By the time Mega Man 7 dropped as one of the final games for the Super Nintendo, Capcom had already released two entries in Mega Man X; the leaner, faster, grittier spin-off of the franchise. Mega Man 7’s accelerated release schedule is well-documented, and while the game does introduce some non-linear elements and optional upgrades, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as polished or satisfying as any of the Blue Bomber’s 8-bit outings.
The longplay video clocks in at brisk 90 minutes, but it doesn’t tell the full story of my playthrough. Most of my 6+ hours in Mega Man 7 was spent in Wily’s Castle losing to frustrating bosses and failing to understand how passwords work (TL;DR – they don’t!) once you cross the threshold into Wily Country. Even after taking a Beat to track down and collect some of those optional upgrades – one of which is a de facto necessity for the final showdown against Bass – Wily’s boss gauntlet is the hardest in the series to date. If I didn’t enter the final battle fully stocked with energy canisters and other supplies, I didn’t stand a chance.
At the same time, it’s always satisfying to finally complete a game that was left hanging after so long. I was first introduced to the game as part of the Mega Man Anniversary Collection. After breezing the first six Mega Man games with little issue, Mega Man 7 – particularly the aforementioned Bass fight – stopped me cold. Unaware of all the game’s little side quests, I set the game aside and moved onto another obsession.
All these years later, however, I can safely say I wasn’t missing much.