Mega Man 3, known as Rockman 3 Dr. Wily no Saigo!? in Japan, is a video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the third game of the original Mega Man series and was originally released in Japan on September 28, 1990. The game localized in North America later in 1990 and in European regions in 1992. Taking place after the events of Mega Man 2, the plot follows the titular hero as he helps his creator, Dr. Light, and a former villain, Dr. Wily, collect parts for a peace-keeping robot by defeating several Robot Masters that have gone haywire.
A platform-action game, Mega Man 3 follows the same format set forth by its two predecessors. The player, as Mega Man, must complete a series of stages in any order. Defeating a stage's boss will earn the player its special weapon, which can be selected and used at will throughout the rest of the game. Mega Man 3 introduces new gameplay elements such as Mega Man's canine sidekick Rush and the ability to slide along the ground. Unlike with the first two installments of the series, artist and designer Keiji Inafune has considered the creation of Mega Man 3 to be very stressful due to time constraints and his own increased responsibilities during its development.
Following the success of Mega Man 2 released two years earlier, Mega Man 3 has sold over one million copies and has been positively received in critical reviews. Its presentation and gameplay has been especially praised, although many sources found the game to be too difficult. Like other titles in the series, Mega Man 3 has been re-released several times on other gaming platforms, on mobile phones, and as part of various Mega Man franchise compilations.
Mega Man 3 takes place during an unspecified year during the 21st century (200X). The mad scientist Dr. Wily, having twice had plans for world domination dashed, claims to have reformed and begins work with Dr. Light on a project to build a peace-keeping robot named 'Gamma'. Robot Masters in charge of a set of 'mining worlds', however, go berserk and make off with Gamma's eight power crystals. Mega Man is called into action, this time with a canine companion named Rush, to retrieve the crystals from the sites. Throughout his mission, the protagonist continuously encounters and spars with Break Man, a masked foe who has abilities comparable to Mega Man's own. After Mega Man destroys the eight Robot Masters, he must then revisit four of the mining sites to face off against eight 'Doc Robots', who possess the abilities of the Robot Masters from Mega Man's most recent mission. Once the crystals are retrieved, Wily reverts to his evil ways, steals Gamma, and retreats to his new fortress. To stop Wily's newest plan to conquer the world, Mega Man destroys Gamma and defeats Wily in a final confrontation. As the fortress begins to crumble, Break Man appears in enough time to save Mega Man, but is too late to save Wily, who is seen being crushed under the rubble. When Mega Man regains consciousness in Dr. Light's lab, his creator informs him that he must have been rescued by Proto Man, Mega Man's brother.
Mega Man 3 retains the platforming and action game elements established by the two Mega Man games released before it. The player controls the protagonist Mega Man as he traverses eight selectable stages. The player's primary blaster weapon is used to fend off the game's numerous enemies. Several power-ups can be picked up in each stage, including life energy, special weapon ammunition, extra lives, and 'E-Tanks', which are stored and can be selected to completely refill the player's life energy. At the end of every stage the player must defeat a Robot Master boss: Magnet Man, Hard Man, Top Man, Shadow Man, Spark Man, Snake Man, Gemini Man, or Needle Man. Each Robot Master features a unique weapon and stage related to the weapon's power. After defeating a boss, their signature weapon is added to Mega Man's arsenal. The Robot Masters are weak to the weapons of certain other Robot Masters, allowing the player to ease the boss battles by clearing some stages before others.
Mega Man 3 is the first Mega Man game to feature the slide maneuver, which lets the player slip under enemy attacks and low-level barriers. After completing certain stages, Mega Man can access new abilities in his robot dog companion Rush. Rush's transformations include the 'Rush Coil' for jumping higher, the 'Rush Jet' for flying around the screen, and the 'Rush Marine' for traveling underwater. Throughout the various stages the player encounters Proto Man (as Break Man), a mini-boss who, once defeated, will open passageways for the player to advance. Mega Man 3 also expands upon the two preceding games by having additional stages set between the initial eight Robot Masters and the linear stages of Dr. Wily's fortress. A password system can be used to return to the game with most of the stages completed.
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