Review: Mega Man 7

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I was originally going to put my marathon of Mega Man games on hold for a while, and continue to hang with other 8-bit games for a bit. But, considering that it’s Mega Man’s 25 anniversary, I figured now would be a good a time as any to play through the rest of the series. This brings us to the first 16-bit title in the series, Mega Man 7.

Hail to the most gut-wrenching, fist pounding, hate your life, hard-as-nails Mega Man game of all time.

That being said, the game looks great! The SNES brought Mega Man a much needed upgrade in the line of visuals. The sound is much improved too. There’s actually even a -gasp– improved storyline, complete with printed dialogue, etc. Finally, we have a Mega Man game that does not seem like nothing but recycled ideas.

The game starts with a flashback of all of Mega Man’s accomplishments. It shows an anime cell-style Mega Man turning Dr. Wiley in to the authorities. As the story goes on, we learned the Dr. Wily had a back up plan…. He had several robots programmed to come searching for him if they remained uncontacted for a certain period of time. Now that he is locked up and not sending the messages needed to keep them at bay, they have come searching. As expected, the robots break him out of jail and start tearing up the city! Dr. Light and company catch word of this and send Mega Man into action.

As Mega Man begins his journey to stop the robots he has an unusual encounter! The meets up with a black robot, named Bass. Who has a canine robot companion, much like Rush named; Treble!

The mysterious Bass tell Mega Man to go home, he’s going to handle this job, then he blips away.

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The game is divided into two sections The first four robots Mega Man will face are: Junk Man, Cloud Man, Burst Man, and Freeze Man (I did them in that order).

After defeating the first set of robots, Mega Man gets word that Dr. Wily has been seen raiding the robot museum! Mega heads over to the place an encounters a few old friends…

This game is a little different than the previous installments. This time, scattered through the levels are various nuts and bolts that Mega Man can trade in exchange for new parts and power ups. There’s also the letters spelling out “RUSH” that can be collected to allow Mega Man to upgrade his companion.

Afterwards, Protoman shows up. He says that only the strongest robot should continue and he challenges Mega Man to a friendly duel to see which of them is truly stronger. Mega Man wins and Protoman lends him his Proto Shield.

Up to this point, the game had been challenging, but nothing too bad. I was really enjoying it so far.

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The next phase introduced four new robot masters: Slash Man, Shade Man, Turbo Man and Spring Man. These guys and their respective levels are HARD. So hard in fact, that I nearly gave up. I did Spring Man first, followed by Turbo Man, Slash Man and finally….. the most aggravating boss I’ve faced so far in the series: Shade Man…. (You’ll see why if you ever play it). Shade Man’s level is also home to Beat, Mega Man’s bird-friend! On the way to final fight with Shade Man, we meet up again with Bass. He is in bad shape… Mega Man sends him to Dr. Light’s lab for repairs and prepares for the battle ahead…

I never played this game as a kid. If I did, I doubt I would have lasted long. Even now as an adult, I kept getting frustrated and disgusted with the difficulty of the title. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I just ran through it. But I feel compelled to unlock every item and weapon and find all the secrets.

After the defeat of Shade Man, Mega Man gets word that Bass has ransacked Dr. Light’s lab. It turns out that Bass was designed by Wily to be an evil version of Mega Man… So time to chase him to Wiley’s lab.

Wiley’s Castle did not seem as bad as the rest of the game so far. There is an interesting encounter with Bass, but Mega Man defeats him easily enough. The exception to this is the fight with Wiley himself. As usual, the fight has two phases. The first was easy, a few thunder blasts to the face and Wiley was down. The second form however… DAMN.

Once defeated, there is an interesting scene. Dr. Wiley cowers before Mega Man and promises to go quietly. Mega Man begins to charge his cannon and says he’s finally going to do what should have been done long ago. Wily makes the comment: “Impossible! Normal robots are forbidden from harming people, it’s against your programming”. Mega Man states: “I am more than just a robot…” at this point Bass appears and snatches up Dr. Wily and the two of them escape.

Interesting… It’s about time Capcom gave us some storyline in this series.

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Difficulty: Very Difficult  – I mean it when I say that this was one of the hardest platformers I have ever experienced. It’s really quite ridiculous. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but the difficulty level seemed a little too extreme.

Story: About time!! We finally have a really good story in this game. I think this game was released in a time where Mega Man manga comics had become very popular. As a result, a lot of the lore and developments from the books were introduced into the game. It’s a very welcome change, with a cliffhanger ending! 

Originality: While the premise is basically the same, the addition of an active storyline really adds a little originality to this title. This is a step in the right direction for the series.

Soundtrack: Finally we have a good Mega Mega soundtrack again. It’s been a while, but the Blue Bomber’s first foray into 16-bit territory takes good advantage of the SNES sound system. Big improvement over the last few games in the series.

Fun: While I had a blast progressing thru the storyline, I found the challenge to be a big buzzkill. I spent more time pissed with the last half of the game than I did enjoying it.

Graphics: Capcom REALLY took advantage of the new power behind the Super Nintendo. The graphics in this title are amazing. The series keeps it’s cartoon look, but with the addition of more colors, the game really pops and comes to life. Great stuff all around.

Playcontrol: I have a big gripe here. This handling of the controls felt very out of sorts for me. It does not handle like the previous games at all. I got used to it over time, but it feel slightly delayed and unnatural. Then again, I’m playing a PS2 port as part of the Anniversary Collection. So perhaps that is the issue.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – This is really nice addition to the series and a good upgrade. However, due to the difficulty level, I cannot recommend it for everyone. Which is a shame.

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