Having grown up with the NES and SNES, I have fond memories of Capcom’s iconic Mega Man franchise. I can still remember the countless hours spent trying to conquer the challenge of taking down the eight Master Robots of Mega Man 2. As you are probably aware of, though, Capcom hasn’t been in a rush to develop any new titles in the franchise, despite the character’s enduring popularity. And with most of the staff behind the classic entries in the series now long gone, including Keiji Inafune, it appears that it may be a long time before we get a new Blue Bomber adventure.
Despite the lack of new instalments, though, Capcom is more than willing to re-release the classic adventures of Mega Man onto new consoles. While previous compilations brought the series onto other systems, the Digital Eclipse-developed Mega Man Legacy Collection is the first set to grace the Nintendo 3DS. Rather than remaster the original six entries in the franchise for a younger audience, though, this compilation is bringing the complete NES versions to modern consoles, warts and all.
Even if you’re not entirely familiar with all six Mega Man classics, you are probably at least familiar with how each one goes. At the outset of every adventure, the titular android teams up with his creator Dr. Light in order to take down the nefarious Dr. Wily. In order to do this, he’ll need to do battle with a group of rogue Master Robots with powers based around different attributes.
The original release introduced the classics like Cut Man and Ice Man, but later entries would bring fearsome foes such as Pharaoh Man and Napalm Man. Defeating these robots grants the Blue Bomber access to their special attacks, which can then be used to defeat the other bosses. It’s all very simple once you get into it, but the option to choose your own path through each game has always been a highlight.
If you were to judge a compilation based around the quality of each title included, I would say that Mega Man Legacy Collection more than justifies its price. The set comes with three stone-cold classics in the platforming genre, as I consider Mega Man entries 2 – 4 each to be first-rate games. They each feature classic levels and bosses, and the music is aces across all three.
As for the others, they’re all decent, but don’t quite stack up to the rest. The original, while iconic, doesn’t have the charm to make up for its brutal difficulty, and 5 and 6 clearly represent a franchise running out of steam. None of them are bad, though, and a retro compilation with zero duds in it is a rare thing.
The fact that the ports included here are near 1:1 replicas of the original NES releases is something to behold. However, the decision to bring over every single facet of these titles, bugs and all, may not be up everyone’s alley. If you are expecting perfection here, you are going to be a disappointed.
During my time with each game, I experienced not only frequent slow-down, but also got to see some enemies just up and disappear. In a series that often requires perfect reflexes, it can be frustrating dying due to something you have no control over. The problems are especially noticeable in the 3DS version of the set. I noticed a little more stuttering and skipping than I did when I played the console version of the game last year.
Besides including the original classics, Mega Man Legacy Collection also comes packed with a series of bite-sized challenges. Featuring sections pulled from all six titles, these challenges task players with completing either defeating a boss (or bosses) or completing a level run within a given time limit. Challenges include running through several different pieces of levels from Mega Man or battling the Yellow Devil. While these challenges aren’t game-changing, as they are just re-purposed sections of the games you can already play through in full, they do add some replay value to the set.
While I can sit here and lecture you about the quality of each game, you’re probably asking: Hey Eric, why should I buy the Nintendo 3DS version of the collection instead of the console/PC versions? And to answer that, I would fire back with a question of my own: How important is portability to you? Truth be told, the set doesn’t take advantage of the capabilities of the system in any meaningful way. There are no 3D visuals within the games themselves, just some layering on the borders and menus.
New pieces of art and memorabilia have also been added to the museum. Seeing the original NES cartridges is nice, but it’s not enough to make one port better than the other. Amiibo functionality has also been added to the port, although I wasn’t able to experience it. Either using the basic Mega Man Amiibo, or the new gold one included with the collector’s edition, you’ll unlock eleven new remix challenges. Again, a nice addition, but not something that should drive you to select one port over the other.
In fact, I would argue that the 3DS version of Mega Man Legacy Collection is worse than the console/PC version. I already mentioned the slightly worse performance on the platform, but I was also disappointed with the lack of options found in this version. You can still map the controls around, and you can choose to have the border on or not, but it lacks all of the visual filters found in the other versions. And this may just be my own experience, but I found the D-pad/Analog nub on the 3DS to be less intuitive to use to control the Blue Bomber. There were times where he wouldn’t respond to my controls, such as sliding when necessary, that made death a frequent problem.
For either the diehard fan or casual gamer looking to discover the series, Mega Man Legacy Collection is a well-put together set. The six titles included in the collection are enjoyable to play through, and Digital Eclipse has worked hard to ensure that outside of owning a NES, these are the best versions readily (and legally) available.
As for whether or not the 3DS version is worth owning over the others, I can’t say I recommend it. The small additions to museum and challenge mode can’t quite make up for not only the lack of 3D, but also the lack of options in comparison to its console brethren. If you’re really dying to bring the Blue Bomber on the road with you, than sure, go right ahead and grab the 3DS version. If you’re just looking for the best way to play the classics, though, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
This review was based off the Nintendo 3DS version of the title, which we were provided with.
Mega Man Legacy Collection for Nintendo 3DS is still a faithful port of six classic Blue Bomber adventures, but the lack of system-specific features and limited options in comparison to its home console brethren make it hard to recommend over previous releases.