The Mega Man X series is finally back in action, although not in a new game yet. The Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 are compilations that include most of the home console game releases of the Mega Man X series, from Mega Man X all the way to Mega Man X8. As the compilations are actually sold separately (with a bundle being available for people who want both), I’ll also review each of them individually.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection includes the first four Mega Man X games. Unlike the previously released collection, the version of Mega Man X3 that is included this time is the SNES version. For Mega Man X4, the PlayStation version is once again used as base. Besides the games, the collection also includes a music player, an illustration gallery, a merchandise gallery, “The Day of Σ” OVA (previously released in Maverick Hunter X for PSP), a trailer gallery, and last but not least, a completely new game called X Challenge. All of these options are available in a nice and easy to use menu.
For every game, the collection gives you the option to select how you want to set the screen size to. There are three options, original size, best fit, and stretch. In original size, as might expect, the game screen doesn’t really fill the screen on any side but you get to see each pixel perfectly defined. Best fit increases the game screen size but sacrifices the perfect pixel appearance you get from the original size mode. In best fit, you only get borders on the left and right of the screen but not on the top and bottom. Finally, the stretch mode does what you might expect, it stretches the game’s screen to cover the full widescreen size of current TVs. This means that there will be no borders around the game screen but all game images will look squished.
The X Legacy Collection also gives you the option to use an image filter for each game too. The two options available are smooth and CRT. Of course, if you want, you can also choose to not apply any filter and see the games in their original quality.
The smooth graphics option applies a filter that’s really similar to what you may have seen from 2D console emulators. It tries to make each pixel more round and overall make the games look less blocky. The end result, though, just makes the game look like a cheap flash game instead.
The other filter, CRT, tries to make the game look like if it was being played on an old TV by adding fake scanlines. The results of this filter are more successful than the previous as it feels like it doesn’t mess with the game’s art. It’s decent and offers a way to make you feel like if you were playing on an old TV.
Overall, the four Mega Man X games included in this collection are great games. But, as with any compilation, the real reason to review them is more about how well they play or are emulated than how good the original releases were.
The first three Mega Man X games included are all taken from the SNES. Unfortunately, all three suffer from a slightly noticeable input lag. Even though the games are quite playable, this does make the games not feel as tight and responsive as they originally were. Even playing the first Mega Man X game on the SNES Classic feels a lot closer to the original than playing it in this collection.
There’s also a few times in which the games’ framerate has a small hiccup and it also felt like the sound was slightly delayed throughout these games. Again, nothing that makes the games unplayable but something that definitely detracts from the experience. Besides that, though, there’s no other issue to report. It’s also worth noting that the collection replicates the slowdown that was found in the original releases, so that’s not really an issue with the emulation.
Mega Man X4 is based on the PlayStation version. Overall, the game runs pretty well. The input delay feels much less here and loading times have been considerably decreased. There were a few modifications done here, though. First of all, it’s worth mentioning that if you have an American or European copy of the collection, all the Japanese songs have been taken out. Even if you set the game edition to Japanese, you’ll get the American opening song. Also, a few cutscenes, have been slightly edited. An example is the opening movie which has decreased brightness in a certain part, probably as a safety measure against an accidental epilepsy attack.
The collection includes the option to switch between the US and the Japanese edition of each game. Each edition also comes with its own set of save files, which means that X1 to X3 have two “save files” (it simply backups your password) while X4 has 12 save files in total (6 per edition). Features like saving states or rewind are not available. Instead, the only way to make the games easier is an option called “Rookie Mode”. When enabled, damage you receive will be reduced.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection includes a feature called Hunter Medals, which are basically like achievements that you can get for clearing certain objectives in the collection. These objectives are actually well designed and include challenges related to what you can do inside each of the games and a few of them even unlock a few extras like new borders.
The extra game mode called X Challenge is exactly what it was advertised as, an extra challenge mode where you just simply fight against two bosses from the series at the same time. There are nine stages to beat and each stage is divided into three battles. A few of the boss sets are different when compared to the other X Collection. The mode also has three difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, and Hard. There’s no real story in this mode, the game simply states that previously beaten bosses are suddenly back. The gameplay in this mode is based on Mega Man X6, with crouching and the Z-Saber available. Overall, the mode is simply quite erratic and in no way designed to be balanced. It’s a fun experiment but even the easiest difficulty could be quite difficult to someone who is just starting with the series.
After finishing each level, your score will be calculated based on time remaining and damage taken. This will then be uploaded to an online highscore table where you can see how you did compared to the rest of the world. This table also includes the list of weapons used by each player, so you can also use it as reference as to which weapons to use when trying to go for a better performance.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: The reviewer purchased a copy of this title for the review.