I should preface this by saying that Mega Man X is one of my favorite games of all time. I threw thousands of hours at it as a kid, and I still play it regularly as an adult. I played 2, 3, and 4 as well, but not near the same – I think I had only beaten 3 and 4 once, and I never owned them. I stopped paying attention after the fourth installment, and had never played anything on the second collection before. I've also played and beaten every single game in the classic franchise, which I adore as well.
I'd heard that the later X installments were not great, but still picked up the collection to both support the franchise and to experience them firsthand.
Anyways, here's some thoughts on each game:
Mega Man X – As I said before, I am a little biased, but this is as good as Mega Man gets for me. The controls are tight, the pixel art is classic, and the gameplay is streamlined. It's simple, and it gets simple right in a way that some of the later ones fail to understand. There isn't a collect-a-thon aspect, so every upgrade, heart, and tank feels meaningful. The soundtrack is incredible – Storm Eagle, Boomer Ku(banger), and Spark Mandrill are all standouts. Also, the story, again while simple, makes sense, and it was cool to see Zero as a badass. I remember freaking out as a kid seeing him for the first time. Also it has the best Zero design (no green nipples) – don't @ me. The ONE issue I have with this game is that the Sigma stages are all grouped together as a single password, so you have to have some time set aside to actually finish the game.
Mega Man X2 – I know a lot of people would put this one as the perfection of the formula, and I can understand that. The Upgraded X looks cool, there's Black Zero, and you get the air dash that becomes a staple of every game afterwards. I think, however, the game is letdown by the X-Hunter/Zero parts storyline that can be a real pain in the ass if you don't know what you're doing, or don't want to backtrack so much. Also, Sigma is an absolute joke.
Mega Man X3 – This game seems to be very polarizing for people. The beginning of the game can be brutal if you're trying to figure things out (why does everything do so much damage?) and there is WAY too much stuff to collect. Seriously, they went completely overboard with the Ride armors and second upgrade capsules, and there's so much you can miss. Hell, even some of the upgrades are straight AWFUL (the buster upgrade is actually a downgrade…) You can play as Zero, but it's not great, and if he dies, he's gone forever. The music is also just..not…good. I ended up playing it with the sound turned off and listening to Heaven or Las Vegas in my headphones instead. Despite all of this, I think the bosses are really fun, and I actually love the additional challenge the game brings. I think really that this game is not great on the first playthrough, but becomes pretty solid if you actually know what you're doing and can collect the upgrades. The payoff with the GOLD armor and Z-Saber are awesome, and the upward dash is something that I wish the rest of the games had.
Mega Man X4 – I played this one twice – once as X and once as Zero. They are very different experiences. I'm really sorry, but playing as X, this game is not very good. The difficulty is pitifully easy and it makes the game boring as hell. Every single boss has Spark Mandrill syndrome – once you have their weakness, they are absolutely worthless, and going buster-only doesn't really make them much more difficult. This is all until you get to Sigma's final stage, which is an insane spike in difficulty. People complain about the Kaiser Sigma fight in X3, but this one gets a pass somehow? Also X's voice is cancer – "take this!" Anyways, onto Zero who is the saving grace of this game, because I swear this game was made to be played as Zero. It is so much more fun, and the bosses actually present a decent challenge. Even the story makes more sense as Zero (plus you get the god-tier cutscenes). Clearing the stages and chaining your different abilities is exciting and just feels better from a gameplay standpoint than blasting things with X. They did a great job designing his attacks as well – most players will probably use his three-hit combo at first, but his best ability is his aerial attack. It comes out super fast, has a huge hit-box, and protects you from getting hit while moving, teaching you to stay airborne, which is really the best strategy for most bosses with Zero. Sigma was also WAY easier with Zero because you can melt his gun-form with the rising fire attack. Zero really keeps this game from me wondering, "What am I playing foooooor?"
Mega Man X5 – In the intro stage of X4, you are treated to falling blocks that can crush you for damage, or kill you if you get trapped in the wrong spot. There's also a stage in which you traverse a train that keeps blowing apart and you have to jump from one car to the next. It's intuitive and easy to see what to do. So why is there a Navi-from-hell type character introduced to literally stop me playing the game to tell me these same exact things one game later? And this just typifies the mistakes made in this game – it tries to do way too much for no reason. And ironically, it doesn't explain anything that you'd actually want to know about collecting items, or how the world changes the longer the hours countdown. There are other weird design choices as well, such as X not being able to shoot through walls as he could in every other game, or the fact that I have to collect all the upgrades to use any of them, or including a countdown in a series that celebrates exploration. Defenders of X5 will say that the countdown doesn't matter and won't affect you – so why include it at all?? It's just a bad design. Just like having RNG for the ending. Playing as X feels better than X4 though, so I will give it that as a positive.
Mega Man X6 – I'm not even going to talk about the myriad of plot issues in this game since the plots have been moronic since X4, and that's not really why I play these games. However, I will say that the translation issues are absolutely ridiculous. As far as the game itself, the bosses are incredibly easy (with the worst names ever, btw) but the stages are the most broken, rage-inducing things ever put into a Mega Man game. They are unfair and awful, and I don't just mean the obstacles or billion nightmare viruses that will infuriate you – I mean stuff like in Ground Scaravich's stage, you can miss the armor upgrade if you don't get the right RNG…just..why? Why does this game hate the people playing it? I guess they tried to make it ok by giving you effectively infinite lives, but it doesn't work that way. This is just a bad game. Not even Zero can save it, which is unfortunate because he is badass in X6. Honestly, this game could be fixed quite a bit by just toning down the absolute insanity of the levels. I REALLY wanted to like it, but just..no.
Mega Man X7 – I know that I said in the previous game that I wouldn't talk about the moronic plot, but since X7 relies on it so much more than the gameplay, I'll just have to say – THIS. PLOT. SUCKS. The other games are action games framed with a thin plot that lets you blow up cyborgs and robots, this one is a fake RPG that happens to have semi-action gameplay within it, so it needs to have a good plot to carry you through. Except they keep the SAME thin plot the other ones have, and under a microscope, it falls apart – which should have been obvious to anyone who played any of the other games. I also say semi-action gameplay because the gameplay is ass. I don't mind it being 3D, if only they had actually made it…good. I do think the series has room to evolve and 3D is an ok way to go, but the players just don't feel good at all. Zero is the worst; they massacred my boy. Finally, Axl sucks. I get that they wanted to innovate and do something different, but they just missed at every aspect of this game.
Mega Man X8 – By the time I got to X8, I had been beaten, smashed, and crushed into the ground by the previous two games, so I was not looking forward to this game at all. I tried to finish it as fast as possible. This game is ugly as hell even compared to X7, and the animations are weird. The proportions of the 3D sprites are just strange looking. The gameplay again is just not very fun, the stages are boring, and the bosses are mediocre. It's almost like the creators of the X series felt like I did – let's just finish this thing as fast as possible and be done with our last dying breath of Mega Man X, there's no reason for us to go on…what are we designing X games for?!?! I really hope they make an X9 at some point, but please either hire new people, or find someway to be passionate about the series first, rather than squeaking out a luke-warm shart that only seems better because last time you completely shit the bed.
TL;DR – I would 100% say that the Legacy Collection 1 is worth the money. I would 100% say that Legacy Collection 2 is absolutely not worth buying unless you want to support the franchise or play X5. The one thing I wish they included is some sort of save-state, but it's not a huge problem considering the games are not the hardest regardless.
- After replaying the Mega Man X series, I feel as though the series got progressively worse with each new game.
- Mega Man X-X8 is Ready to Rock! 100% Guide (w/Achievements) for the series!
- Ninja Gaiden 3 : Razor’s Edge – disappointing but still worth playing
More about Gaming NewsPost: "Just played through the Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2 – the Series is the franchise at is best…and worst." specifically for the game Gaming News. Other useful information about this game:
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