This stage is the second from the top left on the map. This is an icy stage, and for the first time in the series, the ice is actually slippery, making it a bit difficult to control your movement. Keep that in mind as you head right over the spikes and meet a new enemy.
Helits float up and down, firing missles. They're pretty simple enemies with low health. Their strength comes from the fact that they often appear in groups.
You'll come to a slope and learn that you'll slip down icy slopes if you stand on them. If you want to get up one of these slopes, dash jump over it. You'll reach another slope that will dump you on top of some spikes if you're not careful. Wall jump up to the ladder and climb up. You'll find something new.
Throughout the game, you can find various Ride Armors for X to use. Unlike in previous games, you can keep them and summon them from these platforms you'll find in all of the Maverick levels. If you're following the guide, you won't be able to use this one yet, which is too bad, because it would come in handy.
You'll need to break these ice blocks to reach the heart tank below. You can break them with a Ride Armor's punches, or with the Tornado Fang, which you earn by beating Tunnel Rhino, which we haven't done yet. Watch out for the icy slant next to the heart tank. It will drop you on top of some spikes if you're not careful. Don't worry, we'll come back here later. Heart tanks permanently increase the maximum capacity of X's life meter, so be sure to collect them all.
Head right and fight more Helits, being careful of the slopes and spikes. Remember that you can destroy the Helits' missiles by shooting them. Head up the wall to the ladder. If you want, you can go up and take out the Notor Bangers and grab the large health pickup on the right. Otherwise, jump off to the right and take out the Notor Bangers on the platform and proceed. Head down and fight two more Notor Bangers and get the health, then head down some more to the door.
Through the door is... an empty room? Yeah, each Maverick stage has one of these rooms. You'll eventually be accosted by two different bosses that will appear at set points in the story, and these rooms are where you'll battle them. For now, we can just move on.
Go right and cling to the ledge and wall jump off to the right if you want the health. Otherwise, slide down the slope and head right.
Ice De Voux
This ball of ice has a robot inside of it. Destroy the crunchy outer shell and then shoot the soft creamy center before it has time to restore its icy armour. They don't do much besides bounce at you. Jump over the spikes and take out more Ices De Voux until you reach the ladder.
It's not here yet, but if you come back to this spot later and slide down the wall into this hole, you'll find a teleporter to a tough boss battle. You'll probably want to fight this boss later, but for now, we can ignore it.
Head up the ladder and destroy the Notor Banger before picking up the health. Head up some more. If you look up a bit, you'll see a sub tank, but we'll come back to that in a minute.
Snow Rider and Snow Slider
This guy just stands there shooting at you, unless he's on his snowmobile, in which case he'll drive at you and try to freeze you with projectiles. You'll only be broken free when you take damage. Once you destroy a Snow Slider's snowmobile, he becomes a regular old Snow Rider.
Head right over the pillar of air. It's causing this storm. Beware the Snow Riders. Try not to slide into them.
You can end this storm if you want to, but it doesn't really do anything besides kind of obscure your vision a bit. Consider this paragraph optional. Head down the gap you come to and carefully drop down next to the Snow Rider and destroy it. Jump over the hole to the left and destroy the machine that's causing the snow storm, then head back over the hole to grab the large health pickup if you need it. (To get back across to the left, drop down and hang onto the wall, then dash jump from it.) Climb up and to the right, then up and to the right some more until you're as high as you can go.
Dash jump off the right edge of the rightmost platform in this area. With some skill and luck, you'll just barely grab onto a narrow platform on the right. Quickly jump up to find one of Dr. Light's capsules. These blue ones give you new armour. This one upgrades your legs. With this upgrade, you'll be able to dash while in the air. You'll also be able to air dash a short distance straight up. You won't be able to do either of these things if you try them during a dash jump, though. It's generally better to dash jump than air dash, but air dashing comes in handy sometimes. Including right now.
Head all the way back to the left side of this area. Hop on the ledge to the right of the wall, then jump left and do an air dash straight up to reach the ledge with the sub tank on it. Sub tanks are great. If you collect health while your health meter is full, it'll go into one of your sub tanks. You can then use them from the pause menu to refill your health at any time. There are four sub tanks in all, which effectively quintuple your maximum energy.
If you're not feeling confident, maybe you should destroy the enemies around here and fill your new sub tank now. One decent way to do this is to go back to the right, under where you find the leg capsule, and shoot the Snow Slider from the bottom of the slope. He won't come down the slope, so you can shoot the snowmobile and then the Snow Rider safely. Air dash up to the health if he drops any. Move slightly right and then back to the left to make him respawn. When you're ready, head all the way to the right to fight this level's boss.
Mega Man X3
's bosses are no walk in the park, but Blizzard Buffalo is the easiest one to take out with just your X Buster thanks to the fact that he's easy to trap in a predictable pattern. Every Maverick is weak to the weapon you win from one other Maverick, so it's best to use those weapons when you can, but you can't always do that, so we'll look at strategies to beat them with or without that weapon.
The Hard Way
Blizzard Buffalo has three attacks to watch out for. His charge attack will slam into you and do a lot of damage if you're not careful. He spends a lot of time charging back and forth across his (particularly wide) room. His secondary attack is a series of balls of ice he'll throw that will stick to walls and the floor and stay there. Once he starts throwing these, dash away from him to a wall and climb to the top, then wait for him to charge at the wall and break the ice. Once he loses enough of his health, he'll shoot out a freezing laser beam that will freeze you in place. Don't let this hit you. Once he charges it up, climb the nearest wall and wait for it to pass. The easiest way to deal with Blizzard Buffalo is to climb the walls, wait for him to charge at you, jump and air dash over him, land, turn around and shoot him with a charged shot, then dash away to the next wall and climb it. (You can fire another charged shot at him before you climb the next wall, if you want.) He'll charge again, you'll jump over him again, and repeat this until he goes down. None of his attacks can hit you while you're high on the wall unless you stay there while he's standing next to it and firing ice at you.
The Easy Way
Blizzard Buffalo is weak to the Parasitic Bomb, which you get from Blast Hornet. It does extra damage and interrupts his charge attack. Otherwise, the battle is basically the same as it is with just the X Buster.
For winning, you get a new weapon! The Frost Shield is an icicle that forms in front of X and hovers there for a moment before blasting forward. It moves slowly, but if it hits an enemy or a wall, it will shatter and its "core" will fall to the ground, create a spiked mass of ice, and stay there for a while, damaging anything that touches it. If you have the arm upgrade, you'll be able to charge your special weapons. This one turns into a shield of ice that X holds in front of him when charged, before eventually breaking off and sending a piece sliding forward along the ground. If you want to fill up your sub tanks, take this weapon to Neon Tiger's stage and use it to destroy the dragonflies at the start of the stage. They'll drop health (large or small) 100% of the time when destroyed with this weapon!
There's nowhere to backtrack to yet, so let's just go forward. Toxic Seahorse is next.
NEXT: Toxic Seahorse