Monday, December 9, 2013

GAME REVIEW: Mega Man III (Game Boy)

What's up with the hook on Rock's back?

Mega Man II was a pretty underwhelming experience: too easy for a Mega Man title, poor instrumentation, so on and so forth. Its developer, BIOX, was given the boot; the job would be given back to Minakuchi Engineering, who worked on Mega Man I: Dr. Wily's Revenge. As noted at the end of the MMI LP, I stated that it was really challenging, but it was fun at the same time; you didn't want to give up if you died. Will the same amount of Real Difficulty return for this game?

Let's dig in.


Dr. Wily survives the Rush Torpedo at the end of MMII and has reappeared, making a bid to control the world's petroleum supply. He is reusing four Robot Masters against Mega Man.


When starting the game, you can choose to fight Gemini Man, Snake Man, Spark Man, and Shadow Man. Once they're beaten, you proceed to Wily's Castle. After beating a Big Suzy, you are sent to fight four more Robot Masters: Drill Man, Dive Man, Dust Man, and Skull Man (did he hijack Dr. Cossack's robots again?).

After they're beaten, you fight Wily's new Mega Man Killer: Punk.

When Punk's beaten, you go after Wily's Ocean Fortress.


Once more: the main controls are the same as the rest of the NES/Game Boy portion of the series. Nothing new there... except the ability to charge the Mega Buster! 

Yeah! MM4's addition to the series is brought to the Game Boy!

In regard to stage layout, it's all over the map. As lazy and simplistic as MMII's stage design was, MMIII tried to make up for its predecessor's lack of challenge... by going overboard. Some stages aren't so bad (Gemini Man, Skull Man, Drill Man, for instance), but others had really poor layout issues:

Exhibit A

Early in Spark Man's stage, you have to make a two-space jump. However, there is an overhang that makes jumping difficult. Complicating matters is a large pipe behind you that drops large blocks of junk.

Exhibit B

When we get to Dust Man's stage, there's an overabundance of three-space jumps. Normally, this isn't a big deal. In this game, however, it feels like Rock has a cinder block tied around his feet. Because of this, you have to be on the very edge of the platform in order to clear the jumps. There were SOME instances of this problem in Snake Man's level, but in Dust Man's it takes center stage.

As irritating as the three-gap jumps are, they've got nothing on the spikes!

Exhibit C
(Tip: Let this platform get as high as it can and then STEP off! Jumping will kill you!)

After playing through this whole game, I can honestly say that someone at Minakuchi had a love affair with spikes. Spark Man's stage (above) has these issues... but that is nothing compared to Dive Man's. 

Of course, the jacked-up difficulty isn't limited solely to the stages. There's also the new Mega Man Killer, Punk:

The unpredictable movements can easily lead to a deduction of eight points off of your life bar. His weapon, the Screw Crusher, removes the same amount as contact with him would. My recommendation: bring E-Tanks.

Ironically, the final stage isn't that bad (aside from the room of spikes near the start).


MMII's soundtrack had some good compositions, but the choice of instruments caused it to founder. It's disappointing, as I said before, because the music of the Mega Man (and classic Capcom games in general) is one of the franchise's strongest assets. In MMIII, the player is treated to very faithful recreations of MM3 and MM4 tracks. Snake Man's theme was a great carry-over, but Shadow Man's lost the craziness of the "Runaway Piano" riffs. Punk's theme, as short as it is, is pretty cool as well.


They really went above and beyond this time! In addition to the crisp look of the sprites and stuff, some of the backgrounds are animated. Snake Man, Dr. Wily's Ocean Fortress, and the latter part of Skull Man's stage are my prime examples of this. In Gemini Man's stage, you have an animated FOREGROUND, of sorts.

If you weren't familiar with MM3, you'd think that this stuff was a hazard!


I really wanted to like this entry. I really did. However, it seems it could have used a little more time testing. I'm all for a challenge and I know Mega Man's supposed to be a hard series... but Capcom and Minakuchi went a little overboard with the spikes and three-space jumps. The music and graphics are good, but as my old axiom says: they are NOT gameplay. If it just had a little more time to be streamlined, it could have as great as MMI. Unfortunately, it seemed as if they were trying to make up for MMII's ease by making this entry all but unfair (seriously, sometimes, it's necessary to get hit in order to advance).

All in all, better skip this one.

I'm DLAbaoaqu. Full-on!

1 comment:

  1. MMIII is one tough son of a bitch. I really hated the choice to make Dust Man's stage where you get Rush Jet! That's a poor decision, honestly. I still like the game, but better Mega Man Game Boy games exist. It probably ties with Dr. Wily's Revenge for me.