The Mega Man franchise has had a long and storied history that saw it debuting in the late ’80s so many longtime fans have had plenty of time to experience what these games have had to offer in various forms. Outside of the core series following everyone’s favorite “blue bomber” there have been other forms of Mega Man including Zero, who debuted in the Mega Man Zero series that was released on the Game Boy Advance over the course of four games that were eventually collected together into a DS release.
On top of that the series saw another variation in the form of two Mega Man ZX games on the DS and now Capcom has returned with another collection that brings these six games together into one neat package. Featuring a number of bonus features, some re-touched artwork, and a few bits of extra content is Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection worth diving into?
Set a hundred years after the events of Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero begins with a group of resistance fighters made up of humans and Reploids being mercilessly chased and slaughtered by mechanical threats in the search of a rumored power. After sacrificing everyone on her team, a female scientist by the name of Ciel manages to locate Zero and revive him. Despite Zero suffering from memory loss he knows that he should protect Ciel and the rest of the Reploids from the genocidal plans of Neo Arcadia. This story continues over the course of four different games featuring their own major twists and revelations though going into these would be a spoiler for those who have yet to play these games as the story for each game here does continue the same plot point.
Mega Man ZX picks up two centuries following the events of Mega Man Zero and while the world is now flourishing with humans and Reploids living together, things quickly take a turn for a worse when a group of rogue forces begin to attack the world once more. It is worth noting that these are both fairly vague summaries as a whole and this is a good thing as there is a ton of story content to be experienced here for those who haven’t before and even returning fans looking for nostalgia will find the same jargon filled sci-fi world that they enjoyed back in the day. That being said, considering how many technical terms are used from the Mega Man franchise, players should have at least a bit of understanding about the series before going in here or will need to do a bit of research first as many of these terms are treated as if players have been longtime fans of the series and unfortunately a glossary was not one of the bits of bonus content included in this collection.
In many ways Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection plays similar to how fans of the series have come to expect and given the fact these games were originally released on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, there isn’t a ton of complexity here, though the more open feel to exploration will be new to many who are used to the classic Mega Man style of stage selection. Players will be able to fire off their primary weapon with one button and use their alternate weapon by pressing the shoulder button while firing while being able to jump, wall-jump, and dash around as needed. It is worth noting that players can customize their controls entirely and probably should as mapping the secondary weapon to a single button is far easier.
Of course this being a Mega Man game, nothing is ever really easy as these games still contain their brutal difficulty level even in this collection. Some of this difficulty comes from the fact that some stages feature some rather cheap feeling hazards that are hidden just off screen or drop in enemies but this simply requires a bit of replay to master a stage. That being said, there are options now to make things a bit simpler should the player choose and one of these features happens to have been used extensively throughout my time in the game.
This one happens to be various save points that end up being scattered throughout a stage, allowing the player to immediately respawn at the most recent save should they fall to their death or lose all of their health. This is exceptionally useful when it comes to boss battles though be prepared to see plenty of repeated text as it isn’t possible to skip through previously seen conversations. If players really want to make things easy then a “Casual Scenario” option is selectable before beginning any of these six games.
This mode not only makes the player far stronger and boost their weaponry but removes the instant deaths that come from falling into holes or touching stage hazards. This casual mode is an interesting one for those who want to get invested in the series or perhaps never managed to complete them but it also removes the ability to unlock achievements and even obtain one of the bonus features added to the game, special cards that appeared to have originally only been available during the Japanese release of these games. These cards can provide various cosmetics to the player’s in-game base and can also provide a few boosts as well once unlocked.
Alongside these cards players will find that the other bonus content added into this collection comes in the form of an art gallery featuring high-res images for all six games as well as a juke-box that allows for players to listen to all of the background music from each game. Alongside these fairly standard bonuses comes a speed running mode called Z-Chaser. This mode pits players against a “ghost” that can either be AI generated or from another player in a race to see who can complete a stage the fastest. There is even a head to head mode for local play as well should the player want to test their skills against a friend.
Visuals & Audio
Players have a variety of different ways that they can re-experience the games in the Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection as Capcom has offered three different visual styles. There is a slightly retouched smoothing option that blends together pixels and gives them a softer look, no filter at all that leaves everything in its pixel art glory, and one that places a CRT style static filter over the screen that actually turns out to be fantastic looking at times, at least in the Mega Man Zero collection of games. It is also worth noting that screen size is also adjustable should the player want to shrink the image down a bit and the various wallpapers that fill in the black space of the screen can be changed at any time or even left blank.
As mentioned before, this collection features a great collection of songs that can be listened to at any time and these tracks fit in well during gameplay as well. There is a bit of voice work in this collection and while it hasn’t aged the best, it has been retouched to sound a bit clearer should the player choose.
The Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection features the same classic gameplay and incredible challenge that fans remember and a few new optional changes make things a bit easier for those who want to access the series in what ends up being a great collection of games. That being said, the bonuses included are a bit on the simple side as the only real piece of new content outside of the touched up graphics are the cards and gallery of artwork and considering the age and fanbase the series has, it could have included quite a bit more.