For four decades, the Mega Man series has been a standard bearer for side-scrolling adventure games and thanks to a willingness to adapt through console generations, has always been popular among hardcore gamers. And while the first six games will always be looked at fondly by gaming historians, Capcom’s Mega Man Legacy Collection on the 3DS just doesn’t have the same appeal.
A lack of presentation polish, issues with the control and a paltry list of extra modes make it a compilation that only hardcore fans will truly appreciate. For all the kiddies, pre-teens and gamers that missed the eight-bit generation, this isn’t the same fast-paced, sexy experience. This isn’t the same Mega Man from Smash Bros. the past few years or even the one that rocked 3D almost 20 years ago on the PlayStation One. This is essentially the handful plus of games that forged MM’s legacy- one forged on great music and unbridled difficulty.
Make no mistake, these games are as good as they’ve ever been, they’re just not optimized for the mobile 3DS console. For starters, the game’s aren’t formatted for the 3DS screen. While you can play with a cool background, which will change depending on the game you’re playing, it’s ridiculous that something so necessary to enjoy the aesthetics of these games has been ignored completely.
With the current state of game emulation today allowing gamers to find any of these games on the net and able to be played in a better visual and audio environment, why should any gamer want to experience it on the 3DS? This is the point here- Capcom had to give old and new fans alike a reason to play this and it doesn’t. In the end, it feels as if Capcom barely tried to make this collection special. Because of that, there’s only a small populace of gamers that will want to spend more than a few hours with it.
Luckily, there are a few places where Mega Man Legacy Collection gives gamers more than most weak ports or remasters. Simply put, being able to play through the challenge mode is a fantastic mode for anyone that loves the series. Being able to plow through these levels and complete objectives to the best way to test just how good you think you are in Mega Man. It’s also a one-of-a-kind reality check for anyone who thinks that old-school games were a joke. Tough is not the word for the boss battles here- a reminder of the day where you’d think for hours of the best ways to take enemies down. At times, you’ll find yourself frustrated enough to kick whatever inanimate and animate objects are near (not the game to play with a mushy animal on your lap). Regardless, the moment when you take the baddie down, well that’s just as sweet as it was when you were in elementary school. For that reason, this is a game dedicated MM aficionados will enjoy if they stepped away from these classics for a few years and want some nostalgia.
The additional music mode also adds some playability for the simple fact that the tunes have held up wonderfully and are a joy for anyone who loves the series. There’s a reason why the music from these games has been covered by punk bands for decades. Revisiting them here is a great reminder of that.
Sadly, however, there’s not enough innovation to ensure that Mega Man Legacy Collection entrances new gamers the same way it did all the 30-somethings out there that still love the series. The fact that so little has been done to enhance the experience for those hardcore fans is also a reason to be distraught. Again, while the game’s still hold up well and play solid, it’s almost an experience that belongs in the attic with all the other dusty NES games you don’t play anymore.
Old-School: Every game in this collection is tough. If you like to run through levels, with no precision and poise, you can- and will die dozens of times.
Great Tunes: The Mega Man series has always had solid music, but those ’80s midi-files are just as catchy as they were almost 30 years ago.
Challenge Mode: It’s easily the coolest part of this game and one of the best addition to a retro collection in years. Immensely difficult, but allowing you to harness all of Mega Man’s acquired abilities, it’s an awesome place to test your MM mettle.
Difficult: They don’t make platformers this difficult anymore and for good reason. Every game in the Mega Man Legacy Collection requires you to think and memorize the enemy’s pattern. Most younger gamers today don’t have that ability.
Uneven Presentation: The lack of full-screen support is disheartening to say the very least. On the original 3DS, it’s not a fun game to look at and on an XL, it’s not much better.
Sloppy Controls: This game was not meant to be played with an analog pad and the placing of the D-Pad on the 3DS makes it uncomfortable to use. As a result, hitting those already tough jumps is sometimes a nuisance.
Although the Mega Man series has spanned four decades, the earliest adventures are far from timeless. With unforgiving difficulty, it’s ultimately an experience that only hardcore fans will enjoy. Add in Capcom’s unwillingness to make this collection best-suited for the 3DS and you have a half-dozen games mushed together on one cart with no redeemable qualities aside from the Challenge Mode and Music Player. While the ability to switch between the Japanese and American versions is neat, there’s just not enough extras to make this something that stands out from the myriad of other retro collections available.
A copy of this game was provided by Capcom to Examiner for review purposes.