After Capcom released the initial Mega Man Legacy Collection, it seemed likely that the company would eventually release the rest of the series in another collection. Sure enough, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 came to pass, and while it mostly does the same things its predecessor did, the experimental and varying nature of the games included make for a much more inconsistent experience in terms of quality. Once again, we’ll just be sharing our general thoughts on the games included, while individual reviews can be found under the respective game pages.
Mega Man 7 was certainly a confusing release when it came out, seeing as how it saw a launch on the Super Nintendo after Mega Man X had already shown how the Mega Man formula could be evolved for a new generation, which made Mega Man 7 feel like a step back in many ways. It would rather be like if Nintendo were to follow up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with an Ocarina of Time 2; not necessarily unwelcome, but puzzling given the new ideas introduced in the previous game.
Sadly, Mega Man 7 doesn’t do a great job of doing the classic series gameplay justice, and it comes off as a bit fumbling in places. The sprite sizes of Mega Man and the various enemies he encounters feel like they’re just a little too big for the available screen size, which lends the game a rather claustrophobic feel. Corridors are tight and there are some attacks from both common enemies and Robot Masters that feel harder to dodge than they should be, simply because there isn’t much room to maneuver. Though this isn’t game breaking, it is an annoyance that never really goes away, and may hinder your enjoyment if you’re coming off of playing the previous games in the series.
In spite of this, Mega Man 7 still does plenty of things right. The graphics are suitably buffed up with the additional resolution of 16-bit, Robot Master and stage designs are memorable and fun (when you aren’t fighting the sprites), and series mainstays like a shop and Bass & Treble make their first appearance. There’s plenty of secrets and collectibles to be found in each stage, too, giving you reason to replay stages you’ve already beaten. Mega Man 7, then, is a rather uneven experience; it feels like the developer got close, but didn’t quite stick the landing in bringing the classic series to a new console.
Mega Man 8 is arguably the most infamous entry in the whole classic series, and stands as easily the weakest entry in the series. In terms of what it gets right, the 32-bit graphics are a gorgeous sight to behold and stand up remarkably well even by today’s standards, and the occasional Saturday morning cartoon-like cutscenes are hilarious in a 'so bad, it’s good' sort of way, especially with how high Mega Man’s voice is and how Dr. Light just can’t pronounce his L’s. Stage designs are unique and interesting as well, but this is where the positives end.
Unfortunately, the gameplay of Mega Man 8 is all over the place, with strange physics and random shifts in gameplay style making for an experience that tries to do a lot and doesn’t do a great job at any one thing. The issue of sprite sizes has thankfully been fixed, but there’s something about the way Mega Man controls which just feels off, which is disappointing given how tight its predecessors controlled. And though the vehicle sections in some levels do their best to try to introduce variety to gameplay, they just come off as tacked on sections that are more of a slog than they are enjoyable. Mega Man 8 is another entry in the series that’s fun to play through for the sake of seeing the full series in all its highs and lows, but ultimately comes off as being sloppy in its execution. It’s pretty to look at, but that’s about it.
Mega Man 9 marked a return to form for the series, with Capcom going back to the roots and making another entry in retro 8-bit. Though Mega Man 9 does a fantastic job of emulating the look and feel of the original six games, it rather noticeably ratchets up the difficulty to a considerable degree; we’d even go so far as to say that this is the hardest entry in the series. Expect plenty of surprising enemies jumping out of pits, knocking you off ladders, and jumping at you from off screen, and we lost count of the amount of times that we had to jump over pits that Mega Man barely has the hops to clear. Mega Man 9 is a fantastic game, but it’s also extremely difficult in the 'hard, but fair' vein. If you struggled at all with beating any of the original games, you likely won’t hold up too well here.
Mega Man 9 also sees the inclusion of 'Challenges' to the series, in-game achievements which carry over between runs. These can range anywhere from restricting the time or damage taken in boss fights, to limiting how many energy pellets you can consume in one run. Given the relatively short length of Mega Man 9 (probably about two hours), this is a welcome inclusion that helps to bolster replay value as you aim for different goals in each new run. They don’t add much else than a sense of satisfaction, but completionists will find plenty to love in knocking all of these out. Also, Proto Man can be unlocked – featuring the charge shot and slide that were removed from Mega Man – and he helps to make these subsequent runs more interesting in the different playstyle being encouraged.
Mega Man 10 is a direct sequel to Mega Man 9 that carries on the 8-bit aesthetic and makes adjustments where needed for an overall tighter experience. Level designs overall feel more approachable, and while the Robot Masters may be a little weird (Sheep Man?), this is one of the finest entries in the retro series. Challenges make a return here, along with additional challenge rooms that task you with clearing short courses designed around specific constraints, like taking away your ability to jump. Couple these challenges with all the original DLC – like a playable Bass – and Mega Man 10 feels like a worthy entry in the 8-bit lineage, fans of the original games definitely won’t want to miss out on this gem.
Now, if you’ve been counting, that’s just four games in this collection, compared to the previous six. Indeed, it feels like Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 has less to offer than its predecessor, and this isn’t helped by how the few games included aren’t consistently great in the same way that the first six games were. It would’ve been nice if Capcom had included the spin-off Mega Man & Bass, or perhaps some of the portable games, to offset this perceived lack of value, as the feeling of cheapness extends into other areas of the collection, too.
For one thing, the rewind feature of Mega Man Legacy Collection is bizarrely nowhere to be found, and given that the more difficult Mega Man games are present in this collection, it’s sorely missed. This isn’t helped by the fact that save states aren’t as helpful as they were before, either; rather than taking a straight snapshot of your game, the save system only utilises in-game checkpoints for reference, so saving and loading right before a difficult platforming section isn’t really viable. Adding on to this, the museum section can still be used to view concept and character art, but there’s no database section to view bios and stats on enemies. It’s this absence of welcome features in the previous collection that stings; none of these things are game breaking, but their omission feels strange and makes the collection as a whole feel rather rushed.
Even so, the extra challenges that appeared in the previous collection make their return here, and help to pad out the lighter amount of content. Each game has a series of special stages that do things like either mash up different levels or pit you against bosses in special conditions, and while they don’t really add anything substantial to the package, there’s still several hours of content to master across all four games. And once again, those of you that have the Mega Man amiibo can unlock additional challenges, which are exclusive to this Switch version.
All told, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 feels like a letdown compared to the stellar presentation of its predecessor. Missing features and lower quality games easily make this the more skippable of the two, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is a bad collection. We’d recommend this to any fans of the Mega Man series – 9 and 10 just about justify the collection on their own – but those who are looking to get their feet wet may want to pass on this and just get the first collection. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is good, but it’s not great, so think twice before taking the plunge.