Mega Man III
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy
  • Developer:
    • Minakuchi Engineering
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 12/11/1992
    • US 12/11/1992
    • UK 06/19/1993
Score: 75%

This review was published on 08/20/2016.

Mega Man III, known as Rockman World 3 in Japan, is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Minakuchi Engineering and published by Capcom for the Game Boy. It was originally released in Japan and North America on December 11, 1992, and Europe on June 19, 1993. Normally, Mega Man is made by Capcom, but most of the Game Boy titles were outsourced to Minakuchi Engineering. This game isn't to be confused with Mega Man 3 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, which originally came out in 1990, before the Game Boy release. Even though both games share the same title, they're pretty different. Like the previous Mega Man games on the Game Boy, this game combines elements from two of the NES games. Specifically, it combines stuff from Mega Man 3 and 4 on the NES, both of which were available before this game. While it doesn't do anything new, the Game Boy version of Mega Man III is still a quality release. Also, I'll be using the Roman numerals to refer to the Game Boy version and the Arabic numerals for the NES ones.

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As confusing as it might be, the story of this Mega Man III takes place after the events of Mega Man 3 and 4 on the NES. Dr. Wily, the Albert Einstein lookalike that is always up to no good, is up to no good again. The demented Wily has taken control of an offshore oil rig and is using it to drill through the Earth's crust. His goal is to harness the molten power of the Earth's core to fuel his latest weapon, which he'll then use to take over the world! Only one man is mega enough to stop him, and his name is Mega Man. In case you haven't heard, Mega Man is the robotic blue hero with a gun for an arm that has a history of saving the world from Wily. Joined by his robotic dog, Rush, Mega Man will be continuing that history of heroism.

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The game tries very hard to emulate the look and sound of the NES originals. It succeeds for the most part, but there are some obvious differences, like the lack of color, smaller screen resolution, and overall slower pace of the game. Some stages also have slightly different visuals, like how Snake Man's stage has swaying trees in the background, giving it the look of a jungle. There are a couple of new music tracks, too, but most of them are Game Boy renditions of songs from Mega Man 3 and 4 on the NES. The renditions are pretty faithful to the original tracks, which is impressive given the differences in hardware between the NES and Game Boy. Since the original NES music was already fantastic, then it stands to reason that these renditions also sound great. The new tracks aren't half bad, either, though they're easily outshined by the source material.

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You take control of the titular Mega Man as he blasts his way through countless robots. The d-pad is used to walk, the A button is used to jump, and the B button fires Mega Man's gun. Holding down on the d-pad and pressing A will make Mega Man slide along the ground, which is used to dodge some attacks and fit into tight areas. Something he has in this game that he didn't have in the previous Game Boy title is the Mega Buster. This was first introduced in Mega Man 4 on the NES, but you get it early here. To use the Mega Buster, simply hold the B button until Mega Man begins glowing, and then release it to fire a more powerful shot. The powered up shot is able to destroy most weak enemies in one hit, in addition to piercing through their dead bodies to hit whoever's behind them. Mega Man also has a life bar that can be replenished by collecting and using Energy Tanks from the menu. All of this should be common knowledge if you're a Mega Man veteran.

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Initially, you'll have access to four stages from Mega Man 3 on the NES, which you can do in any order, as per Mega Man tradition. After you finish these, you'll then be taken to a second stage select screen, where you'll be permitted to do four stages from Mega Man 4. Though similar, these stages aren't identical to the NES originals. Instead, they're like condensed versions, but their layouts have been tweaked significantly. Sometimes there will even be enemies that didn't exist in the original games, or old enemies may get slightly redesigned. The stages are more or less as good as the originals, and the new stuff will keep fans that have already played the NES games on their toes. There are also a couple of stages that aren't from any of the NES titles, but there aren't too many of them.

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At the end of all the main stages is a boss known as a Robot Master. Whenever Mega Man takes down one of these guys, he permanently steals their weapon, which can be switched to at any time from the menu. While the Mega Buster has infinite ammunition, the special weapons do not. However, each Robot Master is weak to another's weapon, and exploiting these weaknesses will lead to far easier battles. Because there are some absentees, the weakness order has been slightly altered for this release. The first four Robot Masters are from Mega Man 3, whereas the second four are from Mega Man 4. They're basically the same as their NES originals, having nearly identical attack patterns. This game does have some unique bosses, like one named Punk, who's a part of a group of robots designed by Wily called the Mega Man Killers. Kill or be killed; that's the harsh reality of Mega Man's world.

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Rush is able to aid Mega Man on his quest. Defeating certain Robot Masters will give you different Rush abilities, like one that lets Mega Man bounce off a spring on Rush's back to gain additional jumping height, or another that allows him to ride Rush as a jet. As with the Robot Masters' weapons, Rush's abilities have limited energy. This game also introduces Flip-Top, who's known as Eddie in future games in the series. Flip-Top first appeared in Mega Man 4 on the NES, but like lots of other things, you get to see him early here. He occasionally appears in some stages to offer Mega Man a free item, like a life or weapon energy refill. Proto Man, Mega Man's brother, is strangely absent from this game despite having first appeared in Mega Man 3 on the NES. I guess a dog's company is good enough.

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One of the better games in the Game Boy's library, Mega Man III is sure to provide a good time if you're a fan of the series. Mega Man lovers will no doubt love this game. When compared to the previous two Mega Man games on the Game Boy, this one has a lot more polish to it, resulting in an overall improved product. This game may not hold a candle to its NES counterpart, but it's still a decent title.

Word Count: 1,202

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