So Capcom turns out yet another Mega Man game and it is met with indifference by the industry. Is this really any surprise? The Mega Man series has stayed so true to its roots for so long, the public feels that it has become redundant. The minority who welcome the games into their lives with open arms will rejoice—this game is an excellent example of what has become a rather predictable series.
Mega Man Zero 3 plays like its two predecessors in that it is a side-scrolling adventure through somewhat claustrophobic environs. It hasn’t really added much to the series (in fact, it has removed the RPG-esque leveling-up element) but is still a satisfying addition to the series.
The plot follows on from the previous two games in the Zero series, but interestingly, it also crosses over into the Classic Mega Man series as well as the Mega Man X series. It is nearly impossible for me to explain it all here, but essentially a Neo Arcadian called Dr. Weil has been employed by X to get hold of the Dark Elf using an all-powerful (yet so easily dispatched) reploid called Omega. Three guesses who has to stop him. No…not Crash Bandicoot. Sit down, Ralph.
Completely customisable controls make the game a joy to play; steering Zero around has never been easier. I find the best setup to be R for the Saber, B for the Triple Rod and L to dash. Almost no complaints, control-wise; sadly the dash is still mapped to a double-tap of the directional buttons. This means you can inadvertently activate it in the wrong situations if you are in a hurry.
Zero’s mission is enjoyable to play. The anticipation of new bosses was the real pull for me, as the fights are impeccable—imaginative, challenging and atmospheric. However, the level design in this edition seems a little lacklustre at first—the game does not pick up until later. That, plus some lazy repetition of Mega Man Zero 1 bosses lets the game down.
There are many varied levels, each with a different mission. The ranking system returns, as do the bosses’ A/S-rank attacks. Unfortunately, some of the A/S attacks make the bosses EASIER to beat; the learning curve of this game is again steep, but nowhere near the ridiculous heights of the previous games. This seems to have been tailored for a new audience of Mega Man fans, which doesn’t really go down as well for a lunatic such as myself. But I must be open to new ideas, I guess. Some areas, notably the elevator endurance test, are ridiculously difficult. This patchy difficulty can be rather frustrating at times.
The sound effects remain unchanged from the original game. However, the music is all new and all good! The tunes are once again hummable and somewhat awesome. The boss theme is much worse than its predecessors, the original game’s being the best.
The game looks exactly the same as the previous game. Which is something of a good thing; the boss sprites once again look excellent. Look at Tretista Kelverian and WEEP AT HIS AWESOMENESS. Same with Deathtanz Mantisk (Love those names). They both own.
Capcom have seen fit to inject a bit of replay value this time around, with the presence of hundreds of hidden secret disks, each one detailing a particular character or item, a la the trophy system from Super Smash Bros. Melee. Finishing the game under certain conditions unlocks new minigames based on certain characters. Additionally, the game links up with Battle Network 4 to alter the graphics. Lovely.
Buy it. Make your friends buy it too. Otherwise this kind of game will die out.