Mega Man X3 is the newest Super Nintendo game to hit the Virtual Console on the Nintendo 3DS. The game is available for $7.99, but as I said before, I’m done with Virtual Console until I know what Nintendo’s plans are with the Switch.
Much like Mega Man X2, I was only able to play Mega Man X3 a handful of times as a kid due to the ludicrous price tag its physical cart has always carried. However, unlike Mega Man X2, I do have a lot of clear memories on this one, mostly because of a few crazy ideas it brought to the franchise.
The biggest addition is being able to play as Zero. However, unlike in the PlayStation games, Zero is available only in a limited capacity, able to be summoned on the fly mid-level if X needs a power boost. His sword and abilities aren’t half as powerful as they are in the PlayStation games, either, coming off as stubby and a bit awkward.
But certainly he’s more powerful than X, so what’s the risk of using him? Well, if he dies, players will never be able to use him again. Permadeath, gone from the game forever! Completionists beware of using Zero if you want to take him across the finish line. It’s a weird design choice, one that definitely wouldn’t fly today, and something that Mega Man had never seen before.
Armor, hearts, and Ride Armor
The Mega Man X series also distinguishes itself through the collectibles that are hidden throughout the levels. Heart capsules that expand X’s life meter, armor that gives him special power-ups. Capcom jams so many collectibles into Mega Man X that it feels like a Rare platformer, only the powerful are actually useful.
Mega Man X3 has yet another collectible that no other game in the series has, and that’s the Ride Armor. Scattered throughout the levels are pieces of giant robotic vehicles, similar to the ones found in a few stages of the first game. Mega Man X3 lets players seek out blueprints for these armor pieces, and when found, they can summon special armor through giant teleportation platforms. Armor jets for air combat, crazy frog legs for underwater exploration.
It’s just one of the many additions that Mega Man X3 adds to the formula, but for some reason, Capcom abandoned the idea for future games, making Mega Man X3’s design choices unique once again.
Mega Man X3 is different enough to create the memories that Mega Man X2 failed to create. I wouldn’t call it as balanced or as revolutionary as the first game, and it was quickly overshadowed by Mega Man X4 and Mega Man X5. But for $7.99 on the Nintendo 3DS, it’s a solid buy.