Mega Man 3 was released in 1990. Hot off the heels of the best selling Mega Man II video game, Mega Man 3 was marketed heavily in a video game industry that was still virtually monopolized by the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) . It is still making sales on the Wii Virtual Console, and estimates say that Mega Man 3 may have sold over 2 million copies. If you include video game rentals and borrowing games (in addition to emulators) it’s very possible that almost tens of million gamers around the world have experienced this game in some form or another.
Since Mega Man 2 was so hot, and jump-started the franchise, Capcom wanted a sequel right away and rushed the development team. Whereas Mega Man 1 and Mega Man 2 were labors of love, and much passion went into them, the pressure and changes Capcom forced upon the creative team and programmers did not make it a good work experience for them. The irony is that many video game magazines have ranked Mega Man 3 as the best Mega Man game, and many fan lists have Mega Man III ranked as their favorite Mega Man game.
It should be noted that by the end of 1990, the NES was considered to be aging, especially with the Sega Genesis beginning to make waves. However, Nintendo was still #1 market share and Mega Man 3 really had excellent graphics for the NES. Obviously if you checked out what Sega was doing with the Genesis, it can’t stack up- there is flicker and robots you killed reappear if you scroll backwards, just vintage NES graphics. That being said, NES was fully penetrated into everyone’s household and still considered #1.
Mega Man III’s game-play was better than Mega Man II’s due to Mega Man having the ability to slide under obstacles, and the addition of his robotic dog Rush, who could carry Mega Man as a jet, coil, and submarine. Another huge difference between Mega Man 3 and Mega Man 2 is that after you defeat the 8 Robot Masters there are 4 remixed stages in which you must face the spirit of 8 Robot Masters from Mega Man 2 (in a robot form called Doc Robot).
Mega Man 3′s Robot Masters:
Needle Man (Porcupine)
Magnet Man (Magnetism)
Gemini Man (Twin)
Hard Man (Crushing- similar to Guts Man)
Top Man (Spinning)
Snake Man (Robotic snakes)
Spark Man (Electricity- similar to Elec Man)
Shadow Man (Ninja)
Doc Robot, the master of the 4 remixed stages, uses the weapons of the 8 Robot Masters from Mega Man 2.
Here is the game plot:
In the year 200X, Dr. Wiley (spelled with the extra e in this game) claims to have reformed and works with te trusting Dr. Light on a project to build a peace-keeping robot named “Gamma.” However, the Robot Masters set in charge of the “mining worlds” go berserk and steal eight power crystals. Mega Man is called into action, with Rush, to retrieve the crystals from the mining worlds.
Here is Mega Man 3′s story from the U.S. video game manual:
“Calling Mega Man! Calling Mega Man! Come in please!
“Mega Man, we need you! We’re down to the wire on our peace-keeping project. We’ve got to get those last energy crystals or we can’t finish it. Dr. Wily is here now, too…yes…he’s finally found his sanity. He knows where the crystals are! They’re in the mining worlds, but we can’t get to ‘em. The robots are running amok and they’re destroying everything!
“You’ve got to get there, Mega Man, and get those crystals! You’ll have to face some pretty mean metal. Expect the worst! Is Rush there with you? Give him a bolt to chew on and tell him it’s from us. What’s that…we must be getting static…sounds like you said ‘Woof!’
“Mega Man, get to those mining worlds pronto! Grab the crystals and stop whoever’s in charge! He’s one lunatic guy!
“This is Dr. Light. Over and out!”
Mega Man 3 has slightly more of a story and plot than previous versions.
After the crystals are retrieved, Wiley steals Gamma and retreats to his new fortress. In order to stop Wiley’s plan for world domination, Mega Man destroys Gamma. After their final confrontation, Wiley’s fortress begins to crumble. Proto Man appears in enough time to save Mega Man, but too late to save Wily, who is allegedly crushed under the rubble.
Mega Man 3 Music
Many of the stages have been remixed and covered by bands and amateurs. Although all of the Mega Man 3 background music themes are unique and cool, none really stood at to me at the time, whereas Mega Man 2′s songs were timeless. Again, the themes are great for the time, better than most NES games, and fit the atmosphere, but they just didn’t “stand out” as much as MM2. That being said, Mega Man 3′s Dr. Wily’s Castle theme songs are very memorable and are some of my favorite tunes for the NES. The beginning theme, stage select, and end music were great as well.
Mega Man 3 difficulty
Mega Man 3 is harder and longer than Mega Man 2. With practice and patience a young gamer of the 1990 era could finally beat it, although the use of Nintendo Power’s strategy guide seems pretty much necessary for the Robot Master order and other bosses. I had beaten it in 1990, but was unable to beat Mega Man 3 in 2010 without cheating while facing Yellow Devil II in Wily’s castle. The Robot Masters are tougher than Mega Man 2′s. Dr. Wily himself has quite a few end battles, but they aren’t super hard.
Mega Man 3′s Ending
Throughout the game a mysterious robot named Break Man both attacks and helps Mega Man. At the end, we see a listing of all of Dr. Light and Dr. Wiley’s robots from Mega Man 1 and Mega Man 3. It’s officially confirmed that Mega Man’s sister Roll is the #2 robot, and Mega Man was model #1. But…Dr. Light reveals to Mega Man that there was a first…Proto Man (Break Man). Proto Man was #0, folks. He’s Mega Man’s brother.
Mega Man 3 Trivia
- First appearance of Roll by name (as I mentioned, she’s just a blonde chick in Mega Man 1)
- First appearance of Proto Man
- First official listing of the Mega Man 1 Robot Masters model numbers
- Gamma (end boss controlled by Dr. Wily) looks kinda like Optimus Prime
- Break Man aka Proto Man was called Blues in the Japan, fitting the creator’s original intention of having Blues, Rock (Mega Man), and Roll (their sister) as the first three robots.
Parting thoughts: Mega Man 3 is technically better than previous games, although for me Mega Man 2 is my favorite because it has the charm factor and doesn’t have frustrating parts. At this point, loyal NES players know what to expect with Capcom with each Mega Man sequel, so it’s useless to debate “originality”: it’s the same format- a 2D side-scrolling action game, with different Robot Master levels and weapons. Capcom would duplicate this strategy with Street Fighter to death, but at least the Mega Man games offered different levels, music, robots, and weapons. The Street Fighter 2 games were just slightly different variations (we were all suckers). I’m shocked Mega Man 3 did not outsell Mega Man 2, since the marketing campaign was hot and so many people bought and loved Mega Man 2.
Here’s a ranking of Mega Man 1-3:
- Fun: Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3, Mega Man 1
- Music: Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3, Mega Man 1
- Difficulty: Mega Man 1, Mega Man 3, Mega Man 2
- Graphics: Mega Man 3, Mega Man 2, Mega Man 1