I finally got around to watching the E3 streams (day 1, 2, and 3) of Mega Man Legacy Collection, and wouldn’t you know it I felt compelled to write down a huge block of text just based on watching those 3 hours of footage starring game producer Rey Jimenez, Digital Elipse game preservationist Frank Cifaldi, and Capcom press representatives Brett Elston and Greg Moore. Remember that all the following things are based on an unfinished version of the game, so things can (and hopefully some will) change in the final. Get ready for some nitpicky commentary!
So first and foremost, lag and sprite flickering are in. Some of which was actually coded into the original games themselves as a workaround to Famicom/NES limitations. Glitches and zips and leftover debug tricks (Mega Man 3’s second controller hijinks) are all in too. New glitches have also been created from the work the team has done, not intentionally I think but simply as a matter of creating this new engine and pouring the old code into it. One glitch we got to see in Mega Man 1 was Wily’s sprite appearing in front of the spaceship during his stage select demo. This one they said is already fixed in the post-E3 current build of the game. Another glitch happened when a ricocheted mega buster shot killed an enemy in Air Man’s stage. A plinked shot (in any version I remember playing at least) should not harm enemies on its way off the screen. No word on whether that will be fixed.
There will be one any-time savestate for each game. I’m good with that. Savestates make modern day gaming super convenient. It’s true the original games didn’t have it, but I feel like it’s something nobody should complain about outside of challenge mode.
No shoulder button weapon scrolling or single-button slide, but there is a rapid fire button. I’m not going to miss the one-touch slide too much, but being able to scroll through weapons without entering menus was a great addition to the 1999 Playstation re-releases of Rockman 1-6 and the Mega Man Anniversary Collection. It’s also something Mega Man 7, 8 and 10 did built-in, essentially as soon as shoulder buttons were standard on controllers. And it’s not like they’re hurting for buttons in this collection… It would have just been a lot of work to implement that they didn’t want to do basically, but they tried passing it off as “inauthentic” and against the mission statement of the game even while they put in save state functionality.
They said they wanted the glitches and zips present in this collection to appeal to speed runners, but honestly, I think speed runners would be overjoyed to have a version where the lag is removed and the shoulder-button weapon scrolling is there. And many speed runners prefer the Japanese versions anyway for various reasons, like certain subtle tweaks or for having less text. I think they misunderstood their audience with this.
Love those TV and Monitor filters! I can’t wait to play with scan lines and burn-in. No, seriously. I mean it. I have real nostalgia for that old TV/arcade cabinet look. I’m one of the ones they made that for. I’m old. I like this. Whatever.
Now about the “CRT” color filter, I’m much less jazzed about that. I think the way they went about it was a bit silly. Frank Cifaldi said the choices came from comparing the output on 4 different CRT monitors and filtering everything with tint tweaks based on the Japanese Rockman 3 manual. Sounds all well and good, so what’s my beef? CRT TV colors could vary between models and manufacturers, and even the age and wear of the TV. CRTs had color and tint and brightness and sharpness tuners, just as TVs and monitors do today. Saying “this is how it was supposed to look on CRTs” is not in my view a very valid statement. There was not just one way. Nobody knows what monitors the develipers at Capcom Japan were using. Nobody even knows if every monitor the game developers worked for all those years were the same model (likely they were changed out at some point), so colors could vary from workstation to workstation. Comparing to the screen captures from the Rockman 3 manual which they scanned and blew up does not extend color validity across every Mega Man game from 1987 to 1993. We don’t know when and how those screens were captured. Taking a photograph of a screen does not get a uniform result. We also don’t know if they were all taken by the same person on the same monitor on the same camera, whether that was a monitor used for development or something is done in a separate area. On top of that, those colors can change based on the printing of the manual itself, as well as how their scanner interpreted the colors and pigments. There are layers upon layers of possible distortion to something that was never standard in the first place. So on top of what is a shaky subjective premise to begin with — judging how these decades old pixels were “meant to” look — and then asserting that fans’ eyes were wrong because they were too used to playing the games on emulators, yeah, that wasn’t too cool. But Frank Cifaldi has since then said on Twitter that yes the color for Cut Man’s stage was a bit off and they would continue to tweak it. The whole thing might be better off as a separate toggle for the color filter anyway. We shall have to wait and see what happens with that.
There are borders you can toggle on and off when you aren’t in widescreen mode. They are basic bits of official art strung together to fill part of the space. Not as interesting as MM10 did with sprites and poses and things, and none of the borders are animated. They mentioned that the border doesn’t cover the “undrawn” leftmost space for certain games, so I expect that’s going to look a bit odd at times. It’s a decent idea implemented roughly adequately, is about all I can say about these.
The Database, finally adopted into English from the 1999 Playstation re-releases, I’m excited about seeing. They were noticeably absent from the 2004 Mega Man Anniversary Collection. A little different in that they changed out the sprites for the artwork, but it makes sense. They collected the sprites in the museum instead, and they aren’t separated out by enemy, so I guess linking it to the individual artwork was easiest. I really like the implementation of being able to challenge bosses through this mode to practice with them. There was an error many people noticed that Crash Man’s weakness was listed as Crash Bombs. Since this E3 demo is an older build, it might already be corrected.
There will unfortunately be none of the extra bells and whistles carried over from the Playstation versions, like playing as helmetless Rock or Navigation modes where characters give you advice and instant passwords or equip-able items (like energy balancer, speed walk or high jump), no selectable extra life defaults and easy-medium-hard modes (Mega Man 2 will still have its American option of “Normal” or “Diffucult” which is the choiceless default in Rockman 2). The Playstation version also had challenge modes though, and we are getting our own custom version of that.
The museum holds all the internal reference and concept art, which is great to see. The only disappointing thing I saw was that the NA and EU box art is missing from the Museum for Mega Man 1 and 2 (there is one European MM2 art piece included, but there were 2 different boxes in Europe). I guess they couldn’t find the original versions or quality scans that suited the level of zoom they wanted to enable. No surprise the originals are AWOL, with Capcom’s historical tendency to sell off their in-house assets to private collectors. But it’s a shame that the famously bad box art isn’t present. To me those original NES covers were a big part of what is the “authentic” Mega Man nostalgia experience (so much so Capcom even aped it for Mega Man 9 and 10). It seems high quality rips of the original North American cover art is now rarer than any other region.
The music section is a good idea. Some of the 1999 PS versions had that too, but it seemed more interesting then because there was new music and we didn’t have official mp3s of the soundtracks easily available for download already. There won’t be any remixed tracks outside what’s in the menus, just the original tunes in the highest generated quality available. I think if you want to hear Mega Man music in a casual way this game isn’t what you’d go to first, but it’s a nice feature just the same.
The challenges modes are what I’m really looking forward to. They said they were inspired by NES Remix, although the ones they had to show were basically getting through certain bosses or portions of the games with none of the sections actually remixed so far. Still, it’s the part of the game I’m most excited about, and there’s some really great potential for fun and interesting new challenges. They also have starry screen transitions from Mega Man 2, which you can turn into pipis by holding A. Nice!
Another nice thing they did was use a recreation of the met construction art from Mega Man 4’s preview demo, even though Cifaldi got confused and said it came from Mega Man 5 (which it might have also been used for, anyway). It’s used for blocking off game sections 3-6 they didn’t want people to play yet, but it would be nice if they had those sprites in the museum too.
So in short, the things I hope they fix:
-Ricocheted bullets causing damage to enemies in Mega Man 2
(Errors in the database/museum:)
-Cut Man’s weapon listed as “Cut Blade” instead of “Rolling Cutter”
-Crash Man’s weakness listed as Crash Bombs
-Two “Smoke Man” unused boss entries (one of them should be “Shout Man”)
And it’s probably past this point, but having the North American box art for all the titles would have been really great.
I think that’s it for what I saw there. I’m looking forward to getting the game on steam and 3DS, where I suspect there will be some really nice 3D implementation (if there isn’t, that’s sure a missed opportunity). I’m excited that this was a Capcom US initiative, I think it’s a great value at $14.99. Will this be the “criterion collection” of Mega Man 1-6? I don’t know yet. I just want to see it turn out the best it can be.
Thanks for reading all this!