A Critical Look at Mega Man 7 Stages: Overview

From everything I've heard, Mega Man 7 was mostly developed during a three-month flurry of activity. Hard to believe, considering how it's full to bursting with new mechanics, fun ideas, and charming animations. The cracks started to appear as we explored some of its level design choices, but for the most part, this game is impressive for what it set out to do.

Large enemies and sprites were given a lot of attention, with many having multiple moves, or just nice details.

We saw plenty of new gameplay ideas, too. The complex stage gimmicks and side paths requiring weapon use were sometimes a good step forward, while the new hidden items, the shop, and the special reactions some bosses and enemies had to certain weapons showed its attempts at expanding on the previous games.

Not all of those ideas worked out in practice. The game's quality and difficulty varies more than most of the Nintendo Entertainment System series, and its toughest challenges and lowest moments may have been too much for some. Splitting the bosses into two groups was a questionable decision, given that the series is known for allowing players to do stages in any order, but was made worse by putting Freeze Man, one of the hardest bosses, in the first half, and by giving players the strongest weapons before they have a chance to try the rest.

The game was also hurt by the shorter range of vision, with some enemies entering the screen too quickly for some players to react to. This also causes a cramped feeling to some areas and boss rooms, but aside from the specific problems I've called out over the course of this review, the game can work with its limitations and has plenty of good platforming moments as well.

Overall, it's a game with both quantity and quality of ideas, and with both impressive moments and frustrating ones, the ability to enjoy it rests largely on the individual player. It needed to pay better attention to its screen limitations and enemy placements, reign in some of the worst gimmicks and bosses, and choose a better boss order if it was determined to force it.

Still, the parts that work are strong moments for the series, the Rush Adapter is lots of fun to play around with, and the shop helps give players a way to solve the worst of it.

And with that, I need to give this project a short break. This isn't going anywhere, but I need a month or two to step away from it and come back fresh so I don't burn myself out. Also, I've been given the chance to put my money where my mega mouth is and design a game, which is a fantastic experience but also a major time investment. I intend to cover the rest of the main series and the Game Boy games at the least, so this will be back at the same pace once I've had a chance to build up some new material.

Thanks for reading, and see you again soon!