Friday, August 30, 2013

Mega Man 3 (NES, Wii U VC, 3DS VC) Retro Review

There's actually going to be two more reviews for the month of August. The second will be here this evening. For now, the first is a retro review of Mega Man 3. I previously tackled Mega Man 2 and gave it a 9.5. Will Mega Man 3 surpass that score? Find out with this review.

Refined Mega Man Refined

The battle that has raged on for decades... No, I'm not talking about Mega Man versus Dr. Wily, I'm referring to which Mega Man is the best-- Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3. No doubt Mega Man 2 refined the formula and set the foundation for future games, introducing many concepts that successors of the series would implement. However, I'm of the opinion that Mega Man 3 just edges past Mega Man 2 and is the truly excellent Mega Man game.

This is no shot of The Brady Bunch,
that's certainly for sure!
If you're familiar with Mega Man, then you know the score. Dr. Wily's doing something sinister, and it's up to Mega Man to stop him. The beauty of the Mega Man series is that you start off on a menu of eight Robot Masters, and you get total freedom of choice on which one's level you want to play first. The Robot Master stages are generally longer excursions than what was found in Mega Man 2, but the amount of checkpoints makes it so death doesn't mean repeating a long stretch of level all over again. Most levels rarely follow a trope. There is seldom the token water level, forest level, and so forth. Instead, you get levels like Snake Man's that is some atypical area full of platforms, walls, ceilings and floors that have the texture of snakeskin.

In a moment, this mechanical
menace will be hiss-tory.
When you do reach the Robot Master's quarters, things work just like every other Mega Man game. For the easiest time against the boss (and since their patterns are more complicated, these battles are anything but "easy"), Mega Man needs to use the special weapon that that Robot Master is weak against. As a Robot Master is defeated, Mega Man absorbs their signature weapon, able to use it freely in levels and in boss battles, as long as he has the available energy. If you want a real challenge, you can perform tasks like facing each Robot Master out of their intended order, or battle them with only Mega Man's arm cannon.

Mega Man goes all ninja on Spark Man.
After the initial eight Robot Master stages are completed, one would think that the way to Dr. Wily's castle would be open. That isn't the case. Instead, you get a choice of four levels based off four of the previously defeated Robot Masters in remodeled levels based off of them. Each level has two boss encounters, both being old haunts from Mega Man 2 in a new body. This plus the original eight Robot Master levels and Wily's castle levels make for a lengthy adventure that doesn't outwear its welcome.

You spin me right 'round!
Mega Man 3 included some new additions to the franchise that lived on through subsequent sequels. The most prominent are two new characters, Mega Man's canine counterpart Rush and Mega Man's brother Proto Man. Rush can help Mega Man with three transformations: the Rush Coil, the Rush Jet, and the Rush Marine. The latter is only used one time or so for underwater exploration. Meanwhile, the Rush Coil propels Mega Man into the air, allowing him to reach higher platforms and locations. Lastly, the Rush Jet grants Mega the ability to ride on Rush, safely letting him cross large expanses. However, just like the special weapons, each Rush ability will only work as long as Mega Man has weapon energy.

Thanks for the lift, Rush!
Speaking of weapons, in Mega Man 2 the Metal Blades were seriously overpowered. You could march through the game, taking out enemies with them without breaking much of a sweat. In Mega Man 3 the weapon balance is much improved. No one weapon really is superior than the next. They all serve their purpose for each situation that Mega Man finds himself involved in. That level of balancing continues with the difficult of the game. In Mega Man 2 (are you sick of me comparing that game to this one yet?) there were two choices of difficulty. One was too easy and the other was too hard. There was no middle ground. Mega Man 3 fixes that with one difficulty that has just the right amount of challenge to it to make it a fun, tough, and engaging play.

Mega Man doesn't hate to burst
anyone's bubbles.
There are some quips I have with Mega Man 3, though. Much like with the original NES version of Mega Man 2, in Mega Man 3 there are points in the game where more action than the game can handle happens. In these cases, not only does the Mega Man sprite flicker, but the game can even slow down quite noticeably. This can make the time to dodge a foe's attack all the more aggravating.

So much for showing some brotherly love.
Mega Man 3 is a tremendous entry in the Mega Man franchise. It might not have had the same level of impact that Mega Man 2 had, but as a game it definitely rivals its predecessor in many aspects and comes up short in others. Mega Man 3 possesses better weapon balancing, great additions like the slide ability, Rush and Proto Man, and it has a difficulty that is more even. Despite the technical issues that bring the game down a little bit, Mega Man 3 is still a title that should be recommended playing for any gamer serious about their hobby.

[SPC Says: 9.5/10]

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