RELEASED: December 11, 1992
AVAILABLE ON: GB
PUBLISHER(S): Capcom, Nintendo
With the release of Mega Man III, the series of handheld Mega Man games was heading to nowhere, just like the flagship series of the franchise. Mega Man X was on its way to redeem and renew the franchise - for a spell - but it was still a year off. Mega Man III was released a week after Mega Man 5 saw release on the NES to a somewhat lukewarm response from critics, but good reception from fans. The Game Boy game was greeted as a return to form after the "immensely disappointing" Mega Man II; the team that made the first game had returned. Well, passing on the subject of how the whole Mega Man series would be destroyed by the media if it was made today, for now at least, I'll just say that the difficulty level of the game leaves no doubt that the same guys who made Dr. Wily's Revenge are back. As for how fresh the game feels like after playing the two previous games back to back... well, you know how it is. It's starting to taste a little woody...
...Woody and bloody
|I've hardly started the game |
and already I'm dying. It's
going to be a long trip.
"Oily fortress". If this was any other series, I'd completely refrain from saying something as stupid, but if cheesy's the way they wanna do it, then cheesy response's what they're gonna get. This is Mega Man III, the third game in the Mega Man series for the Game Boy, and in theory, it combines the most notable (not necessarily the best) qualities of both of the previous games, resulting in the best Mega Man adventure the Game Boy could offer at that time. In reality, it's something different. Not even the best there was. Being sort of "hybrids" of two NES games at a time, the original Game Boy series is the most uninspired part of the Mega Man franchise to this day. Not the worst, but the most uninspired one - repeating the stunts of an already repetitive franchise, and trying to disguise it as something new and different, and jumping from one extreme to another when it comes to the difficulty level. That's how it was building up to be.
|Oh, come on!!!|
|The snakes are harder and |
bigger. And now I'm blushing.
Enough beating around the bush, let's take a look at the game, as pointless as it might seem - in short, you can just refer to the review of Dr. Wily's Revenge, all the things I said about its notorious difficulty and consider their point multiplied by a dozen. You could refer to all the other things said, too, 'cause judging by the look of the game, it feels like Mega Man II was never made. The very same technical issues make their return - there's lag and flicker all over the place and the controls are not quite as smooth. Well, at least the music's once again better (read: listenable by some degree), but it's no wonder since it's largely ported stuff from Mega Man 3 and 4 on the NES. The exclusive stuff might be a bit lackluster, but at least the sequencing's on the mark. Most of the time, that is.
|Before we go - autograph, |
please? "To Rock"
|Piece of cake, until you |
realize you're underwater.
Although upon entrance to the center level you seem to be entering Dr. Wily's "oily fortress", that's not the case. I guess it's just the game's way of showing that you're getting closer. The center level is very short, as in five or six screens. In the end, you'll face off with a giant version of Suzy, a regular enemy most common in the first installments on both the NES and Game Boy. She's easy enough to hit and kill, but the arena is extremely cramped (it's set in a boss hallway, ouch) and she does extreme damage with every hit, "extreme" meaning about double the amount any regular enemy does to you. That's a lot in this game. Anyway, you gain a large health orb from the fight, which leaves you expecting more bedlam awaiting beyond the teleport... but, as the prank mentioned a while ago would have it, you have no use for health, as you're taken to another Stage Select screen.
Four bosses from Mega Man 4 now stand in between you and your very unlikely victory - and here we once again see how the imagination of character designers started to go downhill with and after Mega Man 4. At least the singled-out best-looking boss in Mega Man 4, Skull Man, is here to represent, but then we have Dust Man, Dive Man and Drill Man to even the score. Seeing that this bunch nevertheless represents the better part of Mega Man 4, I can't wait for the next handheld game... assuming it continues the tradition, I don't rightly know just yet. These levels are much longer than the first four, but perhaps not as unforgiving as you might expect after what you've been through already. Kind of reflects on the difference in difficulty level between the NES games Mega Man 3 and 4, I guess.
|FINALLY... Rock has come |
back... to the oily fortress.
|No - you spare me, please. I |
beg of you. Just teleport to hell
and get shot down already. I
know the drill.
Mega Man is Mega Man. Deep-fry it, and it's still Mega Man, but what the NES titles gave us at their best - hell, even at their worst - was great, innovative level design, cool characters, and most of all, SLACK and clear windows of opportunity, despite being difficult. They were difficult for a lot of right reasons - up 'til Mega Man 3, at the very least - not because of narrow levels with a 50/50 chance of survival waiting at each step even without the presence of enemies, and a deadly lag ensuing every time there's a little too much of that presence. Also, the structure needs work - it's beginning to turn out even more predictable than in the main series. Even with the stench of death lingering all around it, Mega Man III is an entertaining game - most of the time.
+ Better music and related technical performance than last time around
+ Nearly all good stuff which has been noted before
+ Good selection of bosses
- No, they just can't find the middle road - it's once again just plain merciless...
- ...As in extremely rough on the player, by being extremely stingy when it comes to health items, having narrow levels full of enemies that are outright impossible to avoid, and a pathetic health bar, plus on the technical side, we have a fatal lag to worry about every time there are too many separate characters or items on the screen - something like three or four besides Mega Man himself is enough to summon it
- There's no point in criticizing the repetition within the franchise anymore, since this is the way true fans like it, but the more specific structure of the Game Boy series is getting old; some new sort of plot elements and order of progress wouldn't hurt
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