Megaman / Rockman has been around forever. The little blue guy was first released on the NES way back when 8-bit graphics and side scrolling gameplay ruled. There have been innumerable versions of Megaman and his friends over the years, including Megaman X, Megaman (Rockman) Racing, and tons more. But there still has yet to be a three dimensional Megaman.
This is especially surprising considering how long people have been doing 3D on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 and just how popular Megaman is. But now, finally, with Megaman Legends, Capcom has taken Megaman into the third dimension with good results.
First of all, traditional Megaman fans should know that Megaman Legends isn't your normal Megaman. It isn't really a three-d version of the two-d side scroller. In fact, Legends is more of an adventure/RPG. In this game, Megaman is a "Digger", or an adventurer searching for the "Mother Lode" treasure.
Diggers the world over are looking for the treasure, and Megaman hopes he can be the first to find it so that he doesn't ever have to work again.
The planet that he lives on is covered by water though, there are only a few small patches of land, so you have to fly around from place to place. Lots of the game takes place traveling between different islands.The story sets up a good RPG, and the large fully explorable world is perfect for an adventure game. Megaman Legends combines the two genres well.
Megaman Legends also doesn't look like old-school Megaman either. Instead of the anime appearance from before, Legends has a highly stylized polygonal look. It's not futuristic, nor is it dark. The graphics are bright like Mario 64, but they are way more blocky. However, in Megaman's place, this isn't half bad. The blocky graphics actually create a great sense of style that is consistent all the way through the game. One of Legends' high points are the graphics, and deservedly so - Capcom has done a great job.
Control in Megaman Legends is a little odd - the D-pad works like Resident Evil while the L1/R1 buttons allow you to strafe left and right. The R2 button works as a enemy lock-on, a welcome function in the 3D world. It would be incredibly hard to actually hit enemies without this feature, and the way the camera works would certainly create confusion. While the controls aren't the easiest to learn, after you master them, they allow for some precise maneuvering. Just like the old Megamans, Legends also has great control.
The gameplay of both regular combat, fantastical bosses, as well as RPG and adventure fit the Megaman franchise well.
The sound also makes a good impression. Unlike too many RPG's, you dont have to read miles and miles of text, all of the main characters have voices! It makes the game more immersive, less annoying, and is something all games should do nowadays with CD consoles.
The maps that you travel around in are laid out in a manner that allows for much exploration but is also pretty straight forward so you don't get lost. If you ignore every little nook and cranny you can still beat the game but you will not find every item and upgrade. The way that Capcom created the levels to hide secrets shows their mastery of level design - something they were also extremely successful at in Resident Evil.
There are some rough edges though - the game is too hard and frustrating at points and the gameplay can become repetitive if you can't figure out what you are supposed to do. But for the most part, if you like Megaman or like adventure games - Legends is a solid pick.
I give this game a 7/10