After the success of the Mega Man Legacy Collection released a couple of years ago, Capcom have returned and delivered The Mega Man X Legacy Collection allowing players to have the complete nostalgic experience of some great classic Mega Man games. This new two part collection includes all 8 of the X titles that have been ported with a lot of care and are definitely worth picking up if you’re wanting to jump into the Mega Man X series for the first time or revisiting if you’re a fan of the games you experienced on the SNES and PS1 many years ago.
The Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 contains Mega Man 4 games in the X series while the Second collection contains game’s 5-8. They are separate purchases but can be purchased in a bundle on the PlayStation store for a slight discount. Currently at the time of writing I can only see the games available separately on the Nintendo Switch eShop.
As mentioned, this collection contains Mega Man X 1-4 and is the obvious jumping on point for anyone looking to experience the beginning and in my opinion the best entries in the X series. The first 3 games were originally released on the SNES and due to their brilliant sprite based graphics that are vibrant and pop with colour the games still hold up incredibly well to this day.
Unlike the original classic Mega Man games, the X games have a coherent story and dialogue based storytelling that provides further insight into the game’s villain’s and lead character’s X and Zero and the lore of the world Mega Man X takes place in.
The fourth game in the series was the first entry of the X series to hit the original PlayStation. With this came environments and character models with increased visual fidelity but still retained the gameplay and story elements that made the initial trilogy so great and feels like a true continuation on what had already been established in the X series but just on a new platform.
Collection 2 contains Mega Man 5 through 8 and while it starts off as a strong collection of games, the tail half doesn’t quite hold up as well as the others due to design decisions made during the game’s development and the shift to 3D to make use of the PS2 hardware for X7 and 8.
Mega Man X5 takes the foundations set up in 4 on the PS1. For the most part it’s a very similar experience but with some added tweaks to freshen things up such as findable armour pieces and multiple endings.
After taking the lessons learned and putting it together with what made the prior games so great, the team released X6. Featuring some of the highest quality pixel art, keeping the gameplay mostly untouched and focusing on telling a really good story with the use of some action fueled cutscenes.
It’s from this point that the game’s in the second collection take a turn for the worst.
X7 took everything that made the previous 6 games so great and threw it all away. The gorgeous sprite art, side scrolling platforming that was precise and required skill to traverse past the dangers and the interesting stories with likable characters. All gone. Instead, with the shift to the PS2 the team decided to try a fully 3D action adventure title that doesn’t control all that great, contains a lead protagonist that isn’t overly likable and because of it’s shift to polygonal 3D models the art style really doesn’t hold up today. It’s for this reason many regard it as the worst Mega Man game and playing through it in this collection I’d have to agree.
X8 shift the needle back towards the positive, slightly. Fixing up the main problems players had with X7, X8 returned to being a side scrolling platformer but it seems they still wanted to justify their place on the PS2 by keeping the character and environment models 3D. This affected the way the gameplay felt with the 3D models now being affected by the game’s physics engine and just like X7 the design of the game looks quite dated by today’s standards.
With the details about the individual games in the collection out of the way I wanted to take some time to talk about the key inclusions that come in these collections and the X games in general.
The X games are some of the best side scrolling platformers you’ll ever get to play. As the genre isn’t as prominent today as it was in the 90’s and early 2000’s between the original Mega Man Legacy and this X collection you’ll have everything you need to realise why these games carry such a strong fanbase to this day.
Just be aware before you go in, these games are hard. They are hard by design but are normally always fair. If you die it’s usually your fault for not quite nailing the jump or analysing an enemy attack pattern properly. Thankfully the X Legacy Collection has introduced a ‘Rookie Hunter’ mode for players looking for an easier journey through the game or just looking to get familiar with things before bumping the difficulty back up.
As with the classic Mega Man games one of the biggest and best puzzles in each of the games is working out the puzzle that is the Boss order. In the X series the Robo Masters have been replaced with animalistic Marvericks but the core principal of progression is still the same. Upon defeating a boss you’ll get an ability from them that grants you with a new power. This power is usually the weakness of another stage’s boss so working out the order to best tackle the levels is a fun learning experience you’ll face in each game.
There is a ton of replayability in each of the titles too, due to the backtracking introduced here in the X series. You’ll find yourself playing back through levels you’ve beaten after obtaining powers you didn’t have the first time through and using them to access new paths, hidden collectibles and heart containers.
For those that are up for an extra challenge you’ll have a lot of fun in the game’s Challenge Mode. In this mode you’ll get to select up to 3 weapons face off against 2 Mavericks in a stage at the same time. Following, dodging and dealing damage to both of the Mavericks at the same time is a real challenge but those that are able to complete the challenges will get ranked on the game’s online leaderboard.
If multiple replayable games with new modes didn’t provide enough value already, you should know there’s even more on offer here. Via the game’s Museum mode you’re able to view character bio’s, artwork from the series, listen to pieces of the incredible soundtrack, physical merchandise from the series and an animated short film that sets up the story of the X series.
The Mega Man X Legacy Collection offers an incredible amount of value and are well worth playing whether you’re a first time player or an existing fan looking to get another nostalgic fix from the X series. Although not every one of the game’s in the collection are great (or even worth playing) they’re all here to provide the complete X experience. The ports have been handled incredibly well, and while just porting the games to current day platforms would have been sufficient the team have gone the extra mile providing plenty of extra’s in the Museum mode that fans of the series will get plenty of enjoyment out of.
A Nintendo Switch review code for the Mega Man X Collection 1 & 2 was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.