It just wouldn’t be right to have this countdown without having at least one Mega Man game on here, right?

Okay, so that’s pretty debatable. After all, even Skull Man doesn’t carry all that spooky a vibe about him or his stage. Fortunately, there’s another Robot Master who does:

#12: Mega Man 7‘s Shade Man Stage

The vampiric Robot Master known as Shade Man comes from one of my personal favorite entries in the series, Mega Man 7 — the one and only “Super Mega Man” that isn’t a part of the Mega Man X series. His stage is like one big haunted house tribute — or an homage to Capcom’s own Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, so much so that by using a small cheat code, you can change the stage’s music to a remix of that game’s first stage theme, as seen in the video above.

A cloud-covered moon sets the stage as the Blue Bomber ventures forth through a robotic graveyard full of crow bots and shambling Astro Zombiegs who emerge from coffins and lose their heads as they take damage. You’ll soon delve into the depths of Shade Man’s haunted castle, where the mechanical helmets of decorative knight statues spring to life and attack, with series classic Battons making an appearance shortly thereafter.

Xzibit’s favorite Halloween decoration serves as our mid-boss, a robot pumpkin inside a robot pumpkin… inside another robot pumpkin. How you defeat Van Pookin determines the course you’ll take to continue your trek. Both routes put you in the path of the Gilliam Knights, but only one path reveals the dark secret they harbor when the moon is full: transforming into robotic wolves who at 20+ hits are one of the strongest enemies in the game!

Finally, after a brief storyline encounter with Bass and Treble, you encounter the lord of the castle (assuming we don’t count the eerie portrait of a Dracula-garbed Dr. Wily), Shade Man. This creature of the night swoops out of the darkness in a bid to suck on Mega Man’s mechanical neck to restore his own health between petrifying gazes and shots of his special Noise Crush weapon. While most vampires shy away from the sunlight, it’s the Spring that marks this bat bot’s true weakness.

For a more elaborate look at the stage (including lots of pictures!), head over to The Mega Man Network for A Critical Look at Mega Man 7 Stages: Shade Man.

There aren’t many Mega Man ‘Masters who make with the macabre like Shade Man, making this experience all the more special.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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