Mega Man: Capcom’s Blue Bomber has a long and celebrated history! None of that matters, though, because he’s pretty much dead now aside from half-hearted nods like 2012’s Street Fighter x Mega Man or the awful-and-now-shut-down Rockman Xover. I’d mention Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. but that might set hearts aflutter.
Instead, we’ve got Keiji Inafune awkwardly puppeteering his creation’s corpse around with Mighty No. 9 and Red Ash, using Kickstarter to beg for handouts and producing little to speak of.
That’s embarrassing. If it’s time to send ol’ Rock off to the scrap heap then what better farewell could he get than Mega Man Legacy Collection? Well, I can think of several, but Mega Man Legacy Collection is the one we got.
Mega Man Legacy Collection includes Mega Man 1 through 6, essentially all the games that originally released on the NES. All of these play pretty much like they did on their home console, up to and including any slowdown issues from those systems’ puny processors. They’ll display at a variety of resolutions, including a letterboxed 4:3 option, in my view though the earlier titles look pretty terrible on a larger screen. Filters are available to help with this a bit, and in the later games the graphics have shaped up so you probably won’t need them.
New features in this collection include saving and loading midgame without having to deal with the series’ notorious passwords, an interactive database with information on each enemy and the option to practice battling each Robot Master whenever you wish. The latter in particular is a nice touch, since the ability to rebattle bosses directly without replaying the game is uncommon in the series at best. Well, you could also say it’s far too common if you consider the Wily stages, but let’s not spoil anything.
We could talk about each game individually, but they’re all basically the same thing: Mega Man runs around a side-scrolling level, doing his best to conserve energy before battling a Robot Master at the end. He wins, he gets a new weapon, he repeats until the game is over. The turning poitns we see on this collection are Mega Man 3, which incorporates the Blue Bomber’s classic slide move and introduces the springy robot dog Rush, and Mega Man 4, which arms him with charged Buster shots. The formula is similar from game to game, though, and it stays fairly fresh…at least up until you hit Mega Man 6, where the idea flow stemmed to a trickle and we’re left with an array of Robot Masters based on cultural stereotypes best described as Racist Man.
There’s also a fairly standard array of extras, which, while not exactly overwhelming, are cute and will appeal to the hardcore series fans this collection is aimed at. For instance, there’s a Challenge Mode that offers bizarre remixed levels; you’ve got time trials, minigames and pseudo-levels with chunks of stages from various series entries stitched together. it’s a little reminiscent of the NES Remix titles and is probably the selling point of this collection if you’re not interested in the games themselves. You’ve got a Leaderboard to keep track of your best times on these, as well as a Museum full of concept art – while I’m not usually into the latter, I’ll admit that there’s plenty of unused concept art for Robot Masters which was pretty cool to see.
And…well, that’s it! That’s the whole game. Meanwhile, a few weeks ago we got Rare Replay, a hard-hitting collection packed with extras and solid gameplay from a variety of consoles that despite retailing at a budget price could sell the Xbox One all by itself. I wouldn’t have thought that a compilation of old games could be considered a killer app for a console, but there you have it. Shortly after that we’ve got Mega Man Legacy Collection, which has six NES games out of a series with dozens of entries. The timing could not have possibly been worse.
The problem in my eyes is that we’ve seen what this collection could have been. Capcom, like Konami, has been pummeled by fans and industry commentators lately for being out-of-touch with what gamers want, starting with their short-sighted cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3. A Rare Replay-styled ultra-collection could have reversed that trend and more, bringing Capcom back into the spotlight and ensuring good vibes for years to come.
Imagine a collection of every Mega Man, X, Zero, ZX, Legends and Battle Network title, just at a minimum. I know there are plenty of issues keeping that from happening…but just imagine the sheer mass of content that would be on offer. Rare got past those issues and worked their way to “Yes,” after all. This theoretical title could retail for a full $60 and still sell gangbusters. “People want this. They’d pay for this,” was the mantra behind such a prospect.
Instead, what they got was six NES games for $15, a competent collection that does literally nothing to advance the idea of collections. It’s worth the money if you want a bunch of old Mega Man games, but there are cheaper and more effective ways to get those as well. That’s really all there is to say.
The world will keep on turning. Capcom will release another five revisions of Street Fighter V in the coming years. Fans will be angry with them in passing for defiling beloved franchises with questionable mobile spin-offs. That’s pretty much that. I’d skip Mega Man Legacy Collection if you need a retro fix. Save your money for Rare Replay instead.