Review: Mega Man 3 (NES)

By Drew Wilson

Mega Man 3 picks up where Mega Man 2 leaves off. It’s an action side-scrolling game that features the return of the protagonist Mega Man. We check out this game and see if this game is worth playing.

Mega Man 3 was released in 1990, the year after Mega Man 2 was released. It follows the standard storyline of Mega Man needing to defeat 8 robot masters to get at Dr. Wiley, the evil genius behind whatever chaos is happening.

Players start off with the title screen. When a player starts the game, they’ll be greeted by a very familiar screen. The feature of selecting between 8 robot masters and playing in whatever order the player sees fit was a great feature found in Mega Man 2 and it was re-introduced in this particular sequel. This adds a certain element of user-centric game play. If the player wanted to play one level over the other, that feature is available. However, all 8 robot masters must be defeated to go onto the next phase of the game.

Each initial level features the usual flashing “ready” sign. Mega Man then warps to the start to begin play. The player has to navigate around a large variety of enemies and overcome numerous different obstacles to get to the end of the level. At the end of the level is the robot master the player selected before starting the level. Each robot master has its own theme. In this case, examples include Needle Man, Hard Man (that’s not an innuendo), Top Man, and Snake Man to name a few examples. The level in question that features a particular robot master will have elements of that robot master scattered throughout the level. For instance, Shadow man has an element in the level where the entire field goes dark and the player has to navigate their way through uneven terrain in darkness until the floating orb slides off screen (or, if the player can, defeats the floating orb above that causes the darkness in the first place). Snake Man’s level features giant snakes and scaly textures in the floor. When confronting the robot master, players will find that the boss can unleash a number of different attacks and manoeuvres designed to challenge the player. If the player defeats the robot master, they will acquire a weapon from that Robot master (and, in three cases, acquire a Rush utility item as well that can aid the player on certain parts of other levels as well). Some robot masters are weak to some of these weapons which can help defeat them faster. Robot masters are also immune to certain special weapons as well, so trying to find the right weapon for the right boss can be a key to success. In any event, your simple main buster weapon will be able to damage all of the initial 8 robot masters, though it takes several hits to defeat them.

What’s unique about this particular iteration of the Mega Man series is that, once the player defeats all 8 robot masters, the player will be greeted with an altered select screen with four mysterious robot masters to choose between. In all cases, the player will find themselves revisiting half of the levels already visited only to find that the levels have been somewhat altered to be much more challenging than the previous visit. Half way through the level, the player will encounter the mystery robot master which, as it turns out, is one of the 8 robot masters from Mega Man 2. Once the player defeats this robot master, the player will find themselves continuing on through the second half of the level. At the end is a second mystery robot master different from the first, but still a robot master from Mega Man 2. Sadly, the player does not receive that robot masters special ability at the end.

After all 8 Mega Man 2 robot masters are defeated, the player will be able to take their complete arsenal and pursue Dr. Wiley who is hiding out in his new castle (how does he afford new ones for every game anyway?). This is where the game goes down to a linear “beat one level, advance to the next” system. It is worth pointing out that any energy used in one level carries over to the next level. So, if you use half of your Snake Man energy, you’ll only have half of it in the next level. The energy, to my knowledge, never resets. Each level has a particularly unique boss at the end that must be defeated in order to advance.

There are two kinds of special items in this game and both are returning features from the previous game. There is the energy container that replenishes the players life at any time during the level. There is also the free lives which are extremely useful for those trickier places in certain levels.

If the player beats a level, they are given a certain pass code. This pass code is actually dots on a grid. Unlike Mega Man 2, these dots can be red or blue, thus raising the number of possible passcode combinations. If the player wishes to continue in the game and has the power switched off in the mean time, the player can simply insert the passcode and carry on from where they left off. Good feature to add in this game in my opinion.

Graphically, I thought this game was an improvement over the last version of this game. The animations seem smoother and the textures are nicely detailed. Thought that this was well done overall and can’t say I can complain about anything in this game.

The music was a major highlight in this game. The music can range from good music to music that can stand alone without the aid of the game to make it good. No surprise that some of these songs are the subject of some remixing to this day. The sound effects are also seemingly a good upgrade from the previous Mega Man game. Can’t find anything to complain about in this game.

Overall, this was a great game. I have to admit, I think Mega Man 2 slightly edged out this game, but this game is still worth playing. Good for a challenge to say the least.


Furthest point in game: Completed the game.

General gameplay: 19/25
Replay value: 10/10
Graphics: 10/10
Audio: 5/5

Overall rating: 88%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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