Review: Mega Man X Legacy Collection Volume 1
At a Glance
|ESRB Rating:||T - Teenagers|
|My Rating:||Ages 10 and up|
|Review Published On:||January 20th, 2021|
X1 - X3 were SNES games, and saved* their data using a password system. In this collection, you can either use a password, or save* one game at a time using the prompt on the password screen.
While this series continues the Mega Man tradition of robots fighting each other, the advanced robots (called "Reploids") seen in this part of the franchise are considered to be sentient, making their deactivations become executions.
The key differences between these two franchises lies in what their main characters are. The Mega Man Classic series had been about an evil scientist attempting to conquer the world using stolen and reprogrammed robots. No matter how intelligent they were, the Robot Masters and Mega Man himself were just fancy machines that acted like humans. By contrast, the Mega Man X series is about open warfare between factions of sentient* robots known as "Reploids".
"Reploid" is short for "Replicant Android", ie, a robot built using another robot as a template. The original Reploid was "X", the last robot created by Dr. Light. X was different that anything else Dr. Light designed, as he was the first robot in history that was self-aware and capable of independent thought. This means that X, and all other Reploids designed after him, are literally artificial people with their own hopes, dreams, and lives.
Unfortunately, having free will sometimes means that the Reploids will decide to act against their human creators. These dissidents, known as "Mavericks", began an open rebellion. This forced the human and Reploid communities to respond by creating an army, known as the Maverick Hunters, to police the Reploid communities and shut down any Mavericks before they do too much harm. And as much as he wishes to live a peaceful life, X finds himself caught up in this war, becoming a famous Maverick Hunter. From there we have more or less the traditional Mega Man style formula. As X, you'll fight eight Mavericks in any order you choose, acquire their various powers, and then defeat the game's antagonist. The X series also introduced new concepts, such as the refillable energy tanks, hidden "heart canisters" that increase X's maximum health, and the ability to equip new armors to enhance X's abilities.
Another new feature is presence of dialogues and cutscenes. X isn't fighting his battles alone, and he'll talk with different characters as the situation arises. In particular, a red Reploid named Zero quickly became a breakout character, and this series is as about him as it is about X.
All in all, there were eight games in the main Mega Man X series. With these rereleases, Capcom has bundled* them into two collections of four games each. This split strikes me as rather arbitrary, as I was under the impression that X5 was supposed to be the series finale with X6-X8 being unplanned sequels. As it stands, you'll probably want to purchase both volumes if you want the entire story.
In my opinion, you'll mostly want this first volume for X1 and X4. Mega Man X1 was one of the most famous SNES games of all time, and X4 simply continues the story with both X and Zero as playable characters. X2 and X3 experimented with ideas that wouldn't reappear again, effectively making them quite skippable. You're not going to miss part of the storyline if you ignore them either, which isn't exactly a vote in their favor.
Points of Interest
X4 also had access to features that were unique to the PlayStation. This includes the ability to utilize a player's memory card for storing saved* games, and the ability to play short anime-inspired animations as elaborate cutscenes*.
X4 is also unique in that it's the only game in this collection that allows the player to play as either X or Zero, with slight differences in the storyline depending on their choice.
There's also the Mega Man X Challenge. This features a new, if simplistic, storyline where you'll gear up with the equipment of your choice and fight two of the game's bosses* at the same time.
Also, as mentioned above, many of these achievements* cannot be earned using the Rookie Hunter Mode feature. You'll have to knuckle down and beat the games the old fashioned way if you want to earn every achievement* on offer.
Concerns and Issues
That said, humans are also explicitly killed during some of the battles in the games; the most dramatic example happens early on in X4. Sky Lagoon, a floating city, is sent careening into the ground, destroying both the city and whatever was on the surface below it. No bodies are seen, but X and Zero remark about the carnage and unnecessary loss of life.
Of course, it's not the blood that made these cutscenes* infamous among the gaming community. Like Mega Man 8, this was one of the first attempts at creating an English dub for a Mega Man game, and the results leave a lot to be desired. Serious scenes shouldn't provoke laughter, but here we are.
Lastly, the opening of X4 has been censored in most rereleases, including this one. In the original releases, characters were shown using a "Bellamy salute", which unfortunately looks a lot like the type of salute the Nazis infamously used. These gestures aren't actually related; in fact, the Bellamy salute was actually how most Americans saluted their flag prior to World War II.
Somehow, Sigma's mind has become a corruptive force known as the Sigma Virus. When infected, Reploids become agents of Sigma's malignant will, this turns them into Mavericks. Later games in the series are more explicit about this, including showing us Reploids succumbing to the effects of the virus as we talk to them.
This begs the question: are Mavericks really choosing to be evil, or is this some sort of a hate-plague that's destroying the Mega Man series' future? In other words, are the Maverick Hunters performing executions or mercy kills?