A Critical Look at Mega Man 7 Stages: Spring Man

Right away, we're shown the main gimmick for this stage. Like those in the previous game, these springs bounce us a little when we touch them, and much higher if we're holding jump. Players are offered a bolt to learn that here.

Coil'n is a new enemy that can bounce toward us at two alternating jump heights. This one tends to hit the wall above it with the higher jump, causing it to turn around, so players have time to watch and figure it out. With three health, they're easy to shoot through, but we can also avoid it by jumping this gap instead of using the springs.

Frisk Cannon fires three destroyable shots at different angles, and at four hits, it will usually get at least one volley out. These are hard to avoid if we run forward, as the first shot is the longest and cuts off our retreat, but Junk Shield solves this problem as well as any other.

Our various Rush tools can get us to the upper ledge and avoid an awkward jump from below. While we'd need to avoid hitting the ceiling, the Cannon can also hit us at the last spring before the spikes if we hesitate. The Coil'ns here are placed well, giving us opportunities to fight them at different angles.

Now the stage goes all-in with the springs. We've got a tough jump for health that we'd normally have one shot at, but if we found Rush Jet, we can use it from the central spring platform to get back to the top left.

The rooms below are a problem. This area is meant to show us that holding jump on horizontal springs will bounce us up instead of down. This would be a good room design for that, but the Petaforths above and below will respawn as we reach the bottom or top, causing players to take unpredictable hits; once for touching the springs on the way down and bouncing into the enemy, and again for jumping against them and holding the button, potentially sending them all the way up and hitting the one on top, which will be waiting at the right edge. Still, playing with the vertical movement here is fun if we can avoid that.

Tom Daddy is a straightforward enemy, moving toward us like a slinky from the floor or ceiling, and occasionally stretching down from the ceiling to move to the floor. We can simply blast through these with the springs barely hindering us, but at five hits, it can be worthwhile to take them out faster with Junk Shield or Thunder Bolt.

More of the same here with a free weapon refill, until we reach Gabyoall. This marks a sharp spike in difficulty, as we're expected to make a short jump to not be bounced down into it. This one can also be bypassed with a slide, as the animation carries Mega Man far enough off the edge to fall safely to the other side.

The next jump is extremely tough to make, as our shortest hop won't clear it, but going only a little higher will cause us to touch the springs. Even sitting here practicing it repeatedly, I can only get it right about 1/3 of the time. If a player does fall, they'll have two Gabyoalls and a spike pit to deal with.

A far better solution is to deliberately time a fall so we can hit the first one with Danger Wrap, but new players shouldn't be this pressured into using a weakness with few opportunities to discover before now, and Rush Coil can't be used with the Gabyoall down there. If you have Rush Jet or the Super Adapter, this is the place to use it.

After a couple empty rooms, we reach a very odd area for a Mega Man game. This place is all one large room to explore, and I suggest checking out the linked map for this one.

We can reach the red box above with the springs, and jumping from it shows us the trick to them. Each time we jump away from one, it switches direction. Periodically, a spring will pop out to hit us in the direction the arrows face, though it's kind enough to flash before doing so.

Climbing the springs upward leads to an extra life, and jumping from this box turns it to the right, giving it two chances to hit us.

Moving further to the right from here leads to a bunch of boxes and an E-Tank. This is easy to reach with the other Rush items, but if we only have Coil, we'll need to be careful to move the box below and time the upper one to get there safely.

Taking the lower path, we'll find a floor of springs, one box, a Tripropellan, and some health. This is clearly meant as a path to take back up if we fall from above, but we don't need to walk back to the box.

Jumping up here leads to the right edge of the platform on the first screen, and we can continue across to the ladder. All of these floating platforms function the same as the regular springs, and the Tripropellan and box in the middle can be hard to avoid.

The final area leads to the exit, with one more box and enemy to deal with along the way.

There's some extra room in the corner that we have no reason to visit when taking the normal path out, but it seems to be there for players with the Super Adapter. Jumping to this box gives us another route up that bypasses most of the danger.

The last section contains two Sniper Joes, the first of which fires over our heads. While it looks easy, I can see this working against a player trying to jump out of panic, or at least that's the best explanation I have for it. The last only needs some smart weapon use to destroy safely.

So, this is another oddball of a level. It relies entirely on the springs as the main mechanic, with the rotating boxes as the only other unique object. Both spring enemies are easy to shoot through, and Sniper Joe adds little threat to the end segment. The best difficulty here comes from the Cannons and a few awkward jumps in the large room, but the Gabyoall room takes its idea of springs as a hazard too far with the jump near the ceiling (though we at least have other options for dealing with it), and the Petaforths near the extra life can too easily cause blind hits.

While its size isn't much different from some other stages, it feels very short, as there isn't much to stop an average player from running through it aside from a couple tough jumps. Despite the large room to explore, there isn't much that actually pushes us to learn the springs well, as fighting the Cannons or reaching the first extra life required more control over the springs than most of the large room, with the rest safely bouncing us around. The springs can be fun to play with, but the stage doesn't have much going for it beyond the idea of a larger area to explore.