Title  : Megaman X3
Platforms  : Super NES
Publisher  : Capcom
Game Rating  : n/a
Review by  : Ken Gagne

Capcom brings a familiar face back to the Super NES in Megaman X3. When a Reploid town falls under the leadership of the evil Dr. Doppler and his corrupting virus, it's the Titanium Titan's mission to stop the rebels. 

Megaman will explore eight stages to destroy eight robot bosses, each a representative of the animal kingdom (three are aquatic), acquiring the fallens' weapons for his own use. Each stage has three items to search out and obtain. Several items allow you to access others; you'll need to revisit each stage several times to find them all. Along the way you'll run across Bit & Byte, two brothers in crime, and also Vile from the original MMX adventure. 

The items include heart tanks, which increase your life bar; subtanks, which store extra energy; four mechanical suits; and some interesting hardware enhancements. One powers up your shots for varying results; another lets Megaman dash in midair; a third increases his armor strength. The last and most interesting equips the Blue Bomber with a radar. After entering a stage which has already been conquered, a map will be displayed of where all three hidden items are. Actually finding them is up to you, though. Later, you'll have a choice of only one more of four other improvements: a stronger gun; dash in midair twice; stronger armor; or a self-replenishing life bar. 

Once Megaman's gun is powered up, each of the various weapons may be strengthened. Some will reverse gravity, cause shock waves, or send out homing missiles. Several weapons have a variety of uses throughout many stages and against many bosses; a few serve little purpose in any situation, though. 

This continuation has several new features. Megaman may switch to Zero once per stage, but the limitations make this an almost useless feature. Zero may not use any extra weapons or items, may not fight bosses, and has but one life. He does have an extraordinary energy sabre for use in close encounters. Either character may use any of four mech suits found throughout the stages. Once found, they may be equipped at any designated robot platform. 

The sprites are small but boast many animation frames. Scrolling backgrounds represent a variety of manmade and natural scenarios. Robots are neither cute nor bouncy, and there are no fluffy clouds, as in the regular MM series. A few enemies make use of the special graphics chip in MMX2, but not enough to make its advantages readily seen by the player. 

The soundtrack successfully represents the somber atmosphere of this series. A mix of deep techno and blood-rushing pulses sets the mood for each stage. Enjoy the ample explosions and buzzings the sound effects provide. 

Gameplay is slick yet simple. Megaman can jump, fire, dash, and switch weapons each with the press of a button. He can get himself out of many a dangerous situation as quickly as he gets himself into them. 

This game is huge, with much to find and even more to do with it all. The final enemies are protected by numerous mid-stage bosses that'll knock players off their feet more than once. The storyline is also ordinary but sufficient. 

Megaman X may already be an old-genre, but it's a rock-solid one. The size and challenge of MMX3, with just enough new features, will sate players thirsting for another visit from the Indigo Invader. 

Hints: This is the correct order in which to tackle the stages: Gravity Beetle, Blast Hornet, Blizzard Buffalo, Toxic Seahorse, Tunnel Rhino, Volt Catfish, Crush Crawfish, Neon Tiger. 

The perfect password, as follows, gives you all weapons, heart tanks, subtanks, suits, enhancements, and chips. 

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This article is copyright (c) 1996, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Boston Herald, 08-Apr-96