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There was a period when I would play the Mega Man games every few years, a way to spend time with my all-time favorites series, but that was another era. My fingers are still nimble enough to pull off the moves, but time and patience have worn thin.
So when I loaded up the Mega Man Legacy Collection on my Switch on a flight last week, during a brief moment where my wife and daughter were asleep, I figured it’d be a few minutes of poking at Air Man and Guts Man before moving on. Instead, I blazed through several games over the course of two hours, thanks to an ingenious feature:
Rewind is simple and effective. At any time, for any reason, with zero cooldown, you can tap a button and rewind the last few minutes. Missed a jump during a nasty sequence, like the disappearing platforms on Heat Man’s stage? Rewind. Managed to get the Yellow Devil down to its last hit, only to die after stumbling through a set of cheap attacks? Rewind. There’s no punishment for indulging, and it just…works.
It’s less of a difficulty slider and more of an extremely fast “do over” button. You still have to jump, shoot, and dodge with the same brutal finesse required during a regular playthrough of a Mega Man game, but instead of having to sweat over lives and other junk, you can stay focused on the task at hand. It removes a lot of the bullshit associated with retro games, and it’s the kind of quality-of-life feature that’d get me to spend more time with a lot more of them. (I stopped rebuying games a while ago.)
The problem? Capcom didn’t implement this feature into the whole collection—it’s only through Mega Man 6. Starting with Mega Man 7, where the series jumped to the SNES, your only option is to pause and set a checkpoint or buff Mega Man’s armor. The checkpoints are fine, but it’s more clunky to pause the game and manually reload, and the armor is a copout that removes too much skill from the game.
I'm not looking for an easy mode, you know? Rewind is a nice middle ground.
I’m sure there were legitimate technical reasons for not extending the feature beyond Mega Man 6, but it also means I’m less likely to sit down and spend time with them, too.
This is all to say I hope more companies follow Capcom’s lead. It's one thing to re-release an old game, to squeeze more money from the nostalgia stone. It's another to re-think how people want to play, making you more likely to enjoy them again.
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