Despite being a gamer since always, playing the Legacy Collection was my first foray into the world of Mega Man (Smash Bros aside). The collection packages the first six titles together, giving you a taste of the start and also the latter part of Mega Man’s extensive adventures, making this the perfect way to experience the highly praised platformer.
I began my adventure with Mega Man 1, and for the first hour I found myself dying constantly. Erratic flying robots bombarded me as I jumped across platforms and strategically placed turrets blocked my path, taking me out before I could make any real progress. For someone with many years experience gaming, a nearly thirty year platformer was almost impossible to play. I gave the first title a break and moved on to Mega Man 2 to see if I could fare any better and experienced the same frustrating level of difficulty I’d come across in the first title. It’s then that I realised that I was playing Mega Man all wrong; it’s not a platformer you can dart through, but one you have to think and plan through to achieve success.
Each game lets you take on each level in any order you wish, and each culminates in a boss battle that, when completed gives you that bosses specific power. You can then take these powers forward to the following levels to make taking on enemies easier and ultimately filling up your arsenal with a bunch of cool gear such as area damaging bombs and lightning bolts. Enemies and bosses have weaknesses, so working through levels in a certain order can often yield better results. You also find that some weapons have different effects on the environment and enemies such as healing bosses, so the games require some degree of strategy. One thing any amount of weapons doesn’t prepare you for is the often menacing level design, but whilst sometimes it feels unfair it’s also cleverly thought out. There isn’t much difference between how the titles play bar a few aesthetic improvements later on, but the first three titles are perfect examples of exceptional level design in retro platform greatness. To make things easier a handy external menu can be opened at any time allowing for a quick save for when things get tough.
The collection offers players not only a selection of fantastic platformers but also a bunch of extras sure to please series fans. A museum hosts a bunch of box art from different countries, as well as production and concept art. There’s also a database full of stats for the different enemies and bosses for each of the games, as well as a complete collection of the music used for each title. If all that isn’t your thing you can always have a go at the challenge mode, which offers a ridiculous amount of opportunities to try your hand at anything from speed runs to alternative boss battles. You can also unlock a handful more challenges using the Mega Man Amiibo.
This is a great port, and for the most part it runs smoothly and beautifully without any issues, but the earlier titles do suffer from a little stuttering when a lot goes on. The titles aren’t optimised for the 3DS screen size either and play with a border, and while this helps keep stuff looking crisp it would have been nice to have the option to have a full screen mode.
For newbies to Mega Man the Legacy Collection is a great entry to a fantastic platform series. There’s heaps of gaming to be had, and loads of extras for long time fans of the Mega Man series. It’s difficult and unforgiving, but reaping the rewards at the end of each level is satisfying, making this one retro collection you’ll want to get stuck in to.
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