Sunday, September 11, 2011

Megaman X3

The last Megaman SNES offers, and it's good!

There's no mistake, Mega Man X and X2 met with major successes, and Capcom intended to keep the ball rolling. Mega Man X3 would be the last Mega Man game on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, sadly. The game became a success though and ironically, became one of the rarest games in the franchise. Used copies go anywhere from $80-$120. It's a strong entry in the series though, and it's worth the price if you can still afford it in today's economy. Mega Man X3 was also the first Mega Man X to allow a second playable character as well, and it became a series staple since this game. It was a feature that got much more fleshed out in later installments, thankfully, as it was somewhat of a limited concept here. It was improved for future installments, thankfully.

THE STORY: It's the year 21XX, and the Maverick menace has finally been stopped. This is thanks to the genius of a reploid scientist by the name of Doctor Doppler. He created a vaccine for the virus that was causing Mavericks to go insane. The world was at peace and the turned Mavericks built a utopia called "Doppler Town" in honor of the brilliant scientist. The peace lasted for a while, and then Maverick Hunter HQ fell under attack by a group of Mavericks once again. Mega Man X and Zero are sent to quell the invasion and save Dr. Cain. X, however, gets captured by a Maverick, and Zero quickly saves him. Then they finish quelling the invasion purported to have been incited by none other than Dr. Doppler himself. X and Zero once again embark on a mission to destroy the Mavericks and their supposed new leader, Dr. Doppler. Doppler however, at the beginning of the game, claims to have a master who is giving orders to him, and goes so far as revive one of X and Zero's old foes, who wants revenge on the duo for what they did to him. Who is Dr. Doppler's master? And who is this mysterious Maverick that wants revenge on the heroic duo? Dr. Doppler wants to make sure that X and Zero don't live long enough to find out, and sends two of his best henchmen, Bit and Byte, to deal with the Maverick Hunters.

THE GAMEPLAY: Mega Man X3 plays identically to it's predecessors. You start off in an introduction stage so that the player can get a feel for the game in case they're new. X still retains his dash function from the past two games, and his ability to cling to walls and slide down them. After beating the introduction stage, the player gains access to the main game. You start off on a screen with eight selectable stages, each of which is indicated by a picture of the boss for that stage. Upon beating a Maverick boss, you gain that Maverick's special ability. Every boss is weak to another Maverick's weapon, so you can effectively destroy the Mavericks very easily if you use the right weapon against them. After beating the eight stages, like the previous games, you go onto a final set of stages that you can't save in between with the use of passwords. Throughout the game, you'll find Heart Tanks to increase X's maximum health bar. You'll also encounter Sub-Tanks, the spiritual successor to Energy Tanks from the classic series. They don't come pre-filled, however. To fill up these reserve tanks, you have to have full health and pick up health energy that may be lying around or dropped from enemies. Also, much like X and X2, Mega Man X can find capsules that give him upgrades to his armor. These include a mid-air dash that allows him to dash in any straight direction. There is a new type of capsule in this game however. These new, pink capsules upgrade X's armor even more, such as an even stronger armor, which reduces damage by 75%, and the ability to dash twice in mid-air. X can only equip one at a time though, so make sure to choose wisely!

As mentioned at the beginning, this game offers the ability to select another playable character, which comes in the form of Zero, X's long-time friend and fell Maverick Hunter. While playing through a stage, you can pause the game and call in Zero, and you'll gain control of him. His health meter is at max but he also takes more damage, and can hold three maximum charges. When fully charged, he can shoot two full charged shots and then afterward, do a slice with his beam sabre. He does have limitations however. He can't fight bosses, nor can he use their special abilities. Also, once you die as Zero, you can never play with him for the rest of that play through. At least in future installments, they give you the option to play through the full game with him, it was still kind of a novel concept with this game, but it ended up being very popular. Also, this game has two possible endings, which are chosen depending on the actions taken by the player during the game. These actions can also affect certain things about the final stages of the game. So there are a few different ways to play this game out, which helps add to the re-playability.

THE SOUND: Mega Man X and X2 stayed true to it's series' roots by giving us memorable music. Anyone who's played Mega Man X3 will agree. Zero's new theme is amazing, firstly. Secondly, for one of the stages, they decided to give an obvious nod to the band Guns 'N' Roses by making a 16-bit version of the band's song "My Michelle". Other than that, the game provides some seriously blood-pumping tunes to get you rolling, and they're all pretty intense as well. Mega Man X3 delivers on every level and certainly doesn't disappoint when it comes to music. They had high expectations to live up to and they met the bar here, not skimping out on sound quality at all. Like it's predecessors, the charging sound doesn't interrupt the music like it did in the classic series, and the explosions when the Maverick bosses die sound fantastic.
Here is one heck of a remix!

THE GRAPHICS: This game looks as fantastic as Mega Man X2. The backgrounds are wonderful looking and the detail is great. Once again, they thankfully didn't go the Mega Man 7 route which had clunky sprites and crowded screens. Mega Man X3 kept the classic Mega Man X look. The graphics looked fantastic for the time the game was released and they've aged extremely well, especially when compared to other 2-D games. The game looks nice and smooth and the colors are sharp. Everything looks great in this game.

OVERALL: Mega Man X3 was a trendsetter in at least one way, by allowing the player to select Zero to play as, which is great fun. It's also the last Mega Man game ever to be released on the SNES console, and it's quite the rarity, as mentioned earlier. It's a must have for any Mega Man fan, but get ready to pay out of your nose for this gem. It's well worth the price though if you can afford it and are a die-hard Mega Man or Mega Man X fan. So if you can, go ahead and get yourself a copy!

And now, instead of a commercial clip, I give you the opening movie from the PSX version!

SYSTEM: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Play Station, Sega Saturn, PC



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