Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mega-busted - Megaman 7

I thought it would get better after part 6, I really did. Let's look at the facts. This game is on the SNES and features impressive graphics, special effects, more exploration, a bunch of new items(like the ability to use Protoman's shield), and even the ability for Rush to dig up hidden items.

Unfortunately this is all superfluous garbage and this game is the worst in the series thus far. Usually I wait a day or two after playing a game before I put together my thoughts on it so I'm not filled with the kind of rage that'll color the entire review. You know what though? Screw it. I hate this terrible game so it deserves whatever bile I manage to cough up.

Rather than stay in jail and spare us this awful game Dr. Wily organizes a plot to bust out and wreck havoc again. Megaman is called to the scene and yikes what in the world happened here? The sprites in this game are HUGE. They're well-detailed and almost ridiculously animated to the point where you can easily tell every move that happens next. Is all this really necessary? Now whenever I face a Sniper Joe(those green-shielded guys) I can tell exactly when they're going to fire cause their eye flashes.

So start with did we really need these huge sprites? All they're good for is making Megaman a large target. To add to this Megaman's window of invincibility is considerably short, so if he runs into a big enemy he'll likely take a second hit before he can get away. All of the large sprites also cut down on the amount of content that can actually fill the screen. There are less enemies, less traps, and overall just a more constricted environment that leaves no room for any truly inspired level design.

In regards to level design most of the appeal is in finding the secret items. The levels themselves are a walk in the park and the only time I was remotely impressed was when Quickman's lasers made a cameo(for all of one screen). Most of the time I didn't even notice or care what was going on in the stages. I avoid the spikes, shoot the bad guys, and eventually get to the boss without anything resembling a challenge. If I died it was most likely to something I had never seen before(which is extremely rare in this game) or the bosses.

The bosses in Megaman 7 are either pathetic or frustrating. Their patterns are either amateurish or ridiculous. The damage they can do is either minuscule or insane. There's no middle-ground here and none of the fights ever approach anything resembling fun. First off the system has been revamped so that whenever a boss is hit with a weapon they're weak to they get stunned for a second and then go into a particular pattern. Most of the time this simply renders the boss impotent as their patterns are usually so ineffective they may as well not have done anything. A couple bosses like Slashman on the other hand will continue on like nothing actually happened. It's wildly inconsistent especially with Slashman as he's most dangerous after being hit with his weakness. Maybe it was supposed to be a new idea but Capcom forgot to follow it up properly? We'll never know.

In this game there is also a shop where Megaman can buy 1ups, energy tanks, and...well that's about all worth buying. I preferred the old system where energy tanks had to be found and they were pretty rare. Due to their scarcity I was more likely to hold onto them and actually learn how to beat the tougher fights without relying on items. Instead I got lazy and force-fed my way through a lot of spots that may or may not have been problematic. Chances are if I actually did bother with not using them I'd just have more things to complain about cause I'd be stuck on them for several minutes.

Still none of that really matters cause the game is a very smooth ride up until the final boss. Now usually Wily is a bit of a wimp when it comes to the end of the game. He has some big vehicle and then maybe a smaller ship. This game is similar in that respect but both of his forms are night and day. His second form is crap, complete and utter crap. It has a couple weaknesses but they hardly matter when Wily is too high for any of them to reach. His first attack is a spread of bullets that home in on Megaman's general direction. These can either freeze him which does damage and leaves him open to attack, burn him which drains his health, or just do regular damage. It's not like any of that matters really cause unless you know the pattern you're going to take damage. In fact even if you know the pattern that doesn't guarantee anything. Megaman is a large target trying to dodge four fast moving bullets all coming at him at the same time. I've never seen anything like it myself in a Megaman game. This is where the game completely falls apart.

To explain this scenario let's go over the basics. The final stage is predictably a fight with all eight robot masters and then Wily himself. At this point I just want the game over with. I hit Wily's second form and suffer a crushing defeat. It's bad enough that so much of this stuff is hard to dodge but if Megaman gets caught by anything he's likely to lose 1/3 to half his health. This is also one of those battles that ends in 30 seconds with Megaman dying or 5 minutes with Wily dying. It's like that final battle with Dr. Robotnik in Sonic 1 except the bullets are three times as fast and Robotnik always uses the pistons that are out of Sonic's reach.

But hey what's the worry? I have nine lives in stock cause the rest of the game is so easy. I also have a full stock of four energy tanks and some super tank that refills all of my weapons and energy(which in hindsight is actually kind of useless). The funny(or sad) thing is that I burned through them all and I couldn't even bring the guy to half health. So at this point I've hit a conundrum. I have eight lives left but no energy reserves. I could spend quite awhile attempting to beat this guy, I could reset the game, buy up all of the stuff I think I'll need, or I could just not bother at all and never play this game again. Obviously you know which option I went with.

A critical error in game development is giving an easy game a ludicrously difficult finale. If I was playing one of the first two Megaman games this final battle would have been a bit more fitting. Instead it feels more like somebody was trying to save face because their latest Megaman game was a mere shadow of its former self in both challenge and good game design. Okay wait that doesn't make any sense. Why would anyone inflict such a horrendous design decision upon this game? It completely wrecks anything the game might have had going for it.

If the final boss isn't consistent with the rest of the game why bother ever replaying it? Consistency is not something that can be overlooked. All games must attempt to rise to the level of the player to sufficiently challenge their skills as well as their understanding of the game's mechanics and design. It's quite alright for the final boss to be a bit harder than everything else in the game because that's the final test for the player, the culmination of everything they've learned over the course of the game. This is extremely important in determining whether a person will play through the game again or not. If the finale is a mess it will ruin the rest of the game to a point where the player will never touch it again. What else are they going to do? Just play through the game but quit at the final boss? That doesn't make much sense. It's not like the very end of the game is going to take several hours or even several minutes to complete.

How can I play Megaman 7 without thinking about that final boss? It's not like the game gives me sufficient reason to think about anything else. There's no level of challenge that even comes close to approaching Wily's second form. The worst part however is that this actually continues in other Megaman games. For the unaware I'm specifically talking about both Megaman Legends games. Although at least those games have some things going for them and are quite good, this game however is simply a wreck.

Anyway at least I only have three games left. If you plan on holding my disinterest in completing part 7 over my head feel free to do so cause I couldn't care less. Hopefully part 8 is better as I can't imagine it getting any worse.

No comments:

Post a Comment