After gifting SNES owners with two high quality MMX games, Capcom shocked the world when it released Mega Man 7 in the fall of 1995. By then, the SNES was starting to wane, as 32-bit war machines and 3D polygons became all the rage. The PlayStation was unleashed that same month to much hype, and it was clear the SNES had seen better days. But can Mega Man 7 prove there's life yet in 2D, SNES, and the Blue Bomber? Let us take a trip back in time. It was September of 1995... The original Blue Bomber's back but is it a happy homecoming?
DEATH, HOMEWORK AND MEGA MAN
Growing up in the late '80s to mid '90s I was blessed enough to witness the rise of the classic 8-bit NES as well as the beloved SNES. Along with that, my friends and I got to play a crapload of Mega Man games. There were a whoppin' six of them on the NES. The second one remains one of my top favorites to this day; it still holds up remarkably well even 25 years later, and was one of those defining games of many childhoods. The rest of the sequels all had their strong points. It was nearly a certainty back then that with each passing year, there would be a new Mega Man title to play, and eight more robot masters to conquer. It was death, homework and Mega Man for many kids. While the series peaked for me at number two, I can vividly remember playing parts three through six in one fashion or another, and there wasn't a single "bad" Mega Man title amongst them. They might not have been as epic as Mega Man 2, but with these games I could always be guaranteed a certain amount of polish and fun, like a comfy old pair of sneakers. Capcom rarely let me down
In many ways I consider Mega Man as the horror movie franchise of video gaming. Like Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, it seemed like every year a new sequel was made. Just like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees, you couldn't kill Mega Man or his nemesis, Dr. Wily. And just like the horror movie franchises I cited, there was usually one stand out in the group, with the following sequels never quite living up to the benchmarks set by the best entry in the series, yet the sequels nevertheless held a certain charm for the diehard fan. For the Halloween series, it was the original. For Mega Man, it was part 2. In the early '90s I was clamoring for a Halloween sequel, as well as a 16-bit Mega Man. Finally, in September 1995 HALLOWEEN 6: The Curse of Michael Myers came out. And that same month Capcom gave us MEGA MAN 7... bringing back the original Blue Bomber for the first time on the Super Nintendo
It was a homecoming for BOTH Michael Myers and Mega Man in the fall of '95. The Boogeyman returned to the silver screen after a 6-year-long absence, while the Blue Bomber made his classic series debut on the Super Nintendo. Yet again, the town of Haddonfield is steeped in danger and cold blood as a masked maniac roams the streets. The film followed the sordid exploits of the Shape stalkin' his unsuspecting victims both by day and night. And in his penultimate role, the legendary Donald Pleasence returned one last time to reprise Sam Loomis... Michael Myers' former doctor turned boogeyman hunter. The theatrical version was universally panned. Rightfully so, as it was a mess. However, hardcore Halloween fans know there is a Producer's Cut featuring 43 minutes of alternate footage... including a different ending. It tied up some of the loose ends of the shoddy and heavily edited version we got in theatres. It's one of my favorites but the theatrical version, not so much. Michael Myers had a bit of a rough homecoming. How did Mega Man fare?
Mega Man 7 couldn't have arrived at a worse time. It came out the same month as the PlayStation. While the SNES was very much still alive in the US, it was clear that its BEST days, commercially, were over. Next gen became all the rage, and in the midst of all this, Capcom decided to resurrect the original NES series. Had it came out 2 years prior, it would have been hailed as one of the great comebacks of the 16-bit generation. Instead, it got lost in the shuffle and was largely deemed as redundant, outdated and ultimately, forgettable. It was seen as a Capcom cheap cash cow attempt to milk a classic franchise for a few bucks from loyal 16-bit owners before moving to 32-bit. MEGA MAN 7 did garner some solid reviews, but no one really noticed, as it quietly went as quickly as it came. But one of the great things about this hobby is the ability to explore any game in-depth, even if it flew under the radar back in the day. With that said, let's take a look at the 16-bit debut of the original Blue Bomber
For many kids growing up in the early to mid '90s, this rings true
TIMING IS EVERYTHING IN LIFE AND (RETRO) GAMING
Isn't it amazing how big a role TIMING plays in life? Today complete copies of Mega Man 7 can reach as much as $3-400. Back in 2006, I got it complete for a measly $25. How times change. I took this pic on April 1st, 2006, when all 3 arrived Saturday morning. I'm thankful to have gotten back into the SNES scene when I did. I was lucky the nostalgia bug bit me a few years earlier than it did for many other retro gamers, as the retro market began to explode just 2-3 years later. Speaking of timing, it's a well known fact that Mega Man 7 was rushed; it had a developmental time window of just 3 months. While the programmers look back on the tight-knitted experience fondly, with designer Yoshihisa Tsuda referring to it as being fun like a sports team camp, they all admitted they had different regrets... ideas they wish they could have fleshed out more with an extra month of time. It's easy to see where their sentiments stem from. Mega Man 7 is flawed, but plenty of fun with a few twists in addition to its familiar traits, plus cameos galore from Mega Man's 8-bit gaming past
Look, he can now DUCK! Er, well, maybe if they had more time
THE STORY GOES...
One by one, these top secret robot masters awoke from their 6-month-long slumber...
With the city lying in ruin and countless casualties, the world needed a hero to step up...
It's the RETURN of the CLASSIC ORIGINAL BLUE BOMBER, it's...
After this you kill Mad Grinder and then run into Bass and Treble
Sad but true: His Mega Buster has been toned down. Normally, the charge shot counts as 3 regular shots, but here was reduced to 2. It pissed off quite a few diehard connoisseurs of Mega Man
Speaking of pissing off, MEGA MAN 7 also had another big change in the classic formula that was not very well received by some pundits: rather than giving you all eight to pick from right off the bat, now you begin with four. Some complained that this killed the strategy component of the original's concept. On the other hand, it allowed the four back end levels to be harder... based on the fact that the programmers knew you HAD TO HAVE gained certain skills prior!
Personally I didn't mind it a whole lot. Both has its pros and cons
YELLOW and you're MELLOW. Be near RED and you're DEAD
When submerged, it makes accurate jumping far more difficult...
Indeed, it wouldn't be right without a few mechanical mid bosses
Sliding effectively is the difference between the agony of defeat or the thrill of victory
I hate to burst your bubble here, but things aren't looking too hot
Brings back memories of Air Man!
Look, Mega Man 7 goes international with VISHNU MAN... or not
Everything's bigger in Texas and Mega Man 7... even the ladders
The flyin' Mets appear in a bit reminiscent of a beat 'em up scene
ONE MAN'S JUNK IS ANOTHER MEGA MAN'S PAIN
There's JUST SOMETHING about this stage that gets me all giddy
Upper tier regular bad guys / mid-mid bosses always do it for me
What's a Mega Man title without using your enemy's weapon eh?
Freeze Man has one seriously, pardon the pun, cool ass boss entrance
When he said FREEZE, I didn't think he meant it literally!
Can't hold it back anymore! The cold never bothered me anyway
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE LAB...
Doc... if you would only open your EYES, and not your HEART...
THE ROBOT MUSEUM HALL OF FAME
Home to some old "friends," the Robot Museum is an awesome bit of fan service!
You're too late. Guts Man is going back to the lab to be reinvented. Wily exits and in his place comes forth the corpulent Clown Robot
Forget shooting it anywhere on its body other than at its shrunken head. The Clown Robot can be an annoying mid boss due to its massive size yet small hitbox. Once you knock its head off, shoot like crazy as the head will soon reattach and the whole process starts all over again
A funny sight gag, it morphs into SKULL CLOWN ROBOT
Now that you have beaten the first four, the final four is unveiled. These last four levels are a bit harder than the first ones, since they knew you'd be coming in with four boss weapons at the ready. It allowed them to make the back four a little more difficult to beat
Some didn't like this new "restricted" style, but it was fine by me
Sega Genesis and Sonic the Hedgehog defined the summer of 91
Get too high and die [See, video games can be educational -Ed.]
From its lush visuals to its varied landscapes, 7 is VINTAGE 16-bit
[Heard he's hard to work with. Should be called PRICK MAN -Ed.]
You can't help but miss the awesome Ride Armors from the previous two Super Nintendo entries, Mega Man X and Mega Man X². Perhaps as a result of knowing that, they gave us this. Er, okay. There is simply NO comparison between this friendly robotic dino ally and that of the magnificent Ride Armors... but at least it helps to break up some of the action
It's also thanks in part to how it rumbles after you as you desperately flee to the far right. Finally, it corners you into a DUEL TO THE DEATH. Attacking with its flame breath andfireballs, it's easily the best and most memorable mid boss fight in the game, as well as the entire series. Fusing the best of Mega Man and Jurassic Park, it's a sin not to love it
Care for a mint?
Mega Man 7's weapon-level interaction is all kinds of awesome
It completely changes the way you approach controlling Mega Man as he goes from gunslinger to badass killing samurai! There's something about gettin' up close and personal to slice robots apart that cannot be beat. One of the best weapons to ever come out of the series due to it fulfilling a childhood dream... what if you crossed Mega Man and Strider? You get the Slash Claw. Pure total destruction at its finest!
Nothing's more BADASS than Mega Man slicin' and dicin'
"RODNEY KING, RODNEY KING!"
Thank your lucky stars it's not an insta-kill, but then we have this
Hi, Optimus CRIME
Shade Man's level starts out in the pitch black of night as Mega Man looks out... only for the darkness to slowly peel away, revealing a full moon in the distance. Brilliant stuff. It's made even better if you did the Ghouls 'N Ghosts code to get the GnG theme going! ^_^
A Halloween-themed Mega Man level! RVGFANATIC LIKES THIS
... ARE CLOSING IN TO SEAL YOUR DOOM!!
Not quite the sinister Pumpkinhead demon from horror movie fame, but nonetheless makes for a solid mid boss war
It's a wee bit shy, however. Doesn't like coming out of its shell
Ah, there you are. There's no reason to be scared. DAMNIT, your shot still bounces off it harmlessly. Guess if you're gonna go all the way then you'll need to wine and dine its ass first...
[Hey, leave your crappy online dating life out of this aiite? -Ed.]
Finally, it opens up. But not for very long, so make each time count with a well placed shot. It's a matter of patience and being on point
ALL YOUR BASS ARE BELONG TO US
"Damnit. I thought everyone knew Bass was pronounced as Base"
"AW SHIT. SOMETHING REALLY BIG IS BEHIND ME... ISN'T IT"
Yup, that about sums it up
Guts Man is trying to turn Mega Man into Rock Man
Like bringing a knife to a gun fight...
BOSS WEAPONS: POWERS AND ABILITIES
Like all Mega Man games, the formula remains the same. Beat a boss and gain its weapon. One of the unique things about 7 is that the weapons not only serve as offensive tools, but they can also aid you through various levels and situations, too
Part of the excitement stems from "stealing" the boss' weapons
Ah, Proto Man. You can even fight him and win his shield!
What might this open up to? Made experimentation worthwhile!
The Noise Crush bounces off walls and can be caught, giving you a mega blast
COME ON FEEL THE NOISE CRUSH, GIRLS ROCK YOUR BOYS!
Try out various weapons! Each boss has a weakness but there are also some weapons that will cause different status changes. For example, see what happens when you fire the Thunder Bolt at Turbo Man
But DO NOT use Freeze Cracker on Freeze Man. Trust me...
"GET TO DA CHOPPA!"
Call on the Super Adaptor for a major boost. "IT'S MORPHIN' TIME!"
Call upon Rush to fuse with you into a super power only known as Super Adaptor. This is a combination of powers from Mega Man VI (NES) and also Mega Man V (Game Boy). It's just another example of how Mega Man 7 pays homage to its previous entries
The only downside: You cannot slide in this form
The Super Adaptor's a game changer. You can jump and then hover, allowing you to leap distances far away from a ladder and in one smooth motion grab a hold, turning MEGA MAN into an efficient and superior killing machine!
While you can't dash or wall climb, this helped ease the pain
In this form, instead of shooting the Super Mega Buster when charged, he launches his Rocket Punch
When not charged, Mega Man fires his Mega Buster as usual
BUT NOT SO FAST -- BEHOLD, HIS HOVERING POWERS
Rush Search is a bit lame, though
When used, Rush will appear on the scene to sniff out any nearby goodies. When there's nothing of use, he'll dig up a bone. Thanks for the help, bud. But he can also find dolls, dead fish, dentures, robot toys and a Game Boy
Rush Jet, on the other hand, can be a serious boon to your quest
SHOP SO YOU DON'T DROP
Eddie's Shop is introduced in this title, where you can buy goods
That's just wrong
Purists may find the bolt shop to be "rebolting" but hell, I liked it
Even better than buying a 1-UP was killing an enemy only to find a 1-UP left in its place. It rarely happens too, which only adds to the awesome sauce of it when it happens
Be cool in real life to see your face randomly for 2nd chances!
Finding energy refills and E-TANKS is yet another charm of the series. Show of guilty hands here... how many have done the ole run away, kill respawning enemy, hope for energy refill, rinse and repeat thing? You haven't experienced Mega Man until ya do. Of course, I did that as a young child. I stopped once I turned 8 or so. You know, a little thing called integrity... [Folks, don't buy it. I saw him cheating just yesterday -Ed.]
Seein' goodies bunched together never fails to satisfy
Beat saves your ass if you have a Beat Whistle on ya
MEGA MAN 7'S HIDDEN "STREET FIGHTER II" MODE
Try entering this password. Then hold L + R, while pressing start
Perhaps if only they had an extra month of programming time...
Stuck on Sigma's last form. One of these days I'll finally beat him
Ironically, many claim 7 to be one of THE hardest in the franchise
The ending revealed, shockingly, a fed-up and darker Mega Man
For those who don't wish to be spoiled, skip this block of text. In the end, Wily apologizes for the trouble and grief he's caused, and he promises to go quietly. Unlike previous adventures, Mega Man knows better this time. He charges his Mega Buster and tells Wily he's going to do what he should have done a long time ago. It was shockingly violent and satisfying. Wily counters by reminding Mega Man robots cannot hurt humans. Then, in total action hero movie mode, Mega Man utters the hauntingly brilliant and unforgettable one-liner: "I'M MORE THAN A ROBOT... DIE, WILY!" I didn't believe my eyes when I read that. Blew my mind to know the Blue Bomber was about to kill Dr. Wily by blasting him in the face. But of course, before he can... Bass and Treble come to the rescue. They whisk Wily away, and the whole place starts to blow. In the closing sequence, we see Dr. Wily's Fortress exploding in flames, with Mega Man walking away, never once glancing back, like an action movie badass. While I'm ashamed to say I haven't yet beaten another Mega Man game to this day, I'm proud to say I was able to beat Mega Man 7. One of these days, I will be back to beat the X games. But for now, I march on toward the sunset
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Mega Man 7 received solid, if unremarkable, feedback. EGM gave it scores of 8.5, 7, 7 and 7. GameFan hyped it up big time in previews but never reviewed it. Super Play rated it 79%. While its numbers were certainly respectable enough, the consensus seemed to be along the lines of "Good game, but it's nothing we haven't seen before." This was made evident by such remarks as EGM reviewer Danyon Carpenter saying, "Get ready for more of the same." Al Manuel added, "With all the good things going for it, this game really needs a revamp. The engine is getting old and tired." On the flip side, Sushi-X defended it, "I can understand some people getting burnt out on the concept, but I love the action and challenge of this classic game with an excellent feel." It's hard to deny by late '95, the Blue Bomber was looking a bit conceptually outdated... Mega Man 7 was a homecoming for the Blue Bomber and friends
When the first Mega Man title burst onto the scene way back in December of 1987, it was a revelation. The sequel refined the process and dazzled the gaming world with its visuals, amazing music and non-linear gameplay. But of course, like with the original Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street films, many years and many sequels later, the once fresh concept has now grown more than a bit stale. Mega Man X managed to reinvent the series by taking it in a different and radical, more mature direction. By the time Mega Man 7 came out in late 1995, for many fans it felt like a step back. People were now used to X's athleticism... yet here comes the original Blue Bomber without the dashing or wall climbing abilities. It's easy to see why Mega Man 7 sort of became the black sheep of the SNES Mega Man legacy. When I first played through it in 2007, I, for one, really liked it. Then I went online seeking other people's opinions of the game and I was mortified to see all the venom people were spewing at the game. The hatred was so thick that it felt like Mega Man was being stoned to death by these vociferous gamers. I can understand the criticism, but it doesn't change the fact that I still really like 7 a lot
Didn't mind the odd lull here and there; I can admire the scenery
The most common complaint is that Mega Man is too big compared to earlier models, specifically X. 7's is much bigger and less agile than X. If you love X's faster and more mobile capabilities, naturally, there might be a disappointment with 7 being more of a plodding, sort of methodical Mega Man adventure. It goes back to understanding each game for what it intended to do. The X series was all about refreshing changes and new gameplay dynamics with a much darker storyline and feel. And the X games do a splendid job of that. But 7 was meant to go back to the original roots of the series... a more cartoonish, light-hearted affair. The sprite is full of character, totally Inafune. Yes, he's clunky, no doubt, but I actually enjoy the way he looks. His size didn't bother me, and I still had a blast with the game. And to me, that's all that really matters. Credit Boxed Pixels for this comparison shot
Mega Man 2 was one of my earliest video gaming memories, and a defining game of my youth. I liked Mario growing up but was always more of a MEGA MAN guy. There was an entire generation of 8-bit gamers who couldn't wait to see the Blue Bomber make his debut on SNES. When he did, it proved to be worth the wait as Mega Man X is considered to be one of the finest games in the franchise. Capcom's decision to continue the original NES series on the Super Nintendo in late '95 was a bit of a shock. But I, for one, love how lookin' back on the history of the SNES, there was at least one classic original Mega Man game made for it. In a lot of ways, it's close to how I imagined the series would look and feel in 16-bit. Mega Man 7 may have its fair share of critics, but it'll always have a special place in my gaming heart MEGA MAN 7 is a rad SNES game worth sinking your teeth into!
Though many view it as a step backwards, I found it to be a refreshing return to its roots. 7, of course, has its flaws, sure. A chunkier sprite means the action is more methodical than fast-paced. The charge shot is nerfed. On the bright side: Bass and Treble are great additions to the franchise. It's cool to see Rush back, and the Super Adaptor's a killing machine. The ability to use weapons in multiple ways was brilliant. Various nods to the past are made giving the game a good bit of fan service. And, what's a Mega Man game without menacing monstrosities?? The ones featured here are among the most memorable in Mega Man lore, ranging from a towering T-Rex to a roaring evil big rig. The bolt system and shop added a new wrinkle to the classic formula. It proves handy as you progress throughout the game especially for the final battle, hailed by most as one of the hardest Wily fights ever. Despite falling short of its potential, Mega Man 7 is a quality action game. It's no Mega Man X, but it was never meant to be, and perhaps that's where the charm lies. Sometimes, you just can't beat an original. It's nice to have the Blue Bomber and his trusty old friends back
Graphics: 8.5 Sound: 8 Gameplay: 8.5 Longevity: 7
Double Silver Award
[Had everyone fooled all these years except me. PRICK MAN -Ed.]
MEGA MAN 7 was not the best of homecomings, but it still rocks