"Hey! This isn't the Mega Man I've been seeing on the Super NES! What's going on?" Yes, it's true -- Mega Man VII isn't like the Mega Man X games, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Upgrade or Facelift?
Mega Man VII is more of a facelift than a sequel -- it's as if the 8-bit game were dropped into the 16-bit Super NES. The result is an enjoyable Mega Man game. But without the dark edge of the X games, VII looks a bit too familiar. Even Rush the dog returns.
Like the other Mega games, this one has excellent control right down to Mega Man's ground slide. Because the levels in VII are huge and loaded with traps, hidden areas, and clever themes (like the vampire level), you need all the help you can get. However, with all the weapons MM collects, cycling through everything to find the one you want can get frustrating.
There are certainly things that VII lacks in comparison to X. The fine graphics feature well-drawn cinemas, but the sounds are strictly 8-bit right down to the little pinging sound of Mega Man's weapon. The music is upbeat and cutesy on most stages with a few dramatic overtures to stir up the action.
Mega Man VIII?
Those dying for the next Mega Man X installment will find VII a nice holdover until the next 16-bit entry down the road arrives.
ProTip: When you start the game, fight the Bubble Boss first -- he's the easiest to defeat.