There’s a lot about the early Mega Man titles and a lot deserves to be said. But for this highlight I want to take a trip not to the Arcades but rather back to 1990, when Nintendo-mania was at its absolute peak, with some of the best titles coming out on the NES, with Mega Man 3 being among them.
Now this game I remember very vividly because my cousin had it on his own NES and I was just enthralled. Now by this point I had gotten my own system but my exposure to action-platforming was only Super Mario Bros. Mega Man 3 as I would find out was different. It had the exact kind of platforming I was familiar with, yet it was something else because of the ability to shoot at enemy robots, and then when you got to the final bosses you can get their ability if you manage to beat them. I remember playing as best I could but I couldn’t figure out how to switch weapons on the fly, let alone know when to use Rush the Dog so I stuck to using the regular arm cannon and not much else. But even with that I did have a lot of fun with the game, and it wouldn’t be until years later when I rented Mega Man 6 (yes folks, we used to rent titles way back when) that I really started getting into the Mega Man franchise, and it would all culminate in me getting the Mega Man Anniversary Collection for my Gamecube years later.
Being able to play it then and even now with the Legacy Collection on my Switch I can honestly say that Mega Man 3 isn’t too bad of a title, but it turns out that in comparison to 2 which was so well polished 3 was actually…rushed? Just how was that even possible?.
Well, it turns out that according to Keiji Inafune (or Inafking as he is called in the credits), the third game is his least favorite because of what had gone into making the game. After the success of Mega Man 2, Inafune had a pretty good idea what makes or breaks a Mega Man game, but the lead supervisor of the first two titles departed from Capcom in-between the two titles, so the new supervisor “…didn’t really understand Mega Man the way his predecessor did.” Not only that but the team lost their lead planner which caused Inafune to take over those responsibilities where he had to delegate tasks among developers who were not meeting deadlines. In addition, the team was forced to put the game out before the game was ready.
“I knew that if we had more time to polish it, we could do a lot of things better, make it a better game, but the company said that we needed to release it. The whole environment behind what went into the production of the game is what I least favored. Numbers one and two – I really wanted to make the games; I was so excited about them. Number three – it just turned very different.”Keji Inafune
Interestingly enough on the first time I had a chance to truly play the game I was actually enjoying the game very much. The animation was a lot more crispy than the previous two, and the introduction of the one and only robot canine Rush makes the game special. Surprisingly enough the game did very well sales-wise which usually isn’t the case for any game rushed. But in looking further it turns out that there were actually some other things that had been left out that the team wanted to put in. Namely some sprites. For example, with the Magnet Missiles there was supposed to be another animation where the magnets do another turn before going either up or down vertically, as well as some other animation that was left out such as Rush ducking his head when in Marine mode, or other things like Snake Man shooting while in midair. Plus going into some level design there were some “tiles” that were left on the cutting room floor.
While some of these notable designs would have helped enhance the gameplay experience more, I feel what we got as Arcaders more than made up for what might have been, or at least in my case I did.
In all, this game is a good addition to your library, and the fact that the game comes as part of most compilations lately shows that it is a true classic. While it may not be to the same extent as Mega Man 2 was/is, 3 is not to be laughed at either.
So if you’ve played the first two titles, give this one a shot. It still has that gameplay fun, and in the end, that’s all that matters to us!