Retro collection packages are something of a special occasion. Grouping together multiple old games of a particular brand or series puts twinkles in collectors’ eyes. I’m not talking about games such as Resident Evil or any other games of this decade; I’m talking about old school games, games that scratch that nostalgic itch that take us older generation gamers back to when gaming was all about pixel art and sprites.
Capcom have neatly packed the Mega Man series in one single package (his first six adventures, anyway), these being arguably his best and most beloved entries of his lifetime. Named Mega Man Legacy Collection, all six titles included everything the Blue Bomber is best known for: challenging action platforming gameplay with included soundtracks and little extras that made this package even more endearing to own. As we all know, Mega Man didn’t stop at number six, he went on to make his mark across pretty much all preceding platforms which continued on from his home on the NES. So how do Capcom address the missing sequential games? Well, they haven’t, instead releasing Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 which only includes Mega Man’s last remaining numbered titles, being seven through ten. Already we have an issue, and I haven’t even spoken about the games yet. Some of my favourite Mega Man games are the X series, which are notably absent here, so too are his fighting spin-offs. Surely, Capcom could have squeezed some of these in. It would have justified the asking price at least.
Anyway, on with the games.
With Mega Man X, the Blue Bomber made the jump to the 16-bit era on the SNES, and it showed, as sprites were bigger, better animated, levels looked a lot better and cutscenes were added, albeit in a rather cheesy manner. Mega Man 7 was the first main entry since the X series gained popularity. It was a lavish mix of old and new. Traditional run-and-gun, platforming gameplay mixed with all the bells and visual whistles that came with the jump to the SNES. Yep, the cutscenes were there, but they were, of course, cheese-crusted and forgettable, though the core gameplay was present and strong. Bosses became wise to your attack methods, changing their approaches after you’ve taken advantage of their weaknesses, but they weren’t very memorable. To be honest, boss standards started to slip during the second half of his 8-bit run, but at least the game was a lot more forgiving and accessible.
Every retro collection has its trump card, and for the Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, it is Mega Man 8. Blasting onto Sony’s PlayStation, this new era of gaming brought more processing power to the table which showed in Mega Man 8’s cartoon-style cutscenes. Unfortunately, they were piss-poor with atrocious voice acting and terrible dialogue, even if the animation itself was quite good. The typical ‘Mega Man’ gameplay was all here; however, it had a few tricks up its sleeve to try to keep it relevant, including hoverboard levels and Mega Man’s new-found skill of using two abilities simultaneously, the former of which being a hub of frustration and anger; think Battletoads, you’ll know what I mean.
Mega Man 9 and 10 were returns to the series’ roots. Gone were the flashy animations and spruced up graphics in favour of 8-bit sprites and pixels. They were whole new adventures but retained the rock-solid difficulty the series is best known for. No more sliding or charging up shots, it all boils down to timing and quick wit. 10 was the most unforgiving thanks to the brutal level designs relying, more often than not, on pitfalls and spikes. Overcoming levels doesn’t really require a lot of skill, per se, more so try your luck and you might succeed or fail. A quick solution to Mega Man 10’s difficulty is the ability to play as Proto Man, who is a lot more adept and agile than Mega Man, which helps replaying the game feel fresh. I don’t know whether the developers ran out of ideas here but, Sheep Man is a worthy mention, a sheep robot that shoots electricity from its wool in a weird looking arena, the mind boggles. Aside from their notorious difficulty and questionable boss designs, 9 and 10 are Mega Man-worthy adventures that stroke the nostalgia fur and transport players back to when Mega Man was iconic.
For your hard-earned cash, you’re getting two great games, a good game and a serviceable game in one package. Collectors who already own the first Legacy Collection may want to get the second part just to complete the library, but for those who aren’t collectors, stick with the first Legacy Collection as it’s far better than the games featured here, and you get more too.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 8th August 2017