A Critical Look at Mega Man 7 Stages: Rush, Big Eddie, and the Robot Museum

Wrapping up our exploration of Mega Man's tools and various items brings us to Rush Search.

Using this allows Rush to dig up an item for us. The primary use of this is to find secret items in specific places, and as of now we have access to Exit (allowing us to leave a stage anytime after we've completed it once), and two large bolts worth 100 each.

These locations are completely unmarked, and searching every possible patch of ground isn't feasible in an average playthrough. We can obtain bolts and Exit in other ways though, so this can be considered a random bonus if a player manages to find them.

Rush can also find any item that could be dropped by an enemy, as well as the occasional Tank item. Useful items are relatively rare, however, with random junk appearing over half the time, and large energy refills or better appearing on roughly 10% of searches. Still, it's an opportunity to heal, and it can be worth doing this in front of a boss door for a while to get a clean shot at it.

As a neat Easter egg, Rush will find a Game Boy if Search is used under the hanging Famicom at the start of Junk Man's stage.

Obtained by using Thunder Bolt in Junk Man's stage, this Rush Jet may be the weakest thus far. Like Mega Man 4, we only have minor vertical control and the ability to slow it down.

However, Rush is now able to take damage, and any hit will cause him to leave, possibly sending Mega Man to his doom. Despite this, each stage has at least one area where using Jet would be helpful, so even with its limitations, it can be worth the trouble.

Finding each of the RUSH letter items gives us a new form of the Rush Adapter in Super Mega Man. While full flight is no longer an option, we can use the jets for an extra jump, and this version comes with a short-range rocket punch.

The punch deals 4 damage to normal enemies and is randomly useful against bosses, making this version extremely helpful for most stages and worth the loss of the slide. The second jump can be used after walking off a ledge as well, giving us a chance to save ourselves from a fall.

Pressing the Select button on the stage select screen brings us to Auto's shop, Big Eddie, a new mechanic for the series. Collecting bolts lets us buy extra lives and Tanks to refill health or weapon energy. There's also an Exit item for sale and something involving Beat, who Auto tells us is currently missing.

Despite Rush Search's failure rate and the downgrades to Jet and the Adapter (if you liked Mega Man 6's flying), Rush remains useful so far. While it's difficult to find an item you need, persistent use of Search will at least yield bolts to buy the item you need if you can't find it outright, and it can be worth taking some time to find health in some situations.

There are at least three major points where Jet is useful so far outside of Cloud Man's stage (which you need to beat to get it); the floating platforms at the end of Junk Man's, the vanishing blocks in Burst Man's, and the path to Rush Search in Freeze Man's, as well as various enemies that can be avoided.

The Super Adapter is useful anywhere, as having that extra jump can save a player from a pit, avoid an enemy, or make otherwise difficult platforming segments a breeze. The punch is more situational given its short range, but we'll have a fix for that later.

Now that we've finally seen all we can in the first four stages, we have a short interlude before starting the next set.

After defeating the fourth boss, Dr. Light tells us that Dr. Wily has broken into the Robot Museum, a neat setting that shows of more detailed sprites of early Robot Masters, but is unfortunately only used for a couple flat screens.

Wily steals Guts Man, and leaves behind a new boss called Mash. Mash jumps around the room, stopping each time he hits the ground to stop his head from spinning. He can only be harmed by attacking his head when it stops spinning, and shooting it causes it to fly off, bouncing across the room with speed and height based on the damage dealt to it.

While Mash is easy to dodge while jumping, shooting his head requires careful timing to avoid being trapped in a corner by both of them. He'll take 3 damage from the Super Adapter and 4 from Danger Wrap. The bubble is difficult to hit with, but we can drop bombs on the head as it comes to a stop. Defeating Mash brings us back to the select screen with four new stages to explore.

This is a neat gimmick for a fight, but the bouncing accentuates how much less space we have to move in this game, and it can be tough to attack in a way that leaves Mega Man safe. Still, we have multiple opportunities to hit the head while Mash tries to get in place to pick it back up, and we've been through much tougher bosses already.