Review: Quality nostalgia in ‘Mega Man Legacy Collection’

More than 25 years after his debut, Mega Man remains a beloved video game icon. And why not? The Blue …

More than 25 years after his debut, Mega Man remains a beloved video game icon. And why not? The Blue Bomber found ways to remain relevant for years without reinventing the Mega Buster.

While some games just don’t age well, that’s not usually true of the classic NES games of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Case in point: Capcom’s “Mega Man Legacy Collection”, which released in digital only on Aug. 25.

“Legacy Collection” is the definitive old school Mega Man experience. Collected within are the first six games in the series, all of which were released for NES in the U.S. between 1987 and 1994.

The games themselves are exactly the same as they were on the old Nintendo — glitches and bugs included. The decision to preserve these titles exactly makes this more of an interactive museum attraction than a simple collected edition. The museum feeling extends into the addition of an art gallery that reveals everything from promotional art to unused boss designs. It’s a real trip for major fans of the series.

An enemy database provides info on every enemy in every game, including what weapon is most effective against it. From this section, players can jump directly into battles with the Robot Masters from each game. It’s a timesaver for those who just want to have a go at the stage bosses.

A music player mode is included that offers every ditty from all six games in one spot. It’s a neat distraction, but options are limited. I’d have loved the ability to create playlists, or even have my music choices overlay the games I was playing. Would that be less authentic? Sure. But not everyone needs it to be that way.

A few things separate these iterations of the classic games from the original cartridges. For starters, players can save at any time just as they could using emulation software. That absolutely makes these tough games easier. It’s entirely optional, so those who prefer the pure NES experience can rely on the old passwords to bookmark their progress.

Three visual filters offer a little variety to the experience, too. There’s the default setting which shows these games off in solid colors, a setting that mimics the way these games looked on the tube TVs of yore, and a setting that looks as these games would on PC monitors. It makes little difference to the way these 8-bit games perform, but they heighten the feeling of nostalgia inherent to such a collection.

“Legacy Collection” also embraces the trend of remixed classic games with the inclusion of 50 challenges. These remixes allow players to time attack mixes of tough platforming sections of stages and boss battles across various games. There will absolutely be a sect who will compete to shave off milliseconds and one-up someone else, but even for the more relaxed gamer this is a neat mode. It would be even better if an option to create your own remix was available, but that’s not a major complaint whatsoever.

Some may be disappointed to see games Nos. 7-10, or the “Mega Man X” series, neglected in this collection. Sorry, but that’s just not what this bundle is about. Those games were all Super NES or later releases. This one is all about the NES editions, like it or not. Maybe fans will be treated to a “Mega Man X Legacy Collection” someday if this one does well enough.

As it stands, this is a completely worthy way to preserve The Blue Bomber’s early entries and make them accessible to both a new generation of gamers and millennials itching to relive fond childhood gaming memories.

“Mega Man Legacy Collection,” from developer Digital Eclipse Software and publisher Capcom, is out Aug. 25 on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace and PC. Physical copies are scheduled for release in 2016.

Scott Fontana