The Mega Man Legacy Collection is a collection of the six Nintendo Entertainment System Mega Man titles by Capcom. All six are 2D run and gun platformers with similar plots and mechanics. Please check out my other reviews for specifics on each individual game, or play them yourself… see other reviews.. it’s up to you. Go in blind if you’d like. Hell, I ain’t the boss of ya! This collection is available on multiple systems but the one I’m reviewing is the Nintendo 3DS version so while most of my assessment will be based on aspects that will overlap all versions, I will also be talking a bit more about this 3DS version in the details. So if you’re all set then let’s rock, man! I know, it’s too easy of a joke. I’m sorry.
The Mega Man Legacy Collection allows you to play the NES Mega Man titles and even their Rockman counterparts. You can choose to have a border around the edges as these tend to have a more square display while most modern system have a widescreen display. You also have the option to remap your buttons, including a rapid fire button if you please. While in the game, you can save one save state per game at any point and reload it at any point as well. Each title also has a database and museum selection. The database will offer some info and tips on the enemies and other characters in the game, even going so far as to let you see the weaknesses of bosses and letting you practicing fighting them right from that menu. The museum contains pictures of regional boxes, cartridges, promotional art, concept art, and some unused art as well. The main menu also sports a music player, allowing you to listen to all of the music from all of the games as you please. The other option is the challenge mode.
In challenge mode you take on a series of NES Remix style challenges that you must complete within a time limit. How fast you complete them determines your ranking out of blue, silver, or gold. These challenges might be playing through a series of small sections of levels in a specific order, fighting through a series of robot masters, or even a combination of both. It starts with the first game, but as more challenges are completed more challenges from more games are unlocked. The later challenges start adding in sections and bosses from multiple games while a few challenges are a bit more unique. The 3DS version allows you to scan in a Mega Man amiibo to unlock a few extra challenges that contest winners submitted. There are over 50 challenges.
Now that we have all the technical talk out of the way, let me just say that I think this collection is pretty great. Having these six classic games in one package is pretty awesome, but I’ll sell you on it later in the recommendations. I think it does a good job bringing classic Mega Man to modern systems while making a few small strides to appeal to both hardcore players and the more casual type. The rapid fire and save state options, along with the convenient database, are nice ways to get around common frustrations of the less-skilled players. It’s nice to be able to save whenever and use save states to practice sections rather than requiring you to play through a long level completely perfectly. The rapid fire is also a nice way to keep your thumb from falling off. And the database, while a little unnecessary due to the internet existing, is a nice convenient tool to have at your fingertips officially, not to mention letting you practice bosses without the burden of playing their whole stage first. I even think the challenges are nice for practicing some of those fights and stage sections. The challenges are definitely where hardcore players are going to get their jollies. Trying to get the best rankings and times on all of these challenges will push your Mega Man skills to the limit. You can attempt nearly all of them even if you’re as awkward and crappy at the games as me, but getting the gold will demand mastery and perfection. Not to mention this challenge mode is the newest, most interesting part of the collection. Regardless of your familiarity, rest assured that these games function as closely to their NES counterparts as possible, with all the flickering, framerate slowdown, and glitches intact. I also think having all of these available on a handheld is pretty fantastic for a Mega Man collection. The art and alternate regional versions of the games are really neat for those interested in some of the history. And hey, the physical version came with stickers, a download code to some songs, and a couple codes for 3DS backgrounds… which I think expired but I’m going to try anyway, damn it. Really, it’s just a nice collection that does more than it needed to, especially for what it is.
However, I get why this might not seem all that exciting to a lot of people. These games have been available on the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS eshops as well as the original NES already. The Mega Man Anniversary Collection from about a decade prior had Mega Man 7 and 8 as well as two of the arcade titles on it, along with some unlockable art and music. So there’s not a ton of incentive to get these again in a smaller package. Why not include Mega Man 9 and 10? I can see cutting 7 and 8 to make it run on the 3DS, but I guess it just makes the collection a little lacking and that the Legacy part was added to compensate. So why not include the five Game Boy titles in the collection then? I don’t know. It’s really mainly appealing to newcomers who don’t have these games yet or those who want a handheld version for the handheld systems it is on. I can understand the complaints about save states and rapid fire as they aren’t authentic, but at least they are optional. When you want to play without them… just don’t use them. If others want to enjoy them, well there’s not a lot you can do. Even the challenges tend to feel a bit samey after a while, rehashing the same level segments and robot masters a bit too much. Oh, and on the 3DS version, the screen is kind of odd. There’s a bit of space on the stop and bottom of the screen to accommodate borders I suppose, but I wish they would’ve just pulled the screen to the edges and kept the borders as sidebars only so there would just be a slightly bigger visual display. And I suppose there could be more in terms of unlockables, though I kind of enjoy the simplicity of it being about the games themselves rather than a trophy or reward system to brag about. Oh, and needing an amiibo to unlock extra challenges while leaving that as one of the options on the main menu is kind of scummy.
Still, the Mega Man Legacy Collection is fantastic. It’s a nice collection of classic, iconic games at a great price. It’s 15 bucks digitally and 20 physically, and that’s not even factoring in sale prices! If you’re looking to get into the series, you want to be able to play them on a more modern system, or if you’re just looking to play these classics on the go, this game delivers. For 3DS owners, it’s cheaper than getting all the games separately in the eshop PLUS you get some nice extras for it. The hardcore fans can put those skills to the test with the challenge mode. And hey, if you’re looking for a Mega Man themed companion piece for the NES Remix series, this can scratch that itch a bit with the challenge mode as well. So I really would only NOT recommend it to the mainly casual gamer or if you already own them all in some form or another. It’s no Mega Man 11 or anything, but it’s still pretty damn good.