Flashback / Games / N64 / PS1

Flashback – Mega Man Legends

My disappointment when Mega Man Legends 3 was canceled is unmatched. I couldn’t believe what a great idea reviving one of my all time favorite game series would be. I understand that it was probably canceled because Inafune’s heart just wasn’t going to be in it, and I would rather there not be a Mega Man Legends 3 at all if it didn’t have the same greatness its predecessors had. The Mega Man Legends series is one of my personal favorites. I’m sure not a lot of people have played either of the games, but they are definitely worth checking out if you wonder how weird 3D Mega Man Adventure game could be. Trust me, Mega Man Legends is an amazing series of games, but they are so odd and unlike anything else I wonder how they exist. I’m extremely glad they do though.

Mega Man Legends is a pretty huge game. The number of things you have available to do at any given time is pretty great. You can explore towns, visit dungeons, talk to lots of friendly characters, and you probably wouldn’t think of that at first glance of a Mega Man game. Before this, Mega Man games were typically really straightforward: Click on a level, go through, fight the boss, repeat. Here, everything is much more open and much different from any other Mega Man game. That being said, this is probably my favorite game with Mega Man in the title. The game could have been called anything “Shooty Adventure Robot Kid” and pretty much nothing would be any different. But what it’s called is beside the point of what really matters, just what exactly makes this game so good?

The game is basically split into two parts, (not unlike the Zelda games, not a bad influence to take from though is it?) exploring an interesting overworld with towns and characters, and going into deep dark dungeons filled with monsters and puzzles. The contrast between the two is incredible. One minute you’ll be shopping in a store chatting up a clerk while friendly music plays over the mall’s intercom system, and the next you’ll be running terrified in a dungeon from increasingly scary monster robots around every corner. I don’t know if I’ve ever played another game that can pull off two completely separate atmospheres as well as its done here.

When you aren’t in dungeons, you’ll be above ground in a (usually) bright and colorful forest or city. The places have stores you can buy upgrades from, interesting people to talk to and do sidequests for, and lots of hidden secrets or clever little easter eggs. In the mall alone you can listen to sample music being sold there, see what kinds of things the people in the world buy, and in one fourth-wall breaking moment, find a copy of Mega Man Legends itself (as you discover it, Mega Man wonders if it will be any good). I love all of the little details that were payed attention to in the game, it really helps make the world fill full of life. All of the sidequests are unique and have interesting storylines, something other games try and fail to do. As simple as the quests are, I can vividly remember most of them. The music in every town, every building, and nearly everywhere in the overworld has the ability to convey whatever mood you are supposed to feel in the moment. The mall has one of my favorites, it’s so upbeat and cheery it practically begs everyone there to feel good about spending their money.

The other half of the game is spent making your way through the dark ruins scattered through the game. They are where much of the combat takes place, where you discover most of your great items, and where you make currency to buy upgrades for Mega Man. The mood in the ruins is so different from any other part of the game. They just feel sinister. They range from creepy to terrifying.

Honestly, Mega Man Legends feels like a survival horror game when you’re trekking through these caverns. You’ve only got what health you brought in with you, the monsters are lurking everywhere, and if you die you have to start right back at the beginning and do it all over again.

You do have the option to leave and save your progress, but the temptation to just explore one more room will get to you and be the cause of your demise more than a few times. The promise of amazing treasures you build your character ever stronger and gain new abilites, the reward of currency for each enemy you destroy, all of these things make you want to stay down there just a little longer and see what all you can take back up with you.

The feeling of successfully making it all the way through a ruin, finding all of the treasure, and killing the giant boss at the end is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have with a game. The moment you come back up to the colorful and musical overworld and know that you’re done with the ruins for a while is the biggest sense of relief you can have.

The great characters you meet cement this game as one of my all-time favorites. You won’t ever forgot the Bonne family (imagine a Team Rocket-ish trio), who are the ridiculous villains who can’t ever seem to get a leg up over Mega Man. Roll and Data (a tiny monkey in a diaper) accompany Mega Man and help him out everywhere he goes. Even if you haven’t played the game you’ve probably seen the Servbots somewhere, right? Almost all of the dialogue is kept really lighthearted and fun, and the game seems like it could easily have been a really great cartoon series with the characters they’ve made.

Mega Man Legends is a game that I’ve made a lot of great memories with. Finding some of the hidden surprises in it are some of my favorite memories I have in gaming. The first time I realized there was a roller skating mini game, or a secret bug you could catch, or a hidden flower you could collect, or laughed at some of the jokes that you hear from doing off the beaten path things, or or or…let’s just say there’s a ton of stuff you can do that you can easily miss if you aren’t looking. The world is full of lots of little distractions that make it so much fun to just look around and see what is going to happen next.

If I haven’t sold you on the game yet, I feel like I’m doing it a disservice. If you want to experience one of the most interesting and entertaining video games ever created, give Mega Man Legends a shot. Pretty much everything I’ve said can be applied to the second game as well, but I’m more partial to the first. Maybe one day Mega Man Legends 3 will be made, but I don’t think I would want it if it wasn’t made with as much care as the first 2. As it stands, Mega Man Legends is one of my favorite video game series I’ve ever played, and even if there is never another entry, I’ll be more than satisfied with what I already have.

-Zach

Image Source: joystiq.com

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