We’re leaving the 8-bit era behind and go straight into the 16-bit era! Mega Man 6 was to be the last NES Mega Man game, and a spin-off series called Mega Man X was already having major success. That fortunately didn’t mean the end of the main series however, and eventually Mega Man 7 would be released onto the world. This is actually my first time beating it too! I have played it before but I was forced to play it on an emulator and I’m not too big a fan of that. And I couldn’t play it legally because you know, the prices for the game are abysmally high. So today, let’s take a look at Mega Man’s first game in the next generation!
Mega Man 7 was released in 1995 exclusively for the SNES. Due to bad timing, the work schedule was very tight but unlike Mega Man 3 where development overall was rocky, the team was highly motivated to make this game a reality. Several new mechanics and characters were introduced, most of them courtesy of the big man Keiji Inafune himself. Originally like Mega Man 6, the game was not planned to be released over in the west. Capcom had been really disappointed by the number of sales in the past and therefore thought us westerners were not interested. Due to a pretty big negative reaction from fans about this news, the game was eventually released after all. But they were still careful, resulting in there being a limited amount of copies and prices in the current day and age skyrocketing. Mega Man 7 is not the only example of that. The game yet again received positive reviews, but the comments on it being too similar to previous games were more present than ever. This opinion was especially enhanced by Mega Man X existing which evolved gameplay far beyond anything we’ve seen at that point from the blue bomber.
For the first time ever, Rock actually captured Wily and sent him off to jail! But Wily was always prepared for this to happen, even though Rock let him escape five times before. As backup plan, Wily had constructed four Robot Masters that would go on a rampage if no communication was given within six months. Everyone was enjoying a peaceful time, and suddenly Wily escaped from his cell pretty easily thanks to the help from the four Robot Masters. And from there on out it’s the same Mega Man story we’re used to, but a new character joins the fray called Bass. He attacks Rock straight away, but after gauging his power he mentions that he too is out to fight Wily. Who is this mysterious robot? Find out yourself, I’m not gonna spoil a pretty obvious plot that no one could possibly see coming for you. I’m so nice I know.
After a brief intro stage, you’re directed to the Robot Master screen as usual. Instead of fighting eight Robot Masters, you only fight.. four? Is this game supposed to be finished in half an hour? Eventually the remaining four do become available because you can’t just casually break staples, though it is kind of weird that you can only select four at first. It’s not a huge problem for me anyway, though it does make finding out weaknesses a bit less difficult because every set of four Robot Masters are weak to each other. The stages still function the same as in getting from point A to B, defeat the Robot Master at the end and claim a new weapon. Rock also largely controls the same despite the shift in generations, which is good since from Mega Man 4 onward he controlled very well. Also, no knockback finally!
A game can have good controls, but it still needs good level design. And that’s a mixed bag for me when it comes to Mega Man 7. Most of the stages are good don’t get me wrong, but then there are those stages. Let’s get the positive out of the way first: the stages follow the same formula of Mega Man 6 and have multiple pathways and secrets to find. Every level also still has its own designs and gimmicks that make them memorable. But I swear this game has an addiction to dark hallways and invisible platforms that only become visible the moment you jump towards them. Usually if you just jump as far as you can you’ll land on a platform because that’s the way they are designed, but that doesn’t make them fun to go through. Another infamous part of a stage that I hate is a pit in Turbo Man’s stage which sends you down all the way just for you having to climb up again, and it’s very easy to fall into because of bouncing tires. It doesn’t hurt you at all, but it makes you waste quite a lot of time. Spring Man’s stage also has the tendency to have you fall down a lot because of the level being filled with springs. None of the before-mentioned obstacles are difficult to traverse, but they’re not exactly what I would like to call fun either.
To help with platforming, your best doggo Rush is still there to help you out. The Rush jet- and power adapters have been combined into one, and need to be found in stages through the RUSH plates. You still can’t slide and you travel less distance with the jet, but that is never really necessary with this design in level anyway. The Rush Jet and Rush Coil are also still here, alongside the Rush Search which is.. okay? It has its function by searching for hidden goodies in stages but I never felt the need to use it. And when you do actually need it to find actual upgrades, have fun traversing all the stages and searching at every spot since there is no clear indication where something might be. The upgrades are worth it however, with items such as the Energy Equalizer which automatically gives ammo to the weapon currently depleted the most. It was always a chore to switch to items, pick up an ammo tank and switch back, and this sort of remedies most of it. Beat does not attack anymore like a mad lad, but actually functions as a safety net for whenever you fall into a pit. These upgrades are all very welcome, and making them optional was also a good decision.
Rush does also dig up other items such as bolts, the currency of this game which is also dropped by enemies. New to this game is Auto’s Shop, a shop run by Dr. Light’s newest creation where you can buy all sorts of stuff such as e-tanks, lives and some upgrades. The good thing about it is that some of these upgrades are also the ones found in stages so if you don’t want to bother looking for them, you can always buy them here. Though for the final five items you do need a special item found in Spring Man’s stage. Yet again there is no clear indication on how to access the shop, which is done by pressing the select button on the Robot Master selection screen. The shop can be accessed at any time, so you can always prepare in advance for the next stage. Bolts are common drops, but there are some great farming spots as well if you do see the need.
The weapons are mostly the same as we’ve seen, though some have gotten some enhancements and others have environmental uses, or both at the same time. The Junk Shield is by far the best shield we have gotten yet, and the Noise Crush is a regular damaging weapon but can be shot against a wall to charge yourself with it, resulting in a larger wave of energy with the next shot. The Scorch Wheel burns trees, and the Thunder Bolt activates generators. All of these are completely optional but might either lead to some goodies or make life a whole lot easier. The Slash Claw is probably my favourite, as it is a close-range weapon that actually works. The other weapons are solid as well though I didn’t use them as much, but Mega Man 7 still has a great assortment of weapons overall.
That said however, I am yet again mixed on the boss battles. Most of them have many different attacks which I would like to compliment, but that is compensated by them becoming complete pushovers when you choose their weakness weapon. They follow the Mega Man X trend by stopping in their tracks and repeating a predictable pattern every time they’re hit with said weapon. Two of the first four bosses even have insta-kill objects in their boss room, possibly taking newcomers off-guard right away. I do appreciate them having more gimmicks, but Slash Man stopping you in place when you’re hit by a randomly spawned red.. jelly or something. The bosses aren’t difficult or anything, but it just drags out fights. A reoccurring problem apparently that I also mentioned earlier with stages. Oh, and they’ve made the final boss far more difficult than anything before soo.. good luck!
The game overall isn’t too difficult, probably on the same level as Mega Man 5 and 6. It does have its moments like the insta-kill and a final boss that almost demands you to use all your e-tanks but aside from that, the game was a relatively easy playthrough. And with Auto’s shop allowing you to make purchases between every stage, you can always stock up on e-tanks to cheese a difficult moment. I would say there is less replayability because you’re forced to pick out of only four Robot Masters at the start, but revisiting stages is in some cases a must so it balances out. The game still takes about four to five hours to beat, which is slightly longer than the NES games even without having an added castle.
The graphics do look pretty good and colourful, and the game plays well. I do have a few gripes that I wanted to mention, although I’m not sure if these problems occur on just the Legacy Collection. Sprite flickering happened sometimes though not too noticeable for the most part, but I also felt that the damage indication sometimes also didn’t happen and it might be that those two gripes have something in common with each other. Usually an enemy flashes white for a short time to indicate you’ve hurt it, but that didn’t always happen and it was quite frustrating. Again, this might just be the Legacy Collection or my own desktop acting up, but I doubt it’s the latter. Also the localization had some.. weird moments to make Mega Man look more ”badass”. Not really a complaint, but thought I’d throw it out there. The soundtrack is pretty sweet, some even referencing past- or other games. Kudos if you know what the song down below is from!
Mega Man 7 doesn’t stray away too far from the formula by having Rock control the same despite the shift in generation. The introduction of a currency system with Auto’s shop is a very welcome addition, and the stages have enough collectables in them to warrant another visit because the collectables are definitely worth it. That said however, the level design overall is mixed and the same can be said for the bosses. For a lack of better words; they have the tendency to drag on. Weapons feel good and have more environmental uses now which is always welcome. And with that, here is my final verdict for Mega Man 7:
I must say that the complaints that I do have really prevented me from enjoying the game as much as I want to. Had these not been here, this game would have easily been among my favourites so far. It’s still up there though; Mega Man 7 is a fine game and should definitely not be missed. The game is available for the SNES but prepare to empty your wallet completely for a physical copy. Instead, you’re better off getting it on one of the collections, or the Virtual Console on both the New Nintendo 3ds or Wii U.