When it was time to make the jump into 3-D, Capcom got ambitious. Not ambitious enough as to make it a numbered sequel, but ambitious enough to make an Adventure game, not unlike the Zelda games, spin-off out of Mega Man.
You play as Mega Man Volnutt, a 'digger', a spelunker who searches for treasure in old abandoned ruins. He is aided by Barrel, the man who took him in, Roll, the girl he grew up with and Data, a mysterious monkey that was found with Mega Man. As luck would have it, after an expedition, their ship gives out and they are forced to land on Kattelox Island. Fueled by adventure, and the possibility of finding the 'Mother Lode', Mega Man embarks on an adventure throughout the different ruins of the Island. I'm gonna be completely honest here, the story is terrible. I mean, I liked the setting, but the characters are horribly cliched and dull. Their designs might be decent, but as far as personality goes, the Caskets(Barrel, Roll, Mega Man) and the Bonnes, the antagonists, are one-note tracks, with nothing original or interesting about them. The story does get a tiny bit interesting in the last part of the game, but it ends with promises of 'telling you everything later', and a 'To be continued'. Lame.
Legends is a 3rd Person shooter/adventure game of sorts. While your main objective is the exploration of the different Ruins, you are allowed a certain degree of freedom to explore the town in Kattelox Island, heck, you may come across a few sidequests! Progression in the game is mostly linear, you can't do dungeons out of order, but, you can revisit dungeons to farm money, heck, you may want to revisit them after you get some upgrades, like the Jump upgrade or the drill, in order to access previously unavailable areas. And you will want to explore, since Mega Man Volnutt doesn't earn weapons from his enemies, oh no, weapons are made by finding and bringing specific items to Roll so that she can develop them! There's a rather large amount of side-weapons, however, for some reason they decided that the only way to switch them is by... visiting the car and talking to Roll. I found it unnecessary and tedious even, why not let the player carry all of them and decide what's best for the occasion during a dungeon?
Still, it's not like side-weapons are really needed, I speak from experience when I tell you that you can clear the game with the basic buster. I mean, I had to choose between extra fire-power or the 'Vacuum' side-weapon. Movement in the game is pretty iffy, as I'll get into later, but the Vacuum arm sucks the money dropped by enemies, which is extremely useful, so the choice was rather easy to make, which meant I spent 80% of the game without another sub-weapon. Anyways, my point is that the game is very easy, and almost every boss can be defeated by strafing and shooting. Strafe 'n shoot, strafe 'n shoot. Sometimes you might need to jump, but otherwise, that's the winning formula. That said, I did enjoy the fact that the Buster can be customized by equipping up to two(or three, if you find the upgrade) items. Still, when it comes down to it, combat as a whole can be pretty repetitive, and a bit boring since it lacks nuance. The sub weapons are a welcome addition, since they are pretty different, there are mines, a laser, a sword(Ain't as cool as it sounds!) and homing missiles, and they can be enhanced for some money, but the Buster works just fine and I needed the Vacuum Arm in order to earn money effectively.
The game's biggest flaw is, easily, the controls. They are incredibly clunky, plus movement is a bit iffy, couple them together and... it's not a fun time until you adapt to them. To start with, there are to forms of 'side movement', either function can be set to either Left/Right or L1/R1, and they consist of turning and strafing. Personally, I set L1/R1 to strafing, since it worked better for me. Anyways, yes, the other function is 'turning', which means that Mega Man moves like a tank, in a game that demands speed. What where they thinking? This is why gathering money from fallen enemies is such a chore, plus, movement is anything but precise, so gathering all those crystal is a nightmare, which is why the Vacuum side weapon is so useful. Oh, and there's not analog support! Not content with just that, the 'lock-on' feature is terrible, luckily Mega Man soft-locks into nearby enemies, R2 functioning as a sort of 'hard lock', but it disables movement. There are times when you will need to use R2, mostly on flying bosses, and it feels as if the game doesn't take into account that you are rooted to your place while using R2, so get ready to suffer cheap hits, not that he game is any harder for it. Even worse, sometimes Mega Man hard locks into invulnerable parts of enemy bosses, like 'Bruno'(Nope, no spoilers, it ain't an NPC!), holding R2 makes Mega Man hard lock into... his wast? But his weak point is his head!
On the flip side, the presentations is pretty good. Graphics are beautiful, character models are charming, stylized and very colorful. While lacking variety, Kattelox and its dungeons are nice to look at, as a whole, it's a gorgeous game, if a bit simple. Music is pretty good as well, there's a couple of stand-out tunes as well. However, voice acting ranges from decent to barely passable, but hey,a t least it has voice-acting(It is a PS1 game after all!).
Mega Man Legends is alright. It has it's fun moments, and I certainly like the idea behind it, but the execution leaves a little to be desired. 6.0 out of 10
I've followed the Butoden series ever since the first SNES game. Sadly, all of them have aged terribly, but Hyper Butoden on the DS, and even then, Hyper Butoden was a bit of a reboot for the series.... and Extreme Butoden is a reboot of sorts as well!
What I didn't like:
- Dragon Power system: I hate it when licensed fighting games do this. I want all characters to be equally viable, but nope, the DP system ensures that Teen Gohan VS Buu, 1 on 1, heavily favors Buu. Sure, the better player will win in the end, but when it comes to two players with the same skill level, the Buu player will win. I understand 1 on 1 battles are not the focus of this game, but I still dislike it when characters are balanced around 1 on 1. Even if it's an anime game, it's still a fighting game, g'dammit.
- Too simple: Yeah, the game seems simple to a fault. There's all these little combos that can be strung together by cancelling certain with the R button, and that's fine and dandy, but the Super Combo Attack( Y Y Y Y X A) seems so good by itself that I yet to see why I should bother wasting my energy gauge on anything else.
What I did like:
- Graphics: The game is beautiful. Character sprites are big, and very well animated. I like the coloring, very reminiscent of the manga, just look a Vegeta's hair! A+
- Simple, but flashy: Being simple also has a plus... it's very easy to pull off very flashy stuff, which is sure to appeal even to people that don't like fighting games. And the attacks are very, very flashy.
- Doesn't feel like other ArkSys games: ArkSys' fighting games tend to feel very, very samey. Mechanics might differ from game to game, but you can't deny the similarities between Blazblue, Guilty Gear, Hokuto no Ken, Sengoku Basara X and Persona 4 Arena. Dragon Ball Z Extreme Butoden feels unlike any of them.
- The Character Roster: Well, the Demo only has 4 playable characters, but everyone knows the full roster by now... and for a new Fighting game, the roster is top-notch, hitting all the important characters.... although I could've done without Beerus, Bardock(Why the hell did he become so popular?!) and/or Super Saiyan God Goku, and on their stead get Videl. Because Videl is awesome. Still, my most favorite characters are in(Mystic Gohan and Mirai Trunks(Jacket), so I can't really complain.
All in all, I feel its simplicity and DP system will hold it back from attracting hardcore, competitive gamers, and maybe, maybe, the fact that it's more of a traditional 2D Fighting Game, it may also disappoint a few Dragon Ball Z fans. The fantastic Budokai series and the excellent Super DBZ caught a lot of flak for being like that, particularly when compared to the Tenkaichi series(And fans will compare them with the Tenkaichi series, sadly). Regardless, the game is pretty much sound, and at a casual level, it's fun to play, despite the DP system. 'sides, every fighting game has to start somewhere, once Dragon Ball Z Extreme Butoden Extend rolls in, we may finally get a deeper game, ridden of the DP system. And with a playable Videl!
It's no secret that my experience with Legends is anything but good, but then again, I played the terrible PC port. I had to tag-team with my sister in order to deal with the godawful controls. But since the game is so beloved, and the controls couldn't possibly get any worse, I decided to tackle Legends with an open mind.
And.... it's alright, but that' about it. Graphics are beautiful, audio is decent but everything else is jut alright. The story is generic, dull and somewhat boring. I guess it might not be as bad for young children, but I was lulled into boredom by how cliched everything panned out(I just defeated Tronne, so it might get better, but I doubt it). Gameplay is fairly run-of-the-mill as well, strafe and shoot, just strafe and shoot. It's boring, but effective. And the controls are fairly clunky to boot, however, there's something in the movement that makes it fun to move around.
Basically: It's decent, but that's about it. So far anyways.