It’s easy to dismiss Capcom’s announcement of the Mega Man Legacy Collection as both a quick cash grab and an attempt to derail Mighty Number 9. The expected release date ties in closely with Mighty Number 9’s own release, and Capcom certainly has reason to be desperate to show something– ANYTHING– Mega Man with so little to show for Mega Man fans lately.
I’ll admit I was extremely skeptical at first, myself. $15 for only the first six games? A reasonable price, to be sure– cheaper than the 3DS/Wii U Virtual Console titles– but missing at least five titles in the mainline series? Also, some may argue that Mega Man Anniversary Collection offers a better bargain now ten years later, where you can obtain a copy of the PS2 release for $10-15.
After some thought, I’ve decided the detractors are on the wrong track for the most part. While I still believe Capcom should add 7-10 to this pack if they really want a true “Legacy Collection,” I think comparisons with the Anniversary Collection are glossing over some severe issues that package had at release and even more severe issues that are apparent today.
Anniversary Collection’s versions of 1-6 were stripped, recompiled versions of the Rockman Complete Works packages that Capcom released in Japan on Playstation around 1999. While the gameplay on the RCW discs was remarkably intact, there were some noted problems with the sound.
As a result of Capcom ripping the entire NES sound system out of the NES emulator they wrote, both the music and sound effects were approximated using digital audio. Certain effects that would cut each other out (e.g. charged shots) would overlap on the RCW games. Additionally, sound balance between music and sound effects was rather poor. To make matters worse, Rockman 6 included mastering errors with the music that caused a number of music tracks to clip and distort.
Anniversary Collection on PS2 did nothing to correct these problems. Even worse, some of the additional features included on the RCW discs were removed. All reference to the aborted Pocketstation were removed, and you could not unlock the special powerups that game completion offered to repeat RCW players (for instance, doubled movement speed, faster buster charge, or halfed weapon energy usage)– all of these bonuses were completely stripped.
That’s just covering the first six games. Mega Man 7 was barely doable on the PS2 and had nasty frameskipping in order to be playable at all. The credits sequence was cut from MMAC as well, likely due to the serious performance issues. Mega Man 8 was based on the inferior Playstation version and didn’t include any of the bonus content the Saturn version had.
Then we get to the control lag. MMAC has inconsistent control latency that can make it somewhat frustrating to play. This is on a CRT, on a real PS2, mind you. Let’s only briefly contemplate how trying to play that on a modern HDTV is going to turn out.
In short, there’s actually a place for an updated modern collection that’s optimized for play on modern hardware. The question is if Capcom and Digital Eclipse can actually deliver on this. So far I’d argue the signs are mostly positive. Twitter commentary from one of the developers shows an awareness you can’t just stretch the image to 1080p and expect it to look and play well.
I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve had a chance to actually see this collection in action. That won’t keep me from advocating that Capcom really needs to either include the rest of the series, or announce a DLC upgrade, though.