I’m absolutely terrible at Mega Man games. If you sat me down and had me play any of the traditional Mega Man games from the original NES game, all the way to the SNES Mega Man X games, you’d be lucky to see me beat one of them in an entire day. I’ve always been terrible at those games, whether you consider them hard or not, they’re just those games that for whatever reason I cannot get the mechanics down. Yet I still loved the series and still do, despite Capcom’s best efforts to completely disacknowledge the existence of this series.
So when I was first exposed to Mega Man Legends, or for me specifically since I didn’t have a PlayStation, Mega Man 64, it was amazing for me to not only find a Mega Man game that I wasn’t absolute garbage at, but also I game I loved even more than the traditional side-scrollers.
I remember going to the video store to rent some N64 games (yes, that’s a thing we used to do) and I came across this game on the shelf. Now I knew a little bit about Mega Man, I’d played a few games here and there at friends’ places, I never owned or rented a Mega Man game before finding the N64 copy that day. When I rented the game, I assumed I was going to play your traditional Mega Man game, not the action anime RPG that I ended up playing and absolutely falling in love with.
Instead of the traditional Dr. Wily, fight a bunch of robots with specific powers, gain their powers and get to the final boss, the game plays a lot more like an action/adventure game with RPG elements, having you face giant robot bosses in these elaborate towers, not to mention the constant follies in the Bonnes, a group of air pirates led by the ever-so threatening Tron Bonne, who may just be my favourite character in the two Legends games.
It was a nice change of pace for me. Instead of the frantic, skill-based difficulty that was the traditional Mega Man classics, this game was a lot more lenient with players, being more about the open world and the story of the game, rather than the classic bosses, the powerups, all the usual Mega Man fodder. It’s not to say that the game was easy, I can remember having a ton of trouble with a few missions and a couple bosses, in particular the final boss of the game, I spent a couple hours fighting that prick until I finally took him down.
To replace the whole “no enemy weapons” gimmick the classic games offer, Mega Man Legends allows players to fully customize their Mega Buster however they want. They can have a super fast gatling gun level of buster, they can have a powerful slow sniper buster, they can have a completely right down the middle level of buster, they’re welcome to customize it to fire however they want so it fits their play style, whether they want speed, range, power, whatever they feel is best suited for them. Naturally, I’m on a giant power trip in games, so I built myself to deal as much damage as possible in a single shot.
Oddly enough, I think this may be the first time, or at least one of the first times I was exposed to a more anime-style kind of graphical representation in a video game, in fact it may have been the first time I was exposed to anime if I’m not counting Sailor Moon and Pokemon, which at the time as a kid I looked at more like cartoons. I really liked the style the games had and for a game that originally came out in 1997 in Japan, it looks very good for that time (it really makes me feel old to know the PlayStation is over 20 years old now…) and upon it’s re-release to the N64 in 2000, it looks fantastic as well. Granted, if I played either the original or the sequel now, I can’t hide the fact that it’s not aged well, which makes it further depressing for another reason…
It depresses me to no end how after playing the original game on N64 and the sequel on my PlayStation 2 when backwards compatibility was still a thing (I still own my copy of MML2), we may never seen a sequel to that series. For years there were rumours and leaks of plans, screenshots, whatever pertaining to a third entry into the Legends series, but Capcom has officially declared it cancelled and because they don’t seem to care about one of their most popular and critically acclaimed franchise in their company’s history for some reason, it also seems likely we may never see another Mega Man game again, let alone a third Legends game. Not to mention that Mighty No.9 has also shown us that even the original creator of the series can’t make good Mega Man games anymore, so the odds of Mega Man returning to his former glory is so unlikely that it hurts.
If you’ve never had the chance to play one of the Legends games, you really should, especially if you’re a big Mega Man fan. The two games are extremely underrated, not talked about as much as they should be and are just great games that put the series in a whole new light before the Battle Network games came along, the Zero games, ZX, Star Force, all the Mega Man spinoffs after the Legends series came out. They’re fantastic games and you are doing yourself a major disservice to not play them.