This is the one to get.
It was, perhaps, inevitable that I’d get my hands on the Mega Man X Legacy Collection. Like its predecessor, the two volumes of the Mega Man Legacy Collection, the X Collection splits its games between two compilations, and only the first one is required reading. This is a decent compilation with some nifty bonus features, but it feels strangely sterile.
Volume 1 of the collection features three unambiguously good games (Mega Man X1 – X3) and one forgettable PlayStation sequel (Mega Man X4). Like the games featured in the Mega Man Legacy Collection, each of these four entries has its own page of artwork, merchandise images, and music to peruse. You can also watch a short prequel cartoon, “The Day of Sigma,” which was originally unlockable in the PSP game Maverick Hunter X. Additionally, there is a bonus mode, the X Challenge, in which X takes on three stages of two Mavericks at the same time using only three master weapons. I’ll get to that in a second.
Mega Man X4 is the series’ foray onto Nontendo consoles—namely the PlayStation and Saturn. We get the (allegedly superior) PSX version here. It takes a lot of cues from Mega Man 8, but it’s not as colorful and the pre-rendered backgrounds aren’t as pretty. You can play the entire game as Zero this time, and it’s a way different experience. X4 is where the series becomes plot-heavy, and features animated cutscenes with dreadful voice acting. The game isn’t bad; it’s just forgettable and didn’t age nearly as well as the SNES trilogy.
You can flip between the American and Japanese (Rockman) versions of each game by pressing the Y button on the main menu. Unfortunately there is no option to rewind or create save states in any of the games—you can only save between stages. The collection offers plenty of screen filters, aspect ratios, and pixel smoothing to tinker with. “Rookie Hunter” mode lets you soak up a ridiculous amount of damage before dying.
The new content is the X Challenge. It has multiple difficult settings and leaderboards and is pretty fun. The idea is solid—fight two bosses at the same time—but their attack patterns don’t often compliment each-other. Chill Penguin and Frost Walrus, for example, give you essentially no room to maneuver between the latter trying to squash you and the former spitting projectiles and causing snowstorms. Having a limit of three Master Weapons at your disposal is a solid idea, though—it helps you strategize. I can see myself getting hooked on this mode.
The Mega Man X Legacy Collection suffers from the same problem that the Mega Man Legacy Collection does, though: Way back on the GameCube, the Mega Man Anniversary Collection offered up The Power Battle and its sequel The Power Fighters. That game's logical follow-up, the X Anniversary Collection, featured Mega Man Racing. The MMX Legacy Collection could have included Maverick Hunter X and/or the Xtreme games. To me, this is especially strange given that Capcom included the “Day of Sigma” cartoon. There’s another extracurricular Mega Man X game that could’ve been included in Volume 2, but I’ll say more there.
I can’t much fault the Mega Man X Legacy Collection Volume 1 for what it is. All four of these games are varying degrees of good and it’s nice to have them on my Switch. I just wish it wasn’t quite so sterile.