Mega Man 3
Mega Man 2 was a much better success than the first game, and therefore the series was able to continue. Despite that, Mega Man 3 had a rocky development cycle. Akira Kitamura–one of the fathers of Mega Man–left the company and a new director had to take his place, and the main planner was also gone. Several team members had to share work with others because they couldn’t meet deadlines by themselves, and Capcom forced them to release the game in a state that they were not certain of. Keiji Inafune states that this is his least favourite game because of the turbulent progress. Capcom NA wasn’t helping either, with them forcing to have the name of a new character changed to a name that goes in line with how Rock changed to Mega Man. Regardless of whether Inafune likes or hates the game, on release it was met with a very positive reception. The box art also got slightly better but still far from perfect. Rock has a derpy face and literally shoots Spark Man in the robotic eggplant, what a dirty fighter. And the European box art features bestiality, but at least it keeps the Japanese anime-like art style.
Rock leaves Wily alone after kicking his sweet bippy yet again. Apparently he didn’t learn from not arresting Wily the first time. But low and behold, Wily claims to be reformed! No more bad Wily, he’s a good man now. He even helps Light with building a peace-keeping robot named Gamma! All is good and well until eight Robot Masters created by Light for excavation purposes go berserk. Furthermore, a new robot appears called Break Man, who loves to interrupt Rock’s business. Can Rock bring the Robot Masters back to their senses and solve this mysterious problem where Wily totally isn’t involved with?
Unlike the second game, Mega Man 3 does not start with a nice looking cutscene and instead boots you to the Robot Master selection screen right away. This cast of bosses is probably the most uniquely themed so far. We have a robot that can duplicate itself and is named after the astrological constellation Gemini Man, Snake man who has a stage designed after snakes and is inhabited with snake enemies, and Hard man who uhh.. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). I’ve always stated that I like me some originality, and Mega Man 3 delivers in spades. It translates to stages well too, as I don’t recall having a problem with any of them. In some stages, Break Man appears to hinder your progress but all he does is jump around and shoot in a predictable pattern so he’s taken down pretty easily.
Rock himself has gotten more agile with being able to slide from now on. It might sound simple, but he can avoid oncoming hazards far more easily now and just move around faster overall. It’s one of the best mechanical upgrades he got, and one I’m glad to see staying. Rock also has a faithful new companion that will join him in every game hereafter: Rush, the robot dog. He does not attac nor protec–at least, not for a while–but he’ll definitely make platforming a lot easier for you. At first you only have the Rush Coil which functions like a trampoline, but by beating select Robot Masters you can also get the submarine which.. is only able to be used in Gemini Man’s stage and in a Wily Stage, and the most broken version of the Rush Jet. It can carry you in any direction you wish for it to go while not consuming that much ammo, and you can shoot while being on it as well.
I won’t go too much into weapons from this review onwards, aside from the unique ones or improved ones. Shadow Man’s weapon for example is a mix between the Quick Boomerang and the Metal Blades without being overpowered. The Magnet Missile tracks enemies even in the air, and the Search Snake travels on the floor and up walls to hit enemies. The Spark Shock only stuns enemies which isn’t really that useful, and the same goes for the Gemini Laser which does good damage and bounces off walls, but it keeps bouncing until it hits an enemy or after some time has passed, and you can’t utilize more than one at the same time. The most controversial weapon however is the Top Spin. It’s a pretty bad weapon in that you have to launch yourself at enemies and then do a pirouette. It consumes almost all of your ammo at once, and isn’t even guaranteed to do damage. But if it does do damage, it might do massive damage all at once. If you are able to master this weapon, it might be one of, if not the best weapon in this game. If you aren’t able to.. you won’t like this weapon. Overall I am happy to say that there are more good weapons than bad ones, as I can use most of these in stages instead of just at the bosses.
To extend gameplay this time around, they thought it was a good idea to introduce a new enemy called Doc Robot, an all-purpose robot that you have to fight a total of eight times in four stages that you have already visited before. Spoiler: it wasn’t that good of an idea. I don’t mind revisiting stages per se as they have made them slightly more different for the second encounter. The problem is Doc Robot himself. While the idea is fun of him taking the powers of the Robot Masters from Mega Man 2, that means you have to learn a whole new weakness chart for a boss that only appears in these stages, and there’s no visual distinction whenever he switches to a new weapon, just an image of the Robot Master being projected on him. If you die in the first encounter, you also don’t get sent back to the checkpoint room right before it but instead to the beginning of the stage. It also doesn’t help that he is quite agile for a big robot who does massive damage when you even touch him slightly. I don’t hate the Doc Robot parts necessarily, but I didn’t have that much fun with them either.
Mega Man 3 has a weird difficulty curve. Unlike two, there is no selectable difficulty mode so you’re stuck with one. The stages themselves are of normal difficulty, some tougher than others. Doc Robot ramps it up a little bit.. just for the Wily Fortress to be pathetically easy and throwing e-tanks in your face all the time. Normally you would expect the final levels to test all your skills but that is not the case here. It does require you to use some of the rush abilities you’ve gained and some helpful tanks are behind walls that you need weapons for so that’s something I guess. Due to the Doc Robot stages, this game instead takes two to three hours to beat.
Screen flickering is fortunately decreased significantly. It still happens every now and then but not as often. I hadn’t mentioned this before yet, but after you beat a Robot Master you usually get a short brief cutscene telling you what you got, at least from Mega Man 2 onward. The one from that game was decent and not necessarily the most pleasant to look at but it worked and I have no complaints about it, but Mega Man 3’s weapon get cutscene is much better. That can be said for the presentation overall, as the weapon select menu has also gotten much better. There are some sweet tracks as well here making it a very solid soundtrack overall, special mention going to Wily’s Castle bosses theme.
While Mega Man 3 had a rocky development cycle, it still ended up giving us a solid game that many remember fondly. A fun variety in Robot Masters and weapons with a good presentation overall. Many new features such as Rock’s slide and Rush were introduced that evolved gameplay even further. There is a weird difficulty curve however, and Doc Robot’s stages overstay their welcome fast. Regardless, the stages are fun to go through and the gameplay is good overall. And with that, here is my final verdict for Mega Man 3:
The other most popular Mega Man game of the NES. There’s often a rivalry between both Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 as to which is better. They’re pretty much on the same height for me, but I really didn’t like the Doc Robot boss battles. This game is also available on most current generation consoles and of course the NES.