Mega Man fans who were put off by the cutesy Mega Man VII can breathe a sigh of relief with Mega Man X3. This game won't win any awards for gameplay innovation, but it's still a worthy installment in the 16-bit series.
More Than Zero
As with the previous Mega Man X games, maverick Reploids are the enemy. This time the super intelligent Doppler leads them, replacing Sigma as the king bad guy.
The most noteworthy option is the ability to play as Mega Man's colleague, Zero. While Zero's abilities resemble his friend's, he's still a good alternative for those weary of playing the little blue bomber. Zero's awesome three-stage charge attack complements excellent jumping abilities. Could a solo Zero game be waiting in the wings?
X3 contains all the elements that give the series its personality: versatile power-ups, hidden areas, cool bosses, and multiple weapons. In addition to the usual enhancements for Mega Man, a new super enhancement can power up one of his weapon systems. Additionally, hidden stages await investigative gamers, and new limits on the energy power- ups increase the difficulty.
Mega Man is endowed with excellent controls. He flawlessly dashes, jumps, and blasts his way through the huge stages.
Same Look, Better Effects
While the game looks similar to the prequels, some of the new visual effects have more pop. Several weapons, like Mega Man's superpowered shot, will impress even veterans of the series, as will the various bosses the hero confronts. A few of the more incredible visuals come courtesy of Capcom's C4 chip: The attacking holograms and some of the cinemas will blow you away. The trade-off is some slowdown when the screen gets busy.
The sound is solid, if not exactly revolutionary. The rockin' tunes are enjoyable to listen to in their own right; the sound effects, though, are mostly holdovers from previous episodes.
ProTip: The drill is one of the most powerful weapons. It not only smashes through ice and walls to reveal hidden passages...
...but it also destroys the Volt Catfish in short order.
Use powered-up special weapons to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
Third Time's a Charm
Mega Man X3 covers extremely familiar territory, but the game still manages to provide surprises and some clever elements in the gameplay and graphics. It may be routine for experienced players, but anyone who hasn't played a 16-bit game in this series will discover Mega magic.
- You can deploy Zero's charge power incrementally. After he is fully charged, tap the Attack button once for a powered shot, again for another powered shot, and a third time to use his trusty katana.
- Dr. Light can super enhance only one of Mega Man's weapon systems.
- Stock up on reserve energy before going into this hidden level.