Released in October 2003, Mega Man X7 is considered by many people the worst game in the
Mega Man X series. Probably what repulsed most people was the change from 2D to 3D. The
whiny voice of the new character, Axl, didn't help matters either. Axl decides he's had
enough of the Red Alert Syndicate's violent ways and joins the Maverick Hunters.
The Syndicate's leader, Red, doesn't like this and goes nuts to get Axl back.
Best time, European version: low% 0:56:59 by Patrik 'Cremator' Salonen on 2008-07-27, done in 11 segments.
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Mega Man X7 is a story about how X took a 9-5 paper shuffling job to hide his emo attitude while Zero and the new guy Axl do their best to piss the Mavericks off by taunting them as much as they can. The epic conclusion involves an accidental revelation of Zero's and Sigma's "mysterious" past. X keeps whining but ultimately refuses to even lift a finger.
Welcome to the world of Mega Man X7, the probably most disliked part in the Mega Man X series. It's almost 18 months since I got the game out of curiosity; at first it was challenging (and for all the wrong reasons, too...), but I kept toying with the idea about a low% completion, and finally beat it (with low% stuff only) a few months later after I suddenly gained an inspiration to play it instead of letting it gather dust on the shelf. I was rather pleased as I considered a low% completion of the to be rather ridiculous in itself. By contrast, I've never collected everything, nor do I intend to, not even now that I know how to potentially get everything. It's just too tormenting & disheartening to think about, even if the route planning (for a run) is fairly straight-forward. For a 100% run, anyway.
After my first completion of the game I planned the low% run occasionally, until I finally decided to go with it last spring. By that point I had a clear plan in my head on my route and strategy, although I changed a lot of it during the execution part.
The core idea of this run is all about abusing the hapless game engine and the few weapons that are actually powerful, overpowered, even. Of course, the game has lots of useless moves which serve to ruin the game play, but as long as you stick to using the correct moves you can move about quickly & efficiently. Sadly, on the flip side, whenever I make a mistake, it sticks out pretty badly.
The bosses can be manipulated to some length with certain maneuvers and positionings (and when you consider the clunkiness of the game play, it's quite easy to do, actually; no inhuman super powers required). The only boss I didn't manage to force to do my bidding was Vanishing Gungaroo, although you getting him near the wall with you makes him behave in a different manner than when both the player and Gungaroo are on the center. This manifests mostly as easier Raijinshous and higher change of getting stunned by accident.
Tricks & Glitches:
- Camera Positioning: All boss weapons disappear almost immediately after they've flown out of view. This also applies to the 3D segments, where you can rotate the view angle to make projectiles disappear. You can also manipulate the stun towers, for example, by not looking at them. A good example would be the positioning of the stun towers in Crimson Palace. If I looked at them, they'd get in the way. I haven't tried that for the intro level, though, as I hadn't noticed it at the time.
- Slash Dash Cancel: The return of the classic move. Executed with forward-slash-forward-slash; the usual slash-dash-slash doesn't work because of Zero's new dash slash move. I have very little use for it because the first slash triggers invincibility, but it's quite effective in those little bits where I get to use it.
- Slash Cancel (2D only): Slashes can be canceled with ducking. I don't think I found any actual use for it, though.
- Special Weapon Cancel: Done by switching characters. Extremely useful at times.
- Dash Cancel (2D only): Cancel dash by ducking. It's actually a lot more useful than you'd think.
- Barrel Roll Cancel (Axl only): Barrel Rolls can be canceled via weapon cycling. Another trick that's a lot more useful than it sounds.
- High Dash Jump (Zero only): By slashing at the very beginning of a dash jump, Zero gains a little bit of extra height & lenght to his jumps, allowing me to dodge enemies and reach places I couldn't normally get to as fast.
Trivial glitches that didn't make it:
- Floating Object Levitation: There are some floating/flying objects (like air planes and ape heads) in the game that don't let the player fall when the player jumps under them, making the player float under them. Potentially useful in Crimson Palace if you happen to miss the jump on the last ape head. That route might be a bit faster than jumping over the ape head, but only by half a second. I couldn't do it consistently, so I just kept it as a back up plan in case I almost missed the jump.
- Enhanced Death Scream: Something that occured in the Palace Road stage. Somehow, when Axl was killed by the mower, his normal "ooooaaah!" death scream turned into more like "oooOOAAARGH!". That might be just a normal, alternative death scream, but I've never heard it before or since, so I think it's worth mentioning. Possibly has something to do with scrolling off-screen during the death. Completely useless, but whatever.
The route mainly revolves around the boss weapons and boss levels (they get a little tougher every time I defeat one, after all). I decided to go for the Explosion as my first weapon; it's one of the three weapons that can do massive damage in a short period of time, the other two being Raijinshou and charged Splash Laser. CSL is unavailable to me for obvious reasons. Vanishing Gungaroo is annoying to fight against regardless of the weaponry anyway, which is another reason I chose to go with Gungaroo as the first boss. After choosing VG it was only natural that I tackled Stonekong and Tonion next. Choosing the fourth boss wasn't that simple, but in the end I opted to kill Anteator next to get Snipe Missiles for Warfly's stage. The rest is all about giving Axl all the power ups and choosing the order so that I won't be hindered by the tougher bosses. After Axl gets powerful enough to shoot two Explosions (which happens in Flame Hyenard's stage and onwards), he becomes an unstoppable killing machine, which is the reason I don't give Zero any more power than he already has. It's not like he needs it or anything, anyway.
- Intro: The glorious return of Slash Dash Cancel! It's a bit useless in this game, but it is quite effective against the large bee helicopters in this stage. There are lots of unskippable cut scenes here, so you can enjoy Axl soft voice, if you wish. This is also the only stage that changes perspective on the fly - normally you have to stare a loading screen for a few seconds before getting another angle. It's a bit odd that they didn't use on the fly perspective changing more, if you ask me.
- Vanishing Gungaroo: Since this is the first stage after intro, I have to wait two minutes every single time I retry the segment. You can skip most of the turret walls, so it's only natural that I do so. I ditch the first Ride Armor to get a second one like that - otherwise I would have gotten the one with missiles and laser cannon, which is extremely sluggish in disposing of the enemy Ride Armors. This is probably the only segment where the camera annoys me, since I need to actually see where the enemies are coming from.
- Soldier Stonekong: This stage had the most frustrating reploid positionings in the whole game. I had to do some footwork to dodge all of them without spending too much time in doing so. A couple of mistakes here and there. The most notable one - the dip at the moving heads & spike pits - doesn't actually cost nearly as much as it seems to cost; it actually works in my favor, and I slip past the heads a bit faster than normal. It also turned out that not having Tornadoes doesn't cost much time, and I destroy the spinning heads easily without it. I skip the animation Stonekong does when he only has half of his health left. Pretty fancy if you ask me, even if it isn't that hard to pull off.
- Tornado Tonion: This segment is pretty well done, actually. I skip half of the stage, I kill the mid boss before it starts spinning (something I wasn't even expecting to happen, even if I was aiming for it), and despite this one time opportunity, I didn't mess it up royally as usual, but made it through. Tonion hits me once, though, but I'll just have to accept that. After all, this is the only time I've got a 0-cycle mid boss fight.
- Snipe Anteator: Compared to the rest, this stage was ridiculously easy to speed run. Short & clean.
- Splash Warfly: I worked hard on this stage. That is not to say I don't usually put any effort on my runs - just that I put some extra effort on this because it had many stunts to pull off, some of them being closer to unlikely than doable when added up. Axl gets another kill so he can shoot two Explosions per stage... little did I know at the time, this was actually a pretty vital point in the fight against Flame Hyenard.
- Flame Hyenard: I use unusually vast armament in this stage, and a flyer morph form as the sugar on top. I could have copied the flyer a little smoother, though. Note that if you release the Copy Shot when you're changing you movement (start running, stop, turn or jump, for example), the shot is cancelled. Same goes for X's charged special weapons, and probably for his regular charged shot, too.
- Wind Crowrang: I don't think it's possible to get to the eleventh plane faster than I did, at least with the low% setup I have. Even the High Dash Jump didn't help there. I tried to make it many times and simply ended up failing just as many times. I display extremely ineffective shooting in the interior part of the level. At least I avoided the rank up with that.
- Ride Boarski: Racing games are definitely not my stronger suit. I think I did pretty well, considering the controls aren't the best possible for racing. In the boss fight I play it safe by entering the menu, because the weapon cycling system is unwieldy to say the least. It would be bad if he got away, and that racing part isn't exactly a joy to pull off, either. The game counts the time spend in the menu, but I'm not so sure about the transition time. I sure hope it's not.
- Palace Road: An autoscroller, luckily enough the only one in the game. The boss exhibits mysterious 180 degree turns at the start and end of the long, epic boss battle.
- Crimson Palace, Red: The platformer part displays efficient use of Barrel Roll Cancel. I do an extra barrel roll by accident. Sorry. The battle against Red benefits greatly from Special Weapon Cancelling, as I can give more hits and maneuver better in the little room I have.
- Crimson Palace, transition: I chose the left route, because, as it turns out, it's somewhat faster and less prone to mistakes. Speaking of mistakes, I make a stupid mistake in the first platforming part. As for the last platforming part, you don't have to wait for the second Splash Laser shot to finish; you can continue dashing the instant you hear the second shot or so, it will hit the enemy anyway. You have to duck, though, or otherwise Axl just ends up shooting his foot. You can also advance under the spiked ape heads by simply dashing, even through the spike pits. Dash Cancel helps there.
- Crimson Palace, boss encounters:
- The Snipe Anteator fight didn't go so well; Anteator flees behind the cylinder-shaped floor for a second, I execute all the wrong moves on him, and Zero didn't damage Anteator as fast he should've done because of that. I've noticed that you can practically stop Anteator from escaping under the floor by staying by his right side at all times.
- The Vanishing Gungaroo fight is one of the biggest errors to be corrected in the future, should I feel like improving the run... I miss with half of the Snipe missiles I use, and quite the few Raijinshous miss. I didn't get stunned, though. I had to come up with such an unusual way to fight Gungaroo as I don't have Shock Buffer and I have to constantly worry getting stunned because of that.
- The rest of the boss repeats went more or less according to plan. Stuff like starting the Warfly fight with Hadangeki and getting charged over by Boarski (making him stay put for the rest of the fight) are intentional, and should save time in the end.
- Health and weapon energy are restored before confronting Sigma, so I don't collect any for the final battles. The selected weapons are also reset to default weapons, even though the old weapons are shown in the cut scene.
- The first Sigma fight demonstrates how this fight should be done. It went so well I'm almost inclined to call it flawless: Starts with a single Hadangeki, which is done to make Sigma less willing to warp away, then hitting him with Raijinshou after Raijinshou until he's down. Exquisite, simply exquisite!
- The second Sigma fight was, however, less spectacular. At first I got lucky because I could use the Explosions on Sigma. He kept using the fist attack, and while it was beneficial he didn't delay them at all, but it would have been faster if he had been closer after the first two punches. To top it all off, I get hit by what should've been the very last punch. Ah well.
With this I end my low% speed run of Mega Man X7. Thank you for watching!
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