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16-Bit Brawl: The Wily Wars vs. Mega Man 7

16-Bit Brawl: The Wily Wars vs. Mega Man 7

Kris Randazzo
7 minute read

Welcome to 16-Bit Brawl, a series where we pit two Sega Genesis and Super NES games against one another to see which one comes out on top. This time, we’re going to take a look at how the Blue Bomber himself, Mega Man, fared on both platforms. Did Nintendo or Sega’s systems get the better game? Let’s find out. 

Mega Man has had quite the career. There’s frankly an absurd number of Mega Man games in the world, and that train started back on the NES. During the 8-bit era, Capcom released a whopping 6 games on NES and 5 on Game Boy. That’s a lot of Mega Man. But when it came time for 16-bit home consoles, Mega Man went through a bit of a dry spell. Capcom created the spinoff series Mega Man X, which saw 3 entries on Super NES, but the original, classic Mega Man only got one original title, and one rather strange remake. Let’s take a look at the contenders. 

In Nintendo’s corner, we have Mega Man 7. This game acted as a direct followup to Mega Man 6 for NES, and did some really cool things in terms of evolving the Mega Man formula with environments that could be affected by certain robot master weapons. It was also the first game in the classic series to feature a more modern art style, and what a style it was. Mega Man 7 is one of the most colorful and well animated games on the Super NES, but it wasn’t without its faults and detractors. Making the characters more detailed meant that they also took up more screen real estate, and some longtime fans weren’t too keen on that. Still, it’s an excellent, original game that’s loaded with fun easter eggs like the Robot Museum, creative robot masters like Junk Man, and a top tier soundtrack. 

In Sega’s corner, we have Mega Man: The Wily Wars. This was a 16-bit Super Mario All-Stars style collection of games that included full facelifts for the first 3 NES Mega Man games. Each one was recreated incredibly faithfully in terms of stage layout, but the physics were just a little off, as was the game’s overall speed, especially in terms of weapons. Still, even though they weren’t necessarily the best ways to play these classics, Mega Man 1-3 are among the best action video games ever made, especially at the time of this game’s release. Plus, after you beat all three games, you get to take on Wily Tower, an all new set of stages with completely unique robot masters where you get to choose your own weapon loadout from any armaments in the first 3 games. It’s super weird, but incredibly cool. 

Now that we know what we’re comparing, let’s get down to business. 

Graphics (1 point): 

Neither one of these games is bad-looking, but they both approach things very differently. On one hand, Wily Wars had the NES games template to adhere to, which limited its scope to some degree. But it worked extremely well with what it was given, and the new backgrounds breathe a fantastic amount of life into the NES games stages, especially in the case of Mega Man 1. 

But Mega Man 7? Say what you will about its gameplay and zoomed in camera, but that game is undeniably gorgeous. The new Mega Man sprite was a brilliant combination of the original soulless, dead eyed murder machine from the NES games and his concept art. The character animations were insanely well done, and the stages themselves are positively stunning. This in no way minimizes the excellent, albeit sometimes strange facelift given in Mega Man: The Wily Wars, but Mega Man 7 takes this by a mile. 

Mega Man 7: 1 Wily Wars: 0

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Sound (1 point)

Sound is always an interesting category because the SNES and Genesis handled sound super differently. Sega Genesis sound in particular is very “video gamey” so I was super excited to hear what they did with these classic NES tunes in this conversion, and for the most part they did not disappoint. All of the songs have been intelligently remade to work well with the Genesis’s sound capabilities. The work was admirable, but I don't think any of them manage to sound better than the source material, and the new music created for the game isn’t super memorable. 

Mega Man 7, though, has a phenomenal soundtrack. Just top to bottom killer tunes. The instrument choices were super smart, relying on loud, high fidelity video gamey samples instead of trying to go for the electric guitar sound of the X series or anything else aiming to replicate real instruments. The compositions themselves are top notch, including some stellar throwback tunes in the Robot Museum and the secret Ghosts n Goblins tune in Shade Man’s stage. Once again, I mean no disrespect to the work done on Genesis, but this is yet another landslide victory for the SNES.  

Mega Man 7: 2 Wily Wars: 0

Gameplay (2 points)

Now this is a tough one. On one hand you have Mega Man 7, which is as sharp as its NES counterparts, but with less room to play in. On the other, you have Wily Wars, which nails the playfield aspect, but somewhat bungles the actual play mechanics. 

I’ve played both of these games to conclusion multiple times, and I genuinely love them both, but I have to give this to Mega Man 7, and here’s why. 

Mega Man 7 feels like a Capcom Mega Man game, and Wily Wars doesn’t, because it isn’t. It was farmed out to a 3rd party, and unfortunately it shows. It’s by no means a disaster. We’re not talking the MS DOS Mega Man games or anything. But it doesn't feel quite as sharp as these kinds of games are supposed to. Mega Man’s shots fire too slowly. The jump physics are off, making certain things (particularly in Mega Man 2) more of a pain than they should be. 

Meanwhile, Mega Man 7’s camera being zoomed in is an issue for nostalgia’s sake, but the game is designed around the size of the playfield. Mega Man feels like Mega Man, and the game’s sharp as a tack. It’s got a number of creative secrets like Protoman’s shield and the Rush Armor. I know there are folks out there who think Mega Man 7 is a bad game, but I’ve never understood it. It’s great, and what’s more, it’s better than Wily Wars. 

Mega Man 7: 4 Wily Wars: 0

And there we have it. A decisive win for the SNES in the realm of Mega Man. It would have been nice to see what Capcom could have actually pulled off with an original Genesis Mega Man game, but sadly the world will never know. Wily Wars is great though, and you should absolutely play it. After you’ve played 7, of course. 

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