The first Mega Man Legacy Collection was a fine if somewhat threadbare greatest hits set, assembling the first six NES Mega Man titles together in a tidy package. If that first collection was side A, showcasing the series’ early, rough-and-tumble work (the original Mega Man, specifically) Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is the weird, obscure side B full of deep cuts: Mega Man 7, 8, 9, and 10. None of these manage to hit the soaring heights of the series at its best, but years after their original releases and unshackled from initial expectations, all four games are capable of a few pleasant surprises.
Mega Man 7 in particular is a strange case, as the first numbered Mega Man game to hit after the X series took off. What it does, to be specific, is make 8-bit Mega Man game of our dreams in 16-bit fashion; a delightful fusion of old and new. The boss concepts aren’t the strongest–not really this specific game’s fault, as those standards started to slip somewhere around Mega Man 5–but they get the job done and keep you on your toes, especially when they fire alternative attacks after you’ve exploited their primary weaknesses. By and large, however, it’s the most accessible of the four titles in the Collection–a softer and playfully inviting game full of big, bright characters, and a far more forgiving set of levels than the rest of the series.
The same cannot be said for the Collection’s one sour note, the port of the PlayStation version of Mega Man 8. The series’ uptick to 32-bit consoles shows through in the game’s bright colors and expressive animations, which at least compare favorably to more modern examples of the “playable cartoon.” Of course, Mega Man 8 is also notorious for its actual cartoon cutscenes, which feature some of the worst voice acting this side of “Jill sandwich”. As exciting as the prospect of a Mega Man game with full voice acting and anime interstitials sounds, Mega Man 8 doesn’t do that idea justice.