QCF: Mega Man Legacy Collection

 once had a Mega Man mixtape. This is absolutely a real thing and I promise, it's relevant. When I was 11, I used to hold up a lo-fi microphone plugged into an old Tandy tape recorder up to TV speakers to record the ever-awesome music from one of my favorite game series ever.

This kind of annoyed my parents, so I'd have to keep the recording brief and used a dual tape deck to mix and extend this music to the length I wanted. I don't know where it went or if it even still exists but that mixtape was a prized possession of mine, long before video game CD soundtracks were an established thing (though vinyl LPs already existed for Super Xevious, which is rad.)

Currently, it's September 2015 and Capcom has released Mega Man Legacy Collection, a New-Gen, PC, and 3DS collection of the original six NES Mega Man Games, complete with a ton of extras. As a compilation, Mega Man Legacy Collection is a very good buy, especially with the price of the NES and Famicom originals spiking up in price the way they have as of late, particularly in complete condition.

All six games are pixel perfect and represented with all of the same details, all of the same graphical anomalies and even all of the little tricks we've all used to make things just a bit easier for ourselves (like making those little spring dudes in Mega Man 2's Heat Man stage disappear.) This is all thanks to, you guessed it, Digital Eclipse and their special brand of emulation magic.

Each title is as enthralling, amazing, and fun to play as they ever have been. The original Mega Man is still ridiculously hard with its yet-to-be refined gameplay and that damned Yellow Devil. Mega Man 2's rockin' soundtrack and as-close-to-perfect-as-possible game play is still as fantastic as it was in 1988. Mega Man 3's neat robot masters and throwback wily bosses still make for a white-knuckle action-platforming experience, not to mention being the first time we heard Proto Man's theme (Or Blues', depending what version you played.)

Mega Man 4, 5 and 6 all pushed the NES just a little harder with enormous bosses and excellent 8-bit synthesis, not to mention some really creative new characters and allies, like Eddie the flip-top robot, Beat the bird and Mega Man 6's awesome Rush Armor. Mega Man 5 still stands as one of my favorite in the series, after Mega Man 7. Play Charge Man's stage, and you'll understand.

All of these classics are all well and good, but they're just that; classic games from over 20 years ago that most gamers old enough to remember owning an NES when games were still being made for it have likely played and mastered.... which is where the challenge mode comes in. Mega Man Legacy Collection has a metric ton of timed challenge stages that will surely test the mettle of any Mega Man fan in ways that will separate the real grand masters from the scrubs. The more you play, the more opens up, making for the kind of challenge that Mega Man fans will surely enjoy with no reservations, even when it becomes crushingly difficult.

Moreover, that's not even all; there is a full compendium of robots and bosses, each with origins, descriptions and weaknesses listed; Every robot, and every boss—It's fantastic.

There's also a flipping huge art gallery for every single game that even includes unused and alternate boss and enemy designs.

On the topic of design though, the UI here is also superb. Menus look like they come from a lost mega man game while the title art for each is actually a slightly remixed version of the original Famicom releases, featuring box art we never got out here in North America. Let's be honest; the Japanese boxes are always – ALWAYS – better. There are also options for screen filters to be applied as well; including arcade-style scanlines and one that makes the screen look like it's an old CRT.

But the very best part, for me anyway, is that I got my old mixtape back; every track from title to end of each of the six games featured in this collection is available to listen to from square one. Not gonna lie, I just sat back and listened to an hour and a half of Mega Man music before I even touched the gameplay.

It's so good, but my only lament? That Mega Man 7 – again, my all-time favorite Mega Man game - is not included. But you know, I understand why. Half of these games were already legacy games when they came out; The Super NES came out in 1991; the same year as Mega Man 4.

New players even mildly interested looking to get a Crash (Man) course in the Blue Bomber's origins should be looking into Mega Man Legacy Collection and adding it to their cart without delay. Veterans need in on this too, because as far as nostalgia goes, there's no greater package. The gameplay is timeless, and the extras are well worth the double, triple, quadruple... however many dips it’ll take till the end of my days.

I'm on my fourth.

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