Two years ago when the original Mega Man Legacy Collection was announced, I was excited for it but also a bit skeptical. As a huge fan of the classic series, I have just about every release of the first six games, physical and digital. What was Capcom going to do to draw in fans of the series? How about throw in a bunch of challenge stages that mashed the games together and a museum mode to check out various pieces of artwork and music from the games. The challenges were the big draw for me as it was fun going through the later challenges and jumping from game to game, but one thing always bothered me when it came out: why wasn’t the other games included, specifically Mega Man 7 through 10 and Rockman & Forte? I’ll get into the reason I’ve heard in a bit, but needless to say that four of those five games are now available once again in Mega Man Legacy Collection 2.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 brings together Mega Man 7 through 10 in one collection and, like the original collection, brings forth new challenges, a museum of various artwork for each game, the ability to practice fights against each robot master from each game, and a music box option to listen to the soundtracks from each game. Unlike the original collection which consisted of all six NES games, these four games cover a few different systems with Mega Man 7 originally coming out on the Super NES, Mega Man 8 being released for the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation (more on that in a bit), and Mega Man 9 and 10 coming out for the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 4. The games themselves play like their original counterparts for the most part (again, I’ll get back to that) complete in all of their 8, 16, or 32-bit glory.
If you’ve never played a Mega Man game before, the premise is pretty simple. In each game Mega Man has to take on eight robot masters usually created by Dr. Wily. Defeating a robot master will let you use their weapon and each robot master is weak to a particular weapon or two. After defeating all of the robot masters you make your way towards Dr. Wily’s castle to confront the evil scientist once and for all…until the next game anyway. What’s nice is that there are a couple of features in Legacy Collection 2 for newer players such as an added armor mode which lets you take less damage from attacks, as well as a checkpoint save system which is similar to save states, but you can only use them at various checkpoints through each game. By default the checkpoint save system is turned on so after passing a checkpoint, you can go into the menu by hitting the Left Trigger/L2 and loading the last checkpoint. Pretty handy, especially if you need to step away for a bit and don’t want to replay part of a difficult stage.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 includes pretty much all of the bonus content from the original. This includes a challenge mode, a museum where you can check out various artwork and even practice against any of the robot masters from the four games, and a music box where you can listen to any music track from the games. I’m not going to get into specific reviews for each game as that would take a while, so I’m going to focus on the other aspects of Legacy Collection 2. One thing I was curious about was how the game would deal with the DLC for Mega Man 9 and 10. The DLC for these two games included playing as Proto Man and Bass, harder difficulties, and extra stages. The DLC is in Legacy Collection 2, but not at the start; you have to actually complete the respective game first. I’m actually okay with that for the most part. However, that also means that you can’t do the extra stages until you’ve beaten the game such as the Special Stage in Mega Man 9 or the Mega Man Killers in Mega Man 10. Sadly this also includes the Endless Modes where you try to see how many screens you can clear before dying.
There are a couple of other minor nitpicks such as using the PlayStation version of Mega Man 8 and not the Saturn version, and the omission of Rockman & Forte. For the former, the Saturn version had a bit more content with mini-boss fights against Cut Man and Wood Man, as well as a different song for Tengu Man’s stage. I’m surprised the PlayStation version was used since the Saturn version had a bit more content. As for Rockman & Forte, that was originally released on the Super Famicom after Mega Man 8 and uses a lot of the same assets in a 16-bit format. While reproduction carts are out there, the only official US release was in 2003 on the Game Boy Advance, and while it was nice we got an official port, the GBA’s smaller screen size made it a lot more difficult than its Super Famicom counterpart. Even still, since there is an English port of the game, why not include a translated version of the Super Famicom version here?
When the original Mega Man Legacy Collection was released, the things that hooked me were the challenges. There were fifty-four challenges that started off rather simple with some stage mashups from the original Mega Man, but as you completed challenges fast enough to earn medals you’d open up more challenges that would eventually involve stage mashups from all six games intertwined. You could even upload your best times to the online leaderboard to see how you compared against other players. The final challenges put your skills to the ultimate test as you had to marathon every robot master fight from the first six games, with one of those challenges having to be done “buster only”. There was even a challenge where you took on the various Dr. Wily battles. The challenges do make a return in Legacy Collection 2, but sadly aren’t quite nearly as interesting.
Unlike the original game which listed all fifty-four challenges together, here they're game-specific and you have to choose the individual game to get to their challenges. What’s more is that each of the four games has basically the same set of challenges: two that are robot master stage mashups, time attacks for the fortress bosses, and a few boss rushes, a couple of which are “buster only”. Mega Man 9 and 10 retain their original challenges such as Mr. Perfect and the Quick Draw challenges that are achieved in-game, but also have Legacy Collection 2 specific challenges that mimic the other two games but also include them for Proto Man and Bass. Compared to the previous game there’s not a lot of variety…and that leads me to my biggest complaint about the challenges.
When the original Mega Man Legacy Collection came out fans were wondering why 7-10 weren’t included. The answer I remember hearing was that it would be difficult implementing the challenges since you’d have to change between the various 8, 16, and 32-bit styles. It kind of made sense with how they did the transitions between segments: the screen goes blank except for Mega Man, he’d move into the starting spot for the next segment, then the next segment would appear and begin. However, when you hit a transition in Legacy Collection 2 the screen fills with blue hexagons that cover everything, including Mega Man, then pull back to reveal the next segment. That shows they could have done the same thing with the original game and included 7-10. Furthermore, they could have done that here as well and done some awesome mashups of each of the four games, but instead kept the challenges game specific which is actually pretty disappointing.
When it comes down to it, as much as I love Mega Man and enjoy the four games in Legacy Collection 2, the overall presentation just feels a bit lackluster compared to the original. The games themselves play like they did when they were first released and can be pretty challenging (I still loath Wily Capsule 7 to this day), and I do like the museum and music box entries. However, the presentation of the challenges just feels kind of uninspired compared to how awesome they were in the original. For twenty dollars it’s still a great way to play these four games, and the challenges are still fun to play through, but it’s just not quite as good as the original.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.