Mega Man has received several games including spin-offs in the past. As Capcom started bringing back these games for the modern platforms, including porting all of the Mega Man and Mega Man X games, the focus eventually shifted to the spin-offs including Mega Man Zero. These were always considered as forgotten gems for the franchise that attempted to experiment with various gameplay innovations seen for the first time in the series.
Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection was created with the same thought process in mind about bringing back these spin-offs, featuring the fan-favorite Zero, in a collection that is accessible and playable on all modern platforms. There are a total of six games included in this legacy collection. They are Mega Man Zero 1, 2, 3, and 4, as well as Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent.
For those who have played these games, there is a feeling of nostalgia associated with replaying them again. One thing that is immediately obvious once you play any of these games included in the collection is that they lack the budget and spectacle of the mainline Mega Man series. Obviously, this was intended because of these games being spin-offs, but the platform also matters here. Four of the games in the collection were released on the GameBoy Advance while two of them were for the Nintendo DS.
Zero is a great protagonist that is different enough from Mega Man that he is well-suited for a separate game. The focus of these games is on platforming mixed with combat sequences. The emphasis on boss fights is clear although each game in the series attempted to change the formula of traditional level design. They are unique fresh experience if you go through the games chronologically as they tell a grand tale with continuity between the sequels.
Since these games were originally developed for portable, some effort was needed to bring them to modern platforms. In this regard, the collection appears to have handled this well with the pixel-based artwork looking clear with a set of filters to clean them up on the big screen. It might not be the most ideal way to experience these games but it gets the job done.
Additional features that have been added to the collection as a bonus make some great quality-of-life implementations. One of these is the save assist feature that makes it easier to finish each game. It allows the player to continue from a checkpoint after getting killed. These checkpoints are scattered across the many levels in the collection. The ability to toggle this feature on and off should satisfy those who still want the old-school retro challenge. Since the Zero games were notoriously difficult, save assist feature can be a lifesaver.
Of course, this collection won’t be “new” if there wasn’t any additional content. In addition to a collection of artwork, a brand new mode has been added to the collection called the Z Chaser. It adds some extra replay value to the main games by letting players participate in a set of time trials situated around levels and bosses that are taken from the story mode. There is potential here with a leaderboard and it can get incredibly competitive.
One of the games that I was looking forward to in this collection is the Nintendo DS ports of the Mega Man Zero games. In this regard, they have solid ports that are work out rather well despite the dual-screen setup. These play more like a Metroidvania than a traditional Mega Man game but they are fun to experience nonetheless. All six games in the collection are difficult even if you consider yourself a veteran of Mega Man.
I would rate this collection higher than the classic Mega Man games mainly due to the fact that I loved the X series. Mega Man X is still a better series to me overall but Zero comes a close second. All of these legacy collections serve the purpose of getting the fans introduced to the series’ past, but there is still a lot of games that are left behind. In the future, if Capcom does decide to continue porting classic games, I hope they can bring back the Mega Man Battle Network series, which is one of the highlights when it comes to spin-offs using the Mega Man brand.
Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection brings together six classic titles in one game: Mega Man Zero 1, 2, 3, and 4, as well as Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent.
Final Score - 8/10
Mega Man Zero/ZX Collection offers a refreshing set of games with an interconnected story and exciting gameplay segments. This collection is best suited for dedicated fans as it is deep-rooted in the Mega Man lore, but the gameplay itself should be enjoyable for anyone who loves platforming and difficult boss fights.