If you've enjoyed Mega Man games in the past or have been waiting for one that's a little less punishing, Mega Man Zero 3 is the game to get.
Mega Man Zero 3 could be considered the best of the GBA's Mega Man games. Capcom has once again given the Zero character his own solid--and oftentimes difficult--action shoot-'em-up featuring enemy-filled levels, huge bosses, and numerous suit and weapon upgrades. This latest installment includes more weapons, more suit upgrades, and more "cyber elf" ability enhancers than the previous games did, which should make it worthwhile for anyone left wanting more after the last game. It's also great for those who might have shied away from Mega Man games in the past because of their reputation for being uncompromisingly difficult.
The overall play dynamic is the same as in every other Mega Man game. You take control of Zero, a heavily armed reploid robot, and then run, jump, and shoot your way through enemy-filled levels with boss battles at the end. The two main things that help the Mega Man series stand out from other side-scrolling action games are its level designs, which are typically tricky and memory-intensive (requiring many deaths to master), and the various weapon and suit upgrades the games put at your disposal. The levels in Mega Man Zero 3 are tough as nails, but not unfairly so. Frequently, you'll come across a series of moving platforms situated above a bed of spikes, or have to make a series of jumps across large gaps from narrow ledges. You'll lose a few lives trying to get the timing right, but once you do nail it down, you can always reload your save data and get those lives back.
Despite the challenge, playing through the levels is extremely fun, not only because there are so many opportunities to discover secret passages and doorways by wall-jumping or using the flame buster to burn away undergrowth, but also because the bosses at the end of each level are entertaining to watch and satisfying to beat. Each one has a variety of attacks, some of which nearly fill the screen with bullets or deadly energy beams. On the fly, you need to figure out how to dodge the boss' attacks, when it's safe to shoot or stab at the boss, and, if possible, which suit to equip to deal out the most damage.
Zero's arsenal of weapons and abilities has grown quite a bit since Mega Man Zero 2, and this new game places a stronger emphasis on using the right one in the right situation. After playing through a couple of levels, you'll have access to all of Zero's basic weapons and abilities. These include the mega buster cannon, the Z-Saber sword, and the shield boomerang that were in the previous game, as well as a new weapon, called the recoil rod, which can be used like a pogo stick to bounce high into the air. You can have two weapons active at any given time and switch between them in the pause menu. Each weapon also has a powerful secondary attack that can be performed by holding the B button down for a few seconds.
As if that weren't enough, you can unlock new combo attacks for each weapon by earning high letter grades for each level, which generally means finishing up quickly without absorbing a lot of damage. The first bosses that you beat will give Zero a series of suit upgrades--fire, ice, and electricity--that you can switch between at any time while playing. Most enemies and all the bosses are susceptible to a particular element, so wearing the right suit can make the going a lot easier. Two other suits, which eliminate recoil and make Zero light enough to walk over crumbly terrain, also become available as the game goes on.
Zero's basic abilities, other than running and jumping, include a dash move that lets you get more distance out of jumps and a magnetic grab move that lets you slowly slide down the sides of ledges and walls. The grab can also be used in tandem with jumping to perform a sort of wall-jump maneuver that allows you to reach higher areas. As is the case with the various suit upgrades, talking to certain characters at the home base or beating some of the game's later bosses will give Zero access to a number of different head and foot upgrades that can enhance his basic abilities. The most useful of these can increase Zero's running speed, provide access to a double-jump move, and greatly reduce the time it takes to build up a charged attack.
The "cyber elf" system allows you to further upgrade Zero's abilities, in addition to giving you a helping hand in a particularly difficult level. Cyber elves are intelligent computer programs that can be used to do all sorts of things, like eliminate small enemies from a level, double Zero's health meter, make Zero run more quickly, or slash a boss' health meter in half. You'll find them all over the place, usually locked up in crates, although sometimes an enemy will leave one behind or another character will give you one as a reward for talking to him or her. Some effects last only one level, while others last the entire game. In Mega Man Zero 2, the use of cyber elves was pretty restricted. Each one disappeared after being used and, to add insult to injury, the game would deduct points from your overall letter grade for the level just for using them.
Mega Man Zero 3 takes a more lenient approach by distinguishing between "satellite" and "fusion" cyber elves. Fusion cyber elves still disappear when used and still count against your overall letter grade, whereas satellite cyber elves can be equipped and swapped out during a level, and they don't disappear or count against you in your evaluation. Zero can have up to two satellite-type cyber elves equipped at any given time. Due to this one "little" change, Mega Man Zero 3 comes across as more open-ended and flexible than either of the two previous Zero games.
- Player Reviews: 18
- Game Universe:
- Mega Man Legends 2 (PS, PC),
- Mega Man X5 (PS, PC),
- Mega Man Legends (PS, PC, PSP),
- Mega Man Anniversary Collection (GC, PS2, GBA, XBOX),
- Mega Man X8 (PS2, PC),
- Mega Man X: Command Mission (PS2, GC),
- Mega Man X4 (PS, SAT, PC),
- Mega Man 8: Anniversary Collector's Edition (SAT, PS),
- Mega Man X3 (PS, SAT, PC, SNES),
- Mega Man X Collection (PS2, GC, XBOX)
- Number of Players: