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Reviewed: Megaman X7
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: October 23rd, 2003
Page: 2

Megaman X7, oddly enough, doesn't start off putting players in command of X. Instead, players are introduced to a new character named Axl, and reintroduced to fan favorite Zero. (Axl's name is an in-joke; most cast members of the Megaman series are named after musical styles or musicians). 

Axl's new powers are a hovering ability, repeating gunshots, and the ability to "capture" the ability and power of enemies for a short while. It's a nifty idea that doesn't see full fruition, because the powers have to be used right then and there, instead of being able to be saved for later. He can also collect boss weapons, though he can't charge them like X can.

Zero has had his Z-buster weapon disabled; to replace it, his saber is given the ability to reflect enemy shots. It's an interesting and slightly novel approach, but not helpful given the game's rather slow response time to getting the saber moving.

Rescuing Reploids, a la X5 and X6 is back, along with the ability of certain reploids to "die" if not rescued quickly enough. Rescue the right Reploids, and they hand over powerup items. Rescue enough Reploids, and X becomes playable. He's got his standard charging buster, and dashing and air-dash maneuvers, to start with. Beat bosses, and he gains their weapons. Complete his armor, and he can once again charge up boss weapons.

Through each level, you're required to pick a team of two characters, who can be switched between at any time. Interesting idea, annoying follow-through, because it inevitably leads to leaving one character out for the majority of the game.

So, that's the good side.

The unfortunate downside of this game is that it must inevitably be compared, just as X5 and X6 did, with the high point of the series -- Megaman X4. Unfortunately, Capcom's idea to take the X series into 3D is a repeat of many of the same mistakes that Megaman Legends made, including a list of control issues.

Just like in Legends, controlling the camera in 3D sections (when possible) is done with the R1 and L1 buttons. This means that the player has to spend as much, if not more, time controlling the camera while dodging enemy attacks. It's especially annoying in a certain boss stage, which consists of floating platforms that are entirely too easy to fall off of, while the boss teleports around.

The controls for each character are unique. Axl's hovering ability is nifty, but the mode of operation (hold the jump button) causes distress; all too often I tried to execute an air-dash only to see Axl fall down, the computer having been about to start his hover sequence.

X is just about perfect; his attacks come out quickly, his air dash is not a problem. The only complaint here is that he only gets one set of armor in the game.

Zero is the most problematic one; he has his air dash and double jump. His spinning jump attack is gone, and all saber attacks have some severe windup delay. In addition, the time between saber slashes of the combo is enough for rapid-fire enemy shots to get past and hit him.

Graphically, while in 2D the game is absolutely gorgeous; Capcom does a very good job placing 3D graphics in a 2D side scrolling control set. When it goes to 3D, somehow it loses something; the graphics aren't as crisp, nor as clear, and the cel shading is much more noticeable on enemies, leading to a disjointed feeling in levels where the game shifts from 2D to 3D.

Storyline wise, the game's pretty much on par with the previous two titles -- that is to say, extremely contrived excuses to show off a new form of Sigma. The only difference is now that X is getting far too into his whiny "I don't want to fight any more" persona, the one that will eventually disappear to lead the way for the Megaman Zero storyline.

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Added:  Thursday, October 23, 2003
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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