of authentic luxury.
As for options and extras, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is very similar to the first. Possibility to adjust the dimensions of the game screen, filter in the style of scanlines, museum of characters, artwork… Or with the possibility of selecting between the North American or Japanese versions of the games.
Accept the Challenge
We all know how Mega Man works: shooting and 2D platforming, initial selection of any of the 8 available levels. Each one with its corresponding Master Robot waiting for us at the end; above all a difficulty that in many occasions borders on the authentic madness. Keep in mind that Mega Man games were already considered difficult in a time when the average difficulty of video games was much greater than the prevailing today, so for a neophyte facing these titles can be a frustrating experience.
However, it is all a matter of learning and persevering. The Mega Man series are tremendously difficult games, yes, but by no means unfair. In addition, learning to use the weapons that we are gaining from the Robot Masters. Both to defeat them easily and to access items and hidden areas, will make everything a little more bearable.
Where are the Missing Ones?
The two-volume compilation of the currently ten main installments of the classic Mega Man saga is appreciated. But of course, the bad thing is that we can only play the main installments. The legacy of the classic Mega Man goes far, but far beyond its 10 numbered installments.
Thus, there are 5 independent games, released for the original Game Boy; a compilation for Mega Drive, dubbed The Wily Wars, which adapts the audiovisual section of the first three Mega Man of NES to the power of Sega’s 16-bit. A more than curious Mega Man Soccer on SNES, which did not launch in Europe. Two wonderful installments for the CPS2 arcade board, focused on fighting against Master Robots. A game in true Mario Kart style, called Mega Man Battle & Chase, originally released on PS1. And finally, the essential and not very well-known Mega Man & Bass, a kind of Mega Man 7.5 that came to light for SNES in 1998. Oh, and in the basket we could also include the indispensable Mega Man Powered Up.
In short, there are many games that are missing in these two compilations of the classic Mega Man. Capcom could at least have included the Game Boy Mega Man in the case of the first Legacy Collection. Or the Mega Man Soccer and Mega Man & Bass in the case of the second LC.
Mega Man is one of those epic games that always challenge us and invite us to return to our origins. No matter where you play it, you will have an interesting challenge on your hands and I think it’s very fun to clench your teeth and try your best to be victorious in this game.
If you have not yet played these games, I invite you to take the opportunity to experience them first hand and enjoy one of the greatest jewels in the history of video games.
You can get the Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 & 2 Combo Pack from the Microsoft store for $29.99. For more in the Rewind Friday series click here, and stay tuned to Generation Xbox for everything from the world of Xbox.