I was a little dismissive when Capcom announced the Mega Man Legacy Collection during E3 in June, thinking that the bundle of Mega Man 1-6 would be the usual slapdash retro collection with some ugly graphics filters on top. Oh, what a terrible cynic I was! It actually seems a fairly loving attempt to preserve them, and 'porting' studio Digital Eclipse's first crack at the video games equivalent of "scanning a film in 4K" to create a print usable for the ages. It's complicated. I'll explain.
You can see for yourself how it's turned out, as the Mega Man Legacy Collection last night launched on Steam, priced at £11.99.
Capcom and Digital Eclipse get into it in a lengthy interview on USgamer. The collection's not simply running Mega Man in a NES emulator, more porting Mega Man to the Eclipse Engine, a stable base which can then be ported to other platforms, current and future. Digital Eclipse's Frank Cifaldi explains:
"We set up our Eclipse Engine, and we set up hardware simulation modules, and we convert using source elements provided by the publisher, — their original game to our format. So you have Mega Man running in our hardware module within the Eclipse Engine. The idea being, once it works in Eclipse, we forward Eclipse somewhere else, and it just works, for the most part."
They're careful about preserving the games in their original form, though you can stretch the screen and all that if you want to be a monster. Along with the original games, it has a virtual library of high-res art work and info from all over the place, and a new Challenge Mode for folks to prove their Mega chops.
That has leaderboards with video replays, so folks can compete to be the very best at, say, the Yellow Devil fight (yes, the pause glitch still works).
[Disclosure: oh hey, I didn't know Frank was working on this! I know him a bit; we visited an amazing Steve Purcell exhibition at the Cartoon Art Museum together.]