When Digital Eclipse released the first Mega Man Collection a year ago, we were disappointed to see that four last parts of the original series were nowhere to be found. Apparently, others felt the same way, as Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 remedies this by offering parts 7 to 10 in one neat package. Why these games weren't in the original collection is anyone's guess, but nevermind, they're here now.
Mega Man 7 was released on Super Nintendo in 1995, a year after the release of the first Mega Man X. We recall hating the game for a long time and basically, we hadn't played the game much before this collection. The reason for our hatred was the style of the graphics. The game is so candy-coated in colours and especially Mega Man himself is an annoying grinner. On top of that, the sprite of Mega Man is huge and takes up a large portion of the precious screen. Because of this, we hadn't played the game beyond a couple of stages.
But opinions can change. After overcoming the initial annoyance, Mega Man 7 started to really grow on us. The level design is excellent, bosses imaginative, and the controls are nicely varied. The stages also have lots of different secrets and collectibles like in Mega Man X and you can return to them any time after playing them through, even in the middle of the Wily-stages. The only really stupid thing is the shop, which is hidden under Select-button without any indication that the game would even have a store. Surprisingly, we enjoyed the game more and more as we played it through. Even the soundtrack is excellent.
But in the time of the release of Mega Man 7 the 32-bit era was starting and Super Nintendo was slowly going to give way to newer consoles. Therefore in 1996 the Mega Man series got its eighth installment for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Style-wise Mega Man 8 did away with the candy-coated looks of 7 and returned closer to the style of the X-series, with a few exceptions. The game is nowadays mostly known for the cutscenes, which are quite crummy and horribly dubbed anime, and these animations have caused a lot of hilarity over the years and because of that, so it's definitely worth checking out.
As a game 8 is very close to the footprints of 7, with one excellent addition; in this game, Mega Man can use his special weapons at the same time as the trusty Mega Buster. The level design isn't on par with the best of series and the controls have been altered a bit. Quite strangely Mega Man 8 doesn't really feel like a Mega Man game, even though it's a good game overall. The basics are there, but something is still missing.
After Mega Man 8, the original series seemed to come to its end. Capcom was more focused on the X-series and other spinoffs and the classic Mega Man action could be seen only in some compilations and re-releases. In 2008 things took a surprising turn, as Mega Man 9 dropped into the digital shops on various consoles and computers. The ninth part was in a way a return to the roots. Classic graphics, controls, soundtrack... it was a perfect combination of nostalgia and new ideas. But for some reason some good ideas of the past were nowhere to be found. For example, Mega Man couldn't slide or charge his Mega Buster anymore. In spite of this, Mega Man 9 is still a good game. The challenges give the game replay value and the core game is great. The option to play as Proto Man is also nice.
Mega Man 10 was released two years after the ninth game and was basically just more of the same. Virtually nothing had changed since Mega Man 9, but the level design is a bit weaker. For new players Mega Man 10 has an Easy Mode to try out, but it's way too easy for anyone but complete newbies.
The first six games are still better than these four, but these are still definitely worth playing. Mega Man 7 and 8 are also quite expensive to buy on their original platforms, so these four games for just £12 is a good deal. The production is of good quality overall and the extra challenges are a nice addition. For some reason the main menu is still quite horrid, though, as you can't return to the menu to switch to a different game without quitting the whole game and saving is possible only via checkpoints. The collection is still missing Megaman & Bass, which is hard to understand too.
Overall though it's still nice to play these games and remember the good old days. Hopefully Digital Eclipse will release more collections later on, because the adventures of Mega Man have many a story to tell and there are still lots and lots of excellent games left to dig up.