Friday, June 29, 2018

Mega Man Legacy Collection (NSW) Review

Mega Man returns to a Nintendo home console with a collection of his six NES action-platforming adventures. Mega Man Legacy Collection on the Nintendo Switch gets the SuperPhillip Central review treatment!

Classic Mega Man has returned home to a Nintendo console in one killer collection.

For a long period of time, being a Mega Man fan was incredibly difficult. Between promising games like Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe being cancelled and Capcom's apparent hiatus on the franchise, lovers of Mega Man felt left out in the cold. Fortunately, much to my and other fans' delight, Capcom's Blue Bomber sees quite the resurgence in recent years, and 2018 looks absolutely stellar for him. With a new entry in the classic series hitting all major platforms this October with Mega Man 11 and now a duo of classic collections for the Nintendo Switch, Mega Man is back, baby! Released on a multitude of consoles a couple of years ago, Mega Man Legacy Collection finds its way onto the Nintendo Switch with some added features making it the definitive version of Digital Eclipse's collection.

If you've never played a Mega Man game before, allow me to elaborate on the series and each game in the collection. For starters, Mega Man as a series is a 2D side-scroller, and every game in the collection originated on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom. You can easily see through playing the game chronologically (those you can play the games in any order, of course) the technical and graphical upgrades each game added to the series. By Mega Man 6, the developers really had a significant handle on the NES/Famicom hardware to create some truly amazing and detailed levels and environments.

Six games make up the Mega Man Legacy Collection, and there's not a dud in the bunch.
At any rate, what made Mega Man great was its combination of action-platforming, running and shooting, and the ability to play through the initial levels of the game in any order you wanted. The bosses in each level, the Robot Masters, would give Mega Man their special weapon upon their defeat, and each Robot Master was weak against a particular special weapon. For instance, in the original Mega Man, Cut Man's special weapon could take down Elec Man in less than ten seconds, otherwise it'd be a tough, but not impossible fight to engage in. After the initial eight Robot Master levels (six in the original Mega Man) were complete, a new series of final linear levels opened up for the Blue Bomber to right the villain of the series, Dr. Wily's wrongs. 

The original Mega Man is my least favorite of the six featured in the Legacy Collection. Mega Man's movement is a bit slippery, and things like falling on spikes, no matter if you had invincibility frames or not, meant instant death. The game used a one-time point system that was superfluous at best, and as stated already, instead of your standard eight Robot Masters, only six were featured in the first Mega Man game. I can't say I hate Mega Man, as it's actually a pretty good game, and you have to hand it to Capcom for creating a solid foundation for the franchise to grow, and as we've seen, prosper.

Mega Man 2 is one of the most loved entries in the entire franchise, and it really brought some well thought out improvements to the series. For one, a lifesaver at the time of its release, Mega Man 2 has a password system that reveals a password at the end of each level that you can copy down, quit the game, and when you turn it back on, you can insert the code to start back where you left off. Obviously with the collection's save states, this is no longer relevant or necessary, but it was a godsend at the time. Mega Man 2 also introduced Energy Tanks that could refill Mega Man's health when selected from the pause menu, great for giving Mega some extra health in particular tough boss battles or stages. 

Meanwhile, Mega Man 3 is probably my actual favorite of the games in this collection. Two of the reasons for this are the introductions of Mega Man's slide maneuver and the character that was brought into this game, Rush, the Blue Bomber's canine companion. The slide meant Mega Man could cover more distance at a faster clip, also allowing him to evade enemy attacks more easily, and Rush was ultra helpful because Mega Man could collect different adapters to use with him. The Rush Coil could Mega Man extra height to reach high places, whereas the Rush Jet could bring Mega Man across long stretches of level by way of the air. Also, Mega Man 3 was a lengthier game that I feel gets a right mixture of both quantity and quality.

Mega Man 4 gave the Blue Bomber a charge shot in addition to his slide, performed by holding down the shot button and then letting go when the shot is fully charged. The game was made with this new mechanic in mind, making for a re-balanced experience that really shines. Although nothing else major was added to the game, Mega Man 4 still shines as a bright title in this collection that was more about evolution rather than revolution.

Mega Man 5 started to show that the series was merely going through the motions. While the quality of 5 is still high, the gameplay pretty much was standard quo, save for interesting level gimmicks such as the changing gravity as seen in Gravity Man's stage, where Mega Man and enemies would shift from walking on the floor to moving along on the ceiling, and Wave Man's stage, where Mega Man could ride a hover cycle across the ocean waves. Some replay value was also added, featuring eight letters, one found in each level, that spelled out MEGAMANV, and would unlock a supportive bird helper character named Beat. 

Finally, as you'd expect, Mega Man 6 is the most graphically impressive game in the collection. Instead of using Rush as a means to ride, Mega Man in 6 would actually fuse with Rush with a pair of "adaptors", one providing flight and one providing power. Four of the Robot Master levels featured a second entrance to the boss, and getting to this and beating the boss gave a circuit board to the player. When all four were collected, once again, bird buddy Beat  becomes available to help out Mega Man in the game. 

The Nintendo Switch version of Mega Man Legacy Collection comes fully stocked and supplied with all of the main features from the original releases. There are art galleries packed with rarely or never-before-seen concept art, advertisements, and box arts for Japan, North America, and Europe, character and enemy databases that reveal enemy and Robot Master weaknesses, and a music player to listen to all of the marvelous melodies and chiptune delights from Mega Man 1-6. The actual games can be played in full screen or surrounded by borders of character artwork, and you can even change the screen filter to get the genuine look and feel of playing on an old school CRT TV. 

The Museum has all sorts of goodies inside: promotional art, a music player, and an enemy database.
Mega Man Legacy Collection on the Nintendo Switch also comes with an optional exclusive feature, the ability to hold the L button to rewind gameplay. This is perfect for times where you misjudge a jump, collide into spikes, or fall into a bottomless pit, allowing you to rewind time and get to a point prior to that unfortunate occurrence. Of course, save states are still present and accounted for. These combined with the rewind feature make for a collection of Mega Man games that all skill levels can complete and enjoy. If you don't wish to use these, you don't have to. It's just a nice option to have. 

In addition to the six games in the collection, there are also the challenges that were added to the previous versions, taking players through remixed levels and things like boss rushes. As you complete challenges, more unlock for you to flex your Mega Man skills with. Unlike the main games, challenges do not allow you the ability to rewind or use save states. Gotta keep things fair, after all. Furthermore, like the Nintendo 3DS version of Mega Man Legacy Collection, the Switch edition also has amiibo capabilities to use the Mega Man amiibo to unlock exclusive challenges. However, seeing as the actual amiibo is a bit tricky to find nowadays, most might not be able to access this particular bit of content. 

Mega Man Legacy Collection on the Nintendo Switch provides a pleasant compendium of Mega Man's NES action-platforming adventures that come with enough features to make them worth playing through all over again. Heck, just the games themselves make themselves worth playing through all over again. Added features like the ability to rewind during gameplay makes this the most accessible version of the collection for players, and it's just a quick and lovely convenience for those particularly troublesome sections of the six games. Whether you're a longtime fan of the Blue Bomber or just wanting to get into the series, Mega Man Legacy Collection is a good a collection as any to jump into and experience Mega Mania either for the first time or all over again.

[SPC Says: B+]

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