Capcom is bringing Mega Man back in a big way. With the announcement of Mega Man 11 coming in October, Mega Man Fully Charged premiering on Cartoon Network on August 5, a U.S. release of Hitoshi Ariga’s Mega Man X: Mega Mission, and even a brand-new Pachislot machine in Japan, there’s plenty to love about the blue bomber’s resurgence into the gaming world! His older, more mature counterpart kicks all of this off with the release of Mega Man X: Legacy Collection 1+2! Get your weapons ready for some nostalgia!
Title: Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Right off the bat, I would like to say that I won’t be reviewing the eight Mega Man X games that are included in this collection. These games have existed for 20+ years and reviews, guides, and everything else under the sun can be found with just a quick Google search; however, if you want a cliff notes final word about each title (since you may be reading this and be new to the series) then I would assign star ratings to the games as follows:
- Mega Man X: 5 / 5
- Mega Man X2: 4 / 5
- Mega Man X3: 4 / 5
- Mega Man X4: 4 / 5
- Mega Man X5: 3 / 5
- Mega Man X6: 2 / 5
- Mega Man X7: 1 / 5
- Mega Man X8: 3 / 5
Mega Man X7 gets the lowest rating because it was Capcom’s failed attempt at trying to mix 2D and 3D into the same game. The game was pretty bad from start to end but became such a meme that it is worth playing just to experience it for yourself.
With that said, when it comes to collections, the weight of the score is going to be based on the extras that are included with the collection since the games are just that… the games that you’ve known and loved since they were released. If you enjoyed them before, then it’s pretty obvious that you’re going to enjoy them now. Anyone can throw a bunch of games onto a disc and call it a collection but it’s all of the extras that come with it that makes the collection special.
I’m sorry to say that in this regard, Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2 fails to deliver.
The only playable extra content you receive is the X Challenge Mode. It gives you the ability to fight against two mavericks at the same time. There are three difficulty modes, but Hard Mode is locked until you complete the challenge. Hard Mode will unlock regardless if you complete the challenge on Easy or Normal mode. No matter what mode you take, the formula is still the same. You have nine challenges, each broken into three rounds. Each round will have you face off against two different Mavericks. At the beginning of each round, you can preview who you’re fighting just by simply looking at the icons on screen. You are allowed to choose three special weapons from a pool (which always includes weaknesses) to use for that round. You can pick new special weapons for each challenge, meaning you have to complete all three rounds before you can pick them again.
In Easy mode, your life and weapon energy refill after every single fight. In Normal Mode, however, it does not so you need to make your choices a bit more carefully. You also take extra damage in normal mode and with some fights throwing every projectile at you simultaneously, it’s easy to get overrun and not have any energy left for the next battle. In addition to managing your health and resources, you’re also racing against the clock. Failure to beat all three sets of mavericks within the time allotted will result in failure. Dying will also mean that you’ll have to start the current challenge over from the beginning (this is on Normal mode. Easy mode lets you restart the fight you died on).
Hard mode is exactly that: Hard. Bosses here take very little damage, even from their weaknesses while you will take normal to heavy damage based on what attack you are hit with. Strategy and skill will definitely come into play here with special weapons being used to stun a maverick rather than using it for damage. I am unsure if this works in hard mode; however, in the other modes, all bosses are affected in some way or another by special weapons… especially Gravity Well and Dark Hold. It may be useful to pick both of those weapons whenever they are offered as they will stun bosses and leave them open for free hits. With a MUCH larger energy meter than normal, you can also benefit from controlling fights for a longer period of time.
I played through and defeated the X Challenge mode on Legacy Collection 1 and actually had fun doing so to a degree… more on that in a moment. Since I beat the first collection’s challenges, I wanted to check out and see what Legacy Collection 2 had to offer. That’s when I noticed something that left a very sour taste in my mouth. The challenges in Legacy Collection 2 were almost the exact same challenges as Collection 1. In the first set of three Mavericks, round one and round two were exactly the same. Round 3 still contained Wire Sponge but the other maverick was switched out with Web Spider. In the second challenge, if I recall correctly, all three rounds were exactly the same as collection 1. It remained this way for the remainder of the mode with only a few fights being different (such as a Nightmare Zero/Psycho Sigma fight or a Vile MK II/High Max fight).
The fact that it was almost a complete copy and paste is extremely disappointing. Even if it was for the first couple of rounds, that’s still extremely lazy on Capcom’s part. For someone who only buys one collection over the other, it wouldn’t be a big deal but most people are going to buy both and they are going to do the same thing that I did, complete one challenge mode and go right for the other. To give the player that kind of an experience doesn’t exactly help your product. Another gripe is that you end up facing the same mavericks over and over again. I cannot remember how many times I had to face Neon Tiger or Spiral Pegasus because were reused over and over again. There were so many mavericks that weren’t even used! Where’s Boomer Kuwanger, Flame Mammoth, Magna Centipede, or any other maverick that was completely left out? The selection of Mavericks was very thin and very poor and this mode suffered from a lack of variety.
Hell… since bosses were also an option, where was Bospider and Web Spider!?
I don’t understand why they couldn’t mix and match from X1-X3 for Collection 1 and have you play as the 16-bit sprite of Mega Man X and then mix and match from X4-X6 for Collection 2 while playing as the 32-bit sprite. That would have made SO much more sense but instead, you end up fighting all the Mavericks as 32-bit X. This really throws you off as you’re almost as big, if not bigger, than some of the 16-bit mavericks.
Speaking of that 32-bit Mega Man X, he sports a recolored version of the Ultimate Armor seen in Mega Man X4 and X5. The fact that the sprite is an exact copy and paste with a different color scheme also screams laziness on Capcom’s part. Nobody at Capcom couldn’t come up with a special armor set just for this mode? Earlier, I eluded that I had fun with the challenge mode to a certain degree and it’s because the armor actually ends up hindering your gameplay experience.
This is all due to the fact that you get the ability to hover. This shouldn’t seem like a problem except there are some rooms where you can’t scale a wall to the very top (in rooms that have no ceiling). Something prevents you from doing as such so when you think you’re about to grab the wall, you instead hover in place because you’re instinctively pressing the jump button to either climb higher or to perform a dash jump off of the wall. Not only does this catch you off guard, but it also messes up your timing and restricts some of your movements. Not to mention if you’re trying to jump away in a hurry and accidentally hit the jump button twice, you’ll hop up and hover, leaving yourself open to getting hit. I’ve always, personally, hated the hover ability and it is super annoying here and I have no idea why Capcom thought it was a good idea to give it to the player. In fact, unless I’m missing something in a menu somewhere, I didn’t see a way to turn off the armor for challenge mode. I would have rather gone into these challenges armorless with a dash ability than have all of the other armor bonuses.
Another thing that really made the controls feel awkward was that when you did switch to a special weapon, it was mapped to Triangle instead of Square. This means you can still fire your X Buster as normal but since dash is mapped to Circle; dashing, jumping, and firing off special weapons (using default controls that is) just felt extremely awkward. At that point, you might as well just try and buster the bosses down as that control setup really hindered your movement and for someone like me who has big hands, it REALLY hindered my movement.
To add a bit insult to injury, both X Challenge Modes have the same exact intro, same animations, same art, and the same music. They even get the same introductions which have got to be some of the worst introductions I’ve heard. While I applaud Capcom for hiring someone to say the names of the Mavericks before each fight, I also have to criticize you here for picking someone who can only be described as an absolute charisma vacuum. Whoever was hired to read off these names sounds like he just read the names off of a piece of paper with no enthusiasm, emotion, or inflection in his voice. There is also just layer upon layer upon layer of reverb and audio effects that actually made some names indecipherable. Something like this makes you have wonder just what QA was doing when this part of the game got passed by them. Just hearing those introductions was an absolute embarrassment.
Outside of X Challenge, there is no other playable extra content. The other extra content consists of an art gallery, a product catalog, commercials for each game, soundtracks, and The Day of Sigma anime (which is found on both Collections, by the way). Past collections on older series had some unlockable playable content so I don’t understand why Collection 1 couldn’t have a PSP port of Maverick Hunter X and Collection 2 couldn’t have a port of Mega Man X: Command Mission. Those are, quite literally, the only two games from the X series that they left out and it baffles me as to why they weren’t just added in here. Beating an entire collection to unlock a bonus game could have been a great goal and given the player something else to do aside from X Challenge.
Needless to say, the effort Capcom put into this collection felt extremely lazy. It was a blatant copy and paste job between both collections just to fill disk space and while X Challenge did provide some fun gameplay, it just wasn’t enough. The game could have heavily benefitted from extra modes such as a Time Challenge, Boss Gauntlet, Stage Remixes, completely remixed soundtracks that could replace the standard music, maybe even a practice mode where you can challenge any maverick on that collection… a mode like that could have provided entertainment for veteran players and could have been an amazing tool to help ease new players into some of the more challenging fights.
I know I’m being pretty negative here but when you put together a collection of games and want to include extra content, ESPECIALLY after you’ve ignored a franchise for over seven years, one would think that some effort would have been put in to show the community that you’ve shunned for so long that you still care about the franchise. Capcom did not give off any indication that they cared about this collection whatsoever.
“But, collections are about the games included and not really about the extras!”
That’s a fair statement and you would be right. The sole reason as to why someone would buy this collection is because they want to play the Mega Man X series on a current gen console. In that aspect, Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2 delivers and delivers massively. The poor quality of the extra content should not take away the fact that you get some of the greatest games Capcom has ever made all in one nice little package. Each game plays very well and the controls are very responsive and feel natural. In fact, this collection may end up being a speed runner’s dream because all of the load times on the Playstation and Playstation 2 games are drastically reduced and we all know just how much speed runners love saving time… even if it’s just by a single frame.
So, what does Capcom offer you for the meat and potatoes of the collection? Well… they offer a Rookie Hunter mode which makes the games a lot easier for newcomers. I grew up with Mega Man so I turned it on for the purposes of this review and I, honestly, had to back out and turn it off because I felt like I was cheating. I mean, it is a great addition for people who haven’t had the chance to experience Mega Man or for casual gamers who just care about running, jumping, and shooting to relieve a hard day’s worth of stress. For me, however, I have to play the games on the original difficulty just simply because that’s what I’m used to and the games don’t feel the same any other way.
They also offer a few different graphical filters. By default, the HD filter is turned on and my recommendation is to turn that filter off immediately. Play the games with the original filter on because they actually look better with original graphics. I never knew I could play as a blob of over-saturated colors until I tried the HD filter. While it does look somewhat okay in the 16-bit games, it really turns the 32-bit titles into what can be described as “oily”. It blends the pixels too much and just gives a really odd look to the game that I just can’t enjoy. Even during the X Challenge mode, switching to a special weapon just made X’s sprite look like a complete and total mess.
I’m really happy that the option is there to turn it off. Maybe some people out there will enjoy the HD filter but no… it’s not for me and it never will be.
All in all, if you’re here for the Mega Man X experience, then this collection is a must-have. Being able to play all eight X games on current gen consoles will help you bring back the nostalgia that you have loved and missed about the X series. Outside of that, this collection just isn’t worth its weight when it comes to extra content. You can probably entertain yourself with the X Challenge mode but unless you’re really into it, it’ll probably be a one and done deal leaving you with the eight original games as the only worthwhile replayable content.
At this point (ESPECIALLY at this point since the blue bomber turns a ripe age of 30), I just don’t understand why Capcom just doesn’t go for it all and release a complete collection. A multi-disc collection where each disc is a different series. One disc for classic, one for X, one for Zero, one for ZX, one for Legends, one for Battle Network, and one for Star Force. Put all of those into a collector’s box with physical extras, make it look nice, charge a good price for it and unleash it upon the masses. Sure, in the case of Star Force, it would take a little extra work to redo the UI to work on one screen rather than two but to be able to have a complete Mega Man collection on current consoles packed inside of an awesome collector’s box with physical goodies jammed inside would make any Mega Man fan’s life complete.
Releasing collections that are broken up into multiple parts just doesn’t feel good. I don’t understand why both the Mega Man and Mega Man X Legacy Collections had to have two separate titles… especially when over a decade ago, we got collections that had (at the time) all eight classic games and all six X games on single discs. If you could fit entire series on a single PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube disc, then there really is no excuse for not being able to do so on a Blu-ray disc or flash card which has a massively larger storage medium.
To explain the final rating, I rated the core eight games themselves as an overall 4 / 5. The fact that you get the entire X franchise (minus the two aforementioned games which should have been here) on modern consoles is worth owning the collection by itself. After all, this is the main reason people will be buying this collection and in that aspect, it’s worth the price.
The extra content, however, gets a 1.5 / 5. Only having one playable piece of extra content that was practically copied and pasted between both collections with abysmal boss introductions just showed how little Capcom cared. This averages out to a 2.75 / 5 but since we only do half star increments here, I rounded down to a 2.5 / 5 meaning that this collection is right in the middle. It is about as average as average can be.
Come on, Capcom. You can do better than this and I don’t understand why you didn’t here.
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Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2 brings back the nostalgia by giving you all eight Mega Man X games. As far as that aspect is concerned, the collection hits things on all cylinders and brings to you a great gaming experience. The abysmal attempt at extra content really makes this an average collection rather than something special. If you’re going to buy this, it should be for the eight X games and not for the extra content even though the extra content is good enough to play through once.
- All eight X games at your disposal
- Faster load times for PlayStation entries into the series
- Games remain intact from their original versions
- X Challenge mode can be just that… challenging
- Rookie Hunter mode helps introduce new players to the franchise
- X Challenge mode only feels good the first time through and is the only playable extra content.
- Severe lack of playable extra content
- Extra content copied and pasted from one collection to the other
- HD filter looks okay on 16-bit games but terrible on 32-bit games