Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Mega Man III

After the disaster of Mega Man II, some wondered whether Capcom would even consider continuing the Game Boy series. In hindsight this would be obvious as three more sequels would follow! After the synopses I gave of the first two games there isn't really much to say about Mega Man III other than it's a flawed gem that sets up a framework for the better sequels.

Apart from having better graphics, sound that isn't ear-grating, and good level design (mostly), the biggest change made from the previous two games is the inclusion of the charge beam from Mega Man 4 on the NES. This change allows for a bit more freedom than the other entries in the series giving the options of a continuous rapid fire or a more slow and methodical method of killing.

The addition of the charged shot is somewhat of a mixed blessing. While this does add some desperately needed variety to the early stages of Mega Man where you haven't accumulated as many weapons, it also means that Capcom expects more from the player in terms of skill. Usually they manage to walk a fine line between challenge and frustration but on occasion this borders into tedium in particular sections where it's practically a requirement to destroy every enemy in the area so that the platforming becomes bearable at best.

The lack of awful level design in the game means that Capcom spent most of the time making this game as hard as possible. In fact due to the amount of tricky jumps and strategically placed pitfalls, Mega Man III becomes not just the hardest Game Boy Mega Man game but one of the hardest Mega Man games ever. Unlike the first two games the level design is built from the ground up rather than being inspired by the previous games. There are some recurring motifs from the previous games (the annoying snakes from Snake Man's stage in the original Mega Man III jumps out) but it's here where the Game Boy series gets an identity of its own.

If Mega Man I was how to transfer the NES games to the Game Boy and Mega Man II was how NOT to transfer the NES games to the Game Boy then Mega Man III is how to make a good Mega Man for the Game Boy. It's not the best game in the series but it marks the turning point and we'll see how well that pays off in Mega Man IV.

Find Mega Man III on ebay

Released: Dec. 1992
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom


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