The climax of Megaman Gameplay/Design on NES
I bought this game the second it came out! Man, it seems like yesterday. Here is what Mega Man 3 added:
-Rush the dog!-
Instead of the three 'special items' you had in Mega Man 2, you would 'upgrade' Rush (a robotic dog you could summon). At the beginning, Rush has a spring that Mega Man can use to jump really high. The upgrades includes the Rush Jet, which improves over the jet sled before as you can guide it up or down, and the Rush Sub, which is a Submarine Rush that Mega Man can pilot underwater.
In the middle of various stages, whistles would be heard and Proto-man would appear. After taking enough hits, he would run off. His addition to the game is mind-boggling but interesting nonetheless.
Mega Man now can slide! It is a nice addition and very useful during boss fights.
-Mega Man 2 bosses return-
When you defeat the 8 bosses of Mega Man 3, something strange happens. The corner bosses get replaced with four new bosses. When you play these stages, they are identical to the bosses that were there (Gemini Man, Needle Man, Spark Man, and Shadow Man). However, they are much darker in tone and the level, though similar and familiar, are changed. They are completely new levels but seem like an evil presence had smashed and rearranged the previous boss's level to his own liking. It's a very nice effect.
Two of the eight Mega Man 2 bosses are in each level. It is fun to use Mega Man 3 weapons and your new slide against them!
This game's control somehow surpassed Mega Man 2's and is the best of the NES series.
-Kept doing things right-
It kept all of the things that Mega Man 2 did right. The music, the graphics, the unique levels (from Magnet Man's magnets sucking you around to shooting through hundreds of bubbles in Gemini Man's stage), to the classic gameplay.
This game is the longest of content of the NES Mega Man games. It is just another plus as to why this game is so good.
The game is much darker than Mega Man 2. A dark introduction rather than the energetic upbeat one in Mega Man 2. The levels are considerably darker in tone as well. The four levels that follow the bosses are considerably dark. The game lacks its 'happy pace' of Mega Man 2. Not that this is considerably bad. It just makes Mega Man 3 less charming than Mega Man 2.
The game also isn't consistent as Mega Man 2. There are parts of the game that become frustrating and a little bit boring.
The Bottom Line
This game cemented Mega Man as a franchise. The following NES titles are solid but do not match the design/gameplay heights that the third incarnation achieved. Mega Man 3 is the title that is the critics' favorite.