Mega Man 3

Ok, is it 3 or III? Even Capcom couldn’t decide.

Review Date: April 28, 2021

Release Date: November 1, 1990

Platform: NES

Publisher: Capcom

Genre: Linear Platformer


Description: Mega Man is trying to fight off Dr. Wily again. Capcom stuck to the tried and true formula, but this time, they added four Doc Robot stages featuring all of Mega Man 2’s bosses. Essentially, the gameplay is similar to 2, but the Doc Robot stages add a new twist. As I did with 2, I present the robot masters.

-Gemini Man: His stage starts innocently enough, with a subdued night backdrop over crystal floors. Then Proto Man shows up for no good reason and opens the way to an area full of water and color changing walls. Gemini Man himself is a joke if Mega Man has the Search Snakes and can get on the right side of the screen.

So much color.

-Hard Man: Essentially a series of caves, Hard Man’s stage is full of annoying enemies, including jumping monkeys, bees, and chomping things. Hard Man is a tough boss and the only thing I could get to work on him were the Magnets.

After taking a death to refill my health, I used 7 Magnets to take him down.

-Magnet Man: Back in 1990, I hated this stage. It is full of disappearing blocks and fans to blow Mega Man off said blocks, plus a whole lot of instant death spikes. Add in a visit from that stupid time waster Proto Man, and it’s not a fun level. When I got stuck as a kid, Nintendo Power actually suggested to do this crazy level first! Maybe that’s why I had so much trouble with this game.

Disappearing blocks. Yay.

-Needle Man: Needle Man’s stage seems to be where all the Hard Hats are hanging out, along with porcupines and large needle traps. Needle Man gave me a lot of trouble, though, because nothing in my inventory was doing much damage. I left and came back, taking him out in seconds with the Gemini Laser.

This looks like the type of city that would have robots fighting nearby.

-Shadow Man: This shady lair has tons of lava for some reason and things that work the opposite of lights. In other words, the room goes dark when they appear. Shadow Man can be ripped apart with the Top Spin, the worst “weapon” in the game. He leaves behind the Shadow Blade, which may be the only even semi-useful subweapon against non-bosses in the game.

I’m sorry, but wouldn’t Mega Man melt in here?

-Snake Man: This stage has the best music in the game. It’s mostly a green lair full of snakes of various sizes, followed by a bunch of pole vaulters and tower jumping. I had to take Snake Man out with the Mega Buster, but he’s got an easy pattern so I could minimize hits taken.

Three smalls snakes lie in wait of Mega Man.

-Spark Man: This stage gets me all charged up. Mega Man has to go wire to wire through all sorts of shocking enemies, including a cheap trap involving connecting bolts. Once I got back to full power, I reached Spark Man, who I told to buzz off by using the Shadow Blade on him. He’s going to need to find a new outlet.

I hope this sparks a conversation about game design.

-Top Man: When I first played this in 1990, I had to speculate on what “Top” meant. At first, I thought it was Top as in “big boss,” but he was no tougher than the others. Then I thought Top as in top of the screen. Shortly into the stage, I realized the stage was themed around spinning tops. Top Man just needs a few Knuckles to the face. Top Man also leaves the worst subweapon in the game.

No tops here, but there’s lots of other nonsense to deal with.


-While Mega Man 3 mostly sticks to the formula, Capcom was wise to add a new twist to it. The 8 weapon collection stages still exist, as well as Wily’s castle. Here, though, they added 4 Doc Robot stages to the mix by reusing the four corner stages. However, it’s not a matter of simply replaying the stages. They have been made a bit tougher by adding enemies or spikes, but the real fun here is that they brought back ALL of Mega Man 2’s bosses for another round. Each of the stages has two of them and players that remember their attack patterns will have an advantage.

-Mega Man has also learned how to slide. This ability is standard, and it can be quite helpful in spots. Mega Man can go under jumping enemies and he can duck under projectiles, such as the Rock Monster parts. It also allows the developers to use smaller corridors, making room for other things.

-Say hello to the awesomeness named Rush. Rush is Mega Man’s pet and he can do three things: First, he can turn into a jack called the Rush Coil. That allows Mega Man to reach areas he normally can’t. Second, he can become the Rush Marine, which gives Mega Man transportation underwater. Third, he can become the Rush Jet, which allows Mega Man to ride anywhere for a limited time. All of those are cool abilities, plus the Rush Coil is available from the start.


-The weapons just aren’t as good as the previous games. While the weapons are good for ripping apart bosses, they don’t have much utility otherwise. There are no Rolling Cutters, Metal Blades, or Quick Boomerangs. The Shadow Blade is the only thing remotely valuable when away from bosses. For example, the Magnet Missiles are too costly to use. The Hard Knuckles are too slow. The Top Spin is completely useless.

-It also felt like the game was much stingier with the energy drops than in 2. There would be times where a health refill would have been really nice. There are also few grinding points to refill health. The only place to safely do so was in Needle Man’s Doc Robot stage where a Giant Hard Hat kept firing out smaller ones.

-It’s not exclusive to MM3, but this guessing weaknesses deal gets really annoying. It generally requires playing around with the entire inventory to see what works. On the NES, there’s no rewind feature like the PS4 version, so that ends up costing lives and time trying to figure it all out. Even with the rewind, if a player lacks the proper weapon, like I did battling Needle Man, then it’s down to the Mega Buster, which doesn’t do much damage against any boss.


I just started and ran into this guy, who just jumps around blindly shooting to “train” me.
I wish I could be as attractive as Magnet Man.
I got worked over by a giant snake.
Hard Hat Tractors!
That thing makes the room dark. Should I call it a shade dropper?
Along comes this tool again. Go away! By the way, I used the Rush Coil to reach the other side, but there’s nothing there.
Mega Man hops into the Rush Marine. It’s not required here, but it can help.
The names are still there, but they’re inaccurate now.
Time to go farm some Hard Hats.
No no NO!! Do I really have to fight that stupid tool again?
Why are Super Mario pipes here?
The Rock Monster is back, but the ability to slide helps.
Mega Man suddenly ended up in a game of Frogger.
Mega Man has to fight his own clones. Only one is real, though.
A free extra life? Am I dreaming?
Here comes yet another bizarre contraption from Dr. Wily.

Final Opinion: It’s a pretty good game, but the nerfing of the weapons, including the Mega Buster, hurts. The innovation is good, with Rush added and the Doc Robot stages. Those even out, so I’m giving this the same grade as Mega Man 2.

Grade: B

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