Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Review

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As a Mega Man fan, this release came as a pleasant surprise. The original ‘Mega Man Legacy Collection’ was released back in 2015 as a means of giving people the opportunity to play classic Mega Man on contemporary gaming systems. It contained the original 6 NES entries, and personally I was completely satisfied with it. Given that the remaining 4 games in the series were released on 3 entirely different systems, I do admire the extra effort that must have gone into making this collection possible.

Since this is a collection of re-released games I will do a brief mini review of each entry towards the end, however I’m mainly going to focus on the merits of the collection first and foremost, to see what it does right, where it goes wrong, and ultimately is it worth buying.

The collection:
Let’s get the most important part out of the way first. The games all play wonderfully. I’ve been playing this collection for about a week, and although I’ve yet to fully complete all four of them, I’ve played enough of each title to know that everything is intact*. I experienced no noticeable input lag, the games all look exactly like their original counterparts, and although I didn’t do a side by side comparison the music all sounds fine. If there were any subtle difference then I certainly didn’t notice them and as a long term fan I would be the first to complain if anything was amiss.

The only thing I did call into question was regarding the animated cut scenes in MM8, as the video motion didn’t look entirely smooth. There may possibly be a frame rate issue here, however given that these were previously PS1 / Sega Saturn quality videos this may have been an existing issue in the original versions. Although I couldn’t tell for certain, it doesn’t affect the game play in anyway so it’s no big deal.

Something I’m particularly pleased about is how the characters that were previously only available as DLC are now unlockable by beating particular games or through the use of cheat codes (which is what they should have been in the first place).

Additional content that has been added to this package includes a museum of artwork from all the featured titles, a jukebox so you can listen to all the music tracks, and several additional challenges. I say “additional” because Mega Man 9 & 10 both featured challenges in their original releases. These original challenges have now been stripped from their main games and moved to the challenge section. Personally I do not care much for challenges as I feel as if short time trials do not reflect Mega Man’s core game play. Mega Man is something I like to play slowly and methodically, experimenting with weapons, familiarising myself with stages and carefully platforming across obstacles, and I don’t think this is conducive to challenges.

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In addition to this extra content, there are a few other noteworthy features:

Auto Fire
As part of the control configurations you can now include an auto fire button to make life a little easier on your thumbs. Since you can set separate buttons for standard and auto firing, you can still charge weapons seamlessly without having to reconfigure your controls.

Language Selection
From the options menu you can choose from a range of different languages. The language you select will affect all of the collection’s menus, plus will also reflect the language used in game where possible. The in game text defaults to English if the desired language isn’t available. As expected, if you choose Japanese as your desired language then ‘Mega Man’ will be referred to as his native ‘Rock Man’.

Trophies / Achievements
Capcom seem to be notoriously stingy when it comes to these types of releases. Like MMLC1 and the Disney Afternoon Collection, there is no Platinum trophy and the achevements that are included do not amount to much. There are 21 bronze trophies all together, of which 14 relate to challenges. There were no achievements relating to difficulty or fully exploring the games 100%. The only tasks that really interested me were to beat the games with alternative characters where available. Overall, I wasn’t impressed.

Check Point Saves
This is a feature that I have mixed feelings about. The previous legacy collection included a ‘Save state’ system which I hated. For anyone familiar with emulators or Nintendo’s virtual console then you may be familiar with these types of saves. Basically it’s a system that allows you to save the game at any point. You are not restricted in having to reach a certain point in the game before you have the option of saving. The reason I hate save states and choose not to use them is because they can be exploited to the extent that you remove any and all challenge that the game has to offer.

Capcom have now improved on this by limiting saves to when Mega Man reaches a stage check point. You can chose to have the game auto save every time you pass one for added convenience. In my opinion this is certainly a better way of saving progress than before as it limits the extent of which re-loading saves can break the game. It isn’t as good as my preferred suggestion which would be to drop this feature completely. Since Mega Man 8, 9 and 10 already included perfectly adequate save features (and Mega Man 7 has a password system) I do not see the need for check point saves other than to spoil the challenge. A save option to replace Mega Man 7’s passwords would be a welcomed convenience, but I think being able to save and reload mid stage is overkill.

I wouldn’t have an issue with the inclusion of check point saves or even save states for when struggling players just want to explore the game or practice a certain section. However using these saves doesn’t disable achievements or unlockable features, so there’s no way of telling if a player has earned a trophy by being good at the game or by exploiting the system.

Extra Armor
Again, this is another cool little feature for people who are struggling at these games, but to my amazement this feature does not disable unlockables! If you wish to make any of these games easier you can now double the amount of damage Mega Man can take with a simple flick of a switch in the options menu. Needless to say this is such an over powering feature that I’m amazed they didn’t go one step further and just included an invincibility mode.

A feature I would have liked to have seen included is some sort of “console conditions” or “purist” mode where all these perks that make the game easier such as the auto fire, check point saves and extra armor are disabled. I would also structure the game so unlockables and achievements are only available in this mode, so the rewards reflect how good a player actually is.

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Mega Man 7
This entry took me a long time to warm to, but I’m sincerely glad that I’ve stuck with it as I’m becoming very fond of it. This was originally released on the SNES and is therefore the first title in the series to depart from the 8-bit art style and reinvent itself for the next generation. When I first played this game I didn’t like how all the sprites were larger, the field of view as a result was smaller, and everything seemed a bit slower than before.

Despite these flaws I stuck with it and I’m really glad I did as MM7 contains some excellent design choices and offers a lot more depth than an average game in the series. Not only does this entry contain some of my favorite weapons and bosses, but it also includes stages with alternative pathways, hidden areas, optional utilities to find and even a hidden boss fight.

I particularly enjoy using Slash Man’s sword as it’s a fast, clean melee weapon that feels a little bit like you’re playing Strider. Another item I enjoy using is the Rush adaptor that not only gives you a homing charged shot but also includes a jet pack as a crude double jump.

Should you miss any of the hidden items you also get the chance to buy some of them from the in game shop using bolts that you collect as currency. They are good value, however I personally prefer trying to find them in the wild.

The difficulty is pretty moderate throughout and the boss rush is a piece of cake once you’ve unlocked everything. However there is a huge spike / brick wall in the difficulty when it comes to the last boss who is an absolute bitch. I’m struggling to think of a last boss in any game that’s caused me as much aggravation as this one. Having said that, I did eventually beat him after many failed attempts and was extremely satisfied by the ending.

*One small issue that may be worth noting was that I failed to find an Easter egg hidden in Shade Man’s stage. I won’t say what it is as I do not want to spoil it for anyone, but in involves holding a trigger button down while selecting his stage. As the buttons have been rebound for modern controlers I can’t tell whether I was pressing the wrong button or if the feature has been removed? I would be very disappointed if this was no longer accessible as it was a pretty cool little secret.

Mega Man 8
I’m going to be brutally honest, this one is probably the most difficult entry for me to review as it’s the one game I’ve spent the least amount of time on. At the moment I would have to say that I’m not particularly impressed with it, although to be fair I did have similar feeling towards Mega Man 7 in the beginning.

On the positive side a chunk of the game play does feel like classic Mega Man with some fun weapons including an electric beam that Mega Man can swing on like a rope, and the inclusion of another sword which is reminiscent of Slash Man’s weapon.

Unfortunately it also includes a lot of design choices that I feel were either unnecessary or an outright mistake. Energy tanks have been removed in favour of replenishing your health & ammo automatically at regular intervals. This removes the need to manage your recourses and with it goes a sense of strategy. New set pieces have been include such as scrolling shooter and snowboarding segments which, although serviceable, do not feel like they belong in a Mega Man game.

Lastly, this game is infamous for it’s awful voice acting during cut scenes. Honestly, if you thought Symphony of the Night was bad then you ain’t seen nothing yet. Personally I think rather than improve the voice acting, I would have preferred it if these cut scenes were removed completely. They don’t add any value for me and just get in the way of the game play.

I’m glad this game has been included for collection purposes, but it’s not something I see myself replaying too often.

On a side note: It’s a pity that this collection doesn’t include Mega Man & Bass, which is viewed by many as an alternative take on Mega Man 8 for the Super Famicom. Since this game has yet to see an international release on home console, this would have been a welcome addition to the collection.

Mega Man 9 & 10
A return to the 8-bit style and a return to form. When the time came to revive the series a decision was made was to faithfully create two NES style games which play and feel just as well as the originals. Newer features such as the currency system have been retained so Mega Man can still stock up on power ups before entering challenging stages, and a save feature has replaced the archaic password system.

Everything from the level design, to weapons, to bosses, to music are just as good as I would expect from an NES Mega Man game. The only thing I was disappointed by was the decision not to include features like the charge shot and the slide ability as I feel as if they add a little more variety to the game play. That aside, these are both solid titles that I will be spending a great deal of time with, especially since I can now access the DLC characters.

When it comes to challenge, I think number 9 is slightly harder than your average Mega Man game, whereas number 10 is a bit too easy by comparison. Having said that, number 10 does include an unlockable hard mode should you want to try it.

In conclusion
Overall there were a few choices made that I would have handled differently had I been in charge of putting this collection together, however that doesn’t take away from the fact that you can now play the remainder of the Mega Man series on PS4 at a cheap and convenient price. If you are a moderate Mega Man fan or someone who is just curious about retro games then this is a real treat.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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