Monday, December 29, 2014

Emulator Hour: Mega Man 3 (NES/3DS)

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I am finishing up today's post from the Aéroport de Bürbànk and sitting less than a foot away from a bin de trash.  But onto more important matters.

I recall first playing Mega Man 3 (III) way back in or around 1991 or '92 (seeing as how I was rarely one to play the newest video games, let alone games in the Mega Man series of which I was never able to beat until June of last year).

But I did it, I beat Mega Man 3 and I think I've come to, at least for now, a bit of realization that I like this game as a whole more than the frequently touted Mega Man 2 as the best in the series {{Citation Needed}}.  Thinking about the first three games in the series up to the year of our lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety, I found that I enjoyed the level design of Mega Man 3 the most whereas I like the music from Mega Man 2 just a smidgen more than MM3.  Plus there's the additions of the newly created slide ability and the robot pet dog Rush with his various, if somewhat limited use abilities (Marine Rush!?).

First off, everything that I loved about MM2 was refined for this installment.  The level design gave me enough of an idea to the robot boss type and I didn't notice too much of the level art being reused for subsequent levels.  But it's the level design is what makes me enjoy this game just a little bit more than MM2.  After defeating the first eight bosses, you have to go through four of the levels again, but they are in a ravaged state.  chunks of the world are now missing, as if the absence of the boss or the havoc brought on by Mega Man has left portions of the world/level in a state of disrepair.  In Gemini Man's stage part two, there are Jamacys that fall through cracks and holes in the blocks that create the borders to the stage.  In every stage that you run into Proto Man, his escape routes are still there.  Then when you get to the boss area, you now have to fight one of the bosses from Mega Man 2, which is a nice throwback until you realize that your weapons are all different than the ones used in that game so your weapon choices have to be decided upon rather quickly (or you can use the aforementioned chart like I did).

Similar to how I played Mega Man 2, I used a chart to figure out which bosses I should play and it what order.  And how I defended my decision as I previously did, I don't find this to be cheating.  I find it no different than talking to Dr. Potts or Delaños about the order they used and which weapon they found to be more effective against which boss.  Again, I still had to go through the level and defeat the bosses on my own in the end, I just did it with an additional bit of information.

But here is the order that I took the bosses in:
1) Snake Man
2) Gemini Man
3) Magnet Man
4) Top Man
5) Shadow Man
6) Hard Man
7) Needle Man
8) Spark Man

I decided to start with Snake Man, because that's what I remember from playing 23 years ago.  Also, Snake Man's theme is pretty damn catchy and there isn't much more to get me interested and stay playing a game that hearing awesome music while being destroyed by a giant undulating robotic snake hellbent on destroying a modified service and homemaking robot.  

Now, I know that based on the aforementioned chart, that this list doesn't take into account "the best" way to go through the game and choosing the bosses based on their weaknesses.  Sometimes, as in the case with taking on Magnet Man before Shadow Man, that I needed to take a break from constantly dying in Shadow Man's stage and I found I was able to get through Magnet Man's stage and take him out.

Going back to the music, I find it interesting that Capcom brought on newcomers to the Mega Man franchise, introducing Yasuaki Fujita (credited as "Bun Bun" during the credits) who wrote all but two of the songs (Gemini Man and Needle Man) and Harumi Fujita. What I find interesting though, is that the music from this game blends fairly seamlessly with that from Mega Man 2, while still sounding different enough to not be repetitive as to be disinteresting to long time players of the series.

In the end, Mega Man 3 took me 6h21m to complete with an average play time of 25 minutes.  In MM3, I found that the regular stages were a lot more difficult than MM2, but that the Dr. Wily stages were a lot easier to traverse.

I guess I should in closing say that if you haven't played any of the games in the Mega Man series, that Mega Man 3 wouldn't be a bad place to start as it is a great continuation of a great series that, so far anyway, is a bit easier than the previous two games but is still a challenging experience that should not be missed out on if you are at all into older NES games from a great era of gaming.

If It Ain't Broke. . .

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