Having had to migrate some 10 sites from j1.5.25 to J2.5.x I was so frustrated with the lack of legacy menus in 2.5. This meant re-writing the CSS for each custom-built site - then I stumbled on SWMenuFree. After a few hours it was clear I had to buy the full version - which I did. This allows top and side (and other menus) all on one site.
It is a doddle to customise menus. Remember "more is less" and don't "guild the lily": just because an effect is possible, it doesn't mean you have to use it. This produces some cool, clean menus in record time that are reliable and work.