Developed by Capcom
Published by Capcom
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch (also available on PlayStation 4 and Steam)
The Mega Man X series has been renowned by gaming enthusiasts for its dynamic platforming action, distinct character designs, rocking audio, and vibrant visuals. By incorporating additional elements into the classic Mega Man series’ run-and-gun and platforming mechanics, the Mega Man X series creates entertaining dynamic experiences. Discovering upgrades and using different characters creates real thrills and new play styles. While the games have been available throughout multiple console generations, all eight games have never been simultaneously available until now. Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 respectively collect Mega Man X1-X4 and X5-X8. While not flawlessly executed, the two collections accurately recreate the original games and feature impressive galleries and other extra content.
As a recap, the Mega Man X series takes place in a futuristic setting in which robots coexist with humans. As a new type of robot, Reploids have autonomy as they can think and make their own decisions. Problems arise when some Reploids become Mavericks that pose a threat to humanity. It is up to the Maverick Hunters X, Zero, and Axl to combat the threat of the Mavericks as well as the ever-returning Sigma. As it progresses, the series reveals character background tidbits that frame the ongoing conflict in exciting ways.
The two collections accurately recreate Mega Man X1-8 with varied display options. Aside from a few swapped button icons and text, the games largely behave identically to their original incarnations. The sound quality is overall more crisp, but a few sounds are pitched a tad differently from their original incarnations. Mega Man X4‘s anime cutscenes also appear a bit dark. For the sprite-based Mega Man X1-6, the three graphical filters and three screen sizes provide sufficient flexibility. Players can pick a pixel perfect option, but the default display filter actually competently “blends” pixels without feeling overly blurry. The scanline-based filter tones down some vibrancy while still preserving clarity. The 3D-based Mega Man X7-8 lack filter options, but their polygons appear crisp.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2’s well crafted extras help the compilations feel robust. The collections’ user interface is quite appropriate. It is elegantly built with moving elements and particle effects. The extensive galleries are full of concept art, music, products, character dossiers, commercials, and Mega Man Maverick Hunter X‘s animated prequel short The Day of Sigma. Delving into the vast lineup of products is incredibly fascinating. Another fascinating option is the ability to pick different regional game builds. Picking the Japanese version allows players to experience Rockman X1-8, which is interesting as they have different graphics from their Western counterparts.
For the most part, however, the compilations’ bells and whistles feel detached from the games themselves. Unlike Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2, these collections lack any sort of save state or checkpoint feature. Given the vast array of pits and permanently missable elements in Mega Man X6-7, having save states probably would have mitigated some frustration. The collections tack a rudimentary save system onto Mega Man X1-3‘s progress-storing passwords rather than the custom built interfaces of the earlier Mega Man X Collection. A Rookie Hunter Mode affects lives and incurred damage, but it also feels like a bit of a slapped-on option.
One of the collections’ notable inclusions is the new X Challenge mode, which presents sequences of 2-on-1 battles. These battles present pairs of Maverick bosses pulled from Mega Man X1-6. Before each three-battle sequence, players pick a loadout of three weapons from a predetermined list. Players then attempt to overcome all three battles in a row as X, who uses a modified version of Mega Man X4’s powerful Fourth Armor. However, the new sprites seem a little hastily recolored. As expected, juxtaposing sprites from different games can seem inconsistent. Some of the chosen pairs deliver decent fanservice and actually pose interesting challenges as their attacks overlap and throw players off guard. Sometimes it can take quite a while to whittle down enemies’ life bars, which can be a bit of a downer especially if players did not bring an ideal loadout beforehand. The welcome part is that the mode features online leaderboards, and it can be amusing checking out online times and loadouts.
The decision to divide the games into two collections feels a little strange given the series’ inconsistent nature and quality level. These games originate from a breadth of consoles as X1-X3 originated from the Super Nintendo, X4-X6 were on the PlayStation, and X7-X8 were on the PlayStation 2. The original game is renowned for its solid platforming action while its two 16-bit sequels are still fun while becoming increasingly ambitious to mixed effect. Mega Man X4’s production values and two character paths provide value while Mega Man X8 refines tag mechanics in a compelling way. While Mega Man X5-X7‘s level designs and mechanics have become even more underwhelming, the other games hold up quite well overall today. Although the two collections share some gallery pieces, each collection only contains its four games’ music jukeboxes and concept art. The two collections’ takes on X Challenge are not too widely different, but the altered boss lineups may be worthwhile for diehard fans. Both collections are still worth purchasing given their exclusive gallery content.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 are a great way to re-experience the eight mainline Mega Man X games. Although integrating features more closely into the games would have provided a more entertaining experience, the collections still provide a lot of value. With their accurate recreations, slick interfaces, and plenty of gallery content, the collections are compelling ways to play through Mega Man X1-8. Any series or platforming enthusiast would be well served by trying these collections.