Megaman Legends 1 (PS1)

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Introduction

On a world covered in endless water Mega Man will take its jump to the third dimension– with awesome opening narration. This incarnation of the blue bomber is an explorer who uses his family’s flying machine to search the seas for ruins and treasure. He travels the skies and ruins as the adopted son of Barrel Casket and, his granddaughter, Roll Casket. Their flying machine is called The Flutter and she’s seen some better times. This latest expedition will lead Megaman to an adventure greater than he could have expected. Run, jump, shoot, and discover the secrets of an Island.

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This island to be precise.

 

History

Keiji Inafune created Megaman back in 1987 and ten years later he would produce, and help design, Megaman Legends. Inafune and his team wanted to make a game that was just fun for the players. Unfortunately, Legend’s quality suffered because it was released before it had gotten the polish Inafune wanted to give it. Inafune said, “If we made it at the present time in modern quality, I believe that it would have sold a lot better,” on the matter of its early release. Inafune went as far as saying, “[My favorite game is] Mega Man Legends, a title that really didn’t sell well in the Mega Man franchise,” in 2007 at Comic Con.

Megaman Legends was also released on the Nintendo 64 and the PC in increasingly bad ports. Each one receiving a lower score from reviewers than the Playstation release.

Fun Fact: In the Japanese release Megaman’s name is Rock, like all of his Japanese counterparts– I’ve got to say Rock is just a more sensible first name than Megaman. If you were at a coffee shop and you started a conversation with someone and when you left you asked his name and he said, ‘My name is Megaman,’ I think we’d all give him an odd look and never call him back.

Megaman Legends was released in the US on August 31st 1998. It’s competition was Medieval (PS), Spyro the Dragon (PS), and Metal Gear Solid (PS)– no wonder this title got blown out of the water.

Nostalgia

This was the first Megaman release for the Playstation and it came as a big surprise for me. I was familiar with the Megaman games from my Super Nintendo days so I thought that Megaman would be a Nintendo property until the day I died but it was the first game in my life that not only jumped platforms but also jumped into the 3rd dimension. At first I didn’t like it, I kept wondering where Dr. Wily was, but eventually I warmed up to the game. I realized that it was a different take on the Blue Bomber. A take that included things like a plot, a story, and interesting characters. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with the jumping and shooting that the previous incarnations bring, it’s just that this game is a different beast.

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What is this 3-d world? And why doesn’t it look totally awful?

Gameplay

Even though this game was strong RPG elements it’s still a Megaman game and is therefore all about jumping and shooting robots. And boy are there robots to shoot and lots of weapons to shoot them with. Like Megaman games before it Legends presents quite an arsenal for the Blue Bomber. Unlike other Megaman games he doesn’t get more weapons from defeating bosses in this game he can find stuff in the ruins he explores. His partner, Roll, can take these seemingly dissimilar junk parts and make sweet special weapons from them. Megaman’s buster can also be upgraded with buster parts that can make it shoot further or do more damage among other things. So check everywhere for stuff, you never know when a hole in the wall might contain valuable stuff.

As far as the story goes, not soon after Megaman lands on the island it gets attacked by a gang of pirates called the Bonnes who are searching for treasure that is rumored to be hidden somewhere on the island. Since the police force isn’t really trained to repel pirate attacks it falls to Megaman to fend off the sky-borne ne’er-do-wells– Yarrr.

Bonnes

From left to right we have Bon, Tron, and Tiesel.

When Megaman isn’t fighting pirates or trying out his new weapons he’ll probably be exploring ruins and solving some pretty easy puzzles. The ruins are interesting just to look at. Most of them look different and I always wondered, “who made these places and why?”

 

The Gush

I love the Bonnes. They’re dangerous but still comic relief. Unlike the other villains of the game, they’re human. So they have human flaws and have human problems. Watching Tiesel lose his patience and throw a little tantrum is hilarious. But Trons creations present decent challenges. Their flying machine is called the Gesselschaft which is German for society and is often extrapolated as a sociological term which are things people do for their own benefit. I didn’t get that for years down the line but it did make sense why pirates would call their home base a term for doing things for personal gain.

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Such as Bruno, the walking weapons platform. Literally every part of this guy has weapons on it except his torso and his head.

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Or the Fokkerwolf which presents a highly mobile and powerful opponent even if it is a little fragile.

And how could I mention this game without talking about the Servbots, Tron’s faithful and indestructible minions.

Servbots

Each one has their own unique personality and they’re just so cute.

 

All of the characters are actually really interesting. From Gramp’s mechanical parts, the plights of the city’s mayor, and the machinations of the local “gang” there’s always someone new to meet with near Earthbound levels of humorous dialogue. Also some characters can initiate little mini-quests and puzzles to earn buster parts, items that can be developed into sub weapons, or money.

The sub-weapons in this game range from simple to intense. There’s the Machine Gun Arm that does what you’d expect, fire a lot of shots. Then there’s the Shining Laser which can pierce enemies hitting multiples at once for massive damage! All of them have upgradeable attributes so I recommend toying around with them and seeing which ones suit your playstyle.

The Bonnes aren’t the only ones making robots of mass destruction. The underground ruins are swarming with and defended by reaverbots. Some of these reaverbots dwarf Megaman, but that’s never stopped him before. The boss fights in this game are almost always a joy.

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We got big reaverbots!

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Fast reaverbots!

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And annoying reaverbots with unbreakable shields!

The plot and mystery of the game is marvelous. It’s a great tale about what it means to dig too deep and dealing with the consequences of it. It answers a few questions about this water covered world but asks just as many more, striking a nice balance between mystery and resolution.

The music in this game is really good. It fills me with fear when something intense is happening or perfectly compliments the dank ruins of the underground.

The Kvetch

Some sub-weapon upgrades are just plain too expensive. Most of them are for giving the weapon unlimited ammo but 99990 is just too much zenny to reasonably farm for anything. The best enemies in the game only drop 2000 per so I’d have to destroy 50 of them, going in and out of the room repeatedly. And that’s just for the final stage of the upgrade and not including any of the other stats.

New Game plus allows a player to start the game over but there’s no real benefit to doing so. They can change the difficulty to hard on the second playthrough and then easy on the third, each one increasing money drops. But there’s no carry over between the playthroughs so I don’t really see the point.

Although the plot does answer some questions it answers almost none about who Megaman is. I posits that there’s something unique about Megaman even though this world has other Megamen but doesn’t elaborate on it overmuch. I guess that’s what sequels are for.

The camera is not always your friend in this game. It sometimes does what is pleases and leads to the player getting blindsided by enemies they couldn’t have seen coming.

Locking on in this game is nearly a waste of your time. The player can’t move and lock on at the same time. It suddenly gives a character like Megaman, the original jumper and shooter, the decision to choose one. Shots generally tend toward your opponents even when you’re not locked on but the fight against the agile Fokkerwolf are exasperated because it’s really hard to hit. This problem also gets highlighted when enemies on the ceiling are throwing bombs all over the place. In these situations the camera pans up and makes it impossible to see the explosives below as they bounce around. It’s problematic overall.

The Verdict

Those complaints are little niggles trying to chip away at a rock solid game. Kattleox is fun to explore, the characters are fun to see, and the enemies are fun to fight. Overall I think this game is super good… but… I have to admit that I’m pretty nostalgia blind for it. It was one of my first Playstation games and I played the heck out of it because I might have forced myself to get into it because I didn’t have anything else to play– like a videogame version of Stockholme Syndrome. So maybe make a friend who’s into Megaman already buy it first and try it?

Next Week: Megaman Legends 2– Electric Boogaloo.

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