Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mega Man 3 (NES, 1990)

We enter the 90's with one of the greatest NES games of all time. This was also one of the first video games I ever got into, period. This and the Marioes. Good times. While the Mega Man brand has been severely tarnished over the past 12 years or so, this is Mega Man at its best.

By now, everyone knows how Mega Man games work. You play eight stages in any order, each with a boss whose special weapon you inherit.

"Are you a bad enough dude to defeat the eight robot masters?"

What the? Go back to your own game!

Top Man is first. He's the easiest to take down without special weapons, at least as far as I'm concerned.

The first enemy in the game with any substantial amount of "health" is this guy. As a kid I'd drop down and have a lot of trouble ascending the stairs, but now I know that it's possible to hang from the ladder and fire away.

"Are you a bad enough dude to beat the first real enemy of the game?"

Hey! I told you to get out of here!

One of the things I like about Mega Man games: the minibosses. They're usually pretty cool-looking. I think the cats in this level might be my favorite, but I also liked the fire-spitting dogs in Mega Man 2.

The spinning platform section at the end of the stage is a little bit tricky for beginners. And on that note, I'm really glad this isn't a post-2000 Mega Man game. If it were, Roll would be interrupting the gameplay right now to tell you to watch out for the HUGE BOTTOMLESS PIT. We live in the generation where games have tutorials explaining that you need to press right on the controller to go right.

Making his debut in this game is Rush Limbaugh, the world's most obnoxious dog. Summon him and he'll bark out quips about the modern world that are taken seriously by millions of listeners!

Mega Man: "Come on Rush, we have to take down Top Man and his evil minions!"

 Rush Limbaugh: "Woof! Obama's health care logo is straight out of Hitler's playbook! Arf!"

Okay, enough of that. Here's a sweet action shot! Top Man is probably the easiest of the robot masters in this game, but you still need to know how to slide out of the way of his attacks with the right timing.


"From the top of de pole I watch 'er go down" says Flo Rida when reached for comment. YOU RUINED A CLASSIC SONG, FLO RIDA!

Several times throughout the game Mega Man locks horns with his brother, Break Man (or Protoman as he's called in most other places). Not sure what the deal is here story-wise, but he's a good guy later in the game.

Shadow Man's level is interesting. It's full of lava and has more blackouts than a college student.

If I had to choose one boss out of the original eight that is absolutely the hardest to defeat without any special weapons, it's Shadow Man. This guy is fast and furious. Interestingly enough, he's super-weak against Top Spin, which means that the hardest boss succumbs to the weapon of the easiest one.

In addition to being one of the more interesting-looking foes in the game, this guy has the distinction of being on the cover.

I remember seeing this box in a video rental store when I was a kid. I didn't have an NES, but I played enough of the game at a friend's house to know which boss that was.

Spark Man's stage is brimming with electrical enemies, like...flying sparkplugs. It's the next evolution of Elec Man's world!

Shadow Man's weapon is an awesome shuriken boomerang, and it works wonders against Spark Man. It has one of the greatest sound effect accompaniments on the NES and outright sounds deadly. Thus, Spark Man falls quickly.

Snake Man's stage is memorable for being...well, a lot of this. There's something really appealing about the stage, and the music is one of the better tracks in the game.

The miniboss in this stage isn't easy, but it's pretty damn cool looking.

I believe I made a mistake in the order here. Spark Shock didn't do very much damage to Snake Man. For some reason I thought the boss order was Top-Shadow-Spark-Snake-Gemini-Needle-Magnet-Hard. However, it looked like Snake Man and Magnet Man weren't actually vulnerable to the previous weapon in that scenario. I can only conclude that Snake, Gemini, and Needle Man are part of their own little order.

Break Man appears again... and this time he helps Mega Man? WHERE DO YOUR LOYALTIES LIE, BREAK MAN?

Next up: The most fearsome foe in the game, a blue tadpole. If I can just get past this guy, I might have a shot at taking down Dr. Wily.

It's funny how nefarious the giant penguin-bot is and how terrified the mini-penguin-bots are. One of the great things about games from his era is how imaginative they are. How many modern shooters have nefarious mecha-penguins just hanging out in the middle of your path? None, that's how many.

Rush Marine lets our hero easily cruise through (all one or two) hallways with water in this game. Without it...well, no matter how shallow the water, Mega Man flops around all "help me! I can't swim!" like Little John in Robin Hood Men In Tights.

Gemini Man's deal is that he can create an independent double of himself at will. In other news, I wish I had a girlfriend with Gemini Man's ability.

Unfortunately, all you get for besting Gemini Man is a slow (yet still super-rad) laser that bounces off of walls. Weak to this is Needle Man, my next target. When I was a kid, this guy was definitely my favorite boss in the game. Even now, he might be, though I think Snake Man and Spark Man are right up there.

This stage has great music, and it's one of the first times I can remember being completely blown away by videogame music.

Gemini Laser: It looks like the Plasma Beam from Metroid, only without any of the speed. But more importantly, Needle Man is cool. Look at that guy. I'm almost certain that this was the first Mega Man boss I ever fought when I was a kid. I lost, badly.

Magnet Man is another cool one, and unsurprisingly his stage is full of magnets that pull Mega Man around.

"Fuckin' magnets! How do they work?"

Rush drops some oxycontin and SOARS, getting Mega Man over walls without a problem. No one gets higher than Rush!

This is the other boss I made a mistake on. Magnet Man definitely isn't vulnerable to Needle Cannon, like he was in the Game Boy version. I believe he's vulnerable to Spark Shock (the weapon I ineffectively used on Snake Man before).

 Mega Man: "Just one boss left! Let's get 'em, boy!"

 Rush Limbaugh: "Arf! The only way to get rid of nuclear weapons is to use them! Ruff!"

The last one... is Hard Man. I suspect Mega Man is thinking the same thing we're thinking.

Seriously, Hard Man? Why not Punch Man or Armor Man or something that made sense?

This stage takes place in what appears to be Arizona. This is the only stage with no pits, and for that reason I like it.

I don't, however, like these violent monkeys. They're more obnoxious than Rush!

Hard Man is another relatively simple boss, especially with Magnet Missiles. Fun fight, as a result.

Once the eight bosses are defeated, four of their stages get reconstituted as "Doc Robot" stages. The eight robot masters from Mega Man 2 (sorta) make returns here, two to a stage. This is where the game lulls a bit for me; I'm no fan of these stages, or these fights. Again, there's a choice of which order to take them on, but the game gives you no indication of which bosses are in which stages. Not that it matters too much, since you don't get their weapons. I would have much preferred if they had kept the Doc Robots at 1 per stage and remixed all eight stages, but I'm guessing there wasn't enough memory.

Here's one of the Doc Robots. At the beginning of each fight, you see the... uh... soul? of one of the Mega Man 2 bosses descend and inhabit the DR. This is kind of a cool idea. But more importantly, the Doc Robots really do look like Proto-Sigma. At least, in the head. I'm not going to read into this too much, though, since Capcom certainly didn't make any effort to connect Mega Man classic and the X series aside from about fifty allusions.

"Fear Me!" says Wood Man as he descends. Heh, Wood Man. I guess he was MM2's version of Hard Man. In a way, it was really smart of them to do the Doc Robot thing in this game. They were able to basically reuse the MM2 bosses without having to put them into the game (which would have required a lot of memory) past the still shots of them descending. This Doc Robot attacks with Leaf Shield, and it's a formidable foe.

Another mini-boss. I like it when these NES Mega Man games whip out a huge 'bot for you to fight. It's good to battle something larger than a standard robot master. Usually these things wait until the last few stages. Mega Man 5, while not my favorite game in the classic series, has a lot of huge, visually appealing bosses like this.

With all of the Doc Robots down, the next "stage" is a fight with Break Man.

It's the same as the other fights with him throughout the game, not difficult at all. This is a game that could have benefited from a bit of in-game dialogue, because I'm still not sure what's going on.

But wait! It's not over yet. You see, in this game Wily was pretending to be a good guy up until this point. Of course, now it's barely worth a mention since we all know that Wily is never a good guy. But in this game it was treated like some kind of revelation when he turned on our heroes after the defeat of his patsy, Break Man. They reused this exact same storyline in Mega Man 5, only in that game they REALLY pushed that Break Man was the new villain.

Wily does his usual "fly away in a saucer" thing. This may well be the last Mega Man game that felt completely fresh in this regard. After this, they never really messed with the formula, and as a result none of the classic Mega Man games after this one are as interesting as the first three.

Dr. Wily's iconic skull castle. It looks different in every game, and as a kid I liked seeing what his latest one looked like in the pages of Nintendo Power.

Dr. Wily's castle is a series of difficult stages, and unlike the rest of the game you have to do them in a set order. Difficult or not, I have a much easier time with these stages than I do with the Doc Robot stages. Here's the first boss, and it's one of the easiest fights in the game.

The second boss, however... that's the Rock Monster / Yellow Devil / Dark Moon. It's a recurring boss throughout the seriess. Going by rough memory, it makes appearances in Mega Man, Mega Man 3, Mega Man 8, Mega Man V, and Mega Man X5. It's also one of the hardest bosses in all of Mega Man-dom, and usually takes the top spot on difficulty in whatever game it appears in. This one is no exception. I win with several Energy Tanks and a lot of Hard Knuckles.

That's a lot of spikes. Some of them even move!

In the next boss battle, Mega Man has to face three clones of himself. It's a lot easier than the previous fight.

"Are you a bad enough dude to beat... Yourself?"

Dude! Sick!

Another series convention: the capsule room where you fight all eight of the robot masters again. In the very first game in the series, you'd fight them in a certain order while progressing through the final stages. In every game thereafter, it's a capsule room like this one. Interestingly, the X series would do the same exact thing. In the original Mega Man X, you fight the bosses in a certain order during the Sigma stages, but in every game after that you just get a capsule room at the end. Personally, I prefer fighting them throughout the final stages, and wish more of the games did that.

On the bright side, in the rematches I can use the right weapons. Equipped with everything that the bosses are weak to (and armed with the knowledge of when to use them), these Mega Man series boss rushes tend to be a lot easier than your average endgame boss rush.

Final battle time. Dr. Wily has multiple vehicles at his disposal, starting with the fairly unthreatening Needle Walker. It's weak point? That groin-cannon.


After that, Wily is unmasked. I easily win this fight by utilizing Rush Jet to get up to his level and pummel him.

Next form is Wily's super-bot, Gamma. At first it has this weird mini-head, but hit that a few times and...

...Wily himself docks at the top and the real fight begins. Though it isn't much of a fight, and ends quickly. As far as final bosses go, Mega Man 3 has some of the easiest ones in the series. In other news, a more advanced version of Gamma is the final boss of Mega Man X5, the last X game that cared about having any connection to the classic series. But more on that later.

After the battle, Wily (here mis-spelled) is crushed by a falling Borg Cube.

 Blade: "That was for AMERICA!"

Of course, Wily will be back. If Mega Man is a robot, can he actually lose consciousness?

Credits roll. "Dr. Right" must not be Dr. Light yet at this point in time.

End screen. Geez, they're acting like Break Man died or something. He'll be back in future installments of this magnificent series, but only classic. Unfortunately, he never made it to the X series.

Mega Man: "Boy, Rush, I'm glad that's over!"

"Woof! The ocean takes care of oil spills on its own. It's natural. It's as natural as ocean water! Ruff!"

Mega Man: "Rush, I feel like you don't know what you're talking about!"

Rush Limbaugh: The world's most obnoxious dog!


  1. Taking out Top Man first also leaves you in a good position to fight Shadow Man next. Though Hard Man and Snake Man also both fall to the arm cannon rather easily.

    Shadow Man is such a badass.

    You're right, Snake-Gemini-Needle do have their own little cycle. Fortunately Snake Man is cake with the arm cannon.

    Magnet is indeed weak to Spark, though Shadow Blade works well too.

    The Doc Robots stages are their first attempt at the "four stages after the eight but before Wily stages" deal.

    There's a totally sick version of the Yellow Devil in Mega Man 9. This one is much easier though. Just get on Rush Jet and fire rapidly point blank at his eye.

    Good job getting a shot of the Wily saucer at the end.

  2. Magnet Hard Top Shadow Spark Snake Gemini Needle, all these years and I still remember what order Nintendo Power recommended. Beating Magnet Man first was a challenge, though.

    1. Wait, Snake was 7th. Gemini was 6th. Anyway..
      This is one of the two Mega Men I've played all the way through (the other was 2).
      Shadow Man's stage is one of my all-time favorites. I also really like how all these stages have different animal or object themes. The total green-and-blackout of Snake Man's stage is really striking and memorable. I think it's awesome you get to go back. I like Spark Man's area a lot, too.
      Love Needle Man's "not impressed" face.
      I had a bit of trouble with the last Wily boss before I figured out how to hit him with the Top Spin on my way down.
      Nah, "Dr. Right" has always been Dr. Light; that's a classic L/R translation error.
      Finishing this game off with Rush L was a huge disappointment.
      The return of Break Man in the X series would be spectacular, but he was basically replaced by Zero.
      I read about this and MM2 a million times in old Nintendo Powers so when emulation made it possible for me to play them, I had to, even though I was using a keyboard to fight.

  3. Rush is such a lovable little doggy. Using nuclear weapons to get rid of them is such awesome advice. He should be the new poster boy for advice dog : http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/030/839/advice_dog_drink_motor_oil.jpg