|Things just look so much...shinier...|
Mega Man X3 was developed by Capcom and released in America in early 1995. It was the last of the Mega Man X titles to appear on the SNES, and in my humble opinion, the least strong of the three. It's still a great game, but I feel like it just wasn't quite as good as the other two. Let's break this game down and see just whafuck.
The story in X3 is, like all the Mega Man games, pretty interesting. In 21xx, a scientist named Dr. Doppler finds an 'anti-virus' that neutralizes the Maverick threat. All seems to be well, and the reformed Reploids move with Dr. Doppler to a newly created utopian town called Doppler Town (really, I couldn't make up that town name if I wanted to).
However, the peace doesn't last for long. The Reploids soon revert to their Maverick ways and the blame falls on Dr. Doppler. It's up to X and Zero to investigate and take out the next wave of Mavericks and stop Dr. Doppler from causing any more damage.
|Dr. Doppler certainly LOOKS like a friendly guy, right?|
I won't worry about spoilers since 95% of you either have played this game already or haven't played it but don't care about story. This story suffers from the same problem Mega Man 4 did. In Mega Man 4, after defeating Wily in 3 previous games, the main antagonist was instead a man named Dr. Cossack. However, as everyone could guess, Dr. Cossack was merely a puppet to--guess who--Dr. Wily. Mega Man X3 has an incredibly similar story. It's not exactly the same, but damned close, with Sigma being the puppetmaster of sorts.
|Sigma's completely brutal...could you say no to this guy?|
X3 uses the same graphics chip as X2, the CX4. It's the only game made besides X2 that uses the CX4, too. As such, you can expect to see some super cool wireframe action towards the end of the game. It's done in a much more interesting way than it was in X2, as well.
|The wireframe stuff just looks so COOL in game.|
It really is a pretty slick-looking game. X3 cuts down on a lot of the lag that was present in both X and X2, making gameplay a lot quicker. On the downside, though, some things have been simplified, like the boss animations. A lot of the Mavericks only have 3-4 total animations for their characters. While it's not a huge issue, it does detract a little bit from the overall experience.
The gameplay is where X3 kind of steps away from the other two X games for SNES. The basic scheme is the same: run and gun through a level, fight a boss, use his weapon on the next boss, etc.
The controls are the exact same and just as responsive as ever. There's still E-tanks and hearts hidden throughout the levels. The capsule system returns, albeit changed a bit. There's still 4 capsules that give you additional abilities. Instead of a hidden Street Fighter-esque move, though, there's additional pink capsules. After collecting the main 4 capsule abilities, you have a choice between 4 pink capsules that each further upgrade one of your 4 abilities. If you choose to skip them all, though, you have a choice to later get a 'golden chip' that will give you all 4 super-upgrades.
One huge change in this game is the fact that Zero is now a playable character throughout the whole game. If I recall correctly, it's as simple as going into the pause menu and hitting L or R. Zero uses his beam saber rather than an X-buster. He also has a very large amount of life. He saber is a melee weapon, but it's incredibly powerful. Playing as Zero seems like a good thing, but there are two downsides, one small and one huge. The minor downside is that Zero can't walk through any doors, even mini-boss doors, so you have to momentarily switch back to X. This can get annoying. The major downside is that Zero's life is finite; if he dies, he's dead for the whole game. This will even affect your ending if Zero's dead by the time you beat the game.
Another big (but mostly useless) addition is ride armors. These are large mech suits that you can use on certain pads scattered throughout the stages. One allows you to travel better underwater, another lets you fly, etc. The problem is that they're hardly utilized. You'll find that only two or three are ever needed, and only then to get a quick heart or E-tank, and then you won't end up using it for the rest of the game. I think it would've been a great system, had it been implemented a little better.
|The four ride armors.|
In my humble opinion, this is the weakest point in X3. The soundtrack just didn't have the same vibe as it did in the other two X games. It certainly wasn't a "bad" soundtrack by any means. It was totally respectable. It just didn't quite capture the mood of any given level as well as the music did in X or X2. As per usual, here's a sampling of some completely random tracks from the game. First, the intro level's music, one of the best songs on the soundtrack.
And here's a track from Neon Tiger's stage, Urban Jungle, one of the weaker tracks (again, just my opinion).
Replay Value: 8/10
This game kind of goes against the other two X games for SNES in that it has a couple more big reasons to replay through it. The addition of Zero as a playable character is a huge boost since you can try to play through the game only using Zero and not let him die. There's also different bosses you fight towards the end depending on how you've killed Bit and Byte. Otherwise, the only reason to come back to this game is to attempt a playthrough with no power-ups, and then a playthrough using only your X-buster.
Thanks for sticking with me through this trilogy. It's a great bunch of games, and I really hope you all end up trying them out at some point.
|And thanks for reading!|
Below are links to both the original Mega Man X3 for SNES as well as the Mega Man X Collection. Recently, I bought this collection, and it's phenomenally awesome. It has Mega Man X through Mega Man X6 in all their glory, as well as a racing game based on the original Mega Man series that was only released in Japan. It's well worth buying the collection. Even the racing game is a blast; it's like Mario Kart, only a hundred times more involved.