We now reach “uncharted territory” for me as I never played past Mega Man 2 back in the day, and while it’s weird not to have a “Thoughts Then” section on a NES game, that’s just how it is! MM3 introduces both Mega Man’s dog Rush and the ground slide, which comes in handy all the damn time… Let’s have a look!
“Has anyone done the Hard Man joke yet?”
Mega Man 3 was released in Japan on September 28th 1990, under the title Rock Man 3 of course. It was followed by an American release in November of that year, and a European release two years later in June 1992.
Mega Man (and Rush, I guess) have to fight Magnet Man (… Magnets), Hard Man (made of very hard material, and can launch his fists like rockets), Top Man (spins around like a spinning top), Shadow Man (basically a ninja), Spark Man (yes, electrical powers again), Snake Man (… Snakes!), Gemini Man (can create copies of himself, and has a bouncy laser) and Needle Man (Needles…)
New this time is Proto-Man, a robot, well, prototype that is sort of Mega Man’s older brother, if you want to see robotic progression like children… He appears as a boss several times, always with his trademark whistled tune. Then we of course get to the boss rush, though this time you face off with robot masters that have the abilities of the Mega Man 2 bosses! … Then we finally get to Dr. Wiley.
Rush makes his debut!
Well, I’ve pretty much given everything away in the opening statement, but the gameplay is much the same in the one button to jump, one to fire, 2D platforming-ness, though now with the ability to slide across the floor and underneath things. This simple new addition actually adds a lot to the level design, and although it took a little getting used to, it was very handy indeed. The nameless machines from Mega Man 2 return in the form of Mega Man’s robo-dog Rush, the Jet can glide you across the screen, the coil can launch you into the air, and the Marine is pretty much the Jet again, but for underwater. Apart from the new recurring Proto-Man boss and the addition of several stages to play through in between the eight robot masters and Dr. Wiley, it’s the same formula.
Graphics and Sound:
Heat Man Returns!
The same simple-looking sprite style is of course maintained, with the usual increase in detail, especially to the backgrounds of levels. There is some quite impressive destructible bits in the levels as well, especially the weird cells level.
The background music is still catchy, though I didn’t get any stuck in my head like I did for the first two games. That being said, Proto Man’s whistle intro is fun!
One of those “lights out” level tricks… makes for a crap screen shot!
What are you expecting me to say? Dr. Wiley is back and has a new group of robot masters. The addition of the mysterious Proto Man and how it’s revealed at the end that he was a good guy and Mega Man’s “brother” is something new, but that’s the only story-related thing out of the ordinary, otherwise it’s the same old, which for a NES era platformer is perfectly fine, obviously!
Mega Man 3 continues the fun platforming I’ve come to expect from the series. I really enjoy just dipping in from time to time during the weeks I’m playing something else. They’re really fun, well designed platformers. The slide adds more fun gameplay, and the increased game length via new stages in the middle was welcome. Mega Man 3 may not be iconic, but it’s still really good!