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Mega Man 3 (NES) artwork

Mega Man 3 (NES) review

"In the first few screens you are introduced to the occasional lonely snake head, which shoots at you when approached. Then you meet three of them at once in a tight space and test your dodging skills. Then you fight a huge one. The progression of difficulty, when done in this visual way with the enemies literally getting bigger, is extremely rewarding. Itís a tactic that is still repeated in games, like God of War, today."

I always wondered what Rush was doing on that cover. Was he teaming up with Top Man against Mega Man? Or was he about to be the victim of a deadly sneak spin attack?!

My Mega Man days started with the fourth title in the series. Enjoying that game had a nice perk: the entire time I played, I knew that there were three other games I could visit when I was done. And, being a somewhat obsessive child, I decided that I would start my new Mega Man craze from the beginning, as was only proper. The next game I bought was the very first one and, if youíve read my review for it you might have a good idea how that panned out. The colors were bland, the controls ornery, and I found the first Wily Castle boss to be impossible.

Because of my failure with Mega Man (and being a somewhat obsessive child), I never felt quite comfortable playing the second or third games. Four was safeóit was grandfathered in; but two and three were relegated to the rental list as a form of self punishment. Of course, being obscenely popular with every child who was a little more forgiving with themselves, it was usually rented out.

So for me, playing Mega Man 3 today is like playing it for the first time. I have no familiarity with any of the stages or bosses. My knowledge of the music is admittedly intimate, but thatís because Mega Man 3 has one of the catchiest and most diverse soundtracks for its time; a mixture of electronica, 80ís pop, and heavy rock that seems like it could only have been born from a joint invitation to a slumber party for Bruce Springstein and Steven Tyler, crashed at the last minute by all the members of Dead or Alive (the band, not the game).

Aside from the music, the graphics will instantly stand out to the Mega Man 3 newcomer. Mega Man 2 brought vibrancy to the world of killer robots. Mega Man 3 brings size. Enemies seem bigger here than ever before, even ones that really arenít any bigger. Like the Hammer Joes, who swing a ball and chain above their head a few times before releasing it at Mega Man. These guys arenít any bigger than their classic cousins, the Sniper Joes, but they are designed to look larger. They have bulky upper bodies and a bit of a bulge around their gut that makes them seem like they are ready to get in the ring and make things personal. As for enemies that really are bigger, the developers went all out to give them a lot of articulation and moving parts. One of my favorite examples is the hopper robots. You can see their pistons slide up and down, propelling their legs out for their annoying jumps, and their eyes register surprise at the shock of each landing.

Mega Man himself didnít get bigger, but he did get better. This game marks the first appearance of both his ability to slide and his ability to call his faithful robo-dog, Rush. Rush is really just a touch up of the Item abilities from Mega Man 2, with the Rush Jetóa floating platform you have full control over and cannot fall off ofócompletely dominating in terms of usefulness. The slide move is more than a touch up. During easy pieces of the game it allows you think in new dimensions, letting you approach enemies at a much faster pace by dodging around their attacks and getting right up in their face. During difficult pieces of the game it forces you to consider new dimensions, as youíll need to jump, run, and now slide to dodge past a greater barrage of enemies and bullets then youíve ever seen before.

Of course, with new music and new moves we also have all new Masters to consider. Since Robot Masters and their stages are not only the heart but the entire digestive system of any Mega Man experience, the burden is going to be on them, and not a well-timed slide, to carry this new game across home plate.

Magnet Man 4/5
Magnet Manís stage features a return of the disappearing blocks, though I was pleasantly surprised to see that the game wasnít going to be cheap with them. They are approached much more like puzzles here, giving you the chance to observe their full and complete pattern before attempting the actual jumps. Not to say they arenít hard. Theyíve been paired up with, appropriately, magnet beams that try to pull you off the blocks. Again, though, itís not cheap. You have all the time in the world to plan before you make the jumps; itís all about coming up with the right plan and executing the proper timing.

Unfortunately, the stage also features the return of the boring gray color that permeated Mega Man 1. I instantly take a point off of any Robot Master who dares to home-decorate in that tint. It lends an industrial feel to the stage that is irritating when juxtaposed with the cheery, bright red of Magnet Manís headgear. Magnet Man is actually a pretty cool Robot. His magnets are like homing missiles and his secondary ability to pull you in towards him makes perfect sense. The Megaís have also done a cover of his stage where heís in love with Mega Manís sister, but I think thatís more depth than Capcom ever intended him to have.

Hard Man 2/5
What? Whatís that whistle? A flash of red and a new enemy appears halfway through the level, looking suspiciously like Mega Man. That would be Proto Man, one of the first video game characters whom I remember having a fan base. As I said, I sortíve missed Mega Man 3, but my friend told me everything there was to know about this guy. He even bought a yellow scarf and painted an old bike helmet red andÖ well, we thought it looked cool as kids.

Someone we never thought looked cool as kids was Hard Man. I feel like Keiji Inafune wanted to recreate the dubious success of Guts Man and Hard Man was going to be his ticket to that ride. Hard Man even has a mining-themed stage, like Guts Man. But he looks more like a submarine than a construction device and his stage is filled with incongruous enemies like monkeys and beesÖ and Proto Man. Oh well, heís still better than Guts Man. At least his power is occasionally useful.

Shadow Man 5/5
What I like about fighting Shadow Man is that he consistently wipes the floor with me. Heís not easy to fight. But he is fun to fight, because he follows a pattern of sorts. He jumps three times and then does something. The trick is that heíll either slide across the room at you or heíll get ready to throw a couple of giant shurikens. I love the way Capcom set this up. They gave you enough information to be prepared to deal with an upcoming threat, but not enough information that you can fall into a dry, repetitive, pattern. You have to pay attention during this fight: thereís no getting around it. But it isnít a completely random slog fest, either. You wonít win by tackling Shadow Man head-on.

His stage is less pragmatic (though itís cool enough, in a Die Hard sort of way, that I donít take off points). Heís another of those Robots cursed with a name that doesnít easily lend itself to a theme. So we get walking grenades and parachuting enemies and over lava. Because lavaÖ casts lightÖ which casts shadowsÖ? I donít know. I will give credit to the sections of the stage where all the lights go out. Now that makes sense!

Top Man 3/5
In the first Mega Man, one of the neat concepts behind the creation of the Robot Masters is that all of them were created for a feasible service they could provide to the human race. Ice Man, for instance, was built to do work in sub-zero climates; Cut Man was meant to work in the lumber industry; Elec Man was designed to advance the power industry as a walking conduit. Even Guts Man had his uses, as he was meant to work in dangerous mining conditions.

That said, what the heck was Top Man designed for? Supposedly he was meant to be able to work in different gravities. By spinning really fast. Yeah, the concept has been stretched to its thinnest point in Mega Man 3 and gets pretty much abandoned in Mega Man 4, if I remember correctly. Still, Top Man is forgiven some of these distractions by having a well-themed stage. Someone really stretched their imagination to find somewhere that ďtopsĒ could make sense and kindíve pulled it offóitís set inside an abandoned toy factory. I have to give the cat miniboss credit, too. Itís not much related to the theme, but I love the little robotic fleas that jump off its back to attack you. Thatís classic; like a joke within a joke.

Needle Man 3/5
I was really nervous going into this stage. I expected to see death spikes all over the place. When I reached a section where needles came down from the ceiling in one pattern while other needles came up from the floor in another, I thought I was about to become well acquainted with the game over screen. Like all Mega Man 3 puzzles, this one was kind enough to give me a safe spot to observe the death trap before rushing in. I sat. I waited. I practiced Pranayama breathing. I learned the pattern. I rushed in, slid past the first spike, mistimed my jump over the next one, and plowed directly into the third.

And survived with a couple bars of health taken off.

Iím not sure whether to give credit to Needle Manís stage for avoiding what could have been an incredibly frustrating area, or to chastise it for removing any sense of challenge. At least until the boss. You cannot deny that Needle Man is challenging. He most resembles Quick Man, in that he doesnít have a clear pattern and his needle shots are very hard to avoid. Heís slightly slower than Quick Man but he makes up for it by firing more often and by having a secondary attack where he rams his spiky head at you for a lot of damage. Again, though, I donít know if I should give him credit for being hard, or berate him for being almost completely unpredictable and thus one of those Robots who pretty much requires the use of his weakness to win against. I definitely give him credit for his design. Itís one of the more interesting Robot Master designs, and the telescopic head-mount is a great example of those detailed moving parts I mentioned earlier.

Snake Man 5/5
ďRemember that stage, in Mega Man 3, with all the snakes?Ē
ďRemember that one part where you are actually fighting on a giant snake?Ē
ďHell yeah!!Ē
ďAnd how about that part where dudes launch at you on pole vaults and you climb into the sky?Ē
ďUhhhÖ ď

Snake Man proves that the most memorable stages in Mega Man are those that stick to their themes. Everyone remembers the giant snakes. Heck, I remembered those. Yet, even fans sometimes forget the sky part of the level. Aside from this, the level features great ďupping the anteĒ sensibilities. In the first few screens you are introduced to the occasional lonely snake head, which shoots at you when approached. Then you meet three of them at once in a tight space and test your dodging skills. Then you fight a huge one. The progression of difficulty, when done in this visual way with the enemies literally getting bigger, is extremely rewarding. Itís a tactic that is still repeated in games, like God of War, today. Sadly, Snake Man himself is normal-sized and, while cool looking, his attack pattern is pretty simple and not very snake-like. Still, Iíll take what I can get. And what I get here is good Robot design, an enjoyable and extremely memorable stage, and a final fight that still keeps me on my toes even if I donít have to think as much as when fighting, say, Shadow Man.

Gemini Man 4/5
I love the concept of Gemini Man. I really like the idea of fighting mirror-image twins and I believe heís the only Robot Master that you do fight two of at the same time. The pattern is kindíve cool, too, with the Geminis running and jumping around you, freezing in place to shoot only when you shoot. Itís an interesting choice of pattern that puts the player in charge of the action and makes any damage incurred truly a fault of poor timing. Itís tricky, though, because you have to fire and then immediately jump over the retaliatory shot, then time your landing so the now-moving Gemini has time to pass underneath you. The fight changes again when you kill one of them and it becomes a tactical assault, where you want to kill the remaining twin as fast as possible before he gets off too many of his highly deadly, rebounding lasers.

In all, itís a great concept for a fight that overshadows the bizarre stage full of tadpoles, icy blocks, salsa music, giant penguins, and mosquitos. I really donít know what to say about it. It is so chaotic that it avoids being memorable. My recollections of it even now are hazy, like it was all one bad neon-colored dream that took place when I fell asleep at a Latino dance club.

Spark Man 4/5
After failing to do anything interesting with the stage of their first electric Master, Spark Manís stage has been set in what looks to be some kind of generator plant full of circuit boards. Itís not a bad design decision and definitely screams electricity, at least if you can hear it over your own screams of rage. The stage is pretty vicious. Each section seems to get harder than the last, culminating in a room where you have to jump on single space platforms to make it across a stretch of bottomless pit. To complicate things, enemies very accurately called ďnuts and boltsĒ float above the pit, trying to get in the way of your jumps. To further complicate things (and then tie them up with a bow and present them to you on a platter along with a suicide note), the blocks rise in the air as soon as you jump on them. And there are deadly one-hit-kill spikes up there. And the blocks rise very fast. Getting past this section involves keeping your heart somewhere around the vicinity of your larynx.

The big bad Spark Man is tough to dodge, but pretty easy to figure out. Heís not near as hard as Elec Man and not as enjoyable a fight as Shadow Man, simply because there are times where it doesnít make a lot of sense to dodge him. Shadow Man would hit you and then jump away before you could use the invincibility to your benefit. But Spark Man has the unfortunate habit of shooting out little sparks and then following them with a huge, highly damaging spark. His big miscalculation is that, if you get hit by the little sparks, youíll be invincible for the big spark. And the whole time heís doing this move, he stands perfectly still, allowing you to get off ten or twelve shots each time. There, I just told you how to beat Spark Man.

Doc Robot 4/5
This was a huge surprise to me. I donít believe that there can really be spoilers for a game this old, but this one hit me like a big twist nonetheless: all the Robots from Mega Man 2 are back, and feature two-apiece in four of the main stages: Shadow Man, Needle Man, Spark Man, and Gemini Man. The stages have been put on steroids for this run through and are much harder than the previous versions, mixing together the toughest combination of enemies from the original level, usually paired up over bottomless pits or in rooms full of spikes and other death traps. In fact, I would call these four stages and their Doc Robot bosses the hardest part of Mega Man 3.

The stage redesigns are hectic and fun, and even a little clever, at times. For instance, when you first do Needle Manís stage, if you pay attention, you will notice that you pass over these platforms which cover what seem to be the yellow hills from Mario 3, except that a little blue line peeks up from their bottom. You wonít have any idea what this is until you revisit the stage for the nighttime, Doc Robot, version and watch these hills rise out of the ground near the end to attack as Helmet Head minibosses (the blue line was part of their classic ďplusĒ symbol). I didnít realize this until my second time through the game but I thought it was a nice touch; obviously some thought had gone into this revisitations.

The Robots themselves highlight both the best and worst aspects of Mega Man 2. Air Man reminds us how much luck was a factor in the fights, as one of his attack patterns is nigh-undodgeable and thereís no telling how many times heíll launch it. Quick Man highlights the grimace-inducing slogfest, as he has no attack pattern at all but just jumps around the stage like a madman. Metal Man, on the other hand, feels a bit like fighting Shadow Man, bringing back the nice combination of a predictable pattern mixed with a touch of randomness that requires you to stay on your toes.

Overall, I found these levels to be the most enjoyable part of the game. They asked me to take everything Iíd learned up to this point and apply it with little room for error. The bosses were deadly hard, even with their weaknesses, and the stages donít provide a lot of items to get you through them. They are also short enough that I didnít mind starting over when Iíd died and I never lost my groove from having to redo a long slog back to the boss room. It took me a couple of sittings to clear all four stages. By this time, I was beginning to sweat. If this was the difficulty level of the Doc Robot stages, then what was Wilyís Castle going to have in store for me? I tentatively decided to try just the first stage, to get an idea of what would be comingÖ

Wilyís Castle 3/5
Ö and barely forty minutes later, had beaten the game. The Wilyís Castle of Mega Man 3, and all of the guardians within it, is the easiest in the series up to this point. Each room seemed to promise that it was going to get hard. I was tense all throughout the first stage. When I only met a couple of enemies on my approach to the castle, I thought ďtheyíre just buttering me up.Ē An energy tank placed conveniently in my path only raised my anxiety, making me think that what was coming had to be truly terrifying, requiring the use of items to beat. Then I fell into a water segment and my terror almost burst. ďWhat were the fiends going to do with gravity and spikes here?Ē I wondered.

It turns out, they werenít going to do anything with them. I was in the water for less time than a tanning mother at a swimming pool. Then I climbed some ladders, gained more energy tanks and extra lives, bypassed a disappearing blocks section with the Rush Jet, and fought the weakest Mega Man boss Iíd ever faced. And the first stage Iíve just described is the longest of the stages in Wilyís Castle.

I do really appreciate that the developers were not stingy about their powerups. They were also very sensible about checkpoints, never making you face more than one boss in a row (unless you count the mandatory eight Robot Masters fight). There is even a checkpoint between Wilyís second and third forms.

Now if only these checkpoints and pick-me-ups came after a harder challenge, or were difficult to get to, the whole thing would feel a little more worth it. Oftentimes, an energy tank would be placed right within my direct pathóor removed from it by a single suspended block that I had to use the Rush Coil to reach. Oooo tricky. Having an energy tank is a great boon when youíre feeling fatigued by a long boss pattern and slip up a few times. Similarly, a checkpoint right before a boss is nice when the boss has a difficult pattern and you have to spend a lot of lives learning it. But these things werenít usually present in Wilyís Castle, so I ended up with enough energy tanks to take on God and checkpoints I never needed.

I still enjoyed working my way through things. Gaining a rematch against the Yellow Devil was a nice nostalgic touch and Wily himself has never been more fun to fight. All of the huge graphics came into full play here, especially when it comes time to face the final boss. He even has an instant kill attack that takes up a quarter of the screen and will leave you shaky each time you manage to dodge it. Still, it canít be denied that Mega Man 3 lets you get sloppy in Wilyís Castle, and that feels odd after the challenge of the Doc Robot stages. Going straight from those to the Castle felt like powering down rather than ramping up. I kept waiting for the real challenge to appear, all the way up to the closing credits, and it left me feeling a little underwhelmed whereas most of the game Iíd been riding on a tidal wave of adrenaline.

* * *

There seemed to be a general consensus, after my Mega Man 2 review, that I would hate Mega Man 3. I donít know what to say to this, except that, against all expectations, I loved the time I spent on Mega Man 3. Aside from a lackaluster endgame, whatever flaws it may have had were hidden by a crescendo of action that left me no little time to find things to critique. When I beat a level, my memories of it were awash with a blurred sensation of balls-to-the-wall running and jumping across tiny platforms while dodging enemies from behind and shooting the enemies ahead. This reached its height with the Doc Robot levels. There was a real sense of achievement in beating those, because I knew Iíd been able to achieve victory only by paying attention and using the tools that were given to me to their utmost. Usually I squeezed through with only a couple of health bars left and felt the better for it.

This isnít meant to be a comparison review, so Iím not going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly what one game set off in me that the other didnít. Mega Man 3 felt fast paced and fun to me; Mega Man 2 didnít. I will say that many of the things I love hereóthe visual show of conquering bigger and better enemies, the inclusion of the sliding move, a greater diversity of patterns that are easy to comprehend but tough to masterówerenít present for the last title and help to explain the difference in my reaction.

And perhaps I come to the game with a different perspective on history than others. The most common complaint Iíve heard about Mega Man 3 is that it didnít change things up enough. Itís a strange complaint, coming from people who loved Mega Man 2. Many of these people have hailed the return to sameness with Mega Man 9 and 10, calling it one of the more brilliant moves for the series and one that theyíve waited a long time to see. Iím not saying this is necessarily an unfair dichotomy. What people wanted as a sequel to Mega Man 2 and as a sequel to Mega Man 8 could understandably be very different things.

Regardless, I would call Mega Man 3 a game that was far ahead of its time, as I find it enjoyable as a modern gamer. Whether my retro-self would have enjoyed it, I will never know. Were the final stages a better conclusion to the experience, I would consider it my favorite of the series.

zippdementia's avatar
Community review by zippdementia (July 26, 2012)

Zipp has spent most of his life standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox there. Sometimes he writes reviews and puts them in the mailbox.

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If you enjoyed this Mega Man 3 review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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dagoss posted July 27, 2012:

I never really thought of this game as being "bigger" in the sense of bigger enemies and bosses, but now that I think about it, you're right; it <

The biggest fault I have with MM3 is the Doc Robots. Many of them have large, unavoidable attacks, even if you know the pattern. Other Mega Man games reward practice and still, but these bosses get in hits that you can't do anything about. You really need to know the weakness and eat a life or an E-tank on some of them. These are the only bosses in the classic series that I'd call cheap. Given your complaints about MM2, I'm surprised you didn't find more fault in that section of the game.

The final boss is a total snooze fest. Did you try Top Spin? After the giant, walking crab thing, this was super anti-climatic.
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zippdementia posted July 27, 2012:

Hey, Dagoss, thanks for reading! Did you mean to type something more after your first sentence?

In any case, I totally agree about the last boss and, as you'll notice, the entire last castle. I debated for a long time as to whether to give the castle a 2 or a 3 score. In the end, I realized I still had fun in the castle, mostly because I still enjoyed beating up the larger-than-life bosses, and that they weren't push-overs in and of themselves (a lot of people still consider the first couple Wily forms to be a deadly menace, and Yellow Devil gets some rage, too), but the stages were just a poor answer to the challenge of, as you say, the doc robot levels.

My biggest problem with Doc Robot were the Mega Man 2 aspects. I thought that those bosses were unfairly hard and not fun to fight in Mega Man 2 and had the chance to be even less so here. But I enjoyed the challenge leading up to them an incredible amount and somehow, placed within that challenge, they seemed to fit. It was the perfect endcap to a nails-tough stage. By the time I got to the robots, my adrenaline was high enough that all my senses seemed tuned to the right level to beat them. What I mean is that they weren't a sudden, game-stopping challenge. They fell right in line with the difficulty of the rest of the level.

It's very likely someone will come along and complain that I've been overly generous to Mega Man 3 and unfairly harsh to Mega Man 2, but the truth is that there are differences between the games. To some players, those may seem superficial, but to me they made a world of difference in my enjoyment level.
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zippdementia posted July 27, 2012:

Dagoss: I did end up dropping one point off the doc robots, after thinking about your points on them. That drops the game by one more point, too.
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honestgamer posted July 27, 2012:

The Doc Robot stages are one of the worst points in the game, basically just reworked (and cheaper) versions of the familiar standard stages (before you even count the cheap boss battles that don't even feature the proper sprites). Talk about filler! They specifically were one of the things I expected you to not like about Mega Man 3, so it was a surprise to see you singling them out for praise.

And yeah, I'm starting to think that if I wrote down a list of all the things I like about the Mega Man series and all the things I don't like, I could switch all of those items around in reverse and write reviews that match your perspective perfectly.
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zippdementia posted July 27, 2012:

Actually, I think we might connect on Mega Man 4, having checked out your review for it and having already written half of mine.
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SamildanachEmrys posted July 28, 2012:

I'm enjoying these reviews. I have to enjoy Mega Man games vicariously because I get too annoyed while playing them myself.
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zippdementia posted July 28, 2012:

Hah! I can completely understand that. I would love to see one of your video reviews on a mega man game, tho.
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SamildanachEmrys posted July 29, 2012:

I tried playing MM 2 and 3 tonight actually, and they both drove me mad. I find them both equally cheap and dickish.

Neither is as bad as the more recent MM 9 though. I can't get past the first jump in the demo. The first jump.
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honestgamer posted July 29, 2012:

I liked Mega Man 9, but I agree that it's more difficult than 2 and 3 were. It was modeled after Mega Man 1, though, so what was I really expecting? I still like the game more than 1, at any rate.

A few years ago, HonestGamers allowed users to upload videos to YouTube and embed them here. I created a string of videos at that time. Here's my video for Mega Man 9:

I'm not nearly as good at Mega Man 9 as I am at the older ones that I've played a lot more, but it gives you a good idea of what to expect from the Tornado Man level of the game. I still need to play through and probably review Mega Man 10. One of these days!

Sam, what level is in the Mega Man 9 demo? I haven't played enough Mega Man 9 (basically I just beat it once and fooled around with a few levels for fun after that) to remember which one might have a tricky first jump. Now you've got me curious!
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SamildanachEmrys posted July 30, 2012:

I'm not certain from memory. Cloud Man perhaps? I'm not sure if it's a particularly tough jump or just my lack of Mega Man skills, but I haven't had that much trouble even with MM1.

Zipp: Now you've mentioned it, I'm actually tempted to record a 'Let's Fail At' series. Could be funny/infuriating.
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zippdementia posted July 30, 2012:

Zipp: Now you've mentioned it, I'm actually tempted to record a 'Let's Fail At' series. Could be funny/infuriating.

Mega Man is all the rage. One of the most enjoyable parts of reviewing these (four and five coming, btw) has been watching this guy's perfect runs. So far he's done all the games I've played (and I think he's done 1-10); he gets more amusing with each game:
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dagoss posted July 30, 2012:

Sam, what level is in the Mega Man 9 demo? I haven't played enough Mega Man 9 (basically I just beat it once and fooled around with a few levels for fun after that) to remember which one might have a tricky first jump. Now you've got me curious!

It was Concrete Man (Cloud Man is in MM7). I played that demo a few times before I bought the game. I didn't think MM9 was cheapish hard. Like older games, it was very pattern-based.

Now MM10 had a crap ton of cheap moments. They should probably stop making these games now...
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honestgamer posted July 30, 2012:

Ah. Concrete Man is one of the more difficult stages, as I recall. If it's the one I'm thinking of, getting through it was definitely a matter of concentrating and definitely paying attention to enemy patterns and such.

Mega Man 10 features Sheep Man, I remember reading somewhere. To me, that was an obvious sign that even the recent retro revival of the series is running out of steam. I still hope to enjoy 10 when I play it, but my expectations aren't sky-high.

Also, it seems like Mega Man 10 did mark the end. Capcom is feuding with Keiji Inafune over his betrayal of leaving the company, so they're canceling Mega Man projects out of spite and not moving forward with plans to make any new ones. It's sad, because I would have loved to see more Mega Man Powered Up! games, and possibly a Mega Man X retro revival (with 16-bit stylings) or two. I think those could have done very well and perhaps put the franchise to bed in a satisfying manner.
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Roto13 posted July 30, 2012:

All of the Mega Man games are hard. None of them are cheap.

Well, maybe 1 is kind of cheap from time to time. I don't really remember. That's the only one I've only finished once.
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zippdementia posted July 30, 2012:

All of the Mega Man games are hard. Some of them are sheep, though.
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dagoss posted July 30, 2012:

All of the Mega Man games are hard. Some of them are sheep, though.

I think only Sheep Man falls under that category.
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SamildanachEmrys posted July 31, 2012:

It was Concrete Man (Cloud Man is in MM7)

Ah, I dabbled in MM7 at around the same time as MM9.

I would definitely have been interested in a Mega Man X revival. MMX is the only one I've felt reasonably comfortable playing (I haven't tried its sequels).

For me, the "is Mega Man cheap or not?" debate is funny. As far as I'm concerned, every damn Mega Man ever made is as cheap as can be.
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Roto13 posted July 31, 2012:

Difficult and cheap are not the same thing. There's no such thing as an unavoidable death in Mega Man, or any obstacles you need ESP to be able to deal with. Even Quick Man's stage exposes you to the laser beams in a relatively easy room before hitting you with the hard parts.
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zippdementia posted July 31, 2012:

There's no such thing as an unavoidable death in Mega Man, or any obstacles you need ESP to be able to deal with

I disagree. I wouldn't call the series as a whole cheap, but it definitely has moments that define what you just said. There are plenty of times in Mega Man, every single game, where if you haven't played the stage before, you are going to die because of some enemy placed at the edge of a pit, or a ledge dropping out from under you, or one of those disappearing block sequences, or an instant death spike trap. There are whole segments in Mega Man where you have to fall on the right or left side of the screen and, if you choose wrong, you die.

The problem is that people confuse "cheap" with "not fun." Mega Man is highly fun. It also can definitely be cheap.
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SamildanachEmrys posted July 31, 2012:

I disagree too. Mega Man is designed to try and catch you out in petty, sneaky ways, in the same sort of vein as more recent asshole games like Super Meat Boy. It's not being challenging, it's being a dick.

I wouldn't tell anyone they shouldn't enjoy the games. Personally I find them too frustrating to be fun, but I know that's not a common view. I do, however, have difficulty seeing how they can be described as NEVER cheap.
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honestgamer posted July 31, 2012:

I think we've reached the point where the argument has become pointless. There's no point in saying "it's cheap" and "no it's not" and going back and forth from there when we can't even agree on what constitutes 'cheap' in the first place! The argument is a straw man and he's barely able to stand at this point, let alone scare away any crows.
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Roto13 posted July 31, 2012:

There are whole segments in Mega Man where you have to fall on the right or left side of the screen and, if you choose wrong, you die.

Find me one example of this. YouTube has videos of every Mega Man level. Show me this happening one single time.

I disagree too. Mega Man is designed to try and catch you out in petty, sneaky ways, in the same sort of vein as more recent asshole games like Super Meat Boy. It's not being challenging, it's being a dick.

I've only played about a world and a half of Super Meat Boy, but none of the levels I played of that were cheap either. If you can look at a level and figure out how to finish it without playing it, it's not cheap.
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zippdementia posted July 31, 2012:

Dude, check it. Right at the beginning:
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honestgamer posted July 31, 2012:

Zipp, that shaft is easily survived. You fall and steer left or right just slightly. There's plenty of time to react to each set of spikes, as evidenced in the video. As far as I can recall, I've never died in that shaft--even on my first time through it--unless I was doing so on purpose (because that stage is a perfect place to farm energy tanks).

Whatever the case, it's not a good example of the sort of cheapness that your post mentioned. You made it sound like the path splits and if you choose the wrong path, you'll automatically die by hitting spikes. Maybe there is such an area in one of the games (I don't remember enough of 6 to recall) or maybe there's something in 7 or 10 that I haven't seen?

By the way... cool video. I might have to see what else those two have done. They were very easy to watch, not full of profanity and stupidity the way so many of those videos are.
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zippdementia posted August 01, 2012:

It's a perfect example of what I was talking about. The shaft is easily survived if you know the pattern, which they do. If you go right at the first junction, you die instantly. There is no chance to dodge, even if you know what's coming. The other dodges are easier, but you still have to know what's coming. If you don't, and pick the wrong course by luck, you will die before you have a chance to register fully what's on the screen. I know, because I died here several times before I knew what was on the coming screen. It's not like I'm making this stuff up. What would be the point?
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honestgamer posted August 01, 2012:

Alright, so let's say that my particular experience is uncommon and yours is the norm. Perhaps that's the case. If we proceed with that as our premise, the hypothetical Mega Man 5 player is set back by no more than a few seconds if he falls unceremoniously onto a bed of spikes. Surviving the shaft shouldn't take more than 3 or 4 tries--even if the player isn't particularly adept--and that sequence also lends the stage a welcome sense of intensity and danger befitting a boss castle.

Removing the spikes along the sides of the shaft would actually make the game worse by depriving the game of that atmosphere, rather than improving it. I believe you when you say that the shaft feels cheap to you, but to me it feels like good design. That's especially true when I consider the cheap techniques I've seen in numerous older games and--less understandably and more distressingly--newer and more "polished" games, as well.

In Mega Man 5, you fall down a shaft and if you step off a ledge in the wrong direction, you lose a few seconds. Not only that, but moments like the shaft are uncommon within the game as a whole.

In a lot of newer games, even those with frequent checkpoint placement that has become the norm, you'll spend 2 or 3 minutes (maybe much more) advancing toward the next checkpoint and then die because an enemy shot you from some brush or a distant tower and you had no way to know that he was there. Or you'll be fighting a boss and you'll just barely drain his life meter and he'll produce a second or third life meter and a nigh-unblockable desperation move or a surprise quick time event. So you get to spend 5 minutes fighting him again before you get to decide what else you might do to survive the move. And maybe a half-hour later, you're still at it.

Quite a few years ago, I had played enough games that losing a few seconds in a castle in Mega Man 5--to a hazard that otherwise produced a positive net effect--stopped feeling cheap enough to me to even warrant a mention, especially when nearly every action game you might care to mention is guilty of much worse infractions. That's why singling the franchise out as persistently cheap (as opposed to 'difficult' or 'frustrating' or 'demanding' or whatever else) feels so bizarre to me, and I'd wager others will tell you the same thing.

I can't agree with Rhody when he says that there are never any cheap moments in any Mega Man game. However, I also don't agree that any cheapness found in such moments in the Mega Man games has enough impact on the experience to matter.
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zippdementia posted August 01, 2012:

Oh, and yeah, if you like those guys I would definitely check out the perfect runs by Rohaim... something or other. Here's one:

I should also point out that I'm not trying to get into a big argument over whether Mega Man is or isn't cheap. Roto said there's no part in any Mega Man where you need to know what's coming next or else you will die and then specifically asked me to post a video showing him one example. There are, in fact, plenty of examples of this, and that spike trap is just the first one that came to my mind. Heck, Mega Man 8 has an entire segment of board racing that's based around memorizing the pattern of what's coming next.

But I don't want this to turn into a tit-for-tat posting of a dozen videos. So I'll stop here and sorry if it seemed like I was pushing the issue. That wasn't my intention. I was responding to Roto's request. I mean, it's Mega Man, for god's sake. Fun to see the game still elicits strong reactions years after the fact!
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honestgamer posted August 01, 2012:

I liked those videos. The Dive Man one was fun to watch because I've attempted perfect runs on that stage and I always run into trouble in the same spots he did. I believe I got through to Dive Man once without taking a hit, but as far as I can recall I never managed a perfect run on the whole stage (including boss). Now I doubt that I ever will. I don't have time to play the games as seriously anymore. There's too much stuff I haven't played even once for me to spend my time perfecting runs on a game I've already beaten so many times...
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dagoss posted August 01, 2012:

I can only think of a handful of cheap moments in Mega Man games*. It is very seldom that something happens in a Mega Man game that you weren't already introduced to in a safe environment. There are decidedly unfair parts, yes, but I think those parts are unfair by accident, not by design. While Mega Man titles are meticulously crafted, not everything is going to be perfect.

* When I say "Mega Man" I mean Mega Man 1-6, X1-3, and GB 1-5.
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Roto13 posted August 01, 2012:

You can very easily take the right path and just hold left and miss the spikes. Try it yourself when you get that far for your next review.
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zippdementia posted August 01, 2012:

I already beat Mega Man 5, Roto, and I did try it. I'm not going to argue that you're wrong, though; I'm not interested in bringing up the whole argument again. We know we disagree on this matter and we also know that we've been arguing over Mega Man. I haven't done that since fifth grade. I thank you for the opportunity at the same time as I feel incredibly embarrassed by the fact.

One thing we do seem to agree on is that the series is classic, awesome, and totally worth all these playthroughs I've been doing.

Jason, why am I not surprised you attempted the perfect run? Actually, I'm more surprised you didn't make it! Not because it's easy (oh god, it's not) but because I can totally see you putting your mind to that task and just doing it.

This run through, I managed a perfect run in Ice Man's stage (purely unintentional). In the past I've done it on both Toad Man and Pharoah Man's stages, but I didn't go for it this time.
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SamildanachEmrys posted August 01, 2012:

You know which game I thought was hard back in the day? Kabuki Quantum Fighter. I should try it again sometime.
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zippdementia posted August 01, 2012:

I'll be disappointed if you can beat Kabuki but not Mega Man!

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