For OG’s like me, there are few video game characters as iconic or nostalgic as Mega Man. Since Capcom first introduced the lovable blue robot in 1987 the series has spawned over 50 entries across a multitude of platforms. We’ve seen Mega Man face off against everything from Wily’s mechanical creations to the cast of Street Fighter and even Marvel’s Superheroes. Through the years the franchise has undergone multiple overhauls and iterations, but none have been more influential than what has been deemed the “Classic Series”. The Classic Series, which includes eleven games released over a twenty-year span, is heralded for its remarkable gameplay, amazing controls, and suburb level design.
Among the eleven entries, the first six installments are considered to be the biggest triumphs of the franchise and showcase the best the series has to offer. To honor the history and achievements of those games, Capcom has teamed with developer Digital Eclipse to release remastered versions of them as part of their “Mega Man Legacy Collection”. The collection, which is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, contains ports of all six of the early Mega Man titles. Each game features improved visuals that look great regardless of which display settings players choose. Digital Eclipse has built in options to play the games with or without borders in 4:3 aspect ratio or in full 16:9 widescreen. There is also a feature that let’s you apply in game filters (TV or Monitor) that replicate the look of older cathode ray tube televisions and CRTVs. The filters brings back the notorious scan lines and ghosting effects that we’ve come to love from the early NES titles. Digital Eclipse has even gone as far as recreating the framerate drops that were a result of the limited 80’s hardware. These slowdowns became an essential part of the gameplay and even affected how some approached certain sections within the stages.
“Mega Man Legacy Collection” introduces three new ways for players to enjoy the classic six games, including Challenge Mode, Museum, and Database. The Challenge Mode, which is similar to the Snapshot feature in Rare Replay, consists of thematically grouped “playlists”. The timed playlists are comprised of an arrangement of carefully selected sections from each of the games. When thoughtfully combined, these segments create a wonderfully difficult remix of the collection’s best gameplay elements. Jumping between the different games can be a little jarring at times until players can acclimate to which abilities are available during each session. But once players are familiar with the format, Challenge Mode is a great way for veterans to test their Mega Man mettle and beef up their PSN Trophy collection.
Each individual game also comes with its own Museum and Database. The Museum functions as an archive and is packed with loads of content including a dense assortment of hi-res art. The Database is an encyclopedic collection of information about each of the characters featured in the game. From here players can also choose to battle the various Robot Masters with a full arsenal of weaponry at their disposal. This allows you to train against each of the bosses by learning the timing of their attacks, which weapons they’re vulnerable against, and identifying patterns in their movements. It’s a great place for beginners to practice honing their skills and for seasoned vets to become true masters at dispatching the robotic foes.
By far the best part about “Mega Man Legacy Collection” is its genuine and simplistic approach to the series. Aside from the slight visual enhancements, each of the acclaimed platformers are maintained in their entirety. There are no added frills or gimmicks. Each game is a faithful representation of its NES counterpart. The only change in gameplay is the ability for players to utilize a quick save function while progressing through each stage. This welcomed feature blows away the antiquated password system and allows newcomers some reprieve from the games’ occasionally punishing difficulty. Other than that, fans will be delighted to find that each pixel is exactly where they remembered it.
“Mega Man Legacy Collection” is a near perfect example of what a great anthology should be. It pays homage to the original games and makes the necessary enhancements for bringing the classic titles into the 21st century. The attention to detail in the presentation is a obvious sign that this collection was certainly a labor of love. In addition to the superb design, the developers have also included a standalone Music player. This amazing feature allows you to reminisce while listening to all 100+ songs from the various games. And I challenge anyone to come up with a smoother jam than Shadow Man’s theme from Mega Man 3.
Not only did Digital Eclipse do a great job of implementing new content, but they also respected the franchise by leaving the original games virtually untouched. What made the classic games so special was the purity of their mechanics and ingenious level designs. All of which have been perfectly upheld in the collection. Newcomers will certainly be drawn in by the enhanced, color-rich graphics while veterans will rejoice in the filter functionality and the ability to partake in a truly classic experience. Regardless of which side of the generational gap you fall on, this collection is a must buy for fans of Mega Man and video games a like. It’s a wonderful opportunity to play some of the most influential and remarkable games of all time. Whether you’re reliving your youth or playing the series for the first time, “Mega Man Legacy Collection” is a something truly special that should not be missed.
It’s Mega Man.
Great presentation and classic filters.
Standalone music player.
Challenges can be a little disorienting at first.