For my 31st birthday, I splurged and picked up this gem of a game. I first played Mega Man 7 when I was in grade 6 – my brother and I rented the game for a weekend and ended up beating it. At the time I was already a huge fan of the new Mega Man X, and was confused why they released Mega Man 7. Why go back to the old Mega Man series when the new X series was making so many awesome advancements? Why is Mega Man so big on screen? And who is this new Bass character – is he somehow related to Zero?
Since revisiting this game, I have come to the conclusion that many of these original questions didn’t matter. What DID matter was that this game became my favourite original series Mega Man game – even better than my original favourite Mega Man 2!
The game takes place right after the end of Mega Man 6 (see above for the game’s story intro). Dr. Wily has been defeated by Mega Man (again), and is thrown into prison. But Dr. Wily knew that someday his plans might fail, so he created some backup robots to break him out of jail if the need arised. The need ends up being needed, and soon after Dr. Wily is jailed, his robots break him out. Mega Man must (yet again) destroy the robot masters and defeat Dr. Wily once and for all!
Like all Mega Man games, this game is an action platform game. Mega Man can run, jump, and slide through levels, shooting enemies with his Mega Buster and using a variety of weapon upgrades obtained from destroying all the other robot masters. As always, the control are tight and responsive which make the game a joy to play.
Rush – Mega Man’s trusty caninine – also makes an appeareace and lets Mega Man jump higher with his springy back, rocket through the ski, and even dig up useful items like energy! Mega Man 7 also takes a page from Mega Man X though, and allows Mega Man to power himself up! If Mega Man finds the letters that spell out “RUSH” in the first four levels, Rush turns himself into powerful armour upgrade that lets him fly for short periods of time and allows him to shoot a powerful fist instead of his regular Mega Buster. Beat the bird is also obtainable and can be used to save Mega Man when he falls in pits! Much later in the game, Mega Man can obtain another awesome upgrade (that will remain nameless for spoilers) – but suffice to say I was blown away when I found it!
The levels all have their own themes like past games, but are much more varied – even within the same level! For instance, in Slash Man’s level, Mega Man starts by jump across various waterfalls within a Jurassic Park-like environment (complete with a robot Tyranosuarus mini-boss), rides a robot dinosaur over a bed of spikes, and later traverse a deep forested area covered with robot bees! The levels also call back to many past Mega Man games and utilize similar gameplay and jumping environments like the disappearing block jumping section from earlier titles. When the game is roughly 1/2 done, Mega Man must do battle in a Robot Museum where old bosses like Snake Man can even be seen in the background!
The bosses themselves are also well designed, and a couple of them are quite difficult to dispatch unless the proper weapons are used to destroy them. Which comes to one of the weaknesses of this game (and all other Mega Man games). Bosses usually fall much to quickly to the weapon they are weak too, taking all the fun out of the battle – AKA”Spark Mandrill Syndrome.” This certainly doesn’t ruin the game because you can just use your regular Mega Buster to beat them, but it’s something I hope the developers eventually change in future iterations.
In terms of the weapons obtained from bosses, they all feel very unique and have utility outside regular battles with enemies. For instance, the ice shot can be used to freeze lava, the fire wheel can be used to destroy forests, and the electric bolt can be used to power on electrical equipment. While weapons had some extra utility in past games – the utility is really pushed in this game – making their use integral to unlocking many of Mega Man’s more powerful upgrades.
The game lastly introduces the bolt shop – an areas where Mega Man can buy items like Energy Tanks. During levels, Mega Man can pick up bolts left by defeated enemies. These bolts are then used as currency for at shop. This addition was probably my least favourite because I would have rather found the items in the levels themselves. Also, each time an item is bought, the robot must build it which takes like 10 seconds – an ETERNITY!
In terms of graphics, the game looks fantastic. Mega Man and all the other sprites look huge on the screen. Initially I was turned off by this because it was so different from Mega Man X, but soon came to love how it looked. All the levels are extremely detailed with awesome use of color. The 2D pixel art in this game might be some of the best on the console! The music is also fantastic with a super upbeat soundtrack and awesome sound effects that make it feel like your Mega Buster is really powerful!
Overall, this might be my favourite classic Mega Man game. It combines the best of the old and new – adding powerful upgrades to Mega Man, making levels branching, and increasing the utility of boss weapons! These days, the game is quite expensive, but if you can find it for a reasonable price (or are just a huge Mega Man fanatic), be sure to check this game out! I give this game a score of 9/10.
Final Score: 9/10