As you might have guessed from my coverage of the original Legacy Collection back in 2015 I’m a fan of Capcom’s Mega Man franchise. The plot may be the same each time (stop the evil doctor or whatever) and the gameplay mechanics are merely slight tweaks from one game to the next, but the combination of tight controls, punishing but fair gameplay, sweet chip music and colourful sprites means that it’s always fun to play, even if you’re coming back to the games decades after they were originally released. With the advent of the Super Nintendo, the series needed to be reinvented, and Mega Man X offered enough changes to make it stand out from those original 8-bit sidescrollers. The X games felt much more “cinematic”, with more dialogue between characters, more hints at character development throughout a series, and more fleshed-out villains that had actual nefarious motivations. Rather than, well, that suggestive eyebrow raising animation Wily made as he hopped into his UFO to go and do whatever he does in his castle.
More importantly, the X games saw Mega Man gameplay receive a massive overhaul – dashes increased your movement options, allowing you to manouver through stages at speed and learn techniques such as cancelling your dash into a jump so that you maintained velocity and could clear that awkward gap. Wall-jumping blew apart the typical Mega Man level design philosophy – rather than falling down holes or moving forward to follow the level designer’s carrot-on-a-stick, now you could scale vertical surfaces and maybe uncover a secret or two as the developer rewards the curiosity of those willing to play with the new toolset. Headbutts, like dashes, were an unlockable upgrade and allowed you to break certain blocks, Mario style…it goes on. Beyond the new moves, the X games introduced vehicles such as the Ride Armor; sure, Mega Man 5 saw you riding a jetski and you could argue that Rush and the transport items (Item-1, Item-2 etc) served as “vehicles” of sorts. However, Ride Armor was an in-game optional upgrade that you had to find, rather than a compulsory gameplay sequence or an ability you could enable at any time. In short, the X games did more than enough to earn their identity as a whole new series, and it’s heartwarming to know that the newly-released Mega Man X Legacy Collections will allow new generations of gamers to enjoy the titles on today’s consoles.
The Mega Man X Legacy Collections – what you get
The Mega Man X Legacy Collections are two digital compilations of games from the Mega Man X series. If you’re a fan of the first four games, you can pick up Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 – meanwhile, Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 contains X5 to X8. In addition to experiencing these games all over again, the collections have an X Challenge mode where you can face two bosses at the same time, and there are also world rankings that allow you to compete against other players, not to mention optional graphics filters and a museum mode with various trailers, art and music tracks. The individual collections will cost around £15.99 each, whilst players who want all eight games will have to cough up a little over £30. As with 2015’s original Legacy Collection, I may be tempted to part with my money just for the sake of convenience – especially when the X games originally spanned multiple gaming platforms. Why try to hook up around three generations of gaming hardware to your TV when this collection has it all? It’s the same argument that convinced me to pick up the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, so I can see it convincing me again here. Anyway, if you’re playing the Mega Man X Legacy Collections or just want to share your own memories of the series, let us know in the comments below.
The Mega Man X Legacy Collections are out now for PC and home consoles. More information is available at Capcom’s page here.