lot of people seem to feel the same about Megaman as I do. The original
series were fundamentally great games that peaked at about the third
game and got progressively tired afterwards. I guess that goes to show
that there are only so many gimmicks you can stir into a tried and true
formula before it starts to go bad. I mean, really. A tiny robot bird
who only helps you if you collect a bunch of lettered circuit plates,
and the ability to wear your dog as power armor in a creepy display
of vague bestiality were pushing it. And having to make Rush sniff for
useless items in 7 was counterproductive if anything. Not to mention
the fact by the time the series ended there were no less than four 'fire
guys' and the curiously named Yamato Man.
X series started off well enough. I admit I liked the darker setting
more, even though the anthropomorphic Mavericks were theoretically stupider
than the Robot Masters before them. (Say what you will about Chill Penguin,
Wire Sponge, Split Mushroom, Ground Scaravich and the other throwaway
'beat me first!' bosses.) Unfortunately, by the time the third game
came out, Capcom had decided to adopt painfully difficult levels, cheap
bosses, and the badass Sigma became a babbling Reploid version of Dr.
Wily. When the series jumped to Playstation, the plots started to go
off on weird tangents (Zero will kill X because Dr. Wily created him,
X will kill Zero if yadda yadda.) And I don't feel like addressing the
MMX-Megaman Zero thread, since they decided to introduce magical pixies
and religious icons galore to the story.
I really did enjoy the games in general, in spite of bitching about
the lame gameplay gimmicks (Hey! Let's add another playable character
and give him a melee weapon in a game where everyone else has a gun!)
and awful continuity (especially to those of the 'X follows Classic'
school of thought.) But these newer series, the spinoffs, if you will...
they really strike a chord with me. Especially the woefully neglected
Megaman Legends series.
spite of lots of praise, and some attractive character designs, I put
off playing this game until well, this year. Simply put, the prospect
of a 3-D Megaman terrified me. Especially considering the awful render
they decided to put on the game's cover. (Especially Legends 2's American
cover, which featured a jaundiced Megaman clutching his deformed blaster
arm.) But after finding a copy on the cheap, and with money to spare,
I picked it up and was treated to one of the first truly enjoyable 3-D
platformers I ever played.
world of Legends is a sort of Waterworld-like one, where most of the
surface has been covered by water and the people all live on small islands
(also, everyone living on small islands conveniently means the designers
don't need to spend as much time mapping an overworld.) There are some
adventurous types called Diggers, who go into the mysterious ancient
ruins scattered around the world, braving the hordes of Reaverbots that
guard the sweet, sweet refractors within. Although it started as a survival
business, eventually rumors of a great treasure called the Mother Lode
began to circulate among the Diggers. They also must contend with less
scrupulous Air Pirates, and the incessant nagging of their Spotter,
who offers nattering advice on how to open doors. In the case of one
Megaman (Rock) Volnutt, he's supervised by Roll aboard their piscine
ship, the Flutter. In this universe, they're not blood (or silicon or
whatever) relatives, so it's okay for her to be a love interest. Her
grandfather, Barrel Casket, is also aboard the ship, but he really doesn't
figure into the main story very much.
the way, the trio runs afoul of the air pirate trio, the Bonne siblings.
Older brother Tiesel is a bombastic, gleefully maniacal leader figure
with a very impressive ponytail going on. Younger brother Bon/Bomb is
a strange giant robot baby. And of course, Tron, the middle sister is
the resident mechanical genius. And of course, she has a thing for Megaman(Rock.)
The Bonne encounters are probably one of the most enjoyable aspects
of Legends. Unlike Sigma or Dr. Wily, you find yourself hoping they'll
come back. They also have more genuine motivations than insanity or
the influence of a computer virus, and at times seem to really want
to go legit. It's also pretty refreshing to see a group of antagonists
on a limited budget, since most of the time Tron has to resort to building
machines out of stuff Megaman has blown up. On the whole, the Bonnes
turn out to be pretty well-intentioned and help you out on occasion.
And of course, Tron even got her own prequel/spinoff game. And to reaffirm
the Bonnes are good people, the premise behind the game was Tron raising
money to rescue her brothers from the clutches of the Loath family.
Why? Because Tiesel had borrowed money from notorious loan shark Lex
Loath so she could build their flagship Gesselschaft. Doesn't that
get you right there?
to the Legends summary, the first game takes Megaman& company to
the island of Kattelox after the Flutter's engine konks out. Despite
the incredibly repetitive designs of the levels, the game stays pretty
engrossing. (Again, mostly the battles with Tron's contraptions are
the major draw.) There's not much to say about the first game's story
though, it seems the whole game was designed as an introduction to the
universe. You battle Reaverbots, unlock gates, and learn precious little
about the background of the hero. At the end of the game you face Megaman
Juno, an ancient guardian of the island who summons a giant monolith
and plans to 'reinitialize' the island. The problem with the first game
is that it ends with a terrible cliffhanger sort of ending.
the second game's character-driven story more than lives up to Legends'
vague whispers about the Big Secret. It starts with Roll's grandfather
meeting with his old explorer buddy, von Bluecher, and their ship being
attacked by someone resembling Roll's long-lost mother on live TV. So,
the duo set off for the frozen north, making a stop at some village
named Kalinka or something to that extent. Once the rescue mission is
under way, Megaman also inadvertantly frees an Ancient girl named Sera
and her personality-lite manservant Geetz. They tell of the four Keys
needed to open the Mother Lode, so, like a good protagonist, Megaman
sets off to retreive the keys, and standing in his way is the Legion
of Doom. Well, not really, but the Bonnes joined forces with Glyde Loath
and the mysterious ex-bounty hunters Bola and Klaymoor. As with the
last game, the real showpieces of this title are the pirate battles,
most notably one where Tron launches a sort of failed psychological
attack on Megaman involving a voice modulator and a crab mech. Speaking
of relationships, I personally liked the fact they actually tried to
show more between Megaman and Roll, since in the first game all
of the 'aww' sort of moments were between Tron and him. Not that I prefer
one to the other, necessarily. In the end, Sera double-crosses everyone,
steals the keys, and prepares to launch a genocidal attack on the planet.
But in another sort of twist, it turns out she was simply using the
world's population as bait to lure The Blue One into her clutches so
she could exact petty, jealous revenge.
Legends continuity was a dramatic departure from the original series,
and I for one say it was mostly for the better. Although I admit it
had certain flaws- for example, the little save-monkey Data only appears
outside the ruins in the first game, basically forcing you to backtrack
all the way out of the dungeon whenever you wanted to save and recharge.
He shows up more often in Legends 2, which is both better and more confusing.
Maybe if they make a third game, they'll finally explain just how Data
is magically there, especially once you leave the planet. Actually
most of my complaints go for the first, and were more or less fixed
in the second, so I may as well shut up. The voice acting isn't the
best or worst, but it certainly suits the game's overall style. Honestly,
I wish more games would go for the bright, cartoony look of this game
(or Chrono Cross for that matter) than the ultra-realistic look of the
newer games. I guess it all depends on your sense of aesthetics.
if only someone could rationalize to me why Marvel vs. Capcom has Tron
and Kobun in it, but they decided to use Roll's classic design. I mean,
really. I'd like to see a fighter with Legends Roll bludgeoning
people with a pipe wrench.