MegaMan X Legacy Collection is a gem that contains a few scratches

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MegaMan X Legacy Collection is a gem that contains a few scratches

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Next up in my MegaMan binge is MegaMan X Legacy Collection. Much like the previous collection I covered, X Legacy Collection is a compilation of MegaMan games from the MegaMan X series. This collection was hard to get through, because the Megaman X games are longer and sometimes harder than the original MegaMan games. On top of that, the quality of the games weren’t as consistent as the original MegaMan games. 

First X Mission with Chill Penguin and Frost Walrus

Going over the hub of the collection, it fits the style of MegaMan X. It’s futuristic with some techno-rock music playing in the background. From the menu you can choose between MegaMan X 1-4, playing X-Missions and extras (which include character images of posters, promotional material, and a music player).  The X-Missions are just boss rushes. You choose a set of abilities and fight two bosses at a time until you are done that set. It’s really difficult and I recommend playing through all the MegaMan X games on the collection before touching the X-Missions. You can, of course, change the version of the games so that it is either the U.S. MegaMan or the Japanese RockMan. All that changes is the dialogue of the game is changed from English to Japanese. This hub menu is nice, but compared to MegaMan Legacy Collection, this collection doesn’t even hold a torch to that games hub menu. 

First stage of MegaMan X.

First in the collection is MegaMan X. The X series varies a lot from the original series and one place where that shows is the plot. The X series focuses more on the plot than the original series. The first game has the weakest story, though, because it’s essentially the same as the original series. The story is that 100 years after the events of the MegaMan games, robots called reploids are all over the world. One reploid, MegaMan X, and his partner, Zero, must stop rouge reploids which are called Mavericks. The one controlling them all is a robot named Sigma (this is the Wily of this series). There’s some dialogue here and there but not much in terms of story and development. Now, much like the games before it, MegaMan X has some bangin’ music. The menu music is akin to rock n’ roll, as well as the music of the first stage. The rest of the music is more techno based with hints of rock in them. The game is harder than a few of the original MegaMan games, and that’s for a fair reason. There are so many things you can do compared to the original and X is so much more powerful than Rock, so naturally they had to bump up the difficulty. The stages are fun and fairly memorable as are their bosses. Unlike the previous games, the X series names its bosses after animals (e.g. Chill Penguin, Flame Dragoon, Boomerang Kuwanger). This makes them more memorable in my eyes because they now not only have an element to them but also an animal. X also gets a super armor that you find pieces for throughout stages. I’d say it’s worth it just because you do more damage and take less damage. The pixel art is also pretty good. There is a fair amount of detail and the stages are nice to look at. Difficulty wise, as said before this series is harder. The first MegaMan X isn’t the hardest in the X series but it is still fairly hard. I would rate this a 8 out of ten. It is phenomenal by all means but it feels inferior to some later entries. 

The map of the levels in MegaMan X2 with its beautiful sprite work.

Next up is MegaMan X2 which improved in the story area. The game starts with an opening cutscene that explains what’s happening, and then you start the game. The first level is a blast and ends with a fairly easy boss fight against a massive robot. The story picks up after this but I don’t want to spoil it since it’s actually pretty interesting, but I will let you know that it involves three new villains who support Sigma. The music is not as great as the first but its not terrible. The levels are a bit harder as are the bosses. The difficulty is fairly rewarding and builds for a fun experience. The levels are also creative with some supplying mechs or futuristic hover bikes to traverse the area. The sprite work is actually much better in this game with a lot more detail and beautiful backgrounds. The power armor abilities are essentially the same, so nothing special there. There is a feature where the new villains appear in stages. If you defeat all three of the new villains before fighting them in the final stage, you can actually avoid an entire boss which is really cool! There isn’t really much to talk about since a lot of this is more of the same. I would rate it an 8 or an 8.5 out of 10.

Dr. Doppler and the two optional bosses, Bit and Byte

MegaMan X3 changes things up a lot. One great example is that this is the first game where you can play as Zero, which becomes a permanent feature in the X series. This game also continues the trend of opening cutscenes before the game. A scientist named Dr. Doppler has helped the world recover from Maverick attacks and rebuild society; That is until he too becomes a Maverick, and creates a new group of droids to fight X and Zero. The music is mediocre in comparison to the other games in the collection and is nothing but forgettable. The pixel art is the same and in some areas actually feels like a downgrade. The one thing I feel this game does best is X’s super armor. It has the best abilities that make X more fun to control. The helmet allows the player to find secret items, the legs allow X to dash in midair and dash upwards, the arms allow for a super strong ultimate attack, while the body provides extra protection. This game also follows X2 in providing optional bosses that can make the game easier if defeated earlier. There are only a few things that I’m conflicted with for this game and that’s the stages. The stages are the hardest for any MegaMan X game I’ve played. They are unpredictable and littered with enemies. The enemies are also overpowered. Some of them being able to two shot you even near the middle of the game. The only issue is that I am conflicted with the difficulty because some areas feel artificially difficult. What I mean by this is that the area is clogged with random enemies instead of being difficult because of clever level design. One thing I disliked a lot were the copious difficulty jumps, which were more like difficulty leaps. For example, one area was so hard it took me 2 days to beat that single stage. When I reached the boss, I beat it within a matter of seconds, taking only minimal damage. This kind of thing happens the entire game and it gets old really fast. If I were to rate this, I would give it a 7 or a 7.5 out of 10. The game was fun and even improved some things, but it also felt like a slog in some areas and even recessed back in others.

A still from the animated cutscenes in X4

Last and definitely least is MegaMan X4. This game did so much different and is a different experience entirely compared to the first three games. These things include hand drawn cutscenes, voice acting, and multiple story modes. The two story modes involve Zero and X. Both are essentially the same other than their beginnings, some fights, and their ends. A group called Repliforce fights back Mavericks but they get falsely accused of being Mavericks themselves. Instead of listening to reason and explaining everything to the humans, Repliforce decides to revolt for no reason other than “They shouldn’t have thought we were the bad guys!” The hand drawn cutscenes are pretty nice and have a 90’s anime aesthetic. The major issue is the voice acting. The voice acting is laughable and I cried laughing at some of the line reads. There is a scene in Zero’s story that is supposed to be emotional but ends up sounding stupid and funny. The sprite work is eh. Some things look great as usual while some things look like blobs of paint splattered on the screen. One thing that improved like crazy was the music. The music is really catchy and is just awesome. The only song I wish was localized for American audiences was the original Japanese opening. It was like an anime opening and fit the animation style so well. The game controls well. It does take some getting used to when playing as Zero but it’s still fun. The levels were overly easy, with most of them being finished within a day. After a while something would start feeling difficult but then I would overcome it with ease again. By the end of it, the game felt too easy and felt out of place in the MegaMan franchise. If I were to rate this, it would be a 6 or a 6.5 out of 10. The game was way too easy and was just too laughable to be taken seriously.

MegaMan X Legacy Collection was fun to get through but felt more of a burden to get through than MegaMan Legacy Collection. That was because of the difficulty of the game and the unfairness that were in some of these games. But these games also controlled better than those in the other collection. My conclusion is simple. This collection is a 8.5 to a 9 out of 10. Even though there are some negative bits to the collection, it still feels like an amazing experience that I feel every MegaMan fan and gamer in general should try to experience. I now have only 21 things left for MegaMan’s 32nd Birthday. Next week I plan to look at MegaMan Starforce 2, MegaMan Maker, and the OVA MegaMan Day of Sigma.