Game Titles: Mega Man Legacy Collection, Mega Man Legacy Collection 2
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail (Bundle), Digital Download (Separate Collections)
Battery Life: 3.5 – 5 hours
Download: 343 MB (Legacy Collection 1), 3.2 GB (Legacy Collection 2)
The Blue Bomber may still have his newest entry a ways off in release, but handheld fans just got a whole lot of him to play around with. Although I am really anticipating the release of the Mega Man X collections in handheld form, I’ve been knee-deep in shooting and weakness-exploiting, thanks to the Switch now having Mega Mans 1-10 to play around with.
As such, it’s time to talk about them. Since the retail release of these games is a collection, I am opting to make one review rather than two. So, here is my review of Mega Man Legacy Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 for the Nintendo Switch!
Mega Man games never really had much story in their origin. It wasn’t until the later games and the X Series that really got narratives going. Though there is a story to it.
The basic premise that most of the games don’t tell you is that Dr. Wily is an evil scientist that uses robots for acts of terrorism and control over the world. Mega Man, a robot created for good, is sent to stop those robots and Dr. Wily. This is pretty much like the Mario series. Dr Wily tries to take over, you stop him, he escapes prison and tries again, and the process repeats itself across several games.
So, if you like story with your platformers, this isn’t really the place to look. If you want story in your Mega Man games, you should check out games like the X, Zero, and Legends series. (The Zero series is available on handhelds via the Zero Collection on the DS and all 3 Legends games are available as backwards-compatible PS One Classics for the PlayStation Vita / PS Vita TV).
Although we do have 10 games across 23 years, the gameplay of these games hasn’t changed much. Each title of these collections is a side-scrolling platformer with combat shooting elements thrown into the mix.
These Collections are, well, Collections of Mega Man games. Legacy Collection 1 contained Mega Mans 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 while Legacy Collection 2 contains Mega Mans 7, 8, 9, and 10. Outside of just playing through each game, you also have dozens of Challenges around those games you can take part in for special challenge runs if the oldschool difficulty of these games isn’t enough challenge for you.
One thing I will say is that these collections are basically two big emulators. The older games are being emulated on the Switch with no changes from their original releases, outside of emulator options like screen modes and the ability to make Save Points at pretty much any point you encounter.
The big thing about emulation options that we need to note here is what is different between these games on the Switch and these games on other platforms. Legacy Collection 2 doesn’t really have any differences between platforms, but Legacy Collection 1 does.
First of all, it has a Rewind feature, not unlike the feature of the same name from Gear.Club Unlimited. At any time, you can tap and hold L to rewind time and undo any amount of seconds and actions. This is exclusive to the Switch version of the game, as far as I am aware.
Second, the emulation options now have a Turbo feature for CPU. This gives the game more power to run Mega Mans 1-6, eliminating all of the slowdown and lag issues that the other versions of this collection have, due to the games being emulated as vanilla NES titles rather than being stabilized and enhanced for new consoles.
As far as the games, themselves, they’re pretty straight-forward. You go through stages, fighting through enemies and navigating platforms until you reach the Boss Room and take down the boss to clear the stage and steal their special weapon abilities. Then, you go to other stages and use those special weapons to exploit boss weaknesses to repeat the process until you have access to Dr Wily to take him down.
Now, this is much easier said than done. I, myself, had forgotten just how difficult these games were until I replayed them in this collection. Even with the Rewind Feature and Save States, don’t expect any of these games to be on the easy side. Enemies do a lot of damage to you and, until the Charge Shot was introduced in Mega Man 4, you do very little damage to them. There’s a huge difficulty curve in these older games and, unlike newer games of the series, fighting bosses just isn’t viable without utilizing weaknesses or having a mastery of everything each boss can do to you.
Of course, we all know about these systems because Mega Man has been around for over 30 years and has had over half a dozen different sets of series to teach us. If you’re new to Mega Man, though, be prepared for an incredibly-difficult set of games, as Mega Man games didn’t become more ‘casual’ until Mega Man 8. This is why I really like the Rewind Feature. Without it, newbies can get all the way to a boss, have the high difficulty set in and suddenly have to redo the entire stage because they don’t have the right sub-weapon to take them out without the battle being a tedious lesson in learning boss patterns.
The only thing that I don’t like about this is the lack of explanation. NES games were notorious for just throwing you to the wolves, but even this collection does nothing to prepare you for the difficulty of the games, outside of the “Easy Mode” thrown into Mega Man 10, giving you more platforms over pits so you don’t fall and die as often.
But, getting past difficulty, are you getting a good amount of content for your money? To be more technical about it, each of these games takes roughly 2.5-3 hours to clear, assuming you don’t die too often. Given that Legacy Collection is $15 and Legacy Collection 2 is $20, that gives you a minimum of around 25 hours for around $35. Add in Challenges and the minimum will likely go up to around 30 hours, meaning you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck.
Controlling these games isn’t hard to do. But, there is an issue regarding Legacy Collection 1 that I want to get out of the way before diving into the control scheme: Input Lag. Whenever you play through Mega Mans 1-6, there is a slight delay in movement after you put in commands on the controller or joy-cons. This could be due to emulation, but it’s worth noting that Legacy Collection 2 does not have any sort of input lag, making those games feel very different.
As far as controls go, it’s pretty simple. The D-Pad / Arrow Buttons can be used to move around. B lets you jump while A and Y are used for attacks. In some of the games, X is used for certain sub-weapons, notably the Mega Ball from Mega Man 8.
Visually, I don’t know what to say about these games. They look the same as they did originally. On one hand, the developers give you lots of different display options, so you can display it in its original resolution, completely full-screen, or scaled-up to fit the height of your display while retaining the original 4:3 ratio.
Some of the later games, though, didn’t look too great with visuals. Mega Mans 7 and 8 have a lot of weird, blurred pixels in its renders. These were made like this when they originally released and look very strange when the pixels from the other eight titles look pretty crisp. It’s not this collection’s fault, but rather the original games.
Since these games are pretty old, visually, I expected a ton of Battery Life out of both collections. What we got was pretty good. Not as much as I was expecting, but still good. Here are Battery Summaries for each Collection:
Legacy Collection: 3.5 – 5 hours
Legacy Collection 2: 4 – 5.5 hours
I find it pretty interesting that the newer games in Legacy Collection 2 have more Battery Life than Legacy Collection 1. But, either way, you’ll get up and over 5 hours in both of these collections and all 10 of these games.
In conclusion, the original Mega Man series comes to the Switch with some nifty exclusive features for 1-6 that other consoles don't have. Now, the games aren't perfect and neither are these collections. From the lack of explanation of pretty much everything to the input lag in Legacy Collection 1, these are collections of classic games brought to new handheld users, faults and all.