Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 08/31/98 | Genre: Platform
Coming from a time honored pedigree, it would seem that a Mega Man title bearing the surname Legends would be a polished concoction of all of the great Mega Man games of yore. But if you believe that, President Clinton probably fooled you as well. Mega Man Legends is a definite aberration from prior Mega Man games. The "Blue Bomber" is back, but this time he's traversing vast 3-D fields rather than jumping from disappearing platforms. He champions a local village instead of combing stages for goodies. And Mega Man's not even thinking about Wily as he tracks down the leader of the notorious Reaverbots. Think of it as a poor man's Tomb Raider but with the star not being so... well endowed.
The story's simple. People rely on quantum refractors, which are found in ancient ruins, for survival. Diggers travel the globe in search of these refractors. Mega Man is, of course, a Digger. One day while en route to an excavation site, Mega Man and company crash land on a foreign island, which happens to contain a nearby town in peril. From then on out Mega Man's on a mission to find enough refractor energy to repair his aircraft, the Flutter, while befriending a hapless town in the process. All in a day's work for this heralded hero. Your team consists of Roll, Mega Man's right hand woman; Data, the game savin', wise crackin' slam dancin' monkey; and Barrell, the sagacious ex-Digger who serves as Mega Man's surrogate father.
Although the gameplay's predominately reminiscent of Tomb Raider, there are definite RPG undertones. You amass vast amounts of items and upgrade your guns to veritable implements of death. You'll often allow Roll, the Duchess of Destruction, to combine seemingly useless parts to create new arms. Alas, there's a paucity of fighting scenes and even then the enemies are hackneyed and easy to defeat. It almost makes upgrading weapons useless. The graphics come just shy of being something you'd see on a Crayon box, and the animation seems dated. Fortunately, amidst the peccadilloes lies a pretty fun game, and that's what really counts. The music's sickeningly addictive! Nothing short of a lobotomy will get these tunes out your head. It's not the usual tech-industrial music of previous Mega Man games, but rather an uplifting, cheesy anime score that will bring you out of the deepest blue funk. Speaking of which, the game actually does have the look and feel of a cheesy anime. Whether that's a good or bad thing yet is still pending.
What else could I say about this game that wouldn't describe a Saturday morning cartoon? Mega Man Legends is a fun game once you get into it, but everybody might not want to invest that time. If you're a Mega Man aficionado then you definitely want to try this game, but if you're a hardcore 3-D adventure fan you may want to sit this one out.