Saturday, April 28, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
It seems that Capcom’s reputation right now has taken a significant turn for the worse. For those of you unaware, over a month ago, Street Fighter X Tekken was released. However, before the game came out, hackers revealed that there was data for more characters locked on the disk that Capcom wanted players to pay to unlock (along with other things it seemed Capcom lied about). Now two of the characters included in the locked away section were Pac-man and Mega man. Even worse, Capcom decided to be “funny” and make Mega man appear as a fat version of the North American cover art for the first game. Now I’m not the biggest Mega man fan, but it seemed like they were making fun of their own character. It all made me want to go back to when I first played Mega man and he seemed so cool. So for this edition of *Capcom Time*, I’ll be taking a look at Mega Man 7 (yes, I got into the series later than I should have) originally for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (but I’ll be playing it on the Mega man Anniversary collection).
Now at this point in the series, Mega man had everything that you associate with the usual Mega man game play (charge shot, sliding, Rush Power ups, etc...) and it had stayed that way for a few titles. So what would this game do to shake the series up? The really big thing would be Bass. There are characters that are remembered highly in the Mega man series, and Bass would be one of the top billed ones: he is Mega man’s evil duplicate after all. This is something that would heavily affect the series and its spin-offs afterwards, so yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.
Another change was the fact that you didn’t have all the robot masters to choose from at the start: you only had half. After beating those 4, you’d play a mini-stage, and then the 4 others would be selectable. The problem in this game is that the “rock-paper-scissors” pattern makes one big loop through all 8, which means it is impossible to have the weapon that Burst man is weak against when you first face him. In other words, this game clearly has a path the game makers wanted you to go through. I feel like this takes away from the non-linear feel the series normally has. Other than those elements, most of the rest of the changes will be chocked up to “better graphics”, so I’ll just get right to it.
The transition to 16-bit actually added a lot to the game. For example, this is the first Mega Man game where I clearly knew the weapon I was using was the correct one. Before, you had to watch the Robot master’s life meter and see which weapon did the most damage, but now there’s a signaling animation. Also, the advanced graphics allowed for new secrets where you need certain weapons to uncover areas, like using the flame wheel to burn away leaves in the foreground. This makes it fun to replay levels.
The music is a mixed bag though. On one hand, they use the advanced pallet to orchestrate some wonderful tracks inspiring a hope for the future. On the other hand, a lot of the tracks miss the “time for action” feel that made the music from Wily’s stage 1 in Mega man 2 so popular. Nothing’s going to hurt your ears, but I don’t feel the music adds much as it should. But the nail in the audio’s coffin is the sound effects. Jumping sounds more suited for a menu cursor, shooting could have sounded less like a pea shooter now and the dialog is just annoying bips at different pitches, just to name a few common examples. It’s all poorly chosen.Having now played and beaten Mega man one through eight, I don’t regret starting with number 7: unlike a couple of the last NES titles, it feels like effort was put into stepping up the series. I am disappointed that the graphics weren’t more fondly remembered (though The Power Fighters did reuse the style to remake some robot masters), but I do get that there is the most nostalgia in the original 8-bit version. And yeah, despite the fact that this is the first Mega man game I played, I’m not completely uncritical of the game; the sound effects are bad and the design of the robot masters and levels lack a certain memorability to them. It’s not the strongest link in the series, but it is FAR from the weakest: it at least moved the series forward. I give Mega man 7 for the Super Nintendo 8.5 levels out of 10.