Mega Man 3: Between Robotic Dogs and A Brotherly Dispute
You know, I really hate to review this game. It's not that it's a bad game, it's just, so... long. Have you ever gotten so trashed and hammered drunk that by the time you wake up, you aptly vow to never drink again? Well, apply that theory here: after the destruction of the eight Robot Masters, the game just seems to turn into a huge pile of monotonous repetitiousness. But oh well, let's venture forth with our mighty Plasma Cannon and once again attempt to rid the world of Dr. Wily's devious would-be masterminding schemes to dominate Earth.
Yep, you guessed it: Dr. Wily has broken free from jail, created eight new Robot Masters (Top Man, Shadow Man, Spark Man, Magnet Man, Hard Man, Gemini Man, Needle Man, Snake Man) and is confident enough in their abilities to claim this will be the time Mega Man doesn't succeed in thwarting the "wily" doctor's plot. Same old Mega Man scoop that I'm sure you're familiar with by now, so let's just move on to...
Top Man. Somehow, CAPCOM found a way to make even Wood Man (Mega Man 2) seem like an invincible, robotic tyrant, and here is the reason why. Not only is Top Man's pattern ridiculously easy to avoid in all aspects, but taking him out is mere child's play. This guy likes to spin around from one side of the screen to the next, shooting tops at Mega Man (which are way too easily avoidable). Take him out and you'll gain the ultra-impressive Top Spin.
Overall, Top Man shoulda left his childish toys at home, as he spins in with a sorry 1/5
Next, we move on to Shadow Man. Quite annoying in his own right, Shadow Man will definitely give you a run for your money if you're relatively new to the series (is this even possible?) or haven't loaded this title in ages. He mainly likes to hop around the screen, eventually performing an ultra-quick slide over to Mega Man, as well as chucking huge throwing stars at our hero. If you equip your trusty Top Spin (wtf?), however, taking Shadow Man out will be as easy as one two three four. Banish him to the darkness to inherit his Shadow Blades.
While his weakness to Top Spin is compensated by the fact that if you fight him without it you'll probably die, Shadow Man is still left in the dark with a 3/5
Here, you could deviate your pattern in one of two ways: Spark Man or Magnet Man, and being as Spark Man is a bit more difficult, we'll go ahead and get him out of the way. As his name implies, Spark Man is the type of baddie that will hop around the room shooting bits of electrically-charged death at you, before unloading with a super-shot of voltage. You can take him out relatively quickly with your Shadow Blades or your Plasma Cannon. Either way, spark man won't go down without a fight. Pull his plug to earn the Spark Shock.
As he can prove to be a bit of a toughie, taking him out early is your best bet. Spark Man blazes in with a 3.5/5. Shocking!
Next up we have Magnet Man. His pattern is relatively easy to avoid when sliding out of the way of his sequential magnets of death and walking away from his magnetic charge, and he'll oftentimes leave himself open for ample shots of your Spark Shock. Take him out and you'll earn the Magnet Missle, a bit of a fun "homing" type weapon.
Given his ability to pull you in (he just wants to be close to you!) and then leave you lying on the floor as a victim to his magnetic power, Magnet Man earns an "attractive" 3/5
Continuing on, we encounter Hard Man. Obvious sexual puns aside, Hard Man touts the ability to leave mega man paralyzed should he be standing on the ground when our hardened friend lands head first (much in the style of Guts Man), he also has a crazy technique that allows him to shoot his arms at you in a way which is easily avoidable if followed correctly. While he can be a bit overwhelming at times, take him out with your Magnet Missle and you're rewarded with the hard-hitting Hard Knuckle.
Hard Man doesn't mess around, and he'll take you out quickly if you don't avoid being paralyzed by his earthquake-style of landing. Hard Man punches in with a nice 3.5/5.
Next we'll go ahead and take out Gemini Man. Having not conquered Snake Man first, though, this battle can be a bit tricky. Gemini Man has an outright weird pattern in which he creates a clone of himself and they'll circle our hero, firing shots if you do so first. After you've taken down his clone with your Shadow Blades, though, the battle goes straight mano-e-mano and you'll be left fighting the Master of the Zodiac himself. Take him out with your Mega Buster or the Shadow Blades quickly, avoiding his laser shot which will randomly bounce around the arena, and you inherit not the ability to clone yourself, but rather the Gemini Laser. Oh well, maybe next time...
Given that Gemini Man can indeed prove to be a bit overwhelming at times, there are some surefire loopholes in his pattern (such as not shooting when his twin is out). The Wonder Twins hop in with a 3.5/5
Needle Man will be the next to fall, as the Gemini Laser can take him out in four shots. If you can hit him, that is; upon looking at Needle Man you wouldn't think he would be as mobile as he is, but this baddie can give you a run for your money. Aside from firing needles at you mid-air (a la Metal Man) and launching his sharp head plate toward our hero, he his ridiculously quick for a "Man" his size, and boasts some impressive vertical ascention abilities. As mentioned, your best bet is to take him out as quickly as possible with your Gemini Laser.
With his impressive speed and attacks that can surely mess you up if you fall victim to them one too many times, Needle Man tears in with an impressive 3.75/5
Last on the menu is Snake Man. Probably my favourite boss in this game, Snake Man is a relatively average boss. Though one would think this would make taking him out an easy task, the case is quite the opposite, thanks to the alternating elevation of his lair, which only he seems to have down-pat. His only attack is basically hopping high into the air and releasing a few "search snakes" upon our hero, which can oftentimes prove relatively difficult to avoid Couple that with the fact that you two will be clashing often, and you could be out of this fight in no time.
Take away the crazy elevation in his lair, and Snake Man would be an undoubtedly easy fight. With this, Snake Man slithers in with a 3/5
Overall, the lackluster lack of imagination pushed into Mega Man 3's story puts it at a 2.5 out of 5 as far as Story is concerned, though the imaginitive and eccentric bosses push it up to an "okay" 3/5.
GRAPHICS / DESIGN 5/5
Everyone's favourite Blue Bomber is back, and still holds the same design as the previous two entries (what's to change?), however, the Robot Masters have some pretty crazy design, and it carries over into their 8-bit counterparts; everything is so expertly executed as far as their design, programming, patterns, so on and so forth, that it's hard to argue with the fact that this game's graphics and design warrant a perfect 5 out of 5.
We are also treated to Mega Man's robotic canine friend, Rush. Rush teleports into the scene in a couple different ways, including Rush Coil and Rush Jet. These designs are as fun to look at as they are helpful, and it's always a joy seeing your would-be-furry pal come forth to assist our hero in his quest. Right on!
Aside from that, all of the elements of Mega Man 2 retain their style in the form of moving backgrounds, crisp, lush imagry, and even item designs. As mentioned, you can find expert care and devotion slapped into the Robot Masters, stealing the limelight from Mega Man as far as originality and design that would carry forth into the later installments of the NES series.
Stepping down from it's predacessor, Mega Man 3 still manages to boast some memorable tunes and catchy melodies. In my honest opinion, however, the catchiest composition in this installment surely comes from the "New Weapon" theme. The simple melodies and the galloping rhythm do their best to keep to keep the sountrack on par with Mega Man 2, but the manage to fall just a bit short when compared to classics such as Metal Man's theme and Dr. Wily's theme. 4 out of 5 for the sound in this one.
GAMEPLAY / CONTROL 4/5
This is where the game comes into question. Fans of the previous two will love the addidition of Rush and Proto Man (then known as Break Man) for sure, giving this installment major bonus points for introducing characters that would carry forth into the sequels, adding a bit more depth into the story and history of the Blue Bomber.
However, I must admit the game does feel a bit tedious after completing seemingly the same tasks over and over again. After defeating the eight Robot Masters, the game takes a bit of a "darker" twist in re-vamping four of the previous stages, all of which contain two Robot Masters from Mega Man 2 (which, by the way, you are forced to find a new pattern for, utilizing your new weaponry from MM3). After succeeding through the four "Doc Robot" stages, you are then forced into the final showdown with your brother, Break Man. Wow, it just never ends. Make quick work of this battle, and you are FINALLY transported outside of Dr. Wily's Skull Castle, complete with four stages (the fourth of which you will battle through the eight MM3 Robot Masters again... my god!), finally leading to the fifth stage, in which you come face to face with "Dr. Wily" (for the third time in the series). After taking the devious doctor out, you find it was simply a decoy, meaning yet another Dr. Wily stage! This guy just never gives up.
So, when all is said and done, Mega Man travels through 19 stages and fights a total of 30 robots / bosses, including re-fighting the first eight Robot Masters in this installment. Quite a big game! As mentioned, while it can be fun and challenging, it will most likely just end up tedious and repetitious, causing you to not even care if you finish the game or not.
As far as controls, well, given the previous two games, I really don't think you're in for anything challenging here. Run, jump shoot, reach the boss, change your weapon, win. The Mega Man standard.
Through all this, however, the Gameplay is still delightful enough to earn a great 4 out of 5.
Falling just a tad bit short of Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3 still manages to be one of the best of the series, even today. This game was also the first to feature Rush, Mega Man's robotic pet-pal, and Break Man, Mega Man's lone-wolf brother.
Through all the aggrivation, irritation, and devestation, reaching the FINAL ending of this game is entirely rewarding and makes all of your hard work and effor pay off. Dr. Wily has been sentenced to jail, where he will rot until the end of time.
Or at least until CAPCOM needs a few extra bucks. Overall, Mega Man 3 scores a brilliant 4/5. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna take flight on my Rush Jet.