Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mega Man Legacy: Can't Beat the Real Thing

First order of business: boxer Muhammad Ali recently died at the age of 74, adding to the list of legendary celebrities 2016 took from us. I don't know much about the sweet science, and Ali's greatest exploits were a little before my time, but after watching a few clips of the man in action, I understand why his fans respected him so much. I mean, look at this!

image from Talking Time
Ali's opponent is throwing some very solid punches, but the first swing barely brushes his cheek and the rest miss by millimeters. He dodges each blow with the skill normally reserved for a slow-motion scene in a big-budget action flick, except all this is happening in real time and there are no special effects. He was just that good.

Okay, while we're fondly reminiscing about the past, let's talk about Mega Man. Mega Man Legacy Collection is currently available on Nintendo's eShop for ten dollars. That's a damn good deal, considering that you'd have to pay three times that to get all six of its games on Nintendo's Virtual Console service. Plus you'd miss out on a gallery full of box artwork, early character designs, and promotional materials. Plus, if we can be totally honest here, the Virtual Console's emulation of NES games is kind of lacking anyway, with dim, distorted graphics.

That's not a problem with Mega Man Legacy. Its games are presented exactly as you remembered them on the NES, shortcomings included. I just finished the first title in the series, and all the little imperfections that other emulators tend to mask are right here, including the occasional slowdown and the greenish tint to Cutman's stage. Mercifully, there's also the bug where you can hammer the select button while one of your weapons is going through the Yellow Devil, emptying its life bar in seconds. I'm not sure I could beat him these days without it! Hell, I'm not sure I ever have!

Nearly thirty years after its debut, Mega Man has become more than a game... it's a part of history, and a keystone of modern gaming culture. It's crucial to preserve this history as it truly was, rather than how we'd like it to remember it, and the team at Digital Eclipse has done a fantastic job of capturing the full Mega Man experience with this collection.

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