What's saddening is that, once I'm done getting my money's worth out of the Legacy Collection, it's doubtful I'll ever go back to it. At least the Mega Man Anniversary Collection still has games I don't own on any other system...but even then, several of the collected games have serious presentation flaws, and the controls for the GameCube version take some getting used to. Capcom proved with the Mega Man X Collection that they know how to properly showcase a series, but I'm still waiting on a Classic compilation truly worthy of an anniversary or a legacy.
What might a Mega Man Legacy Collection done right look like? I'm so glad you asked.
On the front of the box:
An original art piece with Mega Man front and center, posed heroically, with Rush, Eddie, Beat, and Tango bursting forth in action poses around him, the game's logo boldly below them. In the bottom-left corner are Dr. Light, Roll, and Auto looking hopefully toward our heroes. Shadowy, back-to-back figures of Proto Man and Bass can be seen in the bottom-right corner. The top-right corner is dominated by the castle from Mega Man 9, guarded by an intimidating-looking Yellow Devil, Mecha Dragon, and Mad Grinder. The top-left corner has Dr. Wily rocketing forward in his capsule from Mega Man 10, leading a swarm of flying enemies from various games in a massive charge toward the heroes.
On the back of the box:
A cascade of illustrations forms a border along the edges, featuring Skull Man, Pump Man, Saturn, Guts Man, Junk Man, Dynamo Man, Splash Woman, Snake Man, Gravity Man, Buster Rod G, Crash Man, Punk, Search Man, Wind Man, and Konro Man. The bottom has all the obligatory warnings and credits you'd expect to find on the back of a box, but above those is an inviting description of what's inside:
20 games. Thousands of ways to play them. Choose a stage, conquer its guardian, and master their weapon. Test your mettle against the automated armies of Dr. Wily, the cutthroat creations of Dr. Cossack, the menacing machines of Mr. X, the stellar Stardroids, the grueling Genesis Unit, and even the devious Dimensions! Experience 25 years of Mega Man history exactly as you remember it...and like you've never seen it before!
- Choose between 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit graphics and sound!
- Unlock new characters and abilities—charge up your buster in Mega Man 10 or play as Proto Man in Mega Man 2!
- Discover updated versions of these classic games in Mega Mode!
- Acquire weapons from every game to use in a massive Endless Attack!
- Explore a comprehensive character database and art gallery while listening to music from every game!
- Push yourself to the limit with 50 Achievements, and go for a high score on the leaderboards!
Includes Mega Man 1-10, Mega Man I-V, English translations of Rockman & Forte and Rockman & Forte: Mirai kara no Chōsensha, "Wily Tower" from Mega Man: The Wily Wars, and several never-before-seen stages.
Title screen and main menu:
A clean and simple title screen, in the same style as the one from Mega Man: Powered Up. Mega Man appears as the default mascot, but after beating each game in the collection, any of the main characters and Robot Masters from that game may randomly appear instead. A different character to greet you every time you fire up the collection!
The main menu then appears alongside the featured character, with the following options in a list: Games, Endless Attack, Leaderboards, Achievements, Database/Gallery, Jukebox. Looking at these in reverse order...
One huge list of tunes from every game in the collection, separated by game, with an option that lets you jump to the next game in sequence without needing to scroll through every tune individually. The jukebox can be used as a straight-up music player, but you can also build a playlist of one or more tunes to use as background music while navigating the various menus and perusing the database/gallery.
Basically the same as what's available in the Legacy Collection, but covering all the games present and combining the database and gallery to avoid duplication of artwork.
I'm a firm believer in having Achievements that represent meaningful accomplishments and impel the player to experience the game in new ways, but without demanding anything so impossible or tedious that it's no longer fun. Here's what I'm thinking:
- Beat each game in the collection (that's 20 Achievements right there).
- Beat each game in the collection a second time, choosing a different first and last stage than before (another 20).
- Beat any game without getting a Game Over.
- Beat any game without dying.
- Beat any game without using special weapons.
- Beat any game using only special weapons.
- Beat any game in under an hour.
- Beat any game without using at-will recovery items or buying anything from the shop.
- Beat any ten stages without taking damage.
- Collect every nonrandom power-up in any game (i.e., all the 1-Ups, E-Tanks, etc. that are always in the same places).
- End any boss battle in a draw (both you and the boss explode at the same time).
- Survive 100 screens of any Endless Attack mode.
In lieu of some of the more outrageous Achievements as seen in Mega Man 9 and 10, online leaderboards are used to track the most superhuman accomplishments players can muster. Your completion time, damage taken, and weapon accuracy are recorded for each game overall and each individual stage. In the case of Endless Attack mode, number of screens completed is the only thing tracked. As with the Legacy Collection, you can view replays of the top players' performances.
Available after unlocking 40 Achievements. Like the Endless Attack modes in MM9 and 10, but with 500 areas mashing up challenges from every game in the collection.
All 20 games in the collection are available from the get-go. MM1-10 are listed on the left half of the screen and the rest are listed on the right half, reserving the middle portion for a slideshow of screenshots from the currently highlighted game. Once a game is selected, an options box pops up. The default option is to launch the game in Classic Mode, which preserves the game as it was originally released, but you can throw that out the window right quick with the following options:
- Text: English, English (revised) [fixes all the typos and awkward line breaks], Japanese.
- Graphics & Audio: 8-bit (NES), 8-bit (GB), 16-bit (MM7), 16-bit (Wily Wars), 32-bit (MM8).
- Starting Lives: Select how many lives you start with (0-9).
- Fast Weapon Switching: Enable or disable use of the shoulder buttons to change weapons on the fly.
- Charge SFX: A half-dozen choices for what noise the buster makes when it's charging up, from a constant hum to a little ripple to that weird woogle noise that Proto Man's buster makes. Maybe people will stop complaining now.
- (10) Energy Balancer: Enable or disable the automatic refill of weapon energy without switching weapons. In games where you can normally acquire an Energy Balancer, the item is part of your inventory from the beginning.
- (20) Slide/Charge: Enable or disable one or both (charge style options include MM4, MM5, MM7, and MMIV). A few games have one or both options locked because those abilities are required to complete the game.
- (30) Mega Mode: This mode presents an updated version of the game in question that streamlines any technical issues (rampant sprite flicker in MM2), incorporates the best parts of the different versions (finally, a definitive MM8 that combines the PS1 and Saturn perks), selectively implements unused content (basically making MM3 the game it was supposed to be), and generally polishes and improves on everything fans have been complaining about for decades, but without completely overhauling the game. The one exception is "Wily Tower," which acts as a standalone game in this collection; its Mega Mode is basically a brand-new game that adds a second fortress, incorporates challenges from every game in the collection, and allows you to choose weapons from any game you've beaten.
- (50) Character Swap: Enable or disable the ability to switch to a different hero character at will (à la MMX7 and X8). Playable characters aside from Mega Man are Proto Man (rebalanced from MM9-10 so he's actually fun to play), Bass (same as in MM10), Roll (same as in Powered Up), Auto (no knockback; bazooka), and Kalinka Cossack (fast; boomerang hat). Select which two characters you'll use throughout the game; certain cutscenes will change to fit the character selected, which gets really silly in some games.
All the in-game options from the Legacy Collection (save states, video filters, etc.) are also available for all games.
I don't know about you, but I'd pay basically any price Capcom put on that collection. Even if we got a collection with half of those features (which is a far more feasible best-case scenario), longtime fans would finally be happy. Honestly, putting MM1-10 together in a single, no-frills package is really all Capcom needs to do to make longtime fans happy; doing anything to update the games would make us ecstatic. Leaderboards and art galleries and challenge modes are just gravy, and there's gotta be enough meat for that gravy to cover. With any luck, someday we'll have a complete meal of a collection that will satisfy us for years to come.