RetroVision – The Covers of Mega Man Part 4: Legacy

So, here we are at the bonus round.  When thinking of all the different cover art available, most will jump to the highs of Japan, the lows of America or Europe in the middle.  However, we promised you one extra set of covers for the 8-bit classic Mega Man games, and here they are courtesy of the recently released Legacy Collection.

You see, when re-releasing the Blue Bomber’s adventures as the Mega Man Legacy Collection, Capcom decided to commission a completely new set of key art for each game.  These essentially act as an anniversary cover for each of the six classic titles, and boy did they do an excellent job.  So, sit back and enjoy the celebration, as we take a look at some of the best video game art you’ll possibly see.

Mega Man Legacy
Mega Man Legacy Collection Key Art

There’s no bad start here.  This art features the Blue Bomber locked in battle with both Guts Man and Cut Man.  What’s more, this art also goes on to explore one of the key aspects of the series that was missed within previous covers, each enemy’s weakness.

Look closely and you’ll see the terror in Cut Man’s face, as Guts Man’s Super Arm throws a rock right at him.  Additionally, Mega Man is taking the opportunity to attack Guts Man whilst he is in the air.  Therefore avoiding the shockwaves he sends upon landing, as per the strategy for this boss fight.  It’s nice to see such a good piece of art, one that taps into the very fabric of the game.  Also, if you were worried for what’s next, no need, it’s just as good.

Mega Man 2 Legacy
Mega Man 2 Legacy Collection Key Art

Finally, a piece of art for the West that taps into what makes Mega Man 2 an essential part of the 8-Bit era.  We’ve got Metal Man, Crash Man, and Quick Man, all alongside the Blue Bomber himself.  What’s more, this art once again taps into the finer details of the game.

Here the scene at hand clearly takes place within Quick Man’s frantic laser filled level, where one false move and it’s all over.  All in all, you couldn’t ask for anything better.  Moreover, just like the excellent original Rockman covers, the next doesn’t disappoint either.

Mega Man 3 Legacy
Mega Man 3 Legacy Collection Key Art

Mega Man 3’s key art for the Legacy Collection takes its primary inspiration from the game’s epic final boss, Gamma.  This art really looks to emphasise the scale of the battle at hand, with Mega Man standing on the giant robot’s palm, just like in the closing moments of the game.  Moreover, you can also see the desperation in Mega Man’s face, alongside Rush climbing to the Blue Bomber’s aid in the bottom left.

This is how you celebrate an epic game, and one of its most memorable moments.  Thankfully, Mega Man 3 actually had one piece of solid art in the West thanks to Europe, and this one clearly stands alongside both the European and Japanese covers.  Nevertheless, it’s nice to see this take so much inspiration from the title.

Mega Man 4 Legacy
Mega Man 4 Legacy Collection Key Art

So here’s the fourth reinvention.  This time around we another fundamental feature of the series given front billing, Mega Man’s ability to steal the powers of his enemies.  As such, we see the Blue Bomber utilising Skull Man’s Skull Barrier, in order to hold off Pharaoh Man, Toad Man, Dive Man and Bright Man.

Having all of these pieces of key art released at the same time evidently has its advantages.  Advantages that meant that the artist Chamba, was allowed to utilise all of the key features of the series in different ways across the six covers. Take nothing away though, this art is fantastic, and deserves credit for going to this much effort to embody the series.

Mega Man 5 Legacy
Mega Man Legacy 5 Collection Key Art

This time we are introduced to the rivalry between the Blue Bomber and his robotic brother Proto Man.   Whilst once an ally, in Mega Man 5 we seemingly see Proto Man lead an army of Robot Masters in committing numerous devastating attacks on a global level.  Although, anyone who has played the title through to its end, will know that all is not as it seems.

Nevertheless, this art captures the rivalry between the two that makes up the basis for the game’s story.  It also takes inspiration from Gravity Man’s power to manipulate the flow of gravity itself, allowing us to see Mega Man and Proto Man battle in mid-air.  All of this combines to make another excellent piece of art, one that once again captures the true spirit of the series.

Mega Man 6 Legacy
Mega Man 6 Legacy Collection Key Art

And we’re going out with a bang.  Just like Mega Man 3, the sixth entry in the series also had relatively strong art in the west.  Well rather it did in America where the game was actually released.  In fact, this art takes a great deal of inspiration from that very cover.

This time we once again see Mega Man in his Jet Armor, whilst battling against the iconic Yamato Man and Plant Man.  What more is there to say than what has already been said when looking at the earlier celebratory covers?  Put simply, just like the other five, this piece of art stays true to the 8-bit battles of the Blue Bomber, complimenting one of gaming’s all time great series.

So there you go.  It may have come some 28 years too late, but America finally has some fantastic art to go alongside the opening game in the series.  Even better, the West now has some key art for Mega Man 2, one where the quality lives up to that of the game.

There will be some debate as to whether these stand up to the heights of the Famicom Rockman covers, with these Japanese masterpieces representing the individual game boxes within the Legacy Collection.  However, these reimagined pieces of art are certainly good enough to honour Mega Man’s 8-bit legacy.  Even better, alongside the common use of the Japanese covers, hopefully these will go some way to eliminating the memory of Bad Box Art Mega Man as a serious piece of art.

Mega Man Legacy Banner
Mega Man Legacy Collection cover, featuring numerous Robot Masters.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking back on all the different pieces of art, for one of the all time gaming greats.  There are certainly some ups and downs, but this art clearly embodies both the best, and the worst of gaming art.  Additionally, thanks to the Legacy Collection, we’ve also had a chance to not only compare art by region, but also by time.

This means that we can not only see how regions wanted to represent the Blue Bomber back in the 80s and 90s, but also how he is represented to this day.  So how will Mega Man be seen in another 30 years?  Well one thing’s for sure, regardless of the art, the gameplay is timeless.  I for one know that I’ll certainly still be playing these games for decades to come, and I’m sure there’s many more out there who will too.  Even more so thanks to the release of the Mega Man Legacy Collection.

Sophia Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she's written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DivaXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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