As much as everyone seems to love Mega Man 2, I find it still somewhat hampered by the stiffness of the first game. With the third entry in the storied series, I finally began to feel at home in the improved controls and competent enough to see the task through to completion. While standing as a pseudo-prototype for the immediately successive games, there are in fact several key things 3 accomplished that those almost immediately forewent:
***Virtually no stereotypical, elemental Robot Masters -- There's an electric boss, but the water stage doesn’t even belong to a water master. We’ve got magnets, tops, needles, snakes, sexual innuendos and fuggen ninjas. Ice and fire need not apply.
***No shield weapon -- Does ANYONE actually enjoy shield weapons? Yet, they’ve been in almost every game since.
***Rush Jet -- Not only was this the debut of Rush, period, it was the only time that Rush Jet has ever been fully functional. You can move backwards, forwards, up, down--all a-fucking-round. Ever since, it has been some form of auto-piloting death trap, ready to drop you to your doom at a moment’s notice. Fix ur shit, Capcom. If you haven’t already in 9 or 10.....
***Doc Robot stages -- They saw fit to bring back the masters of 2 for rematches in remixed versions of half of the stages. This was a legitimate way to lengthen the game and pay homage to those then already iconic masters.
Some have argued that the Wily stages are overly simple. Mayhaps, but to me they don’t feel insanely short or half-assed in the way others have *cough*X2*cough.* Sure, one is a brief romp to the new Yellow Devil fight, but the fight itself is satisfying and far more managable (w/o glitches) than the original, to compensate.
Others have complained that there is no story set up at the beginning of the game itself, with slight plot details suddenly being dropped out-of-the-blue after clearing all the masters. I do usually play games for story, but I don’t with Mega Man. This is a critical failing of the X series and I couldn’t care less, here. I have a set of masters unique in the scope of the series in front of me waiting to be massacred, and that’s more than enough.
Buyer’s Guide: Originally on the NES. Available most easily on the Virtual Console, PSN, and in the Mega Man Anniversary Collection on PS2, GameCube, and Xbox. It’s also on mobile devices, several Japanese compilations, and the 3DS VC in Japan.
4½ Motherfucking Snakes (Impaled) On Motherfucking Pins out of 5