Mega Man 7
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 03/24/1995
    • US September 1995
    • UK 1995
Score: 80%

This review was published on 06/26/2013.

Mega Man 7 is a 2-D, side-scrolling platform game developed by Capcom and released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This was the first Mega Man in the classic series to make the 16-bit jump to the SNES, but not the first Mega Man game to make it to the SNES. That honor goes to Mega Man X, which was another series that acted as the spiritual successor to the classic series. The classic series was not yet dead, though, evident by the release of Mega Man 7. This game was a massive transformation for the classic series, providing a huge upgrade to the graphics and sound. The sprites are much bigger, with more detail and better animations. You can't expect anything less when a series makes the plunge into a new console. Despite all that, Mega Man 7 does feel like a huge step backwards if you played Mega Man X first, as most people would have back then. Mega Man X greatly expanded on the Mega Man formula with many innovations, and it actually came out before Mega Man 7. It was strange to go back to the traditional ways of the older Mega Man games after releasing such a ground breaking title like Mega Man X. Mega Man 7 was developed for fans that were turned off by the darker tone and complex mechanics of Mega Man X. Unfortunately, fans of the older Mega Man games don't like Mega Man 7 much, either. As a result of that, Mega Man 7 is sort of the black sheep of the series. Fan expectations aside, this is still a solid game, even if it pales in comparison to the X series.

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Dr. Wily is a mad scientist bent on world domination, and he tried to conquer the world six times in a row. Mega Man, a dandy blue robot created by Dr. Light, was there to foil the mad doctor's plans all six times. At the end credits of Mega Man 6, Wily was actually captured and imprisoned for good, much to the surprise of many fans. Due to that, many thought that Mega Man 6 was the end of the classic series. Obviously that's not true, considering Mega Man 7 was made. So after six months of peace, strange things started to occur in the world of Mega Man 7. A bunch of big robots were attacking the city! Unbeknownst to everyone, Wily had a backup plan. Wily hid four robots in a secret laboratory somewhere that would activate in the event that their master would be captured. The powerful robots, known as Robot Masters, would then start destroying stuff to try and locate their creator. And that's exactly what happened. The only one man enough to stop these dastardly robots is Mega Man. Mega Man quickly rushes onto the scene to try and curtail the chaos. If you ask me, this whole thing feels like a convenient plot device to bring Wily back. Still, as far as Mega Man games go, this is a unique story. Mega Man 7 is the only Mega Man game that starts with a prison break, and that's kind of cool.

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Unlike all the previous games, Mega Man 7 has an intro stage. This idea was taken straight out of Mega Man X. Before you get to the stage select screen, you have a mandatory tutorial stage of sorts to play through. It's kind of irritating if you're used to the older games, but not an inherently bad idea. The intro stage starts off with Mega Man, who isn't wearing a helmet for some reason, riding inside of a goofy truck with his sister Roll and a new friend of his named Auto. This part is a little obnoxious, because it has a lot of expository dialogue that takes forever to get through. Auto gives Mega Man a helmet, but... it's not quite the helmet you'd expect. He quickly corrects himself and gives Mega Man his real helmet. I have to admit, as much time as this wastes, I kind of like this part. It was a solid attempt at humor. Mega Man then gets off the truck and the intro stage starts proper. There isn't a whole lot to this stage beyond jumping over a few pits and taking down some enemies. You soon find Dr. Light, who had been attacked by robots, and almost immediately, you witness Wily being broken out of jail. Wily flies in on his trademark flying saucer to do the creepy eyebrow thing he does in the other games, then he flies off into the distance. Shortly after that, Mega Man has an encounter with a strange robot named Bass and his robotic dog, appropriately named Treble. This guy isn't a Robot Master, but he isn't small fry, either. The two fight for a bit until Bass says he, too, is hunting down Wily and would like to work together with Mega Man. And that marks the end of the intro stage. Mega Man 7's intro stage is a bit wordy, but it does have a few cool fights and a prison break. It's a decent start to a decent game.

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Upon completing the intro stage, you are taken to the stage select screen where you can choose which of the four Robot Masters you wish to take on... wait a minute, only four? If you played previous Mega Man games, then you're probably wondering why there are only four Robot Masters and not the usual eight. This is a pretty significant change to the way things work. There are actually still eight Robot Masters in total, but only four are accessible from the start. It's at this point that a lot of hardcore fans of the old games would have quit. I can understand the sentiment, because this is mostly a bad decision. There are a few benefits to it, though. For one, it's a different approach, and considering how many Mega Man games there are, different approaches are appreciated. The other thing is that the second set of Robot Masters is much harder than the first set, so this creates a better difficulty curve. In addition to all of that, there is an extra boss you fight in between the two sets of Robot Masters, which is kind of neat, though it doesn't change the grand scheme of things. What does change the grand scheme of things is that you can't select all eight Robot Masters right from the start. No matter how you slice it, that limits your options, and limited options suck. A big appeal to the Mega Man series is being able to select all the stages right away, so Mega Man 7 downplays a significant mechanic of the series. I wouldn't say it ruins the game, but it does make it less appealing.

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Defeating a Robot Master allows Mega Man to absorb its weapon, just like in the other games. Each boss is weak to one of the weapons, so as always, weakness order is the order of the day. The first four Robot Masters are Freeze Man, Burst Man, Cloud Man, and Junk Man. They may not sound like much, but the incredibly detailed designs make these some of the best looking Robot Masters in the series. The next set consists of Slash Man, Spring Man, Shade Man, and Turbo Man. I'd say the second set is way better, because there are a lot of cool designs and even a few original ideas here. Turbo Man is literally a transformer, as he's a robot that can transform into a race car. If that's not cool, then I don't know what is. Shade Man is a robotic vampire, which I imagine would be really popular with Twilight fans. Spring Man is pretty silly, but he's easily one of the most unique Robot Masters in the series, so he's one of my personal favorites. The stages all reflect the themes of the Robot Masters pretty well, like Shade Man lives in a gothic castle, Spring Man resides in a toy factory, Turbo Man is in a race track, and Slash Man is in a robotic version of Jurassic Park. The extremely varied stage themes make the stages of Mega Man 7 very fun to play through, and the unique cast of interesting Robot masters are a delight to fight.

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Mega Man keeps all of his innate abilities from previous adventures, such as the slide and Mega Buster. The slide lets him stylishly avoid certain attacks and get through tight areas, and the Mega Buster lets him charge his shots so he can fire a really big ball of destructive energy. Something a little different about Mega Man 7 is the effects that the special weapons have on the environment. Any special weapons Mega Man gets from a Robot Master can be used during a stage at any time, provided he has enough ammo for it. The special weapons will occasionally interact with the environment in unique ways to either uncover secrets or make the stages easier. For example, Cloud Man's weapon shoots out an electrifying shot that can power inactive machines to reveal moving platforms. Another good example is Freeze Man's weapon, which can freeze lava solid, allowing Mega Man to walk across safely. This isn't completely new, as Mega Man games have experimented with this concept before, but Mega Man 7 places a much larger emphasis on it than the previous games. All in all, this is a pretty neat feature.

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A big, new feature that often goes unnoticed is the shop. Mega Man 7 introduces a shop where you can buy items and upgrades in exchange for bolts, this game's currency. Bolts can be found hidden inside stages, and destroyed enemies will frequently drop them, too. The shop was actually first introduced in one of the obscure Mega Man games for the Game Boy, but this is the first time a home console Mega Man had a shop. You can access the shop from the stage select screen, and boy, is it useful. You can buy extra lives, Energy Tanks, Weapon Tanks, the Special Tank, all of Rush's upgrades, the Energy Balancer, and a few other useful things. Energy and Weapon Tanks are items that can be used any time during a stage to fully restore Mega Man's life or special weapon energy, so those are the most useful things to buy. The Special Tank does the same thing, but it restores everything. As for the Energy Balancer, this handy item will refill the special weapon that has the lowest energy whenever you pick up an energy refill. It's not a necessary upgrade, but it's very convenient, as it means you won't have to constantly switch to a particular weapon in order to restore its energy. Some might argue that the shop ruins the balance of the game, but I say it adds a lot of depth to Mega Man 7. This is one thing that not even Mega Man X had going for it, giving Mega Man 7 a slight edge in at least one aspect.

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Rush rushes to Mega Man's aid again in Mega Man 7. The robotic dog will help Mega Man with various functions and transformations. You start the game off with the handy Rush Coil, an ability that was absent in Mega Man 6, but was present in most of the other games. As its name implies, you can jump onto Rush's coil to have a spring in your step and reach unreachable areas. New transformations can be earned for Rush by collecting items hidden in stages, or by buying them at the shop. Finding the items is preferred, obviously, since it saves you money. Rush Jet is the same as it was in past games in that Rush transforms into a Jet that Mega Man can ride for short distances. A new ability of Rush is the Rush Search, which has Rush digging into the ground to find hidden items. It's kind of cool, but wastes too much time to be something worth using regularly. The greatest thing Rush can do is the Super Adaptor, though. There are four letters scattered in four stages that spell Rush's name, and collecting them all unlocks a fantastic new ability. The Super Adaptor has Rush transforming into an awesome armor that Mega Man can wear, giving the blue bomber some new abilities. This idea originated in Mega Man 6, in which Rush could transform into two types of armors for Mega Man. In Mega Man 7, the effects of those two armors were combined into a single one. With the Super Adaptor on, Mega Man can hover for a short distance during a jump and also shoot his arm out like a rocket. The arm rocket does major damage, and with an additional upgrade, gains homing capabilities. Suffice to say, the Super Adaptor is a little overpowered. The one drawback is that you can't slide while wearing it, but that's hardly a drawback. It's really cool that such an awesome upgrade is available for those who keep an eye out for optional secrets. The Super Adaptor is one of the best things about Mega Man 7.

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Mega Man 7 alienated many fans by not being as sophisticated as Mega Man X while also lacking the old school feel of the older games in the series. Its existence is sort of a paradox, being that it tries to bring the series forward, but not too forward. Fans of the old classics complain that the sprites are too big, the sounds are too cute, and the difficulty is too low, whereas fans of the X series didn't like the lack of wall jumping and dashing. It's hard to find people to appreciate this game for what it is. However, the game really isn't that bad. In fact, it's quite good. The music is decent, the graphics are great, the boss and enemy designs are creative, the Super Adaptor is fantastic, the shop adds an extra layer of depth, and Bass is cool. There are really only two problems: the dialogue heavy intro stage, and the inability to select from all eight stages from the start. Mega Man 7 is still a highly enjoyable game, even if not many people are able to enjoy it.

Word Count: 2,384

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