GameSpite Journal 10 | Mega Man 7

Mega Man 7 | Dev.: Capcom | Pub: Capcom | Genre: Platformer | Release: Sept. 1995

When Capcom introduced Mega Man X to the world in 1993, it seemed as though the original, light-hearted series was done for. In retrospect, it was just the impatience of youth that made that two year absence of the blue bomber seem like an eternity. I honestly don’t even remember seeing any kind of coverage for it at the time in Nintendo Power (I guess the Yoshi’s Island cover story of that particular issue must have distracted me), so to see it at the local video store was quite a treat.

Having never played Mega Man 5 or 6 at the time (with limited resources, most of my allowance we going toward SNES games), I was quite surprised when the opening cinematic hit the TV proclaiming that Dr. Wily was finally behind bars. This obviously wasn’t meant to last, as he had some time-release robots ready and waiting for his inevitable incarceration. New to the series was an introduction stage, setting up the story by having Wily escape from prison and revealing a new adversary/rival in Bass, an evil-looking Mega Man copy with a Rush analog in his wolf robot sidekick Treble.

Following the introductory stage, you are only allowed to access four Robot Masters as opposed to the standard eight. This was a concession to the shift in focus to a more story-driven experience, but Capcom was at least generous enough to include a password that would unlock the second half of the stages from the start (even if it breaks some of the narrative flow by eliminating the intro and mid-point stages). The mid-stage is the musical high-point of the experience in a robot museum with a Guts Man/Heat Man/Snake Man remix, something that is sadly overlooked by most since the stage itself is all of a screen or so long. After fighting a mid-boss the second set of robot masters appears. It all culminates in a Wily Castle showdown with Bass and Dr. Wily, with the final battle being deemed by many to be the most difficult battle in the entire series.

Mechanically, Mega Man 7 builds upon the Rush Adapter system of the previous game by combining the power and flight units into a single Super Rush Adapter. The adapter is obtained by collecting R, U, S, and H plates in the initial four stages of the game. MM7 resurrects the previous Rush abilities of Coil and Jet as well and introduces a new module in Rush Search. While it was nice to have Rush Search when seeking out secret areas or items, more often than not he will just dig up some random garbage instead (or a Game Boy). Unlike previous entries in the series, these items are hidden within the Robot Master stages rather than being bundled with a victory. Also new to Mega Man 7 is a shop, operated by series newcomer Auto (a good-natured robot with a screw loose) and Eddie. While not essential to completing the game, the shop cuts down on wasted time while learning the stages.

Mega Man 7 has a few rough edges, but its hard to hold this against Capcom -- according to the Mega Man: Official Complete Works (Udon, 2009) the game was developed start to finish in a scant three months. Despite the setbacks, they still managed to work in a number of secrets, such as an unlockable Protoman shield and a hidden two-player fighting mode. Not every game in the series can live up to Mega Man 2 & 3’s legacy (and Mega Man X was a tough act to follow), but Mega Man 7 is still an excellent game despite its shortcomings.

By Scott Lowe? | March 13, 2012 | Previous: Killer Instinct | Next: Seiken Densetsu 3