Another day, another Capcom remaster/port/collection is released on current gen consoles, only this one is something I've been looking forward to for a while...
The first Legacy Collection gathered the first 6 Mega Man games (the NES games) and especially when patched it was a darn decent collection. They looked good, didn't seem to have any lag in controls and had an awesome fun new challenge mode which kept me glued to the games for a long while.
The second Legacy Collection gathers Mega Man 7, 8, 9 and 10. A motley crew of releases that span the Snes (MM7), Playstation (MM8) and Wii/PS3/X360 (MM9&10). My number one concern was emulation/port quality especially for 7 and 8 and thankfully these worries were unfounded. This collection seems to be of fairly high quality. Games have 3 screen modes - original/full/stretch. Original I guess is pixel perfect versions of the games, but it only takes up a fraction of my TV screen... full has the games run in a 4;3 looking ratio, which is just what I was looking for - graphics look fine and not stretched at all. And stretch I assume gives you a full 16:9 image but the graphics will be stretched. No thanks!
Also included is a "TV Filter" which basically gives you a CRT/Scanlines filter and it looks excellent. Its a fairly subtle effect that makes the graphics look perfect in my opinion.
The graphics and lack of lag in controls are especially pleasant in 9 and 10. Back on their original releases the games on PS3/360 had this awful blur filter and notable control lag. The fact that this collection has neither of those issues automatically makes this a way better version (worth noting the Wii did not suffer these issues, especially if you played them on a CRT with RGB cables, they looked perfect).
So the games themselves...
This one I'm starting to appreciate more. Its the only mainline numbered release for the Snes. Graphically it has some really nice, large sprites but the flow of the game feels slower than the NES games. Enemies also feel stronger compared to NES games which I guess also makes it feel slightly slower. Music is a mixed bag, with some tracks being fairly awful, while some (Shade Man, Bass, wily Fortresses) are among the best in the entire series. Speaking of Bass, this introduces your rival character, who is host to some pretty awesome boss fights. The game itself also has tons of secrets - weapons can be used in stages to activate hidden areas (of which there are quite a few, including a pretty awesome secret boss fight). Unfortunately, for whatever reason Rockman & Forte was not included in this collection, that game was basically Mega Man 8.5 and was released late in the day for the Snes (1998) and used sprites from MM8 and was pretty darn hard!
The only main numbered classic game for the Playstation, and its the one I have the most mixed feeling about. Like 7 it feels slower compared to the other classic games, its levels are very hit and miss for me (too many gimmicks and stuff that isn't platforming, you have a shoot em up section, mazes and slightly more puzzle based levels, just stuff I don't really like in Mega Man games).
The graphics are really nice though, music is ace for the most part and the boss battles are among the series best.
Unfortunately its based on the Playstation version and not the Saturn (probably because its easier to emulate) so no Cut Man/Wood Man fights for this collection Also it doesn't feature the extra graphical touches that the Saturn port had. But it does let you change the region to use Japanese voices which is an enormous plus!
I loved this game on release. It goes back to MM2 design - so no slide, charge shot. It also reverts back to the NES look which means it looks and plays like a NES game - namely much, much faster than 7 and 8 and boy does it feel good. Bosses are all excellent, soundtrack is excellent, level design is excellent (seeing a trend?) and the way the game is done is that you never feel as if you miss the slide move. Its pretty much the best game in the series, it was a surprisingly good move on Capcoms part to go back to what made the classic series great.
Much like 9, it follows the same template and basically looks like an NES game. Only this one is more detailed compared to 9 (in terms of backgrounds, music and even boss fights). It doesn't feel quite as awesome, maybe because it doesn't have the novelty of it being the first MM game released in quite a while but its a solid entry and definitely one of my favourites. They also added difficulty options (easy mode that redesigns levels in a genuine attempt to make things more accessible) and playable Proto Man right from the get go (he's DLC in 9). There is also a pretty cool challenge mode and other DLC (more on that in a mo).
It follows the same idea as the first collection - run through parts of stages while trying to beat target times. The only difference being the challenges separate each game out, and the portions of stages are longer. It just feels less fun than the first game, especially as between the four games they should have had enough decent content to chop together quite a few challenges. Most of the challenges in this are just (mini) boss fights and it seems much easier. Still fun, but just not as good as I was hoping.
So the other great thing about this collection is that it includes the DLC from 9 and 10. 9 had Proto Man as a playable character, Hard and Super Hard modes, a brand new stage and boss fight and "endless" mode. 10 ups things and gives you Bass as a playable character, 3 brand new stages based on the Gameboy games where you fight against Punk, Quint and Enker (the special GB bosses) and endless mode makes a return.
Hard and Super hard modes in 9 are ok, it only ups the difficulties of the stages and not the bosses, so its a bit uneven difficulty wise.
Endless mode is a fantastic, addictive mode where you have to survive as many screens as possible. And Proto Man is a well designed character that has you playing the game in a different way to account for his strengths and weaknesses. The only issue with the new stage is its length - its really, really long and it kinda gets a bit boring after a while to be honest. Excellent boss fight though.
10's DLC is better in that Bass is a great character (has everything bar his double jump far as I can tell), Endless mode retains the same idea, and is just as fun as ever and the DLC levels are really well done, with some excellent bosses. The stages have music and stage design that is close to the GB games but takes liberties here and there.
So really the only issues with the collection are the menus. They don't look that nice and some of the challenges are hidden away in sub menus. That and the challenge mode not being as good as the firs collections. But those are really my only complaints (bar the missing Saturn content for 8 and ). Also good news is that the game is getting a physical release, so I can finally have physical versions of 9 and 10 in my collection.
MM9 Concrete Man:
MM7 Challenge mode:
MM8 Challenge mode;