In the year 20XX, the robot hero Mega Man is in a strange place. For whatever reason, Capcom seems to think of the storied series as something of a relic of the past - something that inspires nostalgia and reverence, sure, but not a franchise that could compete in today's world of gritty shooters and action titles. Mega Man Legacy Collection, which features emulated versions of the first six NES Mega Man games along with a treasure trove of extras, indeed invokes nostalgia for gaming's past, as well as making us long for the blue bomber to return.
Mega Man Legacy Collection features complete versions of Mega Man through to Mega Man 6. Developer Digital Eclipse has created pixel-perfect emulations of each title making for a very authentic experience. Anyone old enough to have played the games when they were first released on the NES will recognize the flicker, occasional slowdown and glitches throughout, but in this case those issues have been included deliberately and are - perhaps, depending on your perspective - welcome. Gamers who grew up with Mega Man learned to play well because there were no patches back then to fix framerate or balancing - just try fighting the Yellow Devil without the pause trick.
Digital Eclipse has wisely included a few options to appeal to today's audience. Each game contains one save state, so you can easily stop in the middle of a level and continue later. You can also access the boss battles of each game through the database menu, if you just want to practice taking down the various insane robot masters. You can also play the games with a border displaying art from the game, or choose to play without one.
The collection includes a Challenge mode, featuring remixed versions of stages from all six games; this is a lot of fun and provides plenty of replay value, with completed challenges unlocking more to take on. Additionally, more challenges can be unlocked with the Mega Man amiibo, but the content already on display is more than enough and those without the amiibo shouldn't feel left out.
Each game, of course, varies in quality. We had the most fun with Mega Man 2, which is where most of the hallmarks of the series really began. The first Mega Man is uncompromisingly brutal and often frustrating, but also rewarding when you finally figure out a tough platforming sequence or kill a robot master. Your enjoyment of the collection will naturally depend on how much you enjoy old-school platformers (or if you're a Mega Man fan). We've reviewed all of these originals separately, in some cases on multiple occasions, so head to the respective game pages if you want full assessments of each game.
By the time you are playing through Mega Man 6 - and you can play the games in any order, there's no unlocking system - you'll either feel like an expert or burnt out. We felt a little bit of both, to be fair, but that's more due to the sheer amount we played in a short amount of time. Each game has its own database and museum, meanwhile, filled with concept art, advertisements, old cartridges, packaging and more. For enthusiasts and anyone who's scoured the internet looking for old, rare gaming memorabilia, this will be a real draw.
Mega Man Legacy Collection is a great package with a lot of content and stuff to do - for newcomers it's worth acknowledging that each game is very challenging, and could be too much for someone who isn't used to the steep learningcurve. With that in mind the wealth of extras, the challenge mode and the sheer scope of six games nevertheless make Mega Man Legacy Collection a great option for anyone who's looking for an old-school treat.