I’ve stated before that I’m a huge fan of Mega Man, from the classic series through Star Force. However, it’s the classic series where most of my knowledge lies. That being said I do enjoy the X series…well, most of it, it’s pretty difficult to find someone who genuinely likes Mega Man X7, but I digress. After getting Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 and seeing what all they brought in addition to the main games, it was nice to see Mega Man X get the same treatment, and with Mega Man 11 coming out this year, maybe we’ll eventually get Mega Man X9 after all these years. The question though is if these two Legacy Collections are worth checking out? Well let’s dive into both Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 to find out (for the record, these are for the Nintendo Switch).
Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2 contain all eight core games in the Mega Man X series with four games per collection. The games play pretty much as you remember them, from the awesomeness of the Super NES games, to the transition into the PlayStation era with X4 through X6, to the attempt at 3D with X7, and the regaining of their senses on that idea with X8. The controls work like they did using a Super NES or PlayStation controller, though I’d recommend using a pro-controller if you have one since there were a couple of times I’d keep hitting the control stick on the right joy-con during intense moments. Mega Man X1 through X3 now have a save feature of sorts. While X4 started the norm of using save files, the first three games relied on a password system. Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 lets you save your game on the password screen after each stage, then when you choose Password on the title screen you can load your game. Basically it just reads the password you had when you saved the game and puts it in, then takes you to the stage select screen. A downside of this though is that you still can’t save after fortress stages…well, you can but it doesn’t matter; you’ll still start from the first fortress stage when you load, so all the save feature is good for in the first three games is to not have to worry about writing down passwords. From what I can tell there are sadly no save states or rewind features for newer gamers to utilize.
Each collection has a Museum where you can check out official artwork, soundtracks, and more. Each collection has different content under the artwork and soundtrack, composing of stuff from the four games in that particular collection. The Product Gallery and Trailers section both contain basically the same things; the former showing off various Mega Man X products that were for sale such as action figures and trading cards, while the latter allows you to check out several of the trailers for the series, most of them the Japanese versions. For me though, the big thing in the Museum is the mini-movie “The Day of Sigma”, a roughly half-hour video that chronicles the events leading up to the original Mega Man X. This video was originally only available in the PSP game Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, so seeing it here and letting us watch it on the big screen is a nice feature (honestly, I would have loved to have seen this continue as a Mega Man X anime).
The big addition to the collection, and what a lot of fans are chomping at the bit for, is the new X Challenge mode. This new mode puts X in a series of fights against two Mavericks simultaneously from Mega Man X1 through X6, and the pair usually won’t be from the same game. X Challenge is somewhat the same between both Legacy Collections, though some of the pairings are different here and there or are placed differently in the challenge. This is a great concept, but it can get frustrating at times which I’ll explain in a bit. When you first start you’ll see that there are nine stages with three segments each. Each segment has two Mavericks to fight at the same time. Before each stage you’ll see a list of nine Maverick weapons you can use, but you can only take in three and you have to use those three, your X Buster, and the Z Saber to get through all three segments. The selection of special weapons changes with each stage and thankfully six of them are typically the weaknesses to the six Mavericks you’ll face, but since you can only take in three weapons you’ll have to choose carefully which ones to use. Thankfully some can pull double duty such as an electrical weapon from a later game knocking off Armored Armadillo’s armor similar to Spark Mandrill's Electric Spark.
While you do have a lot of health and weapon ammo since you’re taking on two Mavericks at once, you are dealing with two Mavericks and their attack patterns. This, while challenging, can also lead to some frustrating setups. For example, imagine Chill Penguin going to the top of the screen to do his snow storm attack and have the wind blow you backwards while Frost Walrus is charging you. It can get pretty difficult to avoid his charge without taking damage. However, you play as X in one of his armored forms so you have the Z-Saber, the ability to hover in the air, and the air dash, all of which will be really helpful in trying to take down each pair of Mavericks.
Thankfully there is an easy mode and a normal mode unlocked at the start, but the differences are pretty noticeable. I first tried going through X Challenge on normal mode, thinking I can get a few stages in before I really start getting pounded into the ground. Turns out I was wrong…really wrong. I had issues out of the gate with Chill Penguin and Frost Walrus. It took me quite a few tries to finally take them down…only to get absolutely destroyed by Wheel Gator and Bubble Crab in the next segment. After getting thrashed one too many times I decided to try easy mode and easy is an appropriate word…it might actually be a bit too easy. I tore through the first couple of stages using mostly the X Buster and just tanking a ton of damage. Bosses will take more damage from attacks and you take less damage from their attacks. In easy mode the first boss you defeat will drop health energy and you’ll gain some health back between segments.
There is one small catch with X Challenge though: you only have three lives for each stage as well as a ten minute timer. When you die on a segment you will start the next life on that segment. However, losing all three lives means a game over and you’ll have to start the stage over from the first segment. If you’re on normal mode this can be a bit frustrating. Again, it took me a while to make it past each of the first two segments, and then even when I was figuring out the patterns for Slash Beast and Crescent Grizzly in the third segment I was still getting pummeled and barely made it out alive, but on easy mode it was nothing. On top of all of that, there looks to be a hard mode you can unlock. Let’s just say that I likely won’t be trying that any time soon as I’m barely holding my own with normal mode.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 is a great collection. I mean it does have Mega Man X7, and I’m not a huge fan of X6, but I can’t really fault the collection for those two games alone. While X Challenge mode is pretty fun, it can also vary between easy and normal difficulties quite a bit. The other extras are basically what’s to be expected from something like this with the ability to check out soundtracks and artwork, plus the inclusion of The Day of Sigma video was really nice. Unfortunately the new save and load feature for the first three X games are basically useless outside of not having to write down the password, and as stated there is no rewind feature for the main games or the ability to do any sort of save states for newer players. While I would have liked to see some stage challenges similar to the original Mega Man Legacy Collections, this is a nice pair of games and ones that Mega Man X fans and newcomers alike should enjoy. The fact that they’re portable on the Switch is a plus, a first for the later X games. Plus if these games do well, we might finally see Mega Man X9 some day.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.