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Mega Man 7 (SNES) artwork

Mega Man 7 (SNES) review

"Your opponents this time consist of a vampire, a cloud, a racecar, and a pile of garbage. "

Few will remember the exodus. 8-bit heroes shuffled their way off the NES and Sega Master System, seeking the bright and promising future in 16-bit realms. Mario, Simon Belmont, Samus Aran, and a slew of others fared the transition and came out all the better for it. We saw them in more stunning details than before, having shifted away from the primordial blocks that built them in prior adventures to the more sophisticated craftsmanship we know of today.

Predictably, Mega Man would also make the jump. Sega Genesis saw a revamped version of the first three entries to his brand under the collective title of The Wily Wars, and then the X series entered with a violent bang. We saw what Capcom could do with more advanced visuals, and we were hungry for a fresh battle against Wily. Both previously named titles left us wondering if we would ever see a proper Mega Man 7, and even hoping it would live up to the awesomeness that was Mega Man X. Capcom had a lot of expectations to fulfill, and they came damn close...

Mega 7 doesn't skimp on chatter. Capcom knew what era they were dealing with and realized gaming was going a more plot-focused direction, and thus concocted a whole storyline with dialogue and cutscenes. The adventure begins with Mega Man, Roll, and his new buddy Auto chitchatting while chaos ensues. One cheesy joke later, our hero hops into an introductory stage much like the ones seen in the initial X titles. As the campaign advances, additional cutscenes crop up, giving us a slightly more expanded view of the characters' personalities.

And yes, as you might have expected, Capcom pumped a little bit of X into this chapter by providing a bunch of items to locate and side areas to explore, not to mention some currency to spend on extra lives, E-tanks, or an “exit stage” ability. Exploration begets all kinds of goodies, from a suit that allows you to fuse with Rush, additional adapters for your canine companion, access to Beat, and a special punch attack.

However, presentation represents the most obvious difference from before. The franchise no longer appears to be stuck in Mega Man 2's engine, and it even went so far as to differentiate itself from its X brethren. It doesn't operate with the speed and grace of X, nor does it handle like a traditional title. This one comes with its own physics that lie somewhere in between the two: not as speedy as the previous 16-bit outings, but more refined than the 8-bit saga. The visuals themselves are crisp, too: bright, vibrant, lively, and cartoony without being saccharin.

As expected, Wily has a horde of robots on his payroll, each with a new weapon to teach you upon defeat. And also as expected, their attacks deal additional harm to one of their partners. The selection of robot masters this time provide a nice foil to the almost-cute heroes. Junk Man looks like he could've been a villain in a tech horror film from the '90s, for instance. Shade Man calls to mind Red Aremer, except in robot form. Although villains like Slash Man and Freeze Man look like Saturday morning TV fodder, they're no less menacing foes.

It all sounds like such a tight package that's hard to believe this experience proves to be merely solid and not fantastic. The thing is that stages may look nice and sport exciting moments, few segments really stand out. You get a lot of the same stuff you already found with previous Mega Man adventures, except with more modern graphics. We've had our share of crushing ceilings, appearing/disappearing platforms, cloud-covered floors, springboards, and mini-bosses. At its core, Mega 7 is your standard installment donning a fresh coat of paint.

Granted, that isn't exactly a bad thing. Its content provides enough entertainment to get you all the way through the robot masters and into Wily's castle. That's when things begin to dive a little further and the last few stages comes across as padding. What little material we witness here has been executed more effectively in prior franchise outings. Worse, a lot of “tricky” moments become nothing considerable once you factor Rush Jet into the equation, as he allows you to skip whole miles of real estate by just flying over it. Sure, he comes with limited fuel, but you can easily restore it by repeatedly killing enemies. Hell, even if you run out of Rush Jet's energy, you can still use the aforementioned fusion feature to get you past many difficult moments that require careful platforming, and that ability doesn't run out of energy. Oh, you can't slide while you're using it? Yeah, that's not really a significant drawback...

To make matters worse, Wily's castle this time around sports some of the weakest boss encounters the series has to offer. Are they challenging? Absolutely! Sadly, they're also bullet sponges that don't always leave themselves wide open, resulting in drawn-out battles that require you to either stock up on E- and S-tanks or acquire the patience of a saint. Wily this time around is the worst offender, as even his weaknesses only shave off a small portion of his health while his projectiles hit you with devastating blows. It's not hard to see why some folks refer this particular Wily encounter as one of the toughest, if not THE toughest, in the series.

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for hard fights. However, engaging in long, tedious bouts after suffering through painfully average stages isn't exactly my idea of a swell time.

Nonetheless, Mega Man 7 is a worthwhile successor to the NES era, and just a hair superior to its immediate predecessor. Unfortunately, the game only shows us what a standard Mega Man affair would look like with a facelift and a fair chunk of overlong boss segments. It's an otherwise solid addition to the classic platformer's lineup, but nothing more...

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (March 30, 2024)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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