after playing and loving megaman 8 i decided to really give the whole series another shot again, it really made get get the appeal of the series when before i kind of didn't, so after it i decided to jump right into megaman 7 and i'm super glad i did. it more or less takes after the same structure as the prior games, 8 robot masters and a big castle at the end with a stage here or there thrown in, it's all been done, but they did also add a store this time with its own currency you find by defeating enemies, bolts! you can check the store any time between stages though i forgot how to access it for a good chunk of the game and ended up going through most of the boss gauntlet without it! the other major gimmick here is that your weapons can actually effect stages, the ice gun will let you make it snow on cloud mans stage, leading to an extra item, or freeze lava on junk mans stage to cross areas and get items, it's a fun mechanic that really ads replay value to levels. there's a lot to find in those levels too, new armour, items, rush modes and even an entire hidden boss fight with protoman if you want, you even get his shield for beating him which lets you tank damage with it, it's such a cool addition and its something that really made the game feel more open than most of the megaman games i've played. it's still fairly accessable too, i made liberal use of the chckpoint saves but for many stages it did not feel like i really needed them, with the exception ofthe protoman fight and some wily castle stages, it's not as forgiving as 8, but still easy enough for me, and i liked that, at least, until the final stretch, the last few bosses, mainly the machine ogre and the final wily fight are massive difficulty spikes, moreso than anything in 8 and it ended the game on a real sour note, it hurt my enjoyment of the game for sure, it was just very unfair and was just a boss i had to tank through, a bad time. the weapons this time did feel less fun than 8 though, some like the flame weapon felt a little difficult to use, but others like the junk shield were a lot of fun and i liked the super armours rocket fist attack a lot, especially when upgraded. the rest of the formula is more or less identicle though, but it's a comforting formula, you know what you're getting in for and it's why you're here and i think i get that now.
the individual stages are also cool this time around though from cloud mans stage, where weather changes all the time, the castlevania-esque shade man stage with bats and pumpkins, the fossil filled freeze man stage is super cozy too, love a good snow stage, other stages like the jurassic park inspired (it ws the 90's) slash man stage really stand out, i also mechanically loved sping mans stage, which, naturally, is covered in springs, hard to control but ultimately still very cool and burst mans stage with its rising water is also a favourite, i love water stages. they all look great too, i think i preffered 8's more detailed, more pastel aesthetic, but it still looks great, the snes let the game have a lot of detail and it looks really good, spring man, freeze man and when cloud man's stage is snowing is when the game looks its best i think. the music too is nice, not as vibey or as listenable as 8's but still a good time, the battle themes tend to blend a little but the level themes totally shine, freeze man's stage is upbeat and wintery with a real sense of adventure to it, almost sounding like it was from a JRPG of the time, cloud mans stage too almost has the vibe of a shonen anime opening and spring mans stage music gets me weirdly emotional, shame mans stage too has a very gothic sound to it, like a ghosts and goblins song, it even plays that games jingle as you enter if you hold down a specific button while picking the stage. when the soundtrack hits it really hits, and while not every song is a hit, many battle themes and some of the less memorable stage themes like junk and slashans songs do kind of blend in a little, but they're all still quality. the game has massive vibes overall, the detailed sprites and big, varied environments are just nice to look at, and while the wily stages are boring as usual, the rest have big variety and are all just nice :) its a style i vibe with a lot both aurally and visually. .
the game also has a funny story to it, while it isn't especially memorable beyond one scene, as opposed to 8's which is memorable arguably for the wrong reasons, the story just randomly ends with megaman trying to kill wily, i laughed a little but it was a very cool moment and it took me by surprise massively, which i never expected to happen in this series, so i think it deserves a lot of credit for that. i did notice that the game was actually not very well recieved, i don't think this is entirely fair, for sure it has tha very bad end boss, but it's still a good entry i feel and it made a lot of cool additions i really enjoyed and some deviations i welcomed, it may very well be a black sheep, but i don't think those are eveer a bad thing, black sheep are often times my favourite entries in franchises, games like ff13, dead aim or shattered memories are also very different in terms of things for their own series, be it structure, tone, gameplay or whatever, i don't think it should ever be a mark of shame on a game, and here i don't think it is, give it a try if you enjoy 8 and see if you enjoy it, just make sure to use save states.
the game itself is available on about as many paltforms as 8 was, you have the original on snes, which i don't reccomend purely because of that end boss, the ps2 anniversery version, which works fine and the current gen legacy version, which i also like, i would say to go for the newer gen one as you do get 8, 9 and 10 with it, though i would prefer if this version had proper save state options as opposed to the checkpoint saves it does use. the games legacy wasn't much, 8 was closer in style to the original 6 than it was 7 and the later games went right back to that original style, though in the case of 8 i do think it was a good move, as i love how 8 turned out. the game was actually the first in the mainline series to not be worked on much by keiji inafune, who handed his duties this time off to Hayato Kaji, a man with a lot of hits under his belt, doing designs for the later battle network games, model work for lost planet and various onimusha games as well as helping to animate one of the best looking games of all time, mega man legends, he's even worked on some resident evil games more recently, helping to manage the resident evil remakes as well as pheonix wright vs professor layton. also on board to produce was tokuro fujiwara, who had produced a *ton* of hits at capcom, from breath of fire, to resident evil, to final fight, too many to name overall, he also worked on the fantastic tomba games as well as as the excellent extemination over at whoppee camp, most recently helping to make mad world and ghosts and goblins ressurection.