I love Mega Man, but even I only had a small amount of experience with the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX series. They just don’t seem to get as much love or appreciation as the classic Mega Man or Mega Man X games. So I was excited for the Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection, which is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC (I played on Switch).
This gave me a chance to check out a bunch of Mega Man games I had either never played or barely tinkered with before. And it does so with a lovely package full of new features and faithful ports.
What you’ll like
Six great action-platformers
The collection comes with six games, Mega Man Zero through Mega Man Zero 4, Mega Man ZX, and Mega Man ZX Advent. All of these titles range from good to great. They’re all action-platformers with a focus on dashing, wall-jumping, and combat. Each games gives you a buster (ranged weapon similar to the classic Mega Man bullets) and Z-saber (that lightsaber-esque thing that Zero uses in the Mega Man X games), but each one keeps things fresh by introducing new weapons.
If you play through the games chronologically, you’ll experience some nice continuity. The four Mega Man Zero games tell one big stroy, and ZX and ZX Advent set themselves years after those events, but with plenty of references to the characters you’ve met through the Zero saga. And even though ZX and ZX Advent came out for the DS, this collection does a good job of porting the experiences to single-screen devices.
Above: Pretty sprites!
I like this feature so much that I wrote a whole story about it, but I’ll summarize it for you here. This collection adds a mode for every game, which you can turn on or off at any time, that places save points throughout every level. If you die, you’re brought back to the last save point you touched with full health and without losing a life.
These games are all hard. For many, they are too hard. Even someone who likes a retro-style challenge like me got frustrated trying to beat the first Mega Man Zero without the save assist feature on. This mode makes it easier to enjoy the fun things about the game, like the challenging platforming and boss fights, without having to replay large sections of levels after every death or (even worse) game over.
And if you really do crave an intense challenge, you can turn save assist off.
The Mega Man franchise has a lot of the best music in gaming, and a lot of its fans know songs like the stage theme for Metal Man from Mega Man 2 or for Boomer Kuwanger from Mega Man X by heart. The music in these six games, while not as iconic, is also fantastic. And after listening to many of the same Mega Man songs for decades, it was fun discovering these “new” tunes. The collection also includes a great music player that makes it easy to play through each title’s soundtrack.
Above: The ZX games have a more connected world.
Z Chaser is a new mode created just for this collection. It takes sections of levels from each game, including boss fights, and turns them in time trial experiences. You can race against a friend in simultaneous two-player action or fight against the world via online leaderboards. It’s a great way to keep enjoying the Mega Man experience even after you’ve beaten every game in the collection.
What you won’t like
Small flaws in each game
These are all good games, but they do have some problems, although most of them small. Many of them have obtuse systems that the games themselves don’t explain very well, like how getting a good stage rank in Mega Man Zero 2 or Mega Man Zero 3 can actually help you learn new abilities. Then there’s the map in Mega Man ZX, which is a pain to read. I had to keep a map from an online walk through handy while playing through it.
Above: Zero has access to a lot of weapons throughout the series.
Shoulder button mapping
Each game has options to remap button inputs, but you can only use two of four shoulder buttons on the Switch. Infuriatingly, you can only use the two bumper buttons, which are far less comfortable to use than the larger triggers.
This is another fantastic collection of Mega Man games, this time highlighting two series that you may have missed if you didn’t have a Game Boy Advance or DS. If you love Mega Man, especially the Mega Man X series, but haven’t played these games, you’re going be thrilled. If you’re already a fan of Zero and ZX, you’ll love having all of the titles bundled together in this loving package.
Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection comes out on February 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. Capcom gave us a code for the Switch version for this review.
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