Back to Basics, Blue.
Capcom’s Mega Man Legacy Collection is the kind of bundle suited for the Library of Congress. Like when a record label makes "The Essential Johnny Cash" or when a classic film gets The Criterion treatment. (So did Armageddon, but I digress.)
Great effort has been made to present six Mega Man games in their original format (4:3, with a “TV” mode that gives them a slightly fuzzy 480i look), and there are a ton of extras. Extras that celebrate how special this series about a blue robot was back in the day. Each game does break its origins a tad by allowing the player to save their progress with a single use, but this is a welcome addition.
Arguments can be made that this "legacy collection" should have covered the series up to Mega Man X, but at least the first six represent the NES era, which is fine by me. Booting up the first game in the series took my back to the late '80s. I forgot how this 2D scroller was, at the time, the antithesis of Mario Bros. or even further back, Defender. Those games gave players a lot of leeway with loose-feeling controls. The mighty blue robot, however, was more gravity-impaired; he was always just about to land back on the ground.
It would be easy to mistake this as old-school “hard” or just plain old clunky. I think neither are true. This series was always more about assessing a section of a level and trying over and over again to succeed. I still remember how triumphant I felt finally defeating that goopy boss known as “Yellow Devil” in the first game as I navigated by hopping over its parts. While Mega Man 2 through 5 are solid, 6 is quite good too and makes for a fun capper.
Or it would be if it weren’t for this collection’s real hook: the fifty challenges that can be played in a standalone mode. You get fifteen to thirty seconds of various moments from the series that can test your mettle. It’s sorta like the GameBoy’s Warioware, albeit with more time. That potato-chip quality makes it hard to stop playing, which is the staple of any good retro game.
Then there are the cool extras/options: a music player feature that let’s you play all the music tracks from all six games, a gallery which displays characters and concept artwork, control tweaks that affect all six games, various display options, and last but not least, a cool database menu where you can dive right in and fight any boss with any weapon from the games like the out of this world Gemini Laser.
Could things be improved? Sort of. As far as the aforementioned content, no. But the biggest problem I had was the lack of synergy. Sure, it’s fun to listen to the music tracks for a few minutes on my Xbox One, but why not include a redeem code so I can listen on my iPhone? And why not be able to peruse the artwork on a tablet? More over, there’s a fun leaderboard so that you can compare your stats to friends, but why not link that to Facebook or other social medias? It can feel like I’m asking for the moon here, but I don’t think I am. I think the future of preserving titles should be easily accessed on other devices too.
Regardless, if you’re a fan of the blue Astro Boy-like bot, or would simply love to check out great old-school 8-bit era games that weren’t made by Nintendo, look no further. At $14.99 this collection is a steal.