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Mega Man 3

by Zachary Miller - March 17, 2013, 5:47 pm PDT
Total comments: 4


It's something of an anomaly.

I was eagerly anticipating the Virtual Console release of Mega Man 3, a game I treasured as a child and continued to uphold through adulthood. That blessed release finally occurred, and I downloaded the third of Mega Man’s NES adventures posthaste. What I found, however, is that the game is an oddity for a number of reasons and that it has not, perhaps, withstood the test of time as well as its immediate predecessor. It’s still fantastic in its own way, but there are some things you should be aware of.

First of all, Mega Man 3 introduces the slide move, and the level design often makes good use of it, especially in Needle Man's stage. Second, it’s one of the only Mega Man games that eschews traditional elemental-type Robot Masters. This game has complete oddities like Needle Man, Shadow Man, Top Man, and Snake Man, so figuring out the proper boss order can be difficult—were it not the age of the Internet. Third, Mega Man's loyal canine companion, Rush, is introduced with all three of his usual forms: Coil, Jet, and Marine. Level design has improved over Mega Man 2, at least in the main Robot Master levels. Things go sideways after you beat the initial eight, and you’re then forced to revisit remixed versions of four of them, each containing two bosses that embody the “spirits” of the Mega Man 2 bosses. Figuring out the proper weapons to use is even worse here. In Mega Man 2, fire beat wood. But there is no fire analogue here. Instead, it’s Needle Canon.

After that, it’s off to Wily-Land, which features truly evil level design that makes you experiment with your arsenal in brand-new ways. Initially, that seems pretty awesome. Eventually, it drains your subweapons and they do NOT refill between Wily stages. It’s possible to really screw yourself during the later stages if you die and run out of movement powerups like Rush Jet or Rush Coil. This is especially apparent when you're fighting the Yellow Devil (remember him?) and each time you die, you're seriously set back.

So liberal use of Restore Points is recommended, specifically with an eye to your subweapon power levels. Use a Restore Point when your power levels are high.

All in all, Mega Man 3 is a logical evolution of Mega Man 2 but commits to some design decisions that I don’t appreciate. The music is great, the animation is fantastic, and Mega Man 3 avoids much (but not all) of the irritating slowdown that plagued Mega Man 2. I still very much enjoy Mega Man 3, but maybe not as much as I once did.


  • Great music, as always
  • Interesting level designs
  • Unique boss weapons
  • Later levels too dependent on subweapons
  • Remixed levels feel wedged-in


Ian SaneMarch 18, 2013

The first time I played this game was at a sleepover at a friend's house when I was a kid, and it was my first Mega Man game.  My friend's parents made us play in the basement but the only TV down there was black & white, so it was like playing Game Boy on a TV, before the Super Game Boy came out as well (or hell before the Super Nintendo had even come out).

I liked how you had to effectively beat all the robot masters from the previous game.  That seemed like a logical way to make the sequel bigger.  Not continuing that almost seemed like a step back for Mega Man 4.

Start game
Red A6

You're welcome. :)

smallsharkbigbiteMarch 18, 2013

I love Mega Man.  I played Mega Man's 1-10, X1-X3, GB 1-5, before running out of steam on X4.  I'll get back to it sometime.  But the controls are so precise that I think the game has aged great.  It has a clean look which doesn't make it an abomination on HDTVs. 

3 is in the running for best Mega Man ever.  I don't think any Mega Man was supposed to have a completely logical run through of bosses.  The game was made to redo levels and try weapons on new bosses.  16 bosses is just awesome.

I don't think it's bad, but 3 is much harder than 2.  If I want to spend an hour on Mega Man and beat it, 2 is the way to go (Normal diff).  The game is logical and is just downright easy.  I think that's the best thing about 2 is that it is so easy to get into and back out with some quick retro goodness.  3 will take time to beat and many more level/boss replays.  But I still think it is great and has aged quite well. 

syn4aptikDave Mellert, Associate EditorMarch 20, 2013

I've never understood the viewpoint that MegaMan2 is easy. I always found that game to be really hard. And I am pretty good at games. I mean, I beat Ninja Gaiden. On the original NES! And I couldn't beat MegaMan 2. I think it was the slowdown...

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Genre Action
Developer Capcom

Worldwide Releases

na: Mega Man 3
Release Mar 14, 2013
jpn: Rockman 3: Dr. Wily no Saigō!?
Release Sep 26, 2012
RatingAll Ages
eu: Mega Man 3
Release Apr 04, 2013
aus: Mega Man 3
Release Apr 04, 2013

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