Capcom surprised the gaming community when it revived its trademark Blue Bomber in 2015’s Mega Man Legacy Collection, a compilation of all six NES titles. But fans were left wondering where the seventh and eighth entries were; both had appeared in the anniversary collection back in 2004. And what about Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, developed after the original collection? Turns out Capcom had the answers all along: make a second legacy collection compiling the four post-NES games. Although there are two fewer games here, there is more aesthetic variety between Mega Man 7-10, and the quality of this action platformer remains as solid as ever.
All four titles are functionally identical to the games that preceded it. Shoot enemies with your Mega Buster, defeat a Robot Master, gain its power, and utilize it against other bosses until you face the evil Dr. Wily. Whereas the first compilation’s NES titles began to blend together, each of Legacy Collection 2’s sport different visual styles. Mega Man 7 opens the collection with well-animated 16-bit graphics and an updated look for the Blue Bomber. Mega Man 8 kicks it up a notch with more sophisticated 32-bit sprites and backgrounds, fully animated cutscenes, and a notorious voiceover dub that only the ‘90s could provide. Hearing “Dr. Wiwey” still makes me cringe, but it doesn’t take away from the creative stage design, filled with interesting gimmicks like snowboards and shoot ‘em ups. Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 adopt an 8-bit retro-style, trading the slide and charge mechanics for a gameplay more similar to the first two classics. None of these may be as memorable as the original titles, but they all follow working formulas and deliver clever levels and boss fights.
The titles emulate the originals, which also mean some unwarranted slowdown, though it wasn’t often. The controls felt smooth and were customizable to boot. The games run in their native 4:3 aspect ratio, which was too small for my eyes. Thankfully, a full-screen option enlarges the action without making it look hideous as it does in the wide screen display. As a bonus, you can turn on a screen filter, adding scan lines and blur to imitate that nostalgic CRT television feel.
Legacy Collection 2’s true worth is in how rare its individual games have become. Mega Man 8 has only seen a couple re-releases and Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 haven’t even been available on modern consoles until now. When you factor in which original systems the games hail from (SNES, PlayStation, Wii), having the four available for a budget price isn’t such a bad deal.
As in the first collection, Capcom has made modest but appreciable upgrades. For the most part, they make the game easier, which I didn’t mind considering the brutal difficulty. For one, you can set up a checkpoint save midway or before a boss that you can return to at any time, even after a Game Over. It strikes a good balance between the cheap save states from Virtual Console versions and the frustrating instant kill spikes in most levels. The game also adds Extra Armor, reducing all damage by half, making even the hardest levels bearable. Hardcore fans may berate these additions, but they’re well implemented for younger or casual gamers.
Challenge Mode provides more satiating trials for veterans, delivering stage remixes, boss rushes, and Buster-only tests – all complete with leaderboards to show off your accomplishments. Unfortunately, there aren’t many unique challenges. Mega Man 7 and Mega Man 8 have a scant 10 challenges. Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 sport more, but many are identical challenges using additional playable characters like Protoman. Rounding out the package is an extensive gallery of game artwork and a complete sound test. I didn’t find this museum of extras too impressive, but it’ll likely have worth to some fans.
Between the two Legacy Collections, the first may have the more well-known classics, but this second set includes titles that haven’t received as much time in the spotlight. A fresh coat of paint and an eye for modern game design help Mega Man 7-10 stand out from their NES brethren. The few modest upgrades serve casual fans, and the challenges offer veterans something to chew on. While I would have loved to see more new features and additional games like the oft-forgotten spinoff Mega Man and Bass, a package of four solid action platformers is enough to make Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 desirable to both fans and newcomers.
I am a lifelong gamer, having grown up with Nintendo since I was young. My passion for gaming led to one of the greatest moments of my life, my video game themed wedding!