I was finally able to put two and two together, or so I think. Capcom announced years ago that they were making Mega Man 9, and it was 100% in the style of the classic NES Mega Man games. Of course, it wasn’t truly an NES Mega Man game, as it was being released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. But they took great pains to make the game look and feel the same as the first six. As a result, I think they had a competent and modern Mega Man game engine in their hands, and didn’t know what to do with it. 2015 rolled around, and the Mega Man Legacy Collection was there to greet us. It contains the first six Mega Man games (all of which were for NES), but what I figured out is that these are not the original games but re-creations thereof. So, Capcom appears to have reused tech to remake classic Mega Man games with a new engine, possibly the same engine that gave us Mega Man 9.
There are two primary enhancements. We no longer have sprite-flicker, which plagued the original games (and just about every NES game). We also don’t have sound dropouts. The NES could handle four sound channels, but if another sound were included, one channel had to get knocked off the track temporarily. This primarily occurred with sound effects, where one part of the music is muted so the sound effect can play. This problem no longer exists. Additional enhancements are fantastic responsiveness with controls, a native 720p (triple the original 240p/i) resolution that scales to 4K and beyond, and features the original game couldn’t include, such as the ability to save anywhere with save states, and a curious rewind feature that lets you repeat difficult segments ad nauseum until you get it right. These are six enhanced remakes, no doubt about it.
That being said, though, Mega Man is actually no stranger to remakes. Five Mega Man games exist on Game Boy as games which borrow ideas from their console counterparts, without being direct ports, and differ a fair amount. The Mega Man: The Wily Wars for Sega Genesis was a remake of the first three Mega Man games. There was a Mega Man for DOS, that was followed by Mega Man 3 for DOS (who knows what happened to Mega Man 2 for DOS). There was even a Mega Man for Game Gear, which is said to be a hybrid of 4 and 5. If we’re really being honest, the Mega Man Legacy Collection is a collection of remakes as well. We’d have something really special if all of these strange offshoots were part of what was offered in Legacy Collection. Still, the enhancement in the Legacy Collection is worthwhile.
Outside of the games, you get a “Database” and a “Museum” for all of the titles, though the two are very similar. The Database has artwork alongside “canonical” text about characters, enemies, bosses, etc. The Museum is merely artwork. We also have a Music Player, where you select the game OST (original soundtrack) and play any track start to finish. Finally, we have “Challenges.” Again, I find overly difficult games masochistic, but this is for the hardcore fans. The challenges are mostly boss fights, and the exact challenge isn’t always a part of a game. I imagine this is where most of the Achievements are.
Going a step further, we have Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, which brings together Mega Man 7, 8, 9, and 10. If I’m not mistaken, 7 and 8 are simply the originals. Again, 9 was an effort to duplicate the look and feel of the old games, and 10 is much the same. There is a Mega Man 11 trying to ride the ongoing Mega Man hype train, though the game was released three years after this collection. We also have a Mega Man X Legacy Collection, and a Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2. All these collections are available at much lower price points than the titles were at launch (what was the going rate of a 1985 NES game?), so it’s hard to imagine a Mega Man fan as disappointed.