Welcome to Mega Man Month! Every weekday in January I’ll be listing three things I love about the original Mega Man series. Let’s go!
It does everything Mega Man 2 did, but better
I know that’s a controversial opinion, but to my eyes it’s absolutely true. Mega Man 2 had more imposing robot masters than Mega Man, but Mega Man 3 kicked it up a notch with the likes of Hard Man, Spark Man, and Snake Man. MM2 introduced the Items for enhancing your movement, but MM3 gave us Rush. I even argue that the music is better in MM3! But it goes further than that. There’s the whole Proto Man/Break Man thing. There’s the Doc Robot stages where yo have to battle your way through destroyed versions of the stages you just finished except you have to battle all the robot masters from Mega Man 2. And the slide move! But there are a few subtle things that really seal the deal for me, and they all come down to speed. Mega Man’s movements are more precise this time around. He’s not as slippery as he was in the first two games, and this tightness stuck around until Mega Man 9. The menu system is ultra-fast. The weapon selection menu popping up from the bottom of the screen is lightning fast, and manages to avoid feeling as much like an interruption every time you open it up. It’s just plain slick. And Dr. Wily’s castle has been streamlined as well. In every other game (except MM1) every Wily stage is started by looking at an image of Wily’s castle while some music plays, waiting for the song to finish, then waiting for a lightning flash, then waiting for a line to be drawn, then you start the stage. In MM3, the lightning, music, and line drawing all happen at the same time. The whole game’s presentation is insanely polished, and I will forever love it for that.
They kept reusing the cover art, and that’s hilarious
I get it, this box art is pretty cool, but it was used for three different Mega Man games. Mega Man 3 for NES, Mega Man in Dr. Wily’s Revenge for Game Boy, and Mega Man for DOS. Is it super lazy? Sure. But it’s also one of those hilarious oddities that lends an undeniable charm to the whole Mega Man mythos.
Magnet Man’s stage is perfection
I adore every single thing about this stage, and to my eyes, it’s the perfect Mega Man stage, and possibly my favorite stage of any 8-bit game in the universe. Its look is incredibly creative and clean. It’s use of color is also gorgeous in a way many NES games never approach. The music is everything that is good about 8-bit music. It’s joyful, catchy, fun, and complex. It features all the best elements of Mega Man stages, with creative use of magnets, cool enemy designs, disappearing block segments, and instant death spikes to avoid. And Magnet Man is a super cool robot master design who provides an incredibly fun fight. It’s perfection as far as I’m concerned.
I could write a freaking book about how much I love Mega Man 3, but let’s just leave it here. Come back tomorrow as I try my best to figure out the three things I love best about my least favorite numbered Mega Man game, Mega Man 4.