Born in the 1970’s, growing up in the 80’s, wasting my life away playing videogames in the 90’s, 00’s and 10’s, it may come as a surprise to many that I have never played a Mega Man game. For a title that was everywhere throughout the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, that is some going. In fact, it’s something I’m pretty proud of.
The reason? Well, nothing more than it never appealing to this young impressionable gamer…one who would much prefer to have spent his time mashing buttons on Street Fighter II or gathering the best info on up and coming youngsters on Football Manager.
Guess what? Whilst I still mash buttons on fighters and check out the stats on FIFA, Mega Man is not appealing to me as I now approach my fortieth year either!
The Mega Man Legacy Collection brings together the first six Mega Man titles in one downloadable package, celebrating decades of one of the most iconic videogame characters. Now, if you’re a fan of the blue bomber, then you’ll already be familiar with the 8-bit goodies that he and the iconic but villainous Dr.Wily and his Robot Masters bring. With nausea, headache inducing visuals (seriously, even the start of some of the levels in Mega Man 3 are enough to bring on the biggest of migraines), then only if you’re encased in all things retro then will you love what the Legacy Collection brings.
If you’d rather wake up in the real world, play some of the most gorgeous modern day immersive titles that gamers have ever known, then you’re going to hate what Capcom have done. Don’t hate the messenger though, all they’ve done is brought what fans of the game wanted…a new generation arrival for Mega Man.
For those who don’t know, the vast majority of Mega Man titles, and indeed all the ones in this collection, are 2D side scrolling affairs in which Mega Man has to fight his way through a level in order to defeat the boss using his Mega Buster cannon. Once he’s done so, he’ll then acquire the bosses special weapon which will in turn help him continue his fight towards harder, tougher bosses. Back in the early days of video gaming, this was all pretty revolutionary, but now? It’s aged massively.
To be fair to Digital Eclipse and Capcom, the six games in place have been well created and play as they should…as well as an old 80’s game does anyway. But with ladders to climb, missiles to dodge and enemies to shoot, all whilst trying to stay alive for as long as possible, the exclusion of decent modern day checkpoints and the inclusion of a difficulty level that will be alien to any current Xbox gamers, just doesn’t work in this day and age. I can’t blame Capcom for doing what they have done; the fan base basically demanded it, and whilst the uproar would possibly have been too big if they had changed anything too much, as a certain type of gamer who much prefers the modern slant as opposed to the retro feel, I just wish they had buckled and brought us a much more improved experience.
With the addition of Museum Mode however, filled to the brim with hundreds and possibly thousands of vintage concept sketches, high rez production art and a database like that which I’ve never seen before in a game, then there is no doubting that every effort has been put into recreating the blue bomber at his very best. If you’re not at all bothered about the gameplay the six titles bring, then you should at least get a little excited regarding the museum pieces that have been included. In fact, I think I’d rather pay the £11.99 for those instead of having to put myself through the torrid, arduous task of trying to complete a level on Mega Man 2.
The Challenge modes are also quite interesting, allowing even the most useless of players (yep, that’s me then) the chance to take on some of the most historic of Mega Man moments from each of the six games. With a sliding difficulty scale and the chance to check out more than just the bog standard Mega Man, the challenges are about the only time newcomers to the franchise will ever be able to last more than five seconds without shouting and screaming at the TV. It also gives those experienced Mega Man fans a bigger thrill than just battling their way through the standard versions of Mega Man 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 yet again.
Admittedly, it’s also nice to finally be able to test yourself against your friends with the inclusion of global leaderboards allowing the very best Mega Man players to show their skills off to a global audience. However, a leaderboard doesn’t sell a game when the buyer in question just can’t get their head around the clunky, albeit HD splashed 8-bit style and a gameplay difficulty level that takes absolutely no prisoners. A ton of extras including being able to use the old 4:3 screen, widescreen or full versions whilst watching some of the more skilled players showing you exactly how it is meant to be done via the replays section is nice and certainly helps the newcomer, but it’s not enough to be a real game changer.
All the familiar favourites are back and gameplay wise, it does the exact same job as I should have expected it to do back in ‘the day’, but whether you fancy going heads up with Bubble Man, Metal Man or Wood Man, then the Mega Man Legacy Collection will only appeal to those old skool gamers who just can’t leave the past alone.
As for a celebration of one of the most iconic video game characters, well, it’s only a celebration if you wanna go to the party!
Unfortunately, I hate 80’s themed reunions, even ones with super cool musical accompaniments.