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New Mega Man collection doesn't rock

Sept 15, 2015

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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Gears of War: Ultimate EditionAs much as people don't like to admit it, a lot of games from decades ago simply don't hold up. We let our memories bias our opinions, though all it takes is five minutes with a game from a bygone era to clear the cobwebs of delusion. The original 8-bit Mega Man titles are far from perfect, but they're an exception to this rule nonetheless, and they still stand as shining examples of platforming goodness.

Capcom knows that the combination of timeless gameplay and love for the Blue Bomber is irresistible to many fans of the series. As such, the company has released and re-released old Mega Man games on virtually every platform imaginable. This year is no exception, and the latest compilation is known as the Mega Man Legacy Collection, and it focuses on the first six 8-bit games for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Mega Man fans can argue until the cows come home about what versions are the best - NES, SNES, Battle Network, etc - but there's no denying that 1-6 are right there at or near the top.

Gears of War: Ultimate EditionMega Man 2 and 3 in particular are considered two of the best games ever created, and for good reason. They helped perfect what was introduced in the original game, and added a few new features, all while keeping the gameplay fairly simple for a system whose controller only had two buttons.

The later games, though not as fondly remembered by fans or critics, are still excellent examples of side-scrolling platformers. They're a little busier, but a ton of fun - and worthy challenges - all the same.

The developers at Digital Eclipse have recreated the games to allow them to be viewed clearly on the massive screens of the 21st century, although I like how they added optional filters that make the games look like they're being played on old CRT TV sets of years past.

Frustratingly, they also kept in all the issues with the original games, for no reason other than nostalgia. I'm as big a fan of the Mega Man games as they come, but I would have much preferred they fixed the slowdown that occasionally popped up when too much was going on onscreen in games like Mega Man 2 and 3.

Gears of War: Ultimate EditionI also wish they mapped weapon switching to the shoulder buttons. Sure, it takes me back to my pre-teen days by pausing and switching weapons, but I'm sure if my younger self had the option to switch quickly using shoulder buttons, he would have jumped at the chance.

At the end of the day, these are still the same games you've been playing since the late 80's and early 90's, and you probably have them on multiple platforms (I'm betting a lot of you still play them on your original NES). In order to sweeten the deal, then, Capcom has added a few extras.

There's a challenge mode, which includes bite-sized sections from all six games. Players are tasked with finishing them as quickly as possible. There are dozens of challenges in all, and while this mode can be somewhat addictive, I was a bit put off by the repetition, with several "remixed" game compilations featuring the same few sections from each title.

Gears of War: Ultimate EditionThe challenges have leaderboards where you can actually watch replays at the push of a button. In theory this is a brilliant idea - and something we're seeing more and more of in games, such as the recently-released N++ - but in the PS4 version of Mega Man Legacy Collection, the leaderboards only include the top 100 players (this is thankfully not the case on the Xbox One). I'm good at Mega Man, but not top-100-in-the-world good, and neither are my friends, so that nullifies the addictive quality of trying to best each others' times.

There is a database for each game, though I feel like the brief descriptions of enemies were thrown together in a few hours for the sake of this game. Pharaoh Man's write-up, for instance, states "It's hard to stand your ground against him in a head-to-head fight, so definitely use the weapon that plays on his weakness." Thanks, Capcom, for describing the very basis of the Mega Man games.

There is also a gallery for each title, and sifting through old pictures of things such as cancelled robot master designs is fascinating.

The series is famous for its numerous memorable chiptune soundtracks, and though a jukebox is included in Legacy Collection with all songs unlocked from the get-go, I would love being able to have songs play in a loop, or being able to shuffle between tracks from all six games, but none of that is possible. You simply play one song, and once it stops, you have to manually choose the next song.

Gears of War: Ultimate EditionI'm still a sucker for the NES-era Mega Man games, but it's difficult to recommend this collection to those fans who already have all of these games. It's worth checking out if it's been a while since you've played them, or if you're a complete newbie to the series. If you're the latter, please try these immediately!

Everyone else should consider how many other versions of these games they already own. I understand the power of nostalgia as much as the next person, but sometimes you have think with your mind, and not your heart.

 

Mega Man Legacy Collection
Format: Playstation 4
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Digital Eclipse
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site: http://megaman.capcom.com/

Rating: 6 / 10

 
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.