One of my all-time favorite games on the Nintendo Entertainment System is Mega Man 2. It’s a perfect blend of action and platforming with a bit of puzzle solving thrown in for good measure. It built upon the unique ideas formulated in the original game, such as the option to choose which stage to play next and the ability to steal the bosses’ weapons to wreak havoc on other enemies and robot masters. Throw in some amazing visuals with beautiful backdrops and huge animated sprites, and a truly spectacular soundtrack and you’ve got yourself a recipe for an instant classic.
Now, there’s often debate amongst gamers as to which Mega Man is the best in the series. It usually comes down to Mega Man 2 or 3, and while I side with those that favor part 2, the good news is that you don’t have to choose with Mega Man Legacy Collection. That’s because you get Mega Man 1 through 6 in the package, just as they appeared back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s on the original NES. They play and look just like you remember, complete with slowdown and flicker, but that was the goal with this project – release an archive of the originals.
On top of the games there are some extras thrown in. There’s concept art for each game in the series. In addition, there are bonuses like the original box art that appeared in different territories, as well as pictures of the cartridges and even some of the print ads that ran in various magazines. I found all of this fascinating to look through and it must have taken a serious chunk of time to obtain all of the assets and place them in the game.
While the games all play exactly as you remember, if you were like me and had a NES Advantage back in the day you might worry about not having turbo firing. Luckily the developers allow you to map one of the face buttons to function as a turbo button. I ended up going with “B” to jump, “Y” to fire single shots, and “A” to turbo, as it was easiest for me to reach with my thumb. Also new is the ability to save your game any time you please. No more need to jot down cumbersome passwords to continue your journey. These enhancements are helpful, but completely optional for the purists out there.
The game does have specific challenge modes that will test how well you know these games. Many of them will have you take on small sections of different levels from various games to see how good you are, all the while trying to beat the time set by the developers. One of the more devious ones is Craig’s Challenge (not my creation, I swear!) that has you make precision jumps in the original Mega Man only to have to quickly outwit those dastardly laser beams from Quickman’s stage in Mega Man 2. After warping back and forth between several of the games you’ll take on Dr. Wily’s ship from Mega Man 2 as well. If you know the best weapons to use you’ll have an advantage, but half the battle is just getting that far. These challenges are a fun mishmash of the various hazards, enemies, and bosses and are refreshingly fun to play.
Since we had to wait longer for the 3DS version of this game to release, I was hoping it would take advantage of the stereoscopic 3D screen. Unfortunately, the only thing it does is make the game screen look slightly popped out from the optional border that can be toggled on. In other words, it does nothing to enhance the actual games themselves. While this is completely understandable as the creators wanted to keep the games faithful to the originals, it would have been a nice extra to showcase the system’s unique feature.
You’re getting a great deal when it comes to price. If you’re fine purchasing the collection digitally it will only cost you $14.99 for all six games. By comparison, each game is currently available on the 3DS Virtual Console for $4.99 apiece. So if you wanted all six games it would run you $30. If you desire the game on a 3DS cartridge, you can opt to go that route for $29.99, or the same price you’d have paid for them separately on the Virtual Console. The retail package does come with a few extras: a soundtrack sampler with 18 songs, four Mega Man stickers, and two 3DS Mega Man themes for your Home Screen. Either way, you’re getting your money’s worth.
I’m happy with the way Mega Man Legacy Collection turned out. You’re getting the NES versions, warts and all, but that’s fine by me as they still hold up today. Newcomers may find the games unforgiving in the challenge department, but if you keep trying I’m sure you can get through all of the stages. The save feature helps out here, and if you want to cheat you can always look up some passwords for the NES counterparts as they should work in these versions as well. $15 for all six games along with some nice historical documentation plus a challenge mode make this collection worth owning.