We continue our journey into the Mega Man series with Mega Man 3. This game saw the introduction of Rush, Proto Man (Blues in Japan), and the new Slide move.
The story behind Proto Man, much like the stories in most NES games, is revealed mostly outside of the game. Proto Man was the first robot that Dr. Light created. He was capable of independent thought and reasoning, but was still a prototype. He had a flaw in his energy core that would eventually cause his death. Proto Man started to distrust Dr. Light, primarily because of his free will, the fact that he knew he was incomplete, and because he feared that Dr. Light would alter his programming. So he vanished before Dr. Light could repair him.
After wandering the world alone, Proto Man was found by Dr. Wily, who replaced his solar energy core with a nuclear energy core, and also modified him to be a combat robot. Wily also gave Proto Man his now trademark visor. Working on Proto Man helped Wily better understand robotics, as well.
Proto Man would show up in Mega Man 3 as Break Man. At the time, he worked for Dr. Wily, but upon observing Mega Man he decided to help Mega Man instead, though he still didn’t trust Dr. Light.
Rush, the robot dog, replaces the items in Mega Man 2. Item-2 is now the Rush Jet, for example. There is no true Rush equivalent for Items 1 or 3, though. Instead you get Rush Coil, which is a springboard item, and Rush Marine, which is only for underwater areas.
The master robots were starting to get a little odd, but they weren’t too bad at this point. Snake Man, Gemini Man, Top Man, Spark Man, Hard Man, Needle Man, Magnet Man, and Shadow Man. The big twist, however, came when you defeated all eight master robots. The stage select screen showed these odd looking portraits for Spark Man, Needle Man, Gemini Man, and Shadow Man. You had to re-enter those stages, and what awaited would definitely catch new players off-guard.
The four stages were redesigned, but retained the same theme. About halfway through, however, you’d reach the boss doors. A bit odd, you may think. Then you see the Doc Robot standing, and suddenly one of the Mega Man 2 master robots descend from the ceiling and “enter” Doc Robot’s body. Now Doc Robot has assumed the powers of that master robot. Mega Man can’t take the weapons that Doc Robot uses, which is unfortunate. But it is definitely an “Oh crap” moment. The Doc Robot concept returned in Mega Man 10 in the form of the Weapons Archive.
Overall, this game isn’t as iconic as Mega Man 2, but it’s still a very good game.