The Pros And Cons Of The Mega Man X Collections
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 & 2 released today and it marks Capcom's first dedicated Mega Man X release in some time. Both X and Zero have had assorted cameos in games like Marvel vs. Capcom and Project X Zone, but the last time there was a dedicated Mega Man X game was... the last time Capcom release an X collection in 2006. It still begs the question, though – what makes these collections special?
The Music Player Is Great
It includes every song from every game, as well as a handful of new and remixed songs for the menus and the new X Challenge mode. The reason it stands out in particular, though, is because you can set it to play the music while showcasing a series of clips from the assorted games.
Rookie Hunter Mode Is Welcoming
The X series is not a particularly newcomer-friendly franchise. Even the later games, which do have easy mode options, still offer quite a challenge. Rookie Hunter Mode halves damage across the board, and eliminates instant-death from spikes in X4-X8. Purists can safely ignore this mode, but I am glad it exists for those interested in the series who have never played it before.
X Challenge Mode Is Hard
On the opposite end of the challenge spectrum from Rookie Hunter is X Challenge, which pits X against two bosses at once. Sometimes it’s thematically similar bosses from the same game (like Wheel Gator and Bubble Crab from X2), but often it’s bosses from separate games (like Storm Eagle from X1 and Storm Owl from X4). Seeing the disparate bosses from different console generations on the same screen is fascinating, and for those who have played a lot of X through the years, having a brand new, legitimately difficult challenge, is awesome.
Also, the new armor created for the mode is useful and looks great.
No More Loading
The first three games, which released on Super Nintendo, really never had to deal with loading, but the later entries did and it was more than you would expect for 2D games on platforms that predominantly played 3D games. Thankfully, loading is pretty much completely gone. You might get a flash of a loading screen here and there, but it’s usually gone before you even realize what you were looking at.
Nice To See The Day Of Σ On A Big Screen
The Day Of Σ is a 25-minute animated short included on the PSP remake of Mega Man X, Mega Man Maverick Hunter X. It serves as a prequel to Mega Man X showcasing a time before Sigma turned Maverick, and for longtime Mega Man X fans, it is an awesome treat. Mega Man Maverick Hunter X is not included in the collection, but The Day Of Σ is and it’s nice to finally watch it on a big screen.
You have To Change The Default Visuals
When you start the game – any of the games – it defaults the filter to smooth out the game’s pixels and it looks rough. If you’ve seen any of the Final Fantasy games running on iOS (or the iOS version of Mega Man X) then you’re familiar with this look. If you like the smoothed out pixels, that’s great, but even then I would recommend changing it.
With the initial filter turned on, you will see random pixels flash and move, even when X (or Zero) is standing still, which you can see if you look closely at the GIF above. Thankfully it’s an easy fix to just turn the filter off, and the games end up looking much better.
Splitting The Game Into Two Release Is Weird
The price isn’t too bad for the two games at $19.99 each, or $39.99 to bundle them, but having them split into two releases feels unnecessary. I don’t like having separate achievements/trophies for the two games, and exiting one to play the other is dumb. I would have much preferred having all the games in one comprehensive, singular piece of software.
The Museum Content Has Little Development Insight
Overall, the museum is great. Every game has tons of artwork, and there is even plenty of plot and character information included with each game. Unfortunately, you won’t find much insight into any of the games’ development. You can see early sketches of bosses, levels, and enemies, but no context for anything, which is a disappointment.
Mega Man X3's Animated Cutscenes Are Nowhere To Be Found
Mega Man X3 released on Super Nintendo, which is the version of the game included with the collection, but outside of the United States, it also released on PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Those versions of the game included a collection of anime cutscenes, but those scenes are not present on this collection. They were present in the 2006 Mega Man X Collection as that collection ported the PlayStation game instead of the SNES game. Ultimately, I prefer having the SNES game, but I would have liked to see those scenes included in the same way The Day Of Σ was included in the museum.
These are elements of the collection that are neither good or bad, but just notes I took while playing through these classics.
Loading Saves Is Odd On The SNES Games
For Mega Man X4 and beyond, accessing saves works just as they did on their original platforms, but it took me a minute to figure out how to load my saves for X1-X3. You have to go to the password screen and then you will find the load option there. You can always use passwords just as you did in the past, too, if you want a truly nostalgic experience.
Tidal Whale a.k.a. Duff McWhalen Is Not A Man
But he seems to think he is.
This Part Is Still Awesome
It’s still incredibly satisfying.
Vile Is Very Particular About Placement
This just made me laugh
Goo Shaver Is A Bad Weapon Name
Earned from Tidal Whale in Mega Man X5, Goo Shaver is a very stupid name for a weapon meant to destroy robots.
Why Didn’t The Games Reference Past Bosses More?
I loved this! In Mega Man X4, you can find Chill Penguin and Blizzard Buffalo encased in ice, and in Mega Man X5, Volt Kraken references a prior relationship with Launch Octopus. It’s awesome and I wish the games did it more.
This Is When You Knew Things Got Serious
This moment in Mega Man X3 made me realize I was fighting a war, not just destroying mean robots modeled after animals. Why else would he use a word like "Damn"?
This Is My Favorite Death Cab For Cutie Song
This weapon pre-dates this song by eight years. Coincidence?
X’s Voice In Mega Man X4 Is Awful
Despite being more than 30 years old and fighting a war against insane robots for all of his life, in Mega Man X4, X sounds like a child. It’s bad and I hate it.
The Secret Image Is Disappointing
Prior to release, it was uncovered the game would have an achievement/trophy with the following description: View 20 images across all four titles, then change the wallpaper to the secret image. The conclusion we all jumped to is it would be similar to a secret image discovered in Mega Man Legacy Collection that teased Mega Man 11. Unfortunately, the image attached to that trophy/achievement is the wallpaper you can see right here. I suppose I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up.
No Save States
On the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS Virtual Console versions of the SNES games, and in the SNES Classic Edition of Mega Man X, save states were available. It's not a deal breaker that they don't appear here, but it would have been nice.
Overall, both collections offer a great way to re-experience the Mega Man X series, or play it for the first time. None of my complaints are deal-breakers, and the additional content added outside of the main games absolutely make it worth a look for those new to the series who want to see what all the fuss is about, or veterans who want to take on a new challenge while having all the games readily accessible on a modern console.