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'Mega Man X Legacy': An addictive gameplay experience

Marcel Thee
Marcel Thee

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Mon, September 17, 2018 | 08:51 am
'Mega Man X Legacy': An addictive gameplay experience

Bring it on: Mega Man X Legacy Collection offers not just nostalgia but also showcases how solid the franchise is. (Courtesy of CAPCOM/-)

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 & 2 is a blast to play through and scores a whole lot of points beyond its nostalgia factor, owing to the series’ particular gameplay.

Though the sheer amount of gaming and added extras mean that older players may not be able to actually go another round through the entire series, there’s an undeniable pleasure in getting to know the game again — its sentimental value acts as icing on the cake of the true excitement of the game’s various challenges and presentation.

The collection puts together almost all of the entries in the Mega Man Xfranchise, with only a few acceptable omissions — two Xtreme Gameboy titles, the Maverick Hunter X remake released on the PSP and the offbeat spin-off role-playing game Command Mission.

These are all, of course, titles that deviated greatly from the franchise’s main storyline, so it is somewhat understandable and does not affect the overall experience that Legacy serves up.

The Mega Man X titles follow the equally (if not more) popular Mega Manseries. While the original series ran from 1987, the X series ran from 1993 up to 2004. Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 features Mega Man X, X2, X3, and X4, while the Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 has Mega Man X5, X6, X7, and X8. It is indeed a rich collection of games and they can be bought separately.

The most obvious difference between the original Mega Man and the X series, at least at a glance, is in X’s more dramatic tone — the kind that replaced the original series’ reliable consistency in gameplay and nuance with something that is more moody and experimental. This meant taking chances in the ways each game deviates from each other, resulting in some questionable changes, but mostly sustaining the colorful excitement of the series.

Unlike the original Mega Man titles, X provides its main character — this time the new robot, X — with new abilities that included a ground dash that was more flexible than in Mega Man; wall-clinging and jumping abilities; and airborne mobility. This very basic shift in far more controllable movements may seem simple, but it is a key factor that separates the X titles from its predecessors.

With X’s various abilities, the key component that made Mega Man so popular in its time was shifted. In the original series, the main character of Mega Man relied his progress on weapons that he obtained from level bosses after beating them, combined with the game’s uniqueness in letting players pick the order of the levels (and therefore bosses) they wanted to fight through. This meant that it relied in a whole lot of trial-and-error tactility to master. (X still offers this ability of using beaten bosses’ weapons, of course, even combining some of them in a few of the latter X titles.)

The abilities of X’s titular character means that players can, for the most part (though not exclusively), beat the game utilizing only X’s powers. Add to that his ability to upgrade his weaponry and armor, and his prowess alone makes him a more flexible, even brutish, character.

For fun: Colorful enemies and challenging levels make the Mega Man X series an addictive gameplay experience.For fun: Colorful enemies and challenging levels make the Mega Man X series an addictive gameplay experience. (Courtesy of CAPCOM/-)

The Legacy collection is also a great way to capture how the game shifted as it jumped from the older consoles to newer ones, beginning with the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) up to the PlayStation 2 system — the former working best in both visual and gameplay terms as its still relied on a basic 2D side-scrolling system that the series built itself upon, and the latter, some slightly clunky 3D shifts in the PS2.

While most of the titles in the series were well received, a few received less enthusiastic welcomes, namely, X7 and X8, mostly due to the former’s ineffective attempt at 3D, and the latter’s poor 2.5D effects.

Even then, the X series stood out as one of the pioneers of modern shoot-’em-ups. Furthering the effective-but-basic flourish of Mega Man, the X series was one of the first to mix elements of power-ups in various forms and modifications, continual progression, as well as pushing the limits of platform and action gaming before it became what it is today. It managed to balance all these elements well (mostly) and provided a template that has since been expanded into a variety of genres in the gaming universe.

While it wasn’t the only one, and was not the first to do so, it conjured up a lot of elements that are undeniably influential. Even the insane difficulty of some stages — the ones resulting in instadeaths in particular — are major elements in modern gaming.

The extras in these collections are enticing but relatively simple — a Hunter Medals menu that showcases the various achievements, as well as smooth anti-aliasing and CRT screen filters.

There are also some interchangeable border wallpapers, options to adjust screen size and even a special in-game manual explaining various controls, as well as an option to toggle between the English and Japanese version of the game (in Japan the game is known as Rockman). The best is the chance to go back-to-back to fight all the stage bosses, bypassing the stages entirely.

A fulfilling and most complete collection, Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 & 2provides a lot of good time — maybe too much for some. Nostalgia is a huge factor, but the great gaming is what keeps fans in love with this popular series.

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Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 & 2

Capcom Released on PS4, XBOX One, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Steam) Reviewed on Nintendo Switch and PS4

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