The Mega Man games are probably one of the most well-remembered and beloved of the games that came out for the old NES. In every game, Mega Man would fight against robots that were causing chaos, gain their unique weapons, and save the world from the evil plans of the villainous Dr. Wily. On the downside, so much of the gameplay is identical between the games that it's led to the series being paraded around as an example of mission pack sequels
Things got a little weird later on as various spin off series continued the story through different timelines and adventures. This led to the original series -- the series featured in this collection -- as the Mega Man Classic series. Although the Classic series did continue on to reach at least ten games, only the first six are included here. The reason for this is two fold: firstly, after the sixth game, the series started jumping from console
. This would mean that the newer games would encounter different technological and licensing issues than the originals, which would make it harder for Capcom to bring them over to the computer. The other reason is that the newer games also faced a mixed reception from players -- for example, while Mega Man 8 is near universally hated (even by fans of the Classic series), 9 and 10 seem to have recaptured both the franchise's original spirit and its devoted audience.
But for those of us that grew up with the Blue Bomber, this is the first time we've been able to legally play these games on the computer, and it's definitely something to be grateful about. As for the newer generations of gamers, this is a great way to experience what came before and perhaps find a new respect for where games are today.
The best of the series
The Mega Man Classic series changed after it left the NES, and judging by the amount of people mocking 7 and 8, I'd say the consensus is that it didn't change for the better. Thus, you get the best of the series in this collection. Of the included games, Mega Man 2 is often the one fans love the most, as it solidified the formula for the rest of the series without being too gimmicky.
These were the hot games for the NES for very good reason. They are a lot of fun to play, and each game changed the formula slightly. Every player has their own favorite path to take through the stages, and part of the fun is figuring out how to best each Robot Master.
Passwords still work
Some NES games could save
a game in progress using a battery backup system. This worked much like how you save in today's games, but the early Mega Man games never had this feature. Instead, they used a password system where you place colored dots on a grid. These passwords can be easily recorded by simply taking a screenshot, so there's no need to draw the grid yourself.
Each of the six games comes with a guide to every enemy and a gallery of concept artwork. There is also a music player, which allows you to listen to your favorite songs from the game. Unfortunately, it also requires you to be running Mega Man Legacy Collection, so it's not good for just general listening.
There is also the option of playing the Japanese versions of each of the six games, though the differences are generally minor.
Steam community features
For veterans of the series, there's a collection of challenges to complete. Most of these involve rushing through parts of the various stages or attempting to beat a specific boss
within a time limit. These are a good way to practice the game or a boss
you're having trouble beating, but they really aren't that impressive.
Emulated, not remastered
This is the first time Mega Man has been available on Steam, and his debut comes with a handful of achievements
and Steam trading cards
. On the downside, the achievements
are generally for earning a number of medals in the challenge mode or clearing the games, so while present, they aren't terribly special.
This is a bit of a deal breaker for some. The Mega Man Legacy Collection is basically just a menu and a virtual NES that can play the original games. This means that the NES' hardware limitations are enforced, and this isn't received well by the younger crowd. Also, the ability to play NES games on the computer like this isn't anything terribly new -- the catch is that it's normally illegal to do so, and unfortunately a lot of people simply don't care. So, while this collection allows you to legally play the old games, it doesn't offer pirates anything special.
Old games were HARD
Bugs are a bit of a pain
Most games that come out today are well balanced or are tilted in favor of the player. Back on the NES, games were often brutally difficult, which led to the popularity of the phrase Nintendo Hard
. The Mega Man series wasn't an exception, so don't expect these games to pull any punches. You will need to have a decent level of skill to beat them. That said, they did get easier as the series progressed, presumably because Capcom was starting to really hit their stride as a game developer during the early 1990s.
Glitches and lag in the games
When this collection was first released on Steam, it suffered from a lot of severe bugs
. Fortunately, several patches
have fixed most of them, and it seems to run reliably now. The worst offender was a "black screen of death" bug
, where you'd start the game only to find that there was nothing displayed on screen. The audio would play correctly and you could make selections using the menus, but there was just a black screen. Restarting the game multiple times usually fixed it temporarily, which was quite annoying.
In a way, this was sort of a funny nod to the glitchy
protection chip used on the original NES. You see, this chip often caused games to load improperly or not load at all. Thus, the bugs
present in Mega Man Legacy Collection accidentally gave everyone a more "authentic" NES gaming experience. All that's missing is blowing on the cartridges between attempts.
Many users are reporting glitched graphics and sudden lag
issues when they're playing the games themselves. I can confirm this, but I'd like to point something out. These issues also appeared when you played the games on the NES. In other words, this is an unfortunate side effect of being authentic; you get to experience the games, warts and all. The bugs encountered outside
of the games are another story entirely.
Robot on robot violence
Humans cannot be harmed
The Mega Man series has always featured robots fighting each other -- it's sort of the entire plot of the games. When these robots are destroyed, they either explode in a small burst or fly into a series of bright flashes. There aren't any parts left behind, save for powerups
that might get dropped. The net result is that the violence is very mild and can be easily tolerated.
When Mega Man fights a human, be it Dr. Wily or Dr. Cossack, he fights them in a large vehicle of some sort. The fight ends when the vehicle is totaled, not when the human is killed. In fact, none of the humans in the series is ever injured at all. Later games in the series make it clear that, while these robots are rebelling and causing a lot of destruction, they were programmed to follow the Three Laws of Robotics
, making them unable to harm humans.