Megaman Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is the latest collection title from the ‘ol Blue Bomber, will his absence here make it feel hollow or is Zero the hero we deserve?
Megaman Zero/ZX Legacy Collection as the name implies gathers the Megaman Zero & Megaman ZX titles in one slender little package. The Zero titles originally released on GBA and later re-released in a collection for DS where as ZX & ZX Advent are both DS born and bred.
Now if you’re not familiar with either series allow me to provide a toe dipping pool of lore for you. After the totally canon events of Megaman X5 (bare with me) Zero is MIA, war breaks out and the world changes. Centuries pass and a resistance outfit fighting the tyranny of Neo Arcadia finds Zero and uses a “Cyber Elf” to bring him back to life.
Following those events, Megaman Zero 1-4 happen. One of the first things you’ll notice about these titles is how good the narrative is, if you forget Capcom released another 3 X titles it fits in perfectly!. The narrative for the Zero titles is fantastic and is personally my favourite throughout the Megaman timeline, something that actually rings true for most aspects of this series.
ZX & ZX Advent follow on from the Zero series and feature even more technobabble to confuse you, biometal being the biggie. ZX features a few more classic anime conventions, multiple protagonists of both genders with their own story and yet somehow manages to be less engaging than that of Zero.
Both the Zero & ZX games, despite having Capcom on the box are both developed by Inti-Creates, famous for titles such as Gunvolt, Dragon Marked For Death & Blaster Master Zero, if you’ve played any of their titles you’ll be right at home.
While Zero doesn’t make a huge departure from the standard Megaman fare, it’s just a little more focused in narrative and in set pieces, ZX & ZXA actually branched out much further and were made into “Metroidvania” titles.
The Megaman Zero/ZX Legacy Collection contains 6 titles, Zero 1-4, ZX & ZX:Advent, while they are all of a great quality and certainly at the asking price, not all titles were made equal. While the Zero games mostly go from strength to strength, though not quite as much towards the latter titles, these were put out yearly and at points you can tell.
ZX is the weakest link in this package, while not a bad game at all, it has a floaty narrative and you can see the developers were still trying to get to grips with taking the series a new direction. ZX: Advent is an improvement on the original but once again didn’t quite grab me the way the Zero titles did.
The way the Legacy Collection handles the ZX/Advent titles is well done, due to these being DS games it requires two screens. In the options you can change the position and size of the second screen and all use it done using the 2nd analogue stick. These weren’t tap/2nd screen heavy games and this pulls them off fantastically.
Naturally because it’s a collection and Capcom have been fantastic with ol’ Blue in the others it’s time we talk about Zero’s trove of extras and QoL additions.
First off you have your standard graphical options, filters, aspect ratios and wallpapers. Remember these are GBA/DS ports, they still hold up really well but you can tell the graphical limitations of where they are from, especially when in docked/home console.
Secondly each game now has 2 options to help ease players into the series and assist those who are struggling or have less time to learn patterns or deal with Megaman difficulty. The first is a new Checkpoint system, strategically placed before tough areas and bosses this is an absolute time save for games that originally didn’t have checkpoints!. Also this refills your health bar and doesn’t affect your rank/lives, it’s a fantastic middle ground between playing it old school and using save states, something the X Legacy Collection could have done with!.
Following that there is also the casual hunter mode, much like in the X Legacy Collection this buffs you up, reduces damage and makes the games ALOT easier, while this is fantastic for newcomers or people who struggle, it does negate some of the aspect of the games, such as levelling up weapons and the Cyber Elf system.
In terms of extras the Legacy collection gives you quite a hefty gallery which is to be expected due to the prior collections & then a “ghost mode” in the form of Z Chaser.
Z Chaser is much like a Ghost mode in a racing game, rather than following a “ghost” this collection provides two screens. This is perfect for those inclined to speed run through the game and is a brilliant extra more than certain to add time to your overall experience.
Finally we have ZZ Cards, these act as unlocks for achievements as well as effect some of the gameplay in Megaman Zero 3, this can be as slight as cosmetic to buffing Zero. They also tie gallery unlocks to it too, it’s just another cheeky reason to keep playing and it has me totally hooked.
Much like the other Legacy Collections and Megaman 11, this title not only proves why the series made such an impact but that these games only improve with age. I’ve always held a soft spot for the Zero games and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to play them and the ZX titles again on Nintendo Switch and the current formats.
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