Just think, by the end of July, your Nintendo Switch could very well be a fully fledged Mega Man machine. All mainline entries across the classic and X series will be playable on the hybrid console allowing you to revisit and discover most of the Blue Bomber’s greatest moments. It’s a long-running franchise that has been loved by many, replicated in spirit by its creator, overdone in sequels and even neglected by Capcom themselves. As we pass Mega Man’s 30th anniversary not only can we compile together each and every volume snuggly onto our system, we also have a shiny new entry to look forward to in Mega Man 11. It may be a belated celebration, but Capcom does seem to be bringing the big party poppers out for this one.
We start out here with the original Mega Man Legacy Collection, a collaboration of six NES classics all unified into one package. Anybody who is a fan of the series will have their favourite, their worst and their guilty pleasure. For many, it will probably be Mega Man 2 that hits the sweet spot. After all, it was, and still is the best-selling Mega Man game to date. It was also the saving grace for the franchise, for the original was considered a flop to the point where its many sequels almost never even came into fruition.
If you’ve never played a Mega Man game before, they pretty much all ride out in a similar fashion. You have a selection of bosses, each awaiting your arrival inside a fortress chamber at the end of their own themed level. You also have the choice in which order to fight each boss, claim their weapon in victory and can then use it to your own advantage. Every weapon is usually another boss’s weakness, so it’s up to you to find out which one is best for the job. While this open freedom of choice in gaming is commonplace nowadays, back in 1987 it was a very rare feature for any game let alone an action-platformer such as this one.
Rather than break down all six games individually, it makes more sense to concentrate on the package as a whole. It’s the same content that was released multiplatform in 2015, but with a few new and noteworthy quality of life improvements. The Mega Man Legacy Collection was initially released to feel true to the originals, including warts and all that hindered the experience. Well, when I say, “hinder” I’m sure there are plenty of purists out there who prefer to keep intact the heavy slowdown that the NES series was riddled with.
In the Nintendo Switch version, you either have the choice to play it as faithfully as you may remember it to be or to turn off the technical dips with a “Turbo Mode” for a much more fluid gameplay experience. It’s a small little adjustment, but one that does make a big difference. Mega Man 3 is a prime example as one of the best titles in the series but rampant with slowdown in the original version.
The other new addition arrives in the form of a rewind feature that’s quite similar to what you will find in the SNES Classic Edition. Simply holding down the L Button will slowly reverse time itself, including the music which I did find a nice little touch. It may seem like a bit of a cop-out in the eyes of a NES veteran, and yeah, you would be absolutely right. However, the Mega Man games have always been about trial and error, so it’s a feature that does tend to work pretty well in this case and particularly for the softer, more privileged modern day gamer.
To be fair, the series has always known to be notoriously hard. Even with the safety nets of custom save states and time travel, you will still find a serious challenge waiting for you here. While Mega Man 2 is probably the most approachable out of the bunch, the unfairly difficult original adventure certainly isn’t. What is interesting though, is seeing how well Capcom’s developers evolved their skills with the NES. Just take a gander at how gorgeous Mega Man 6 looks. It’s almost as if it was running on a Super Nintendo.
For less than the price of two Neo Geo arcade classics, you are getting a stacked amount of content here. Not only do you get to own the first six canon titles, you also have a whole lot of challenges to dive into and a shed load of historical gallery content to glare at. The challenges themselves give you an incentive to try your hand at speed running, as you blaze through various bitesize sections of the series. It can become infectiously addictive as a result, shaving off seconds from your last attempt in the hope that you can get your name plastered on the online leaderboards. What is cool is how you can see the replays of other attempts on there, giving you a few pointers to practice towards a successful run. Just try and beat the Yellow Devil if you haven’t done so before, let alone as fast as you possibly can.
Regardless whether you are into Mega Man, it’s impossible not to love the iconic chiptune soundtrack that’s sewn tightly across the series. In fact, I will go as far to say that they are easily some of the best set of sounds ever to be squeezed out of the old grey box. Just listen to the melody in the Mega Man 2 intro as the camera calmly follows the skyscraper to the rooftop, only to find our hero standing proudly on top to where the beat really kicks in. The intro track has been my ringtone for years now and honestly, I still can’t get enough of it.
While the two Legacy Collections compliment each other like crackers and cheese, Mega Man Legacy Collection is easily the more streamlined. It feels like the more complete package due to all six games being originally released on the same console. It also contains that hook of nostalgia that’s far more familiar with the mass fanbase of the NES era. What was the biggest deal maker for me was easily the Turbo Mode, a feature heavily missed on other console versions. It may not possess the pinpoint platforming that a 2D Super Mario game provides, but it is still an addictively important chunk of gaming history and one that I will always be very fond of.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Capcom