|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
If there's one game series other than Street Fighter which has attributed to Capcom's greatness, it's Mega Man. The Indigo Invader returns in Mega Man 7 for the Super NES!
Set apart from the Mega Man X series, MM7 returns to its roots with an old style of gameplay. Gone are the Reploids, Sigma, and Zero; back are Dr. Light, Rush, Roll, and Protoman.
The plot and gameplay for this round are nearly the same as about twenty others: Dr. Wily's up to his nefarious deeds, and you must acquire weapons from his eight robots by defeating them. You start off with a choice of four stages, then four more, then a four-level final stage. You may visit each several times, which is often necessary to find all the hidden routes and items. Between rounds you may purchase items at Eddy's shop. After each round you are given a brief description of your recently acquired weapon's use through some corny dialogue between Mega and Dr. Light. This and other added dialogue still fail to add much depth, though.
The graphics are a step up from the 8-bit predecessors with an appearance that looks like it was taken right from the MM cartoon. The sprites are twice as large as earlier incarnations. Each major android has several frames of detailed animation that they're not shy about showing off. You'll recognize many foes from Mega Man's early days. There is even a brief (TOO brief) visit to the Robot Museum, where you'll get to see (but not fight) defeated foes from the past.
The music is bouncy and glides right along with the colorful graphics. There's isn't a whole lot of variation on the themes, though. The sound effects don't add much to the game: no big explosions, fantastic gunfire, etc.
Play control is simple yet adequate. Weapons can be chosen with the L+R buttons, but the non-attack enhancements must be selected from the subscreen. Pausing the game during the heat of a battle to find just the right weapon can be anticlimactic at times. The old routine of finding each robot's weakness never seems to grow tedious, though. Each weapon can also interact with the backgrounds to produce unique results or uncover hidden paths. A separate button for sliding, as opposed to Down+Jump, would've been appreciated.
The challenge level is on par with most platformers. Each individual stage isn't extremely difficult, but the end bosses can be quite a task to defeat. The final boss (Dr. Wily — sorry if the surprise is ruined :) is in one of his toughest incarnations ever! Playing through MM7 will take many times longer than MM6.
My biggest gripe is that Capcom can't think of many new "Mans!" They seem to recycle old foes like there's no tomorrow. There's Burst Man (Bubble Man), Cloud Man (Air Man, Wind Man), Junk Man (Dust Man, Wood Man, Plant Man), Freeze Man (Ice Man), Turbo Man (Charge Man)… none of which are new. Sigh. They should consider recycling their two biggest hits and have the eight bosses in their next MM named after the original Street Fighters: Ryu Man, Guile Man, Blanka Man… Yeah! But, I digress.
Mega Man 7 is another course in a meal that just won't end. It may be redundant, but when it's this good, it's no great effort to overlook such a minor fault. Look for Mega Man X3 in December '95!
Password: 1415 5585 7823 6251 Then hold L & R on both controllers and press Start to play Hyper Mega Man Turbo Fighting Champion Edition. :) Moves:
Mega Man: Arrow Slash: Down, Down-Towards, Towards, Y Leg Breaker: Down, Down, B Faint Warp: Up, Up
Bass: Booster Kick: Towards, Down, Down-Towards, Y Sonic Crasher: Forward, Forward, Y (while jumping) Faint Warp: Up, Up
Weaknesses: Burst Man: Freeze Cracker or Surge Wheel Cloud Man: Danger Warp Junk Man: Thunder Bolt Freeze Man: Junk Shield or Surge Wheel Slash Man: Freeze Cracker Spring Man: Slash Claw Shade Man: Wild Coil Turbo Man: Noise Crush
This article is copyright (c) 1995, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Boston Herald, 16-Oct-95