Capcom has gradually been working to ensure Mega Man games are never lost in time. One by one, the company has been putting out official Mega Man Legacy Collections compiling complete stories for major series. Following Mega Man X Legacy Collection and its sequel, which told the entire eight-game story of the Maverick Wars and X, Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is coming to act as its companion and show what happened in the aftermath. With it, we’re seeing handheld games that told new and interesting stories and included different sorts of mechanics be preserved and presented for a larger audience.
To be fair, it is quite possible for Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection to be “new” to people. Unlike the games in the past compilations, these six titles weren’t repeatedly ported to other platforms. (Though there is the Mega Man Zero Collection on the DS.) The four Mega Man Zero titles were all only on the Game Boy Advance, and the nature of Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent meant, well, it wasn’t really feasible for them to appear on a single-screen device until now. The first four games follow Zero 100 years after Mega Man X8, when Neo Arcadia and its ideals when all wrong, Reploids are the ones being hunted, and it is up to Zero to work alongside a resistance force in hopes of a peaceful resolution. Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent fast forward centuries into the future again, following first Vent or Aile as they deal with being a Biomatch for Model X, then Grey or Ashe as they are paired with Model A. Each one shows how even after a peaceful period of time, those who would want to engage in corruption and take power will find a way, while also showing there will always be people willing to fight and sacrifice for what is right.
With every game in the Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection, there is an opportunity to see them at their very best. While some of the event CGs are showing their age, particularly in Mega Man Zero and Zero 2, the spritework is exceptional and still looks good even on a larger-than-intended screen. While none of these titles are among the most challenging Mega Man games ever made, the inclusion of a Casual Scenario option and Save-Assist that adds extra save points are welcome for people who might otherwise have issues. To be honest, I had Save-Assist on even though I probably didn’t need it, simply because it was convenient to have that optional quick save when going through an area. Being able to choose your voiceover option, be it the original or mastered audio, is another perk that lets you go with the one you might appreciate most. Also, it’s wonderful to be able to choose if you would or wouldn’t want a Zero Link with your ZX experience. (Returning players will note both of these conveniences were present in past collections and still work as well as they did back then.)
But what I really appreciated were the ways in which Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection helped encourage people to enjoy everything that has been saved in this compilation. We have Z Chaser, which encourages you to keep going back and attempting to master levels. You have P-ZZ challenges, constantly spurring you onward to be the best in Normal and Hard challenges for each of the games here. It gets you to keep going through it all. We have galleries and music players with things to enjoy. Then, we have the ZZ Cards that offer you these card rewards for doing things like beating a game in a standard, not Casual Scenario, mode or ask you to listen to songs in the Music Player, then beat a game and listen to its theme. Capcom wants you to enjoy everything here, then has features like Z Chaser and ZZ Cards to help encourage you to play around with the game.
When it comes to game preservation, things can get tricky with handheld installments. There would be concerns about bringing them to a bigger screen and how well they would hold up when presented in such a way. Especially when we have games like Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent, which appeared on a dual-screen system. Capcom handles all of these masterfully with Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection. While there are some early event scenes in games like Mega Man Zero that might not hold up as well, they still look more than serviceable on a big screen.
Besides, the real important thing here is helping to get all of these post-Maverick War follow-ups to Mega Man X into more people’s hands. It’s about having them for people worried about replacing cartridge batteries. It’s keeping the music and art intact, as well as elements that allowed you to have the Game Boy Advance games influence the DS entries. Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection keeps Zero, Vent, Aile, Grey, and Ashe’s stories alive.
Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.