Mega Man X Legacy Collection – Timeless Gameplay, 16-bit Graphics
PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4
Rejoice fans of Mega Man for it is a wonderful time. If you were one of the ones disappointed that the Super Nintendo Mini did not include one mention of the Mega Man X series then this is the collection for you. For the first time ever you can own every single game in the Mega Man X series on the platform of your choice, allowing you to relive the glory days of taking down maverick Reploids to make the world a safer place for all.
First and foremost, the Legacy Collection is not a remaster of the Mega Man X games. These games are presented just how you may remember them from their original release, with all of the flaws they originally had included. The great bonus is that we have games from three different console generations consolidated into the Legacy Collection. The emulation of the games run smoothly, for the most part, however, there were some frame rate drops when there was a lot happening on screen. This, however, is most likely due to the games themselves and the limitations in how the games were originally built. Because all of these games have been around for a while I am not going to go into detail over what they are like, they are just a google search away if you want to know. The biggest thing I will mention about the games is the opportunity to play them in their original Japanese content. It does not change anything else about the games but it is a nice touch showing the roots of the Mega Man series.
The graphics and gameplay are identical to their original releases with some minor exceptions, such as the ability to smooth the graphics and change the aspect ratio the games are displayed in. These can easily be changed at any time and if you choose to play with the original aspect ratio on there are even some nice artwork borders around the game screen, rather than just a black box. A save feature has been incorporated into the earlier games so you don’t have to worry about the writing down the 12 digit code the game gives you after the completion of every level, although if you want to, the codes do work.
The biggest change the Legacy Collection brings to all 8 of the Mega Man X games is the inclusion of an easy mode called Rookie Hunter. Given just how brutal the original Mega Man X games were it is a welcome inclusion, in fact without it I am sure that I would have launched a controller into my TV and rage quit…..multiple times. While the Rookie Hunter mode will make it easier to progress through the levels of the game, you will still find the boss fights challenging encounters that will take skill and sometimes a bit of luck to overcome if you don’t have the right weapons already unlocked.
While all of the games are represented in their original form, each part of the collection includes an all-new challenge mode in which to test your skills. The bosses are drawn from all of the games in the collection, and the combined assaults can make it a major test to learn their patterns and how best to overcome them. What I found cool is the way they include the bosses in their original formats from the games. The first level combines Chill Penguin from X and Frost Walrus from X4 and the graphical difference between the two just goes to highlight the graphical progressions that were made over the course of the games. The thematic trend continues as you play through the gauntlet of boss battles, with similar pairings thrown against X as you progress through the levels. You also gain the armour abilities of later games to help give you a fighting chance, such as the dash jump and hover, that will allow you to explore new techniques to help you defeat these foes.
Generally speaking, platform games don’t lend themselves to replayability, with the levels always playing out the same way every time you play them. To counter this, the Legacy Collection has created a number of in-game achievements that you can chase down if you so desire. Some of them are the stock standard in video games, such as beating certain enemies or getting your first upgrade. Others require skill, patience and a certain amount of finger dexterity to earn. Those looking to earn them all will have a long road ahead of them, but that is what makes it most rewarding.
To complete the collections, both parts are packed with extras for you to peruse. The gallery for each game contains various artwork, concept sketches, and information for the major characters in their respective games, along with an assortment of English and Japanese trailers for the games in the collection. Throw in the anime movie “Day of Sigma”, which provides a prelude to, and sets up the events that take place in Mega Man X.
Overall the Mega Man Legacy Collection is a solid set of games. While the first part of the collection is undoubtedly the strongest, X5 was originally planned to be the end of the series and as such, is the conclusion of the narrative arch that was constructed during the first five games. As a result, X6 has some issues, though it isn’t the worst game of the series. For anyone that is a fan of the Mega Man X series I recommend the full experience that is the entire collection, but if you only want to experience the first four ‘stronger’ games, just buying Part 1 is an entirely plausible option.