If you are a fan of 2D platform shooters, then there is no doubt that you’ve probably played a Mega Man game before. However, during the franchise life span, we have seen the franchise splinter into various series spanning multiple consoles. Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection brings us their handheld series Mega Man Zero 1, 2, 3 & 4 which released on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance and Mega Man ZX & ZX advent which were Nintendo DS exclusives. The series would eventually be ported to the forgetful Nintendo Wii U.
Unlike traditional Mega Man and the Mega Man X series, Mega Man Zero introduced numerous changes to the franchise such as a deeply integrated story, RPG mechanics and a Metroidvania map layout all wrapped around some beautifully designed anime cut scenes. Capcom really took some chances expanding the Mega Man universe with this series and maybe this is the reason that they were only available on Nintendo handhelds. But that was the past and here in the present, we are fortunate to have the entire Mega Man universe available to us which now includes these once forgotten treasures.
Mega Man Zero continues the journey of Zero from Mega Man X. After disappearing for over 100 years, he is found by a human scientist named Ciel. Over this time it appears Zero has lost his memory but agrees to help Ciel and her Reploids against an evil group out to destroy them. As the game progresses, Zero starts to regain his memory which puts the entire story into perspective for the player. The storytelling is told via character dialogue boxes and anime cut scenes. Giving Zero this temporary memory loss is a smooth way of continuing the story for franchise players, while also slowly integrating new players as Zero regains his memory.
This core story carries over throughout the six games, however the gameplay elements do not. Mega Man Zero included the Metroidvania map design while 2 and 3 returned to traditional Mega Man level design and reintroduced the boss level select screen. Mega Man Zero 4 is highly regarded as the best of the series due to level design, new weapons, and an intriguing crafting system. ZX and its sequel “Advent” introduced the ability to switch between a male/female protagonist. This change felt organic to the story and not a change for the sake of change.
Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is packed with additional content. If you press to the left on the main menu, then you will see all 4 Mega Man Zero games with 3 additional tabs below. The first is “Gallery” which provides high-res images from each Zero game. Below this tab is “Music Player”. Here you can find all the audio tracks from each level. The 3rd tab brings you to the new “Chaser” mode. Think of it as a speed run mode. You can change the difficulty setting and go solo or head to head with a friend. There is also a world record mode. This mode will load the current speed run leader’s run alongside your run. This mode is smelling salt for those who think they are the true “Master Blaster” in Mega Man. At one point I gave up and just watched in amazement at the speed run that shamed me.
If you move to the right on the main menu, a similar list will appear for ZX and Advent. I’ve always appreciated these additions in a collection but wished they would go a step further and add some concept art, or official TV commercials for the games. In regards to gameplay settings, we have a solid amount of options. For screen aspects we have 4, they are labeled “type” but provide a preview window displaying each one ranging from original platform size to full screen. The default type is a good middle ground which provides some cool art bezels. Speaking of bezels, there are 8 to choose from. There are also 2 screen filters that you can apply if you really want to ramp up the nostalgia. By default, save assist” is on. I know there are some purest the prefer the challenge Mega Man is known for, but it’s great to have the option to have saved checkpoints.
All 6 games look and sound great. This is usually not the case when it comes to old handheld ports. Capcom really took the time to ensure Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection was on par with their previous Mega Man collections and even outside the franchise with Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection.
Overall, Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection gives fans of both the franchise and Zero series everything they could want. When doing this review I discovered a large majority of people were either unaware of their existence or never had a chance to play them. Capcom has been on a roll as of late building these high-quality collections and for anyone who is a Mega Man fan this is a must-have and for those on the fence take note, this collection is available at a bargain price of only $29.99.
– Clean user interface
– Good assortment of gameplay settings
– including an unexpected game mode in “Chaser”
– The inability to skip cut scenes
– would have liked some concept art or TV commercial
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Mega Man/ZX Legacy Collection for the PlayStation 4 provided by Capcom.