My Top 100: #4 – Mega Man 3

1990 - Capcom (NES, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Virtual Console)

1990 – Capcom (NES, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Virtual Console)


I’m not sure whose idea it was for to get me a subscription to Nintendo Power, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t mine.

Sure, I liked buying issues of this and that from time to time, but I didn’t really think getting one in the mail monthly was necessary.  Still, it really was a nice little surprise to have an issue waiting in the mail that first time…  it sucked that it was a guide to 4-player games, but I couldn’t be too upset.

I mean, seriously, what percentage of gamers have ever played a 4-player NES game?  Thankfully, the next issue featured something I could actually get excited about.

My sister was picking me up on my last day before Christmas vacation in Grade 2, and she had gotten the mail beforehand.  She put the issue of NP on my lap as I got into the car, and saw that Mega Man 3 was on the cover.  That was amazing!  Since the first issue I got was a player’s guide, there was no mention of the following month’s cover story.

In fact, aside from seeing small and blurry screenshots in an EGM or two, this was the first good look I got at it.  I liked Mega Man 2 quite a bit, so this one should theoretically be much, much better.  That’s just the way it went with games.  A sequel was supposed to be better than the first game, and #3 in a series was essentially supposed to be perfect.  That’s what the Mario games seemed to be doing, anyway.

For my money, Mega Man games don’t get any better than 32 incorporated everything awesome about the first one, then built on it.  In that same vein, 3 took everything awesome about 2, and built on that model even further.  Bigger levels, better items, more characters, a fleshed-out plot (you know, by 8-bit standards), and a higher difficulty level…  you didn’t even get to Wily’s lair until you beat the eight Robot Masters from Mega Man 2!  Although, technically, it was spread over four levels and not eight, but it was still hard as hell.

Rush’s abilities were more flexible and useful than the aptly named “1”, “2” and “3” from the second game.  Mega Man could now perform a slide move to scoot away (or under) from attacking foes, which minimized the annoying threat of having an enemy respawn if you backtracked a bit too much, just for being careful.  I definitely liked the challenges the first game threw at me, but respawning enemies could sometimes drive me nuts.

Proto Man was an intriguing addition, seeing as how you didn’t know what his deal was until the very end of the game.  Was he a friend?  Was he a foe?  All you knew was that he had a terrible attack pattern, showed up just long enough to drain a bit of health from you, and had a really cool whistle to announce his arrival.  That curiosity about Proto Man, and wanting to find out who he was in the grand scheme of things, really helped drive me forward during some of the more difficult parts of the game.

Once you get through Dr. Wily’s Castle and beat the game, you’re treated to some of the best 8-bit music there is.  The extended Proto Man theme that leads into the credits is probably my favourite chiptune of all time!  Obviously, the rest of the game’s soundtrack is great, as well, but overall, I still believe the music from Mega Man 2 is better.

There will always be people on both sides of the Mega Man 2\Mega Man 3 “argument”, but it’s pretty clear which side I’ve always been on.



Christmas in 1990 was pretty awesome.  I got several Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, a Bart Simpson piggie bank (a Bartie bank?), a massive Raphael (TMNT) doll, a Nintendo Game Boy, and Mega Man 3.  The Game Boy was a complete surprise, and I spent my entire holidays playing it and Mega Man 3.

The coolest part of it all was that my father had borrowed a camcorder from work, and got a bunch of the festivities on tape.  It was such a great time, and I re-watched that tape over and over again in the years that followed.

The gathering we had that New Year’s Eve was also on tape, but I never watched that part of the video.  Here’s the why…

My parents had friends over that night, and I was busy showing off my new games to their daughter, who was much older than me.  After a while, we turned the games off and watched television.  There were two movies on that night, both of which scared the absolute crap out of me.  Because of that, I would always skip that part of our home video, simply because it reminded me of those movies.

The first movie we watched was Gremlins.  Those little lizard-like bastards were kinda nasty-looking, and those kinds of things really grossed me out, for some reason.  I remember a scene where one of them melts, and it looks an awful lot like melty green cheese…  I’m not sure if that rings a bell, but I have that image stuck in my mind.  That’s honestly all I remember from that movie, but it didn’t scare me nearly as much as the second movie we watched that night.

InnerSpace, a sci-fi comedy starring Martin Short and Dennis Quaid.

The premise involves Quaid hopping into a space shuttle-like device that shrinks down to microscopic size, which they intend to use to explore the inside of a mouse.  You know, in the name of science.  Unfortunately, something goes awry during the transfer, and Quaid’s shuttle ends up on the inside of Martin Short’s character.

Hilarity ensues…  or, it’s supposed to, anyway.  I was terrified.

Quaid’s character zooms through various parts of Short’s body, from one internal organ to another, desperately trying to find his ticket out of there before his oxygen runs out.  Along the way, Quaid shoots a harpoon-like device into the back of Short’s eye, travels to his ear canal so they can talk to one another, then over to Meg Ryan’s body where he finds a growing fetus, and various other things.

It all weirded me out quite a bit, but it was one of the movie’s final scenes that scared me the most, and had me paranoid to watch movies of any kind.

The movie’s antagonist eventually manages to get shrunk down-to-size, and confronts Quaid in the pit of Short’s stomach above a green pool of stomach acid.  At this point, I was so mesmerized about what I had seen so far that this didn’t bug me all that much.  However, after a short battle, the bad guy bites the bullet when his shuttle crashes into the pool of acid.

What I saw next gave me nightmares for weeks; the bad guy’s skeletal remains floating across the screen.

Yep, like being scared that Jupiter would come after me, I was now scared that I’d someday be shrunk down to the size of bacteria and consumed by stomach acid.  You know, because that’s a rational fear, right?

Anyway, I can’t help but think of New Year’s Eve ’91, as well as Gremlins and InnerSpace, whenever I play Mega Man 3.


"In a world where comedies are terrifying...  one man kills another man, giving a Canadian child...  NIGHTMARES."

“In a world where comedies are terrifying… one man kills another man in stomach acid, giving a Canadian child… NIGHTMARES.”

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