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Mega Man Game by Game: Everything You Need to Know About ‘Mega Man 3′

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With Mega Man 11 having released on October 2nd, the Blue Bomber is starring in his first core series game since 2010. Despite the countless spinoffs, nothing holds the hearts and minds of fans quite like the good old original series. To celebrate its return, I’m taking a gif-laden trip down memory lane to break down games 1-10 and enduring the hardships so you don’t have to (unless you want to).

With Mega Man 3, the Blue Bomber entered the 90s riding quite the wave of popularity following the, to this day, highest-selling title in the Mega Man series: Mega Man 2. Pressure, therefore, was on for Capcom to create a sequel that could fulfill the expectations of fans and critics alike. The pressure, it seems, was quite telling. In the interim of the release of Mega Man 2 and the development of Mega Man 3, director Akira Kitamura – the man who pushed so hard for the sequel to be made – quit Capcom.

The development team, including now-infamous Keiji Inafune, were not exactly bowled over by their new superior, as Inafune has gone on record saying that new director Masayoshi Kurokawa “didn’t really understand Mega Man the way his predecessor did.” Are his outspoken words reflected in the final game, or was he throwing toys out the pram after a serious crunch kicked in and forced Mega Man 3 to be released before the team felt it was ready? Certainly, review scores were incredibly high – it cracked 9/10 scores in many media publications – but does it really not get Mega Man? It’s time to dive deep and see for ourselves.

Magnet Man

One thing Mega Man 3 absolutely does better than its predecessors is telling a story. The third game in the series finally gave some – not a lot, but some – background to the robot-murdering antics we were about to undertake. Most notably, Dr. Wily is a reformed man whose arse can’t take another kicking and has decided to work with Dr. Light to develop a peace-keeping robot named Gamma. Historically, building robots for peace-keeping always work out well in entertainment media, so I’m sure everything will be fine.

While not immediately obvious – after so many years and having played so many of these games, I admittedly forgot for a good amount of playtime – Mega Man comes into his third outing with a slick new move at his disposal. That’s right, folks, you might not be able to crouch (you can NEVER crouch), you can now slide. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do!

Mega Man 3

I suck now, but I’m still learning. I’ll do him later, trust.

Magnet Man’s stage follows its prequel’s ideas that a Robot Master’s stage should embody his physical traits. As such, your first enemy here is a magnet. The Mag Flies put up a measly attempt to thwart your jumping in the early stage of the level, but they are merely serving as the hors-d’oeuvre to a brand-new main dish for the series: Break Man. He can appear to be quite a challenge, as his movement abilities match that of your own, but this first battle (oh, there are a lot more to come) is on a level surface, meaning he’s at his ripest for the picking with some tactical jumping and sliding under him.

Mega Man 3

Oh wait, I haven’t touched all the platforms…that’s better!

A more familiar site awaits you after Break Man has been sent packing – the timer-based disappearing platforms! Ah lads, I missed you so I did. This segment feels pretty long, and is made harder thanks to the twist that giant magnets are attempting to pull you to your death as you’re jumping. They can, however, mostly be avoided as the optimum route of traversal is usually above their effective range.

Mega Man 3

Whoever decided that sliding was cooler than ducking was absolutely right

Magnet Man is a really tough introduction to the bosses in this game, which are significantly harder than the previous games. He has a pretty standard pattern, but the fight will take time considering you have no special weapons and his jump pattern requires some swift sliding, especially due to his magnet attacks and jump landings both having plenty of speed behind them. It’s all about patience here. Patience and sliding; lots of sliding.

Difficulty: 3/5
Boss: 4/5
Music: 4/5 

Hard Man

What a bugger the start to this level is! The opening section will make you go all Nic Cage screaming about bees, as they are a real pain to land your shots on. Just like trying to swat one of the bastards away from your cider, they just won’t stay still and die. Staying still is something you yourself will not want to do as you subsequently try to traverse across seemingly innocuous flooring that actually houses the clamps from Futurama (named Wanaans), and are pretty hard to avoid unless you’re skilled at quickly sliding.

Mega Man 3

I hate Mega Man bees almost as much as I hate real bees. Almost.

Hard Man’s stage is easily one of the most awkward levels I’ve ever played. Everything in it is so fiddly. As if the Chibees weren’t squirmy enough, the bloody Returning Monking are arguably worse. They leap to the ceiling (maybe they’re spider monkeys) to avoid your fire, landing again purely to hound you and chase you into madness. That’s right, I’m mad now.

Mega Man 3

Take tha…no, wait. I’m sorry! I’m soooooorry!

Now, I’m not accusing this level of sadistic laziness, but it definitely doesn’t take a genius to work out that Chibees That Suck + Wanaans That Suck = The Suckiest Suck That Ever Sucked. It’s cool, though, because it’s not like getting through that slog is all just a precursor to another Break Man fight or anything. Oh, wait. Piss off, mate, I’m having a bad day! He’s really difficult for a guy who spends half the fight shooting the wrong way. I get that he could be retreating, but what’s he shooting at?

Mega Man 3

Now that’s what I call an Ape Escape (sorry)

Much like his bastard of a level, Hard Man lives up to his name. He puts up a real fight with a hard-to-avoid weapon and too much HP for your Magnet Missile to finish him off, meaning you’ll have to switch back to the Mega Buster for a bum-clenching end to the fight. Finally, mercifully, the level is over.

Difficulty: 5/5
Boss: 5/5
Music: 2/5

Top Man

Top Man’s stage is filled with fiddly enemies. Alongside the Bolton and Nutton – enemies that require you wait for both halves to screw together before you can attack them – are Mechakkero – frog-likes that bounce around almost everywhere but in your direct firing range. Oh, and a fat dude chucking spinning tops at you down some stairs. Sometimes I just wish I could have been in the design meetings and hear these enemies described out loud.

I mentioned in the first article that, although I’ve beaten most of these games, I am far from a pro-level Mega Man player. As such, it was only at this point that I realized you can shoot from the Mega Buster when equipped with the RC power once Rush is out. Handy, that. Probably could’ve used that before, but it’s helpful to grab an extra life guarded by a Picketman on a high platform.

Mega Man 3

This is the only flawless clip I’ll ever record, so drink it in!

The level features an ironically friendlier version of the Friender from MM2. The fire-spewing dog is replaced by Tama – a fat cat who spits balls of yarn at you. And they hurt, apparently. To add a final dash of thematic flavour before the end of the level, there are some actual spinning top platforms to jump over.  They are trickier than they look – you have to not only time the jump so that there’s another platform waiting, but that you’re spun on the right edge as you take the leap.

Mega Man 3

This clip is tops. Literally.

Top Man at least has a genuine weakness to the weapon you’re using, and his attacks aren’t too bad to avoid. They fly very quickly, but the necessity for only 4 hits from the Hard Knuckle to finish him off means mistakes aren’t the end of the world, and Top Man’s stage ends as the easiest one so far.

Mega Man 3

A robot attacks you by spinning around and you kill him with a flying fist. Glorious.

Difficulty: 3/5
Boss: 3/5
Music: 2/5

Shadow Man

Unfortunately, this is not the dude from the N64 game. Damn, I love Shadow Man. Again, the N64 Shadow Man. Not this guy. Anyway…

Nothing much happens of note at the beginning of this level until Break Man shows up for another bout of robotic fisticuffs. The arena is another flat ground so he’s in his easiest form; if you don’t jump, you don’t get shot. You need only avoid Break Man’s jumping arc, which begs the question: if he has comparable abilities to Mega Man and hurts him with a mere touch, then why can’t Mega Man hurt him the same way? Because video games, obviously.

Mega Man 3

Told you I’d get better at this…

Mega Man 3 definitely doesn’t have the musical chops that its predecessor did. I hated the music in this stage at first, but it grew on me, and it gets better as it goes along. The melodies of this soundtrack certainly aren’t as catchy as we’re used to, but the songs themselves are more layered with longer structures, feeling more like full songs – for better or worse.

Although they don’t quite fit the theme of the stage – despite appearing in a section where the lights are continually going out – the Walking Bombs are one of my favourite enemy designs in the game. They’re just madness. They attack from both angles and will seriously hurt you if you don’t kill them from a distance as they explode upon death.

Mega Man 3

Ah, lend us your parachute, mate. I’m dying here.

I often wonder if I make these games harder for myself by sticking to the Mega Buster throughout the levels and only switch over at the bosses. Exhibit A: There’s a section with Parasyu trying to ruin your platforming fun, but the magnet gun’s ability to shoot upwards will take them out in one shot. That’s not working hard, it’s working smart.

Mega Man 3

Genuinely had no idea what I was doing here

The Tazmanian Devil-esque chaos that the Top Spin weapon produces means it’s quite easy to simply hurl yourself at the Shadow Man and do the damage necessary without even knowing you’ve done anything. It’s a little fiddly to use as it only works in the air, and I had no idea Shadow Man was even getting hurt, which means he’s probably a bit easy.

Difficulty: 3/5
Boss: 2/5
Music: 3/5

Spark Man 

Watch out epileptics, here comes Spark Man’s crazy stage!

Massive middle fingers can be pointed at the Elec’n enemies at the start of this level. These ‘Kings of the Frame Drop’ are absolutely maddening and, unlike the Parasyu in the last level, they are immune to the Magnet Missile, so it’s a lot harder to hit them from the ground. I guess a plug being immune to a magnet makes some degree of scientific sense.

Mega Man 3

Watch this and feel the pain. Painful to watch, painful to play. You deserve this.

I love how the Mega Man games can completely mess with an experienced gamer’s expectations of standard conventions. Whereas even a cautious player would expect platforms to drop to the floor, you’d rarely be prepared for them to slam you straight into a ceiling full of spikes instead. Mega Man games often have spikes on the ceiling to discourage reckless jumping, but these launching platforms took me totally by surprise…even if they do have an upward facing arrow painted on them. Shut up. Combine them later on in the level with the Bolton and Nutton from Top Man’s stage and I’m severely close to an aneurysm.

Mega Man 3

Screeeeew yoooooooooou!

I truly hate the Electric Gabyoall in this level. I find them really difficult to avoid and I always seem hopelessly incapable of figuring out their timing and frequently get zapped. Naturally, all my playthroughs for these articles will be from memory or, in the cases of 7 and 8, completely blind, and it’s only afterwards that I watch videos of how you’re supposed to play the level. Turns out if you use the Tornado Gun all the way through then you’re laughing. I was not laughing.

Mega Man 3

Go ahead, laugh it up. They even got me on the ladder.

In a throwback to my favourite weapon from MM2, the Shadow Blade is awesome and works like my old MM2 favorite – the Metal Blade.  You can basically stand still and fling them at Spark Man, who is nowhere near the challenge his level was. His projectiles are slow and easy to avoid, and he’ll be condemned to the shadows of robot hell in no time at all.

Mega Man 3

You should hear the noise of that shot draining his health. It’s delicious.

Difficulty: 4/5
Boss: 2/5
Music: 3/5

Snake Man

Even though I’m not totally into the intro, Snake Man’s stage has the best music in the game for me. The main hook (the verse, I guess) is so addictive and memorable, and the way the song loops back to the start is expertly composed.

MM3 and MM2 both adopt a very similar mantra on the basic design of a level. Either the level has tons of crazy platforming in it, or it’s relatively easy to navigate but features recurring mini-bosses. Snake Man’s stage is the latter. Most of the level seems to be a series of intertwined Snakeys, whose heads will pop up occasionally to shoot at you, including the aforementioned mini-bosses. These giant serpent heads are easiest, or at least quickest, to kill if you run right up to them and pepper their chin from below with the Shadow Blade.

Mega Man 3

Just slide with me, come on and make your neck work

The crazy Bubukan in this level are hilarious. They look like a chubby Mr. Game & Watch. After taking a few goes to figure out, it’ll eventually become clear that they’re easy enough to slide under and completely avoid. It’s even better when you’ve slid underneath them and climbed a ladder, as they usually run straight off the edge of the level as you climb away.

Mega Man 3

“Well, he slid underneath me. Life’s not worth it anymore”

The end of the level sees Mega Man climbing to the clouds to face the boss, and it proves to be the trickiest part of the stage. Platforming across slow swirling clouds acts like the spinning tops from earlier, and the Bomb Fliers hiding in clouds aren’t too difficult, but they can cause issues at the end where they gang up on you. It’s best to shoot when you’re safe and let them bugger off the screen before you make any plans for jumping across gaps.

Mega Man 3

Gaaaaah, the slowdown!

Snake Man himself isn’t really weak to anything, can soak up hits, causes masses of slowdown with his attacks, and is basically an all-around jerk. I’d say, after Hard Man, he’s the second toughest Robot Master in the game.

Difficulty: 3/5
Boss: 4/5
Music: 5/5

Gemini Man

I’d put this stage’s theme into the ‘Spook Funk’ genre of music, which is a brilliant genre I just made up.

I’m not entirely sure where the Gemini of Gemini Man’s stage is personified, but I’m going to say that it isn’t in the PenPen penguin enemies. There are just loads of penguins in this level. The majority of the opening section can be done with the tried and tested method of shooting into the distance just in case you hit something as it comes onto the screen from the right. It’s a pretty long run of enemies, and you’re bound to hit a fair few and save a lot of aggravation, so just keep shooting. Always be shooting.

Break Man returns once again and…does nothing but open a hole in the floor for you. Phew! Maybe he’s not a total dick, eh?

Perhaps Break Man didn’t bother to attack you because he knew what was coming up next. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the dullest part of the game – tadpole shooting. There’s no real challenge to this part, it’s just time-consuming. Like shooting fish in a barrel, this is shooting baby fish in a block.

Mega Man 3

This probably isn’t the way you’re supposed to do this.

I don’t care that it’s keeping up the bizarre penguin theme of this level, the PenPen Makers are brilliant. They look like one of those slush ice machines you could buy for kids back in the ‘90s, and yet they produce an army of mini PenPen. Useful for farming if you didn’t get a billion items from the tadpole section.

The level culminates in a water section where you can use the Rush Marine and power through, occasionally jumping out to top up the submarine’s ammo and grab the lovely goodies on the surface. It reminds me of the water level in Mario Land, and is a nice use of a nifty gadget.

Mega Man 3

Snake? SNAKE? SNAAAAAAAAKE!

Gemini Man and his invulnerable mate can be taken down without too much fuss, so long as you maintain a focus on which one is which. Keep your eye on the destructible prize and Search Snake his ass into oblivion. I wonder what happens to his copy – does he have to take care of Gemini Man’s affairs after his death?

Difficulty: 3/5
Boss: 3/5
Music: 4/5

Needle Man

Another great piece of enemy design starts off this level as you face off against these weird, angry hedgehog/porcupine enemies called Hari Harry. They’re pretty versatile in that they have projectile attacks as they blast needles in all directions, and if you get too close they’ll just ball up and spin dash (I assume that’s what all needle mice call it) straight at you. Of course, you can jump over that nonsense and move on to what we’re led to believe are needles coming out of the ceiling, but they really don’t look that sharp.

Mega Man 3

I now know I could’ve changed direction, but at the time it was a mess

Mega Man is the epitome of old-school game design. Case in point: you can change direction while sliding under a low ceiling, and this will stop you getting absolutely annihilated by the Needle Presses as I did. That’s not in the manual, it’s not an on-screen prompt, you just have to realize it’s possible by sheer luck or trial and error. I fall into the former category. Honestly, though, you try sliding on the ground and then see if you can completely change direction. See?

Needle Man’s stage is actually a really short level with little of interest to offer. I will, however, give a quick shout out to the Bikky enemies that sometimes follow the tradition of being the last line of defense before the boss door. They are, by far, the least annoying of all the stompy-end-of-level-bastards in the series to this point.

Mega Man 3

Bank shot!

Needle Man is an enigmatic old soul. He doesn’t seem to want to move over to you for a good long while unless you equip the Gemini Laser and then he’s almost impossible to hit! What’s worse, if you miss a shot with said gun you have to wait a long time before you can shoot again while an errant laser beam bounces around the walls before eventually dissipating. Needle Man takes a lot of damage from the gun if you can land shots, but he is a slippery bugger.

Difficulty: 2/5
Boss: 3/5
Music: 2/5

Spark Man (Revisited)

Thus begins Boss Rush Part 1.1!  After a few relatively simple enemies (the worst being the return of the plugs), your first run at the returning Mega Man 2 bosses – known here as Doc Robots – enters in the form of Metal Man. The MM2 bosses have new weaknesses (thankfully) to match your new weapon set, so Metal Man goes down with the magnet gun this time around. He also offers very little resistance other than jumping on the spot and shooting. I am very much fine with that.

Mega Man 3

So close to perfect. So close!

What I’m very much not fine with is the subsequent Bolton/Gabyoall combo. There are not enough words that accurately describe my distaste for this gauntlet of pain plucked straight from the devil’s backside, but let’s all agree it’s horrific and speak no more of it.

Mega Man 3

Saved by the ultimate trick shot

The bad times don’t end there, as Doc Robot’s Quick Man fight is excruciating. It’s another round of the Gemini Laser, this time with the worst slowdown since Arkham Knight’s PC port. It renders the fight an absolute ordeal – not one of difficulty, just one of grotesque endurance.

Difficulty: 3/5
Bosses: 3/5
Music: N/A

Needle Man (Revisited)

Air Man is the next victim and Mega Man now has an extra string to his bow – an extra slide to his playground, you might say – to make things that little bit easier. Those tornados should pose absolutely no threat now you can simply slide under them and go for the win with the Spark Shock.

Mega Man 3

Just because I say you can duck under the tornados doesn’t mean I’m any good at it

The route to the next boss is effectively Mega Man: The Shmup. A long stretch of death pit needs to be traversed on top of the Rush Jet while shooting or avoiding parachutes and dragonflies galore. It’s a really neat way to effectively force use of the new items in the latter stages of the game and helps keep things fresh in between boss fights that are the polar opposite.

Mega Man 3

That face. I’m horrified and yet I cannot look away.

A series of mini-bosses provide some light entertainment thanks to their incredible sex doll facial expressions. Just look at them! If you’re trying to conserve Rush Jet ammo then the fights can take a little time to complete, but if you’re not then you can just hover in front of the boss’ weak point (the cross on its hard hat) and spam the shoot button to destroy it in less than 2 seconds. Crash Man isn’t too difficult in terms of damage dealt, but the nature of the Hard Knuckle’s slow firing speed means he can avoid your shots just as easily as you can avoid his. Patience is key if you have any left at this point.

Difficulty: 4/5
Bosses: 2/5
Music: N/A

Gemini Man (Revisited) 

Bizarrely, the beginning of Gemini Man Revisited is probably easier than the original Gemini Man stage. The same eye dropping fire enemies return, but they’re backed up by some weaksauce little bugs that are much easier to take out than the Pepe penguins from earlier. Unfortunately, the beginning of the stage isn’t the only thing repurposed here, because OH BOY, more tadpoles.

Mega Man 3

This was as dull to play as it is to watch

I don’t know how you’re meant to avoid getting hit against Doc Robot Flash Man. It seems impossible to me – his jumps are too low to slide under and conversely too high to jump over, as you’re always going to be below him. It’s fine to tell me I’m terrible in the comments section, I accept it at this point.

Mega Man 3

Even when he’s below you, you’ve nowhere to jump to. Someone tell me where I’m going wrong!

It’s pleasing to see another item usage section after the first boss, this time including a fun underwater jaunt with the Rush Marine. It’s quite rare that you can really describe a Mega Man game as pure fun because the enjoyment is typically derived from success against the relentless difficulty, but I find the Item sections to be just a good ol’ time. Finishing up the level is the Doc Robot of Bubble Man, who is still a slow swimmer and will just hate it if you use the Shadow Blade. So…use it.

Mega Man 3

Still a terrible swimmer

Difficulty: 3/5
Bosses: 4/5
Music: N/A

Shadow Man (Revisited)

It’s been a while since we had a massive leap of faith with some spikes isn’t it? Welcome back, old friend. Shadow Man Revisited is a stage that is all about being resourceful. Firstly, there’s a platforming section in the dark with collapsing platforms and a death pit that can be avoided using the jet. After the mid-boss, there’s an onslaught of parachutes and frogs that would be a royal pain if it weren’t for the Magnet Gun. Yeah, bitch. Magnets!

Mega Man 3

I’m almost definitely doing it wrong, but this is the best I can do

Your final two bosses are Wood Man and Heat Man. Wood Man proves he’s still about as fun as a splinter in the foot, and I cannot find a way to jump over his Leaf Shield this time – it just caught me every time I tried. He goes down to his new-found weakness to needles, which come from trees if I’m not mistaken. Heat Man, in contrast, is a lot easier than he was in Mega Man 2, as his aversion to the Shadow Blade is a lot more serious than that of the Bubble Lead in MM2. How the mighty have fallen.

Mega Man 3

There’s always that moment when you know you’ve got the boss beat so you might as well tank through hits and keep firing

The level doesn’t end with Heat Man’s demise, as Break Man shows up for another, thankfully simple, fight. Wily (or Wiley according to the game’s text) then does his Macaulay Culkin Home Alone eyebrows and it’s onto the actual final stages of the game.

Difficulty: 2/5
Bosses: 4/5
Music: N/A

Wily Fortress 1

With how long the game has gone on now, the Wily levels are largely over with pretty quickly. Wily 1 features an underwater section you can breeze through in the Rush Marine, or alternatively save the ammo and enjoy the moon jump physics – either way, it’s relatively easy. Items, this time the Rush Jet can again be used to avoid the challenge of the subsequent disappearing platform section. We’ve come too far for that kind of nonsense at this point.

Mega Man 3

Woah, almost got me! Try again…NAH!

The Kamegoro Maker boss is the guardian of this level, and is far and away the easiest boss in the game. It’s similar to Picopico-kun from the MM2 – just watch where you stand and destroy the projectiles before they hit you with the shadow blade. Done-diddly-un.

Mega Man 3

Seriously, what is this boss for? What does it actually do?!

Difficulty: 1/5
Boss: 1/5
Music: 4/5

Wily Fortress 2

Oh, wonderful – the Chibees and Wanaan are back. Isn’t life just peachy? After besting the bee stings, the reward is less of a challenge than a conveyor belt of prizes. You can just Rush Jet through the whole section, picking up countless refills of ammo and E-tanks/lives. It’s barely a level at all, and you all know the reason why. The fucking Yellow Devil is back.

Mega Man 3

It never used to be like this. It used to be hard.

MM3’s version is probably easier than his MM1 counterpart (if you didn’t cheat in MM1 like me). His hits take off a ton of health, as always, but his attacks are easier to avoid, especially once he’s formed and you can see exactly where they’re coming from. Shooting him is the bigger issue in this fight because the projectile he’s weak to – the Hard Knuckle – is the slowest in the game, meaning he shoots a lot quicker than you do once his weak point is actually exposed and you can actually attack him. Thankfully, you should have so many E-Tanks at this point you needn’t worry.

Difficulty: 1/5
Boss: 4/5
Music: N/A

Wily Fortress 3

A rather short Stage 3 leads to another clone fight, and it turns out that Mega Man enjoys snakes about as much as Indiana Jones. The three clones will all shoot at once, and only one is vulnerable in return, but the Search Snake will wreck him/them hard.

Mega Man 3

“Why did it have to be snakes?”

Difficulty: 2/5
Boss: 1/5
Music: 3/5

Wily Fortress 4

Stage 4 is simply another cavalcade of collectibles to prepare you – rather generously, might I add – for the second boss rush mode of the game. It’s a little disconcerting how easy it is to obtain the items at this late stage of the game, maybe even a little lazy. The main game has easily been the hardest so far, but it seems the end game is what Inafune was referring to when complaining that the developers were forced to complete the game before they felt it was complete.

Mega Man 3

It’s a boss rush mode. Here’s a clip from the boss rush mode. Nuff said.

Difficulty: 4/5
Boss: 5/5
Music: N/A

Wily Machine Boss

This is a pretty simple fight, all things considered. It’s a two-phase fight, but a few hard punches to the turret will make quick work of the first part. Provided you picked up the correct ammo, you can then ride Rush Jet up to Wily’s face and say hello to it with some bullets. In Mega Man 2, I noted that the penultimate boss fight against Wily was harder than the end boss of the game, but that’s definitely not the case here.

Mega Man 3

I can kill this dude, I have the tools

Difficulty: N/A
Boss: 3/5
Music: 2/5

GAMMA – Final Boss

The game’s final challenge actually starts off pretty simply, as Shadow Blades can be hurled right into Gamma’s face while you just stand underneath. Of course, that isn’t his final form, and once his face has taken enough of a beating, Gamma gets all punchy. You have to jump on the hand that tries to crush you, make your way up to a higher platform and dump Search Snakes on Wily’s head (or use the Top Spin, but that’s less fun). The angle needed to successfully land a hit is more than a little fiddly, and no other weapon will hurt the Doc. It’s a tricky fight, but what a brilliant way to kill the main boss – lob reptiles at him. Just glorious.

Mega Man 3

It kinda looks like Wily is forced to do a pretty degrading forfeit at the end of this fight

Difficulty: N/A
Boss: 4/5
Music: 2/5

Wily gets his crusty old arse beaten down by some snakes, and then gets crushed by a boulder. Savage. But, our hero also gets crushed by a bloke chucking a cube at you! A shadowy figure saves you, and at this point Break Man’s true identity is revealed: he’s your brother, Proto Man. Cheers for the save, bruh! He winks at you in the sky, Mufasa-style while that lovely little theme song plays. Credits.

Mega Man 3

It’d make more sense if you could heat the whistle, but y’know – gifs ‘n’ all that.

That’s it for Mega Man 3, a game that I’d probably rank as the second best at this point. The new items and moves are a very welcome addition to the formula, and will be the blueprint for all games going forward (for better or worse). See you in another 5000 words for Mega Man 4. Oof, why did I do this to myself?

Crotchety Englishman who spends hundreds of pounds on video game tattoos and Amiibo in equally wallet-crippling measure. Likes grammar a lot, but not as much as he likes heading out for a sesh of Bakamitai karaoke in Kamurocho.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. george

    October 7, 2018 at 1:57 am

    Smoke if you got ’em.

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Game Reviews

‘Super Mario 3D All-Stars’ Defines Three Incredible Generations

Super Mario 3D All-Stars is the best bang for your buck compilation that the Super Mario Bros. franchise and the Nintendo Switch currently has to offer.

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Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Super Mario 3D All-Stars Review

Developer: Nintendo | Publisher: Nintendo | Genre: Platformer, Action | Platforms: Nintendo Switch | Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch


After nearly half a year of rumors, it was no surprise that Nintendo was going to jump up super high with another compilation title on their red plumber’s next special numbered anniversary. It’s absolutely undeniable to say that Super Mario 3D All-Stars is the best bang for your buck compilation that the Super Mario Bros. franchise and the Nintendo Switch currently have to offer. However, there are still a few pesky problems that persist through its leaking warp pipes. Nonetheless, what you are getting here is three updated masterclass retro classics that I probably don’t have to sell you on.

Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy are not only some of the most critically acclaimed titles on their respective systems, but they’re also among the most influential games ever made. Having all these platformers on one modern console handheld hybrid system sounds certainly promising, but how do they hold up in comparison to other games out on the market today? Is this really the best way to play these three classics? Have they been obliterated by time? Of course they all still hold up exceptionally well, but there are some upsetting answers to be found. Veterans and newcomers of Mario’s three-dimensional adventures will be rather pleased though by what is being offered in Super Mario 3D All-Stars.

3D All-Stars is a great best-hits package that can sometimes skimp out on features and upgrades, but it’s simply exceptional nonetheless.

Taking it all the way back to the past, 1996’s Super Mario 64 still holds a candle to many of today’s modern platformers as it flaunts its rebellious spirit through open environments and selective mission paths. The Nintendo 64’s shining star is just as good as you’ve heard or remember it to be. Despite some of its troublesome camera rotation and weird analog movement, the first three-dimensional Super Mario title still lives up to that high standard you would expect from a Nintendo release. Even after all these years, Super Mario 64 still comes out on top as the king of its generation.

There are plenty of cleaned-up trimmings, including new textures and user interface icons sprinkled here and there that benefit the original game’s noticeably aging areas throughout it’s latest rerelease. In comparison to its bundled successors, however, Super Mario 64 received the short end of the enhanced stick. While I certainly won’t say that Super Mario 64 was utterly cheated out on receiving the gleaming treatment it deserves, in comparison to something like Rare’s remasters of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, Bethesda’s recent DOOM 64 port, or even just the other games within 3D All-Stars for that matter, Nintendo’s fifth-generation golden goose has disappointingly been adapted to Switch, to say the least.

Not only is the game not in widescreen like the other titles, but the framerate is still capped at 30 frames per second. Nintendo has created an authentic experience for those looking for the same adventure players witnessed when this groundbreaking masterpiece initially hit the public, but that does not mean these features could not have been optional. Considering Super Mario Galaxy is running at 1080p, sixty frames per second, surely Nintendo could have gotten the more primitive Nintendo 64 title up to that pristine quality.

Revisiting 2002’s summer vacation to Isle Delfino was a tear-worthy experience for me that one could say was fludding with nostalgia. I am not going to lie, Super Mario Sunshine was one of the very first console games I ever owned and it is still one of, if not my all-time favorite titles out there. However, ignoring my deep-rooted connection with the GameCube, objectively speaking Sunshine may perhaps be the Mario game that benefits the most from this compilation. Not only does the game look fantastic in widescreen format and high definition like the other games, but that extra field of view increases Delfino’s sense of scale and vision. It is truly incredible how well some of Nintendo’s earliest library of sixth-generation titles hold up visually despite being almost twenty years old.

The biggest concern longtime fans of Super Mario Sunshine will have going into this collection is how the control scheme would function. As someone who has played through the GameCube release dozens of times, I can happily confirm that Nintendo has done a fine job porting the game over to Switch. For those who are unaware, Sunshine originally allowed you to dictate the amount of water pressure F.L.U.D.D. would power out depending on how far you held the right trigger in. Due to the Switch’s lack of back analog triggers, replicating the original game’s experience was going to be difficult from the get-go. Nintendo’s solution was to make the character operate entirely on full power mode. This may sound like a major change, but in reality, the old control scheme was merely a feature that was fun to mess around with rather than a game-changing aspect. Outside of the late game’s irritating casino pachislot before the King Boo boss fight, there is no other area affected by the alteration.

While Nintendo’s newest GameCube emulation is surely impressive, it may not be entirely flawless for every perfectionist’s liking. Sunshine does indeed contain some minor faults that can likely be fixed in a future patch if Nintendo ever so chooses to release one. There are two notable quirks that will bother longtime fans although it should be mentioned that these are incredibly nitpicky changes in the grand scheme of things. For one, I noticed that a specific sound effect heard multiple times before timed missions had been changed to an oddly annoying censored beep- way to make El Piantissimo and Blooper racing bother more newcomers. Secondly, during some of the Fluddless missions focused on platforming, textured blocks that players are not supposed to see can appear that indicate an object’s trajectory.

Speaking of trajectories, its time to talk about the outer space adventure veterans probably have the most questions about. To bring this library to a close, we have 2007’s astronomical hit Super Mario Galaxy– the most critically praised game in this entire package, with the highest Metacritic and OpenCritic scores out of these three monoliths. Super Mario Galaxy is definitely the closest game to hit the modern standard of Mario’s latest globe-trotting adventures. When it comes to gorgeously designed landscapes and compact areas to explore, there are times where Galaxy could quite honestly stand toe to toe with Super Mario Odyssey from a distance. On top of this, we have what is arguably the most heartfelt Mario story to date as its beautifully constructed narrative never pulls any punches with its wholesome story entirely told through chapters of short text and subcontext.

Galaxy heavily utilized the Wii remote and nunchuck, but Nintendo is offering players with quite a few ways to now enjoy the title. Both Pro-Controller and Joy-Con proclaimers can breath easy because Galaxy supports both formats. While they may not be as pinpoint accurate as they previously were, the latest control schemes are exceptional. When playing with either of these controller options, you will have to utilize either motion or gyro to move the Luma cursor used to collect star bits, stop enemies, or solve various puzzles. Since the Switch lacks the intricately designed motion controls of the Wii, the developers have smartly mapped the right trigger to reset the cursor to the center of the screen.

The only aspect of Super Mario Galaxy that can often become problematic is when the game is being played in handheld mode, but this really only applies to specific sections of the game. In regards to on the go action, the game’s motion controls have been optimized for the touch screen, however, anyone who has played the Wii release can probably tell why this would not always work efficiently. When it comes to specifically collecting star bits, Galaxy can be a nightmare to try and multitask as you have to either pull your hand away from moving the left stick or inputting basic action commands like jumping. Menus and motion puzzles work great in handheld mode and can even be easier to play at times, but it is odd that the docked and tabletop control schemes can not be used with attached Joy-Cons.

Outside of the core three titles, Nintendo has opted out of including any special modes or features, unlike some of their various other notable anniversary titles such as Kirby’s Dream Collection or even the original Super Mario All-Stars rerelease on Wii. Without the additional extra content that properly commemorates the history of the Super Mario Bros. series, this anniversary can feel dishearteningly shallow as it looks more like a hangout than a massive birthday on the surface. Aside from including each game’s incredible soundtracks that double down as a way to always mix up your main menu experience, there are no art pages, interviews, design documents, or anything significant to glance at in this collection when it comes to additional trincites to awe at.

At the bare minimum, Nintendo could have at least included each title’s original manual for players to browse through, but even that is absent here. Even Super Mario Maker’s physical release came with a special booklet for fans to peruse five years ago. The games are obviously what matters most, but for something made to celebrate such a noteworthy milestone, audiences will definitely be expecting more from a character as iconic as Mario. The Super Mario Bros. franchise has such a fascinating history with a literal ocean of trivia and art worth exploring that you can find across several official artbooks, social media platform pages, and wikis. It is truly a shame that Nintendo did not go the extra mile to include any of this when commemorating 35 years of their mascot, but once again, the games at the spotlight are what truly matters most.

Despite its minor emulation issues and missing opportunities, 3D All-Stars manages to defy three incredible generations in one worthwhile package.

With its outstanding lineup of three masterclass generation-defining titles, Super Mario 3D All-Stars exceeds in a value rightfully way above its retail price tag as it bundles together three incredible journies into one package. Whether it is your first time getting to know Mario’s fantastical world or you are coming back to relive your childhood memories, this is a special title that offers some of the finest platforming adventures the red plumber has embarked on. Outside of the fact that it is literally a limited-time release, Nintendo’s latest anniversary best-hits extravaganza is well worth running out to purchase. If you have not played Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, or Super Mario Galaxy, you owe it to yourself to experience every one of these games.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars is indeed lacking in bonus content to make this truly feel like a shebang worth celebrating, but its three games keep the entire party from ever being less than exceptional. All three games included still remain tremendously entertaining as they prove to excel upon the passage of time. Perhaps it is not the grand superstar it could have potentially been, but it will put a huge smile on any veteran or newcomer’s face as they explore Peach’s castle grounds, take on a thwarted island vacation, or skyrocket into the cosmos that have brought decades of enjoyment to audiences of all ages. Collect your coins and get it while you can or begin plotting a Bowser-like scheme to score a copy in the distant future.

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Games

PAX Online: ‘Unpacking’ and ‘Infernax’

Our PAX Online coverage continues with a game the calm and relaxing Unpacking and the not-so calm and relaxing Infernax.

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Unpacking and Infernax

Our PAX Online coverage continues with a game that takes a hated activity and somehow makes it relaxing and another game that will leave you clenching your buttocks.

Unpacking

Unpacking game

Platforms: PC
Release: 2021

As someone who is coming fresh off of moving just a little over a month ago, you couldn’t have blamed me for being a little skeptical going into what was dubbed a “zen puzzle” game based on the final stretch of the process. Unpacking is just that, though. It’s a calming, almost therapeutic exercise that happened to serve as a wonderful way for me to unwind at the end of a day.

Unpacking is exactly what it says on the tin. There are no scores, no timers, no leaderboards, just you, and a few boxes with various items in them that need to be placed somewhere. The demo starts with a single bedroom in 1997. There’s nothing in the game that tells you where something should go, only your own taste and intuition; a locked diary would probably go in a desk-drawer while a soccer trophy would probably be displayed on a shelf.

As I slowly unearthed items one-by-one, I gradually got a feel for what the room’s new inhabitant was most likely like. The endless supply of stuffed animals implied someone of younger age while the numerous art supplies indicated someone inclined to right brain thinking. It’s rather engaging to learn about this person’s life purely by their belongings.

Every item taken out was like a delightful surprise and would sometimes even make me feel a little sentimental such as when I took out a small device that was clearly a Tamagotchi. More importantly, Unpacking nails that sinking feeling of when you feel like you’ve used all your available space but still have boxes left. Reaching the point of just throwing stuff wherever it fits is such an immediately relatable feeling that I was almost offended. And that was only for a single bedroom!

Unpacking game

The demo’s second stage was a little more involved with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen in the year of 2004. The hilarious moments of finding a boot in your kitchenware box or a bra with your toiletries also felt like a call-out to my own hodge-podge packing methods. It’s something I can’t help but let out an exasperated chuckle at.

It was also neat to see how this person has grown since their earlier abode. Much fewer stuffed animals but more art supplies and a brand new computer imply this character is maybe entering the working adult world. I’ve never actually seen this character, but I can’t help but feel a connection to them already, and that was only after two moves. The full game will have eight total moves to follow them through and I am genuinely curious to see how our nameless and faceless protagonist grows throughout them.

Now if only unpacking in real life could be this soothing.

Infernax

Infernax

Platforms: PC
Release: TBA

Some players may recognize Berzerk Studio for their excellent 2018 bullet-hell, rhythm game Just Shapes & Beats. Coming hot of the heels of that hit they immediately pivoted in the new direction with Infernax, a delightfully edgy 8-bit adventure platformer that takes cues from old-school Castlevania titles.

Our hero returns to his land after a successful crusade only to find it overrun by horrible monstrosities in every which direction. With nothing but mace in hand, he sets out on a quest anew to rid the land of the undead filth. Immediately apparent upon starting is just how tightly the game controls; anyone fond of earlier NES titles will feel right at home with Infernax. I quickly got a handle on my exact attack reach down to the pixel and began mowing down the zombies in front of me. It emphasized how much joy a game is possible of eliciting from simply a jump and attack button.

Getting to that proficiency is important too because the game doesn’t waste any time in taking off the training wheels! Even the base enemies shaved off half my HP if I got careless and that difficulty ramped up at a rapid rate as new enemy types were introduced at a decent clip such as flying evil eyes and jumping rodents. Not only do these foes burst into tasty experience points and gold to be spent on upgrades, but also into extremely satisfying fountains of blood.

Infernax isn’t particularly shy about turning up the gore factor, but it’s still impressive by just how creative they get with it using simple pixel art. Nowhere is this more apparent than when you are killed. Every single enemy type has a unique kill animation when they deal the final blow to our hero. From the chump ass pillbugs to the big bad bosses, all of them mutilate you in a different way and it’s honestly morbidly mesmerizing to witness. It made me want to suicide against every enemy I came across just so I could see what creative way they took my life.

Infernax

Depending on your playstyle you might not want to do this, though, as Infernax features two different ways to respawn when you die. Hardcore respawn sends you all the way back to your last save point, just like in those classic NES titles. Casual respawn lets you restart right where you left off with no loss in progress, but choosing to do so locks you out from Hardcore the rest of the game. It’s a sort of mark of shame that I was glad to wear during the demo after I came up against the final boss and promptly got my ass handed to me. It sounds a little cheeky on paper but is actually very consistent with the game’s overtly edgy tone.

Infernax feels like a game that was lost to time during the NES era and is just now being rediscovered. Those looking for for a game that harkens back to the simplicity of the olden days need not look any further.

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Indie Games Spotlight – Going Full Circle

We’re featuring five exciting indie games in our latest spotlight, including the internship roguelike Going Under and the cozy puzzles of Lonesome Village.

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Journey of the Broken Circle

Indie Games Spotlight is Goomba Stomp’s biweekly column where we highlight some of the most exciting new and upcoming independent games. Summer may have come to a close, but that hasn’t stopped big announcements from rolling in. With events like PAX Online and the recent PlayStation 5 Showcase flooding the web with announcements, trailers, and gameplay footage, there’s been a constant deluge of news to keep up with. With so much coming on the horizon, we’re spotlighting five exciting indies that you’ll be able to play sooner rather than later. Whether you’re in the mood for a brutally addictive action game or a cozy adventure and social sim, there’s bound to be a game that speaks to you in this spotlight.

Moving Up Professionally in Going Under

Work is its own payment in Going Under. In this action game from developer Aggro Crab, you’re put in the shoes of an unpaid intern who must explore the endless ruins of failed tech startups while fighting off the monsters that spawn within them. It’s hard work to do without a single paycheck—but hey, at least you’re gaining valuable experience!

As a former unpaid intern myself, the writing in Going Under certainly resonates with me and it’s sure to strike a chord with anyone who’s ever felt underappreciated or overworked. Its vibrant and colorful 3D graphics, as well as its satirical story, only make it all the more enticing. It really should offer a great working experience when it hits all consoles and PC via Steam on September 24.

Animated GIF

Fill in the Gaps in Journey of the Broken Circle

Something’s missing in Journey of the Broken Circle. Like its name would suggest, this puzzle platformer follows a Pacman-like circle with a hole to fill. It wanders through a world that is whimsical and existential at once, searching for a companion to fill its gaps. As the circle rolls through ethereal environments, it encounters different shapes to use that allow for new gameplay mechanics.

Journey of the Broken Circle might be about an abstract shape, but in its quest to become whole, it strives to capture the human experience. It promises to be an intimate experience that clocks in at about five hours to complete. If you’re interested in getting this ball rolling, it’s already available now on Switch and Steam.

Prepare to Get GORSD

There’s a delicate balance between unsettling the player without being outright scary. GORSD treads the line here as a one-hit-kill shooter that stars humans encased in the skins of octopuses, dragons with human faces, and nightmarish environments. Something feels off about GORSD, but that’s exactly what makes it so interesting.

Brought to life with detailed pixel art, GORSD supports up to four players who can face off in chaotic matches in varied arenas. It also features a full-fledged single-player campaign with a vast overworld with dozens of unique stages. Its concept is inspired by its developers’ native Southeast Asian cultures, making for a unique gameplay and aesthetic experience. If you’re ready to dive in and see it for yourself, it’s available now on all consoles and PC via Steam.

Get Ready For a Foregone Conclusion

Saying Foregone is a 2D Dark Souls would be cliché, but accurate nonetheless. It’s a hardcore action game where you’ll fight against insurmountable odds to prevent monsters from overrunning the world. It has a brutally addictive gameplay loop—its difficulty may be excruciating, but because it offers a wide assortment of abilities to leverage, it’s immensely euphoric once you overcome the challenges before you.

This beautiful 3D/pixelated hybrid action game has been available on PC in early access since February, but at long last, it’s seeing its full console release in October. It’s been a promising title ever since its pre-release days, and now that it’s finally seeing its complete iteration, there’s never been a better time to dive in and give it a shot. It’s hitting all platforms on October 5, so there’s not long to wait!

Finding Good Company in a Lonesome Village

Mix Zelda with Animal Crossing and you might get something like Lonesome Village. This newly-revealed puzzle adventure game features Zelda-like adventure in a hand-drawn world populated by animal characters. Players control a wandering coyote who stumbles upon a strange village and decides to investigate its mysterious happenings by interacting with villagers, solving puzzles, and exploring its dungeons.

It’s more than a simple adventure game. In addition to puzzle-solving, you’ll interact with Lonesome Village’s eclectic cast of characters to forge relationships and unravel brooding mysteries. It’s showing plenty of potential with its cozy gameplay loop, and if you want to give it a shot, check out its official demo from its Kickstarter page! It’s already been fully funded in less than 24 hours, but if you want to help the developers out even further, consider contributing to their campaign.

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