Review – Mega Man Legends

Information about Mega Man Legends:
Consoles Game was Available For: PlayStation, Nintendo 64 (Mega Man 64)
Genre: Action-Adventure
Developer/Publisher: Capcom/Capcom
US Release Date: August 1998 (PS1), January 2001 (N64)

The Mega Man series is one that is ever-endearing.  It’s been around since the days of the Nintendo, of course, always delivering ball crushing hard, but (mostly) excellent games.  When the series moved on to the PS1, Capcom decided to take the series into 3D, with a new story arc different from the original and X arcs… and that’s just how Mega Man Legends came to be.  MMLegends is a game very different from its predecessors, taking a bit of an adventure game to the Mega Man formula.  Whether or not this was exciting or innovative… for a game over ten years old, it’s more important to ask… has it stood the test of time?  Well, read on to find out.

Mega Man Legends takes place last in the Mega Man timeline… a good 80,000 (estimated) years or so after the other games in the series.  You play as Mega Man Volnutt, an accomplished Digger.  A ‘Digger’ is basically a treasure hunter, rushing into old ruins and looking for refractor shards, the world’s energy source.  The game begins in exploring one such ruin, though a mishap requires the party’s airship to crash-land on an island.  The game is spent exploring the island and it’s ruins on the mayor’s request, slowly uncovering the secrets of the ruins beneath the island… whether it’s for the best or not.

While that’s a quick overview to the story, there’s actually so much more to it, though to explain more would probably be too spoil-y.  While the beginning parts of the game promise little in the way of it, later parts of the game throw a bunch of interesting plot twists, and a lot of loose ends are left open for Mega Man Legends 2.  Overall, it’s a good story, though it takes a bit to really get rolling.

When it comes to the gameplay, MMLegends really shows its age the most.  MMLegends was released before the DualShock controller, so controlling Mega Man’s moves fall solely on the D-Pad.  Being a 3-D game, it makes movement a awkward, especially when the L1 and R1 buttons are used for turning.  To say the least, it takes a bit of getting used to.

On the same note, locking onto enemies is also a bit odd.  When locking on, Mega Man will automatically lock on to the nearest enemy.  While this is normally a good thing, the lock on will shift if a different enemy gets closer than the one currently locked on.  Coupled with the inability to manually shift who you’re locked onto, it can lead to some frustration, though overall it isn’t a bad system.

After getting used to the outdated controls, though, the game plays pretty nicely.  There are a few difficulty spikes, and times you’ll have to grind for Zenny (the game’s money unit) for better equipment, but for the most part it isn’t a difficult game.  Some bosses will take multiple tries, but usually it won’t be too extreme.

For the game’s presentation, this is a PlayStation game.  The graphics are blocky, of course, but they still look pretty decent.  Unlike most of the games in the day, the characters have varied facial expressions, and it really gives them a bit of personality.  For the music, I really didn’t take much notice to the tracks other than the town and final dungeon music.  None of the tracks were bad, but they never stuck out.  Voice acting is also alright, though the game tends to have volume issues with the voices and sound effects, and without subtitles every cutscene had me playing with the remote, turning the volume up and down.

So, is MMLegends a good game?  Yes.  Does it play perfectly?  No.  It’s outdated, but it’s well worth playing.  Once you get used to the controls, you’ll be in for an enjoyable ride… and one that’ll want you to play the second game!

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