Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This is why I don't go on dates with women...

You may have thought I was done obsessing about 'The Elder Scrolls.' If you did, you were very, very wrong. With Bethesda's announcement of the next installment of the Elder Scrolls series, I have found myself contemplating the future of the franchise once again.

I was introduced to the games with the third one, Morrowind. At the time it was groundbreaking. It was well-written for an RPG, had impressive graphics (for its time), and allowed players to enjoy an increased sense of role-play. It improved upon its predecessors' flaws in many ways. Though it cut features from the second game [most notably by decreasing the size of the game environment, and removing randomly generated dungeons and quests (it also eliminated the nudity; whether this was good or bad is up to you)], Morrowind was able to focus on certain design elements and season them to perfection.

Daggerfall, the second game in the series, was a direct step up from the previous game. Again, it changed scale from its predecessor and focused on a smaller part of the game's world. However, it magnified that smaller area (that of the Iliac Bay) and made it larger than any game environment yet in existence at the time (this was in 1996). It expanded Arena's basic gameplay and elevated it above that of a dungeon-crawler. Daggerfall allowed for deeper character customization and role-playing. Alternate endings allowed players to pick sides of a complex and fantastic political conflict. Unfortunately, its graphics have aged even worse than those of Morrowind; additionally, the game was kind of a buggy mess to begin with (the original release of the game was so error-riddled that the main questline couldn't be completed by normal means).

Oblivion, the fourth game in the series (please excuse my Tarantino chronology here), is much more difficult for me to evaluate. I liked the game a lot; however, I am prone to get into annoying rants about the game if prompted (and these rants are typically extremely critical of the game and its shortcomings). It wasn't necessarily an improvement over Morrowind in every way. However, the graphics were better, the combat was better, the magic system was more streamlined, and the quests were in general executed better (it did a lot of things right, I'll cede that). I'll go into all of these improvements in more detail, but I'll also look at the drawback each improvement came with.

Obviously the graphics were better than those in Morrowind. Oblivion pushed the limits of the hardware of its time. However, years later, the graphics have aged pretty poorly (most notably the character animations). I'm not picky about graphics, so I won't fault the game for aging in that department. I will fault the game for its faces. The game featured a face generator (the first in the series); it's janky. It takes entirely too much effort to get a face that doesn't look like it suffers from Down's syndrome. That is certainly something to be taken into consideration in the development of TES 5.

The combat was actually very good. It removed the random element from the combat of the first three games (some argue the random element was a good thing, but I don't have the strength of thought or fingers to go in-depth about it here). Blocking is mapped to a separate button or keystroke and attacks always hit. All Bethesda needs to do in the next game is improve on the system that they set up in Oblivion and add more complexity (as long as they don't overshoot and make the game too complicated). Magic was improved in much the same way. In the previous games the player was constrained by character skill as far as casting spells went. In Oblivion, every spell succeeds. This is good and bad. It is good because casting success is no longer random; it is bad because every character can cast magic, whether they have any skill with it or not (the same goes for most skills in the game). These streamlining features defeat the purpose of a lot of the game's mechanics and destroy a lot of that sense of role-play that the previous games had.

The quests in Oblivion were interesting enough. They improved on the previous titles' quests by adding more personality to each quest. Additionally, rewards for completing quests were generally more exciting. However, they sacrificed a lot of the quantity for the sake of making every quest special. They ought to have put in more generic quests to fill out the empty space (which Oblivion had a lot of). Not every job or task you do in everyday life has some dramatic turn.

OK, all of that being said, I'm going to tell you the biggest aspect of Oblivion that needs to be amended for TES: Skyrim: level-scaling. As your character advances in level, so do all of the enemies and all of the loot you find in dungeons. This sounds great on paper, but it ruins the purpose of progression in an RPG. Due to the scaling of enemies, it actually makes the game easier to never level up. Yes, you can save the world at level one (and it is a significantly easier task at that level). This gets me worked up to no end. This blind oversight works me into a white-hot rage just thinking about it. What were they thinking? Morrowind was fun because at a certain level, you were stronger than anything in the land! You could literally fly (Oblivion removed the spells that allowed you to fly) across the land dropping hellfire from your hands while the general populace was powerless to stop you! There was a real sense of improvement that made the game worthwhile!

I'm going to stop myself here. I feel that I have so much more to say about the game, but this has gone on for too long and it's starting to devolve into a mess of rants and loosely-related blocks of text. Oblivion was so close to being something great, but it ended up being a lifeless shell of a game. Unfortunately for nerds like me, the game sold so well that Bethesda is unlikely to address any of the above issues. They will likely continue the process of streamlining the game further until it is ground into a generic pulp. I may have to abandon the franchise before it really takes off. That's a downer for me...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sound Test 2

It's that time of the month again! In honor of the recent announcement of the newest installment of the Elder Scrolls series (slated for November 11th of the coming year), I present to you this month's sound test.

Imagine a door in a dark room. It opens and light spills into your world. A hero stands surrounded by the light, creating a dramatic silhouette. Is he a axe-wielding barbarian, a swashbuckling rogue, or perhaps a venerable sorcerer? Maybe the hero is in fact a heroine (I'm just messing with you, a woman couldn't possibly defeat the evil Jagar Tharn and become the Eternal Champion of Tamriel, right?).

In The Elder Scrolls: Arena, you can choose to be any of these and a myriad more. Before you even begin playing, the game prompts you to create your character. There are eight races to be, 21 classes to choose from, and eight stats to be rolled. During the process a rousing tune plays. It is the subject this month's sound test.

I disdain the gross overuse of the word 'epic' in today's society, but this song has no other word to better describe it. It has a driving percussion sound that evokes the image of the mythical Hephaestus hammering out wonderous creations in the belly of a volcano. The song builds up from a simple beginning and continues to develop while a drum bangs out the 10/8 time throughout. It is a glorious song that shadows the meteoric rise of the player character from an anonymous prisoner to savior of an empire.
They don't make 'em like this anymore, folks:

TES: Arena Character Creation Music (Soundtrack Version)
Character Creation Process (Intro sequence, character creation, and first dungeon)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Star Fox Guide to Romance

Star Fox 64 is one of the most awesome quotable games ever. Everyone knows this. What some men out there may not have ever realized is that these quotes could in fact secretly contain messages to help them find love. Luckily for those men I am here to translate. So without further adieu here is a Star Fox guide to love.


Never give up. Trust your instincts. – James McCloud

Translation: Exactly what it says. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Go for the chest! – Peppy Hare

Translation: Boobs are awesome, and should be used as a tool in selecting a potential mate if you are doing it based on looks alone.

Let’s take ‘em all out! – Falco Lombardi

Translation: It’s a numbers game; you have to go after as many women as you can until you find the right one.

You’re not getting away that easy! – Slippy Toad

Translation: Don’t give up after one rejection, she may be playing hard to get. Don’t go overboard though stalking a woman is never a good idea.

Looks like you could use some help, Fox – Bill Grey.

Translation: In case things go wrong it is always good to have a wingman. Even if it is just a dog………a gay dog.

Location confirmed. Sending supplies. – ROB 64

Translation: Make sure your wingman knows where you are at all times, so he can be ready to supply you with protection if necessary.


You can’t beat me, I’ve got a better ship! – Pigma Dengar

Translation: Women like cool cars. Pick them up for dates in cool cars, and they will like you.

Don’t get too cocky, Star Fox. – Wolf O’Donnel

Translation: Confidence is important, but too much can turn a woman off.

This is one steep bill! But it’s worth it. – General Pepper

Translation: Don’t be cheap. Pay for her dinner/drinks. Things will work out better for you if you do.

I’ve got a present for ya! – Attack Carrier

Translation: Buy girls presents. They like presents.


Here it comes! – Fox McCloud

Translation: BOW CHICKA BOW WOW!

(Well I apologize for all of the quotes that are missing links, but I can only find 2 websites that have the audio clips and unfortunately the one with the better selection is apparently run by a bunch of assholes who don't want to share the glory that is star fox with the rest of the world.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Christmas Tale

For the past little while schoolwork (and halo, and sonic colors, and assassins creed brotherhood, but mostly schoolwork) has wedged itself into my life and made it impossible for me to even consider writing anything for this blog. Tonight however is a rare occasion where I have no homework due tomorrow, no friends on Xbox live to join, and no pressing matter to attend to (I don’t have to use the bathroom). So that leaves me with an entirely new dilemma: what to write for this blog. I like to imagine that all 9 of you readers care immensely about seeing the blog updated frequently, and I as one of your humble writers will seek to appease you...

Well, I just perused some of the games in my collection of gems (and a few turds) and have decided to analyze a story for you. It is a story of love, of evil desire, of facing one’s inner demons to overcome an opposition and become a greater person. Of course, I’m referring to the story in the instruction manual of Sonic CD

Fast Facts:

System: Sega CD (Mega CD) PC

Release Date: Mega-CD JP September 23, 1993 NA November 19, 1993

PC: JP August 9, 1996 NA September 26, 1996 EU October 3, 1996

7 Zones, 3 Acts Each

Average Ebay Price: around 20-30 dollars for complete package.

Rated #1 Sonic Game by Screw Attack

Fun Fact: The US version and JP version have entirely different music. A lot of people criticized (and still today critizie) the American soundtrack, and this fact alone caused the game to get lower scores among some reviewers.

The Story:

A World That Defies Time!

“Sonic, where are you going now?”

Sonic the Hedgehog looked over his shoulder at Princess Sally, (as a fanboy, I need to gripe here. This character is for all intents and purposes Amy Rose. Princess Sally Acorn is and only ever has been in the Sonic Comic books done by Archie Comics. Apparently at one point they were going to kill her off, but Sega didn’t let them because they wanted to put her in a game. That was a long time ago. I’m still waiting, Sega…) the young hedgehog who was racing hot on his heels.

“To Never Lake,” he called back.

“Why Never Lake?”

Sonic slowed down a little so he could explain. “Ever heard of the Little Planet?”

“Isn’t that the tiny world that orbits around Mobius?” Princess Sally asked. “The one with the special stones that alter time and change everything around them? I heard that the planet’s full of places that are completely ignored by the passage of time!”

“Yeah. On the last month of every year, the Little Planet appears over Never Lake. It’s that time now, and I’m going to check it out. I bet space travel will be exciting!”

“With all those Time Stones, I bet you’ll try to outrun time itself!”

Princess Sally sighed in adoration.

Sonic didn’t reply, he just smiled, eyes gleaming.

When they arrived at Never Lake, the Little Planet was there as expected. But something was wrong. Where there should have been tall trees and bright flowers, there was nothing dry sand and jagged rocks. The Little Planet was tethered to a rock with a huge chain, and its surface was covered with twisted, gleaming metal.

“What happened?” Princess Sally wondered.

Before Sonic could reply, something wooshed over them. Princess Sally shrieked as she was snatched up, and she and her captor vanished in a blue streak of light!


It didn’t take long for Sonic to realize what had happened.

“This has to be one of Dr. Robotnik’s tricks!”

Indeed it was! Upon discovering the location of the Little Planet, the evil Dr. Robotnik and his robot cronies had immediately set about converting it to a giant fortress. When Robotnik saw Sonic approaching, he had dispatched his prize creation, the Metal Sonic, to grab Princess Sally and lure his arch enemy into danger.

“How convenient!” Robotnik crowed, bouncing about like a malicious rubber ball. “This time my scientific expertise will crush you! Once all the Time Stones are in my hands, I’ll be able to manipulate time and conquer the world! HO, HO, HO, HO!”

Sonic stood on a rock and thought. Robotnik had control of the Little Planet. He had Princess Sally, and soon he would have the Time Stones… but not if Sonic got to them first!

His adventure on the Little Planet was going to be more exciting and dangerous than he’d planned. It was time to get a move on!

So how is that a Christmas Story? well as you can see, it’s the last month of the year. The Little Planet has come and will only be here for a little time, so what will you do? Will you let this once in a lifetime chance pass? Will you allow yourself to be content with your mundane, everyday life for another year? Or will you get a move on? Will you do something you’ve always wanted to do? Will you face your fears? As Rocky says in Rocky 6, maybe you’ve got something you’ve always wanted to do-something you’ve wanted to say to someone, SOMETHING. And after you’ve done all you can do, who’s got the right to stop you? Nobody. So in this last month of 2010, accomplish something. Do what you wanted to do. Save your own personal Princess Sally. Also, eat a ton of food, give presents to your family and friends, and of course, play some vigigames. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, or uh…Good Kwanza?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A little prose on being a collector

This is a repost from an old blog that ProtoScott and I started a while back.  I thought it would work well here since people actually read this blog. Enjoy!

Being a Nintendo collector, despite being big heaps of fun, is not easy.  Where I live, there are four stores that specialize in old/used video games. Three of these are part of a local franchise business, while the fourth is a separate entity. These stores are great and, for the most part, the employees are very helpful. Case in point; I was scouring the city hoping to find a copy of F-Zero X for the N64 – quite honestly it’s one of the best futuristic racing games ever, and certainly the best on that particular console. The employee helping me at the time checked all of their locations in the city, but ended up having it shipped from Indianapolis. Now, we’re talking about a $5 game here. I’m pretty sure that they spent more on the shipping than I paid for it. That’s customer service (cyber shout out to McVan’s Video Games).

This isn’t the case for every game though. Anyone who has ever looked into purchasing an old cartridge knows that games can range from $0.50 to hundreds of dollars. For the most part, when I go and buy an old game (usually for the NES or SNES) I’m going to spend around $10 per game on average. That isn’t to say I haven’t made a few impulse buys. Just the other day, I spent $30 on Final Fantasy II. Was it worth it? Totally. If you are a gamer and you are getting into the retro systems, be prepared to spend a good chunk of money. For the most part, a store that specializes in old games will know the rarity and street value for just about every cartridge they have. You could find an online store ( for example) and usually the same game will be about the same price.

But that’s boring. Going into a store and just picking up the game you want doesn’t supply any fun. It’s like grocery shopping; you know what you are going to buy before you even go in, so there aren’t any surprises. However, just recently, I had an experience that had the potential to be very joyous for my consoles.

I like to browse the local Craigslist ads just to see if anyone is selling old systems for cheap. I happened to find a guy that was selling his entire NES collection, which included: The NES system, an Advantage controller, a 3rd party controller, light gun, and 11 games. If you were to buy everything he was selling from a dealer it would cost somewhere around the $170 range. He was selling this collection for $65. Unfortunately, the timing was off. By the time I could have arranged a time to buy it from him, he would have moved to a different state. But this occurrence gave me that rush that one feels when they find a veritable gold mine in what someone else considers trash.

There are a lot of people in this world who don’t put any value in video games. Sure, they have a few lying around in their closet, but they’d much rather get rid of them and make a few bucks than spend a few moments on the internet to find out what they are actually worth. This is where collectors like ProtoScott, Heavily Armed Timo, willtaculer, and myself have fun. Sometimes, you can find rare games with street values of $20+ in someone’s garage sale for a buck. It feels like stealing, but it’s the good kind of stealing. The only downside is that these treasures are few and far between. Most people know that they can take their games to a dealer and get cash, so stumbling across those cheap and rare games has become difficult, if not near impossible. But that’s not to say it isn’t possible to find one man’s trash that is your plastic treasure. Keep your eyes open and you never know what you’ll find. Also, if you are selling your games, my email is I also take donations.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Favorite Trilogy: Jak & Daxter

   The PlayStation 2 was an important console for me.  I don’t really know why, since I’ve owned way too many crap games, but it definitely holds a large place in my heart when it comes to consoles (granted, probably not the largest).  One of the greatest games on that system is Jak & Daxter.  It’s a relatively simple platformer, but the story is fantastic and the gameplay is amazing.  Surprisingly, not many people know that J&D was actually the first game in an expansive trilogy.  The sequels were titled Jak II and Jak III, choosing to remove Daxter from the title, though not from the game (we need our comedic relief from somewhere).  Before I dive into the amazingness that is the J&D series, I’d like to preface my argument with a quick note: There are spinoffs to this series, and they aren’t that great.  One of these spinoffs is sometimes considered the fourth game of the series, “Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier.”  Those who consider this game as part of the main series are wrong, including Wikipedia. That’s right. I said it.  This game is nothing like the main three games, and the story is solidly wrapped up within the trilogy, so for the sake of this blog, I’m going to ignore this game and the two other spinoffs, and focus on just the trilogy.
   I’d rather not have to summarize each game, as the stories are crazy expansive and I don’t like to talk forever on one thing like ProtoScott does, but unfortunately, some familiarization is necessary.  Jak is a simple young lad, with a mouthy friend, Daxter.  They live in a peaceful town and life is good, until our two characters go exploring and see some baddies up to no good.  Oh, and Daxter turns into a small, ferret-like creature called an ottsel (which is apparently half weasel, half otter).   The cause of this transformation, and also a huge component in the trilogy, is a material called “eco.”  It represents a sort of life force for everything in the world.   There is also time travel in the trilogy.
   Down to what makes this trilogy great.  The story is incredible.  ‘Nuff said.  There are tons of side stories and side quests in the later sequels that develop each and every tiny character.  The first game provides an epic farmboy-turned-hero story that, while it may feel cliché, is refreshed by an incredibly vivid world and hilarious characters.  The later stories are much darker and epic.  Jak becomes fueled by dark eco and also gains some new weaponry in the form of a constantly-upgraded gun.  I really don’t want to give too much away because I believe that everyone should play this trilogy to see how the game develops from a simple platformer, to an expansive action RPG. 
   When it comes to characters, the J&D series has it all.  Each character looks fantastic and doesn’t ever come across as recycled.  Also, every single one exhibits brilliant voice acting.  The design of every baddie is also very cool. From humanoids to “metalheads,” each one provides depth and sometimes terror for the player.  Personally, it’s the voice acting that sells each character for me.  All of the voices match the look and attitude displayed by the characters, and they are also written in such a way that you feel whatever emotion they are meant to display. 
   While it’s not the best-known trilogy on any system, the J&D series is fantastic.  I’ve played through it many times in my life and it never gets old.  I laugh at every joke, despite having many of them memorized, and I know every twist and turn.  I highly recommend this game to any gamer who is a fan of action RPGs, platformers, and awesome stories.  The J&D series is worth playing, and for those who have the PS3, rumor has it that the entire series will be released for the console at some point.  Please check these games out… I beg you… You won’t regret it.

A Few Thousand Words About Mega Man 3

Anyone who knows me even remotely well knows that my favorite game is Mega Man 3. It has been since the first time I played it as a little kid, and it always will be. I have easily beaten it 50 times. I have forced all of my close friends to play it. I have beaten it on the emulators, on the Mega Man anniversary collection, and even worn my ipod’s battery out trying to beat it on there. I have beaten this game so many times that I can beat levels with one hand and bosses with my eyes closed (no this is not an exaggeration). It is the epitome of what a game should be (at least an NES game) and as such I can think of no better game to be the subject of my first review on this blog.

Rather than just continue to nonsensically prattle on about all the lame memories and geeky habits I have with Mega Man 3 I think it would be better if I examined the game in terms of the elements that I think contribute most to making a game great.


The main story of this game is your pretty basic Mega Man stuff: Dr. Wiley (more commonly Dr. Wily) deceives you into helping him, you fight 8 robot masters, after beating the masters Wiley turns on you and reveals his evil scheme, and then you go to stop him. This storyline may seem stale to some (as it is basically the story to every Mega Man game) but for me it is the only way a Mega Man story should be.
Now I know you are saying to yourself “well Scott that story doesn’t really seem worthy of an 8 even by NES standards” and to that I say “shut up I am not done explaining myself!” The aspect of this story that I feel makes it worthy of an 8 is the side plot of Protoman (hey that’s where I got my name from!!!). Protoman, as you find out at the end of the game, is (20 YEAR OLD SPOILER ALERT) Mega Man’s brother. He is your classic tortured villain fighting an inner battle between wanting to please his master, and wanting to protect his younger brother. If you play through the game in the order I do (Top man, Shadow man, Spark man, Magnet man, Hard man, Gemini man, Needle man, and Snake man) you will see him go from fighting you on your journey, to helping you move forward, and eventually to saving you from Wiley’s crumbling fortress at the last minute. Now that is some pretty serious depth for an 8-bit prototype robot.

Score: 8 Out of 10 (By NES standards)

Game Play:

It is pretty obvious why this is a criterion for a good game since you know it is basically the whole concept for what the game is and all. Luckily for Mega Man 3 everyone (read: I) loves fast paced action platforming, and this game has it out the wazoo.

While the platforming and action elements are a major component of the game play, they are a pretty standard idea for the NES. What really sets this game, and all Mega Man games apart, is what can only be referred to as the “rock, paper, scissors” element. Upon defeating each boss in the game you will receive a power from them, and each boss in the game is weak to one of the other bosses powers, so the best way to attain success in the game is for you to learn what weapon is best suited to defeat each boss. This allows for hours of extra play time as you test out different weapons on different bosses to find out the most effective way to defeat your robot enemies. This gives the game tons of replay value, and gives you a real sense of accomplishment when you are finally able to come up with the best way to defeat each of Wiley’s dastardly henchmen.

Score: 10 out of 10

Perhaps the most important thing for any NES game is the control. Far too many otherwise good games are ruined by the fact that you slide all over the place when you stop moving, or that when you jump you have no ability to change direction, or worst of all by horrible button layout (damn to the depths whoever thought making anything other than A the jump button was a good idea). Bad control simply takes the genuine fun challenge out of a game and makes you feel less like you are battling the characters in the game and more battling the characters themselves. Luckily, this is where Mega Man 3 truly shines.

The control in this game is nothing short of perfect. Mega Man bends to your every whim. If you decide you need to bail out mid jump and try again, well that is no problem just turn your ass around in the air (provided you haven’t gone too far forward). And unlike previous Mega Man games, if you are running and need to stop quickly to dodge and enemy you can do so on a dime without any of the slight forward slides. Speaking of slides, perhaps the greatest aspect of control in this game is the newly added power slide feature. This empowers you with the ability to make a quick get away from an opponent and to add just a little bit of extra forward momentum to your jumps, making even the most difficult of situations a synch to master. The great control compliments the game play, and leaves you with no one to blame but yourself if you should die at any point in the game.

Score: 10 out of 10


As Timo mentioned in his Sound Test Blog I, like all the other members of this blog, am a musician so obviously one of the most important features of a game for me is the music. This should be obvious since the Japanese name for Mega Man is Rock Man but I think it needs to be said: This game’s soundtrack ROCKS! From the hauntingly beautiful and melodic title screen music, to the bass heavy and bluesy (read: sleazy) jam that is Shadow Man’s theme, all the way to the just plain trippy music that accompanies Gemini Man’s level; This game’s music burrows into your brain and will have you singing along and wanting to do heavy metal covers in no time. They may all be simple 30 to 40 second loops but those little loops go a long way toward making this game achieve total pwnage (obligatory use of the word pwn in a video game blog).

Specialty Awards for Each of the 8 Main Songs:

1. Top Man: MOST ROCK AND ROLL (What guitar player wouldn’t want to play this song?)
3. Spark Man: MOST APPROPRIATE DRUMS (The hi-hat sounds like sparks to me)
8. Needle Man: MOST FORGETTABLE (It still rocks though)

Score: 10 out of 10


The level design in this game is superb, and diverse. Rather than simply pallet swap and change a few minor details about the levels, like some NES games try to get away with, each level in this game has its own unique feel that keeps the game from getting stale, and thus keeps players hooked.

In the interest of putting as much information into this long delayed review as possible I will go into brief detail on each of the main levels.

Top Man’s Stage: A good first level for people just getting started with Mega Man, this level, while a bit polluted with enemies in the beginning, does not have any insanely difficult jumping sequences and possesses a lot of common enemies so you can get used to fighting them early on. Most people usually find it only slightly difficult or easy, with the exception of the first cat mini-boss.

This is not the greatest stage visually, being that it is a level about tops and the entire thing looks to be built of containers of pot leaves, but hey it is still tons of fun to play and it will most likely be the one that you play the most as top man is the easiest first boss.

Most annoying part: The first couple screens. All those jumping enemies can get old real fast.

Most fun part: The jumps across the hovering tops before the boss gate. The effect of Mega Man spinning closer and further away on them looks cool.

Score: 10 out of 10

Shadow Man’s Stage: The difficulty gets ramped up a little bit more on this level. Jumps with enemies to deal with at the same time may leave some people frustrated at first. The developers did do a good job of making the play diverse in this stage. You have your intro falling part, followed quickly by a mysterious whistle toting mini-boss, then the challenge of having all the lights knocked out so you can’t see the ground, and then jumping across the platforms to the boss gate with floating enemies falling down on you.

The stage is ok visually, but I am not sure what what appears to be magma has to do with a ninja themed boss. Really who cares though lava and ninjas are both awesome so having them together is just twice as awesome. It is just a nice satisfying dark level overall.

Most annoying part: The jumps to the boss gate. The only way I know to avoid the enemies that fall effectively is to constantly jump back and forth between the platforms so I can kill them from the previous platform.

Most fun part: The aforementioned lights out part. It looks cool and it is exciting.

Score: 9 out of 10

Spark Man’s Stage: This is one of the toughest levels for a lot of people, particularly toward the end. The enemies in the level are for the most part a synch but the jumping sections can take you out if you don’t have the skill for them (which you most likely won’t your first time playing). You will be forced to jump across platforms that move upward toward a ceiling of instant death spikes while at the same time trying to dodge flying bolt enemies that can knock you off. It is pretty difficult and it may just drive you insane. Still the difficulty only serves to make it all the more satisfying to beat and this is personally one of my favorite levels to play

Visually, this stage is the first one that really hits it on the money, and when you play it it doesn’t require a huge stretch of the imagination to see that it will have an electricity themed boss. The circuit board floors and ceilings aren’t beautiful but at least they create a recognizable atmosphere.

Most annoying part: Any part with the platforms that float up toward the instant death ceilings. It is incredibly nerve racking.

Most fun part: The 4 or 5 screen falling part with no enemies. I like to put on the top spin power and ballerina spin the whole way down.

Score: 10 out of 10

Magnet Man’s Stage: While not the most difficult stage, this is probably the one that is most likely to make you stop playing Mega Man 3, because it is certainly the most annoying level. Not only does it contain the first appearance of what I believe to be the most annoying enemy in the game (the stupid guys that shoot the little missile out of their head), but it also has the most tedious jumping part of the whole game. Midway through the level you face a section with blocks that disappear and reappear and you cannot move on (unless you play the game in a way that gives you rush jet earlier) unless you make it cross these blocks. This would not be so bad on its own but all the while there are magnets that suck you off of the blocks if you stand too close to them. You can easily get too frustrated and spend 20 minutes on this stupid part, and since usually don’t die when you fall off of the blocks you have no real reason to stop trying. It can be a pest, but it is worth it to persevere and get passed as you are only a short distance away from the boss gate.

Visually, this level is hit and miss. I find that I enjoy the intro portion where you can see the sky and really like the look of the batteries that power the magnets that suck you toward them, but the color scheme is pretty gross. Putrid green backgrounds with boring gray floors. Magnet Man needs a new decorator. This is only really something that will bug you when you are stuck at the disappearing block section as you are often forced to look at the throw-up walls for long periods of time.

Most annoying part: The sound the blocks make when they appear. I have nightmares about it.

Most fun part: The beginning part with the magnets that pick you up. I know that they are supposed to be enemies but I find them fun to just play around with as only a few of them ever really hurt you.

Score: 9 out of 10

Hard Man’s Stage: Difficulty wise this stage is probably a bit easier than the previous two were. The bee enemies in it can be a bit of a hassle but you can glitch them off of the screen so they are rarely an issue. Other than the bees and the bear traps most of the enemies shouldn’t give most players an issue though. Even without the intense challenge of the previous levels this level is still exciting due to its contrast of tight areas with barely any room to jump and wide open areas with almost nothing in them.

Visually it is pretty awesome. It gives the impression of fighting in an abandoned construction zone of mine shaft, and even though it doesn’t have any incredibly complex graphics or really a theme that seems to go with a boss (what the hell can you do with a name like Hard Man though) it is still an exciting environment to destroy robots in.

Most annoying part: Fighting Protoman. The ground is raised which leaves you with no really effective strategy for avoiding taking damage.

Most fun part: Glitching the bee enemies off of the screen. I love stuff like that in old games.

Score: 9.5 out of 10

Gemini Man’s Stage: This is one of the hardest and most fun levels in the entire game. There are tons of enemies, instant death pits, and difficult jumps. This can be frustrating at first, but once you get used to it the challenge just ups the excitement and joy you get from beating it. As an added bonus a lot of the enemies in this level are unique, which adds a lot of much needed spice to the game at around the halfway point(provided you are playing it my way through at least, and are also only considering the first 8 levels). Try to get over your stress on this level because if you do it can be one of the most thrilling parts of the game.

This is the best level visually. It is insanely awesome. The beginning outside portion with the starlit sky in the background is a great way to start the level since you don’t often have night time levels, but once you get to the indoor portion it is even better. The whole level feels like you are parading around inside of a giant fish. Things are dark and look damp, and the fact that floor is constantly changing colors is a really awesome effect. This level just has a very satisfying and unique look that will immediately draw in players that may have (somehow) gotten tired of the more industrial feel of the last few levels.

Most annoying part: The part where you have to either jump over or travel through the water in rush jet. It is difficult no matter which option you choose, and even the most seasoned of players can mess up and die here.

Most fun part: Shooting your way through the weird eggs that block your path. Little sperm totally cum out of them LOLZ.

Score: 10 out of 10

Needle Man’s Stage: There is not a whole lot to say about this stage game play wise. It is pretty medium in difficulty and doesn’t have a whole lot of frustrating or memorable parts. To me it has always felt as though it were a little too short. It is not a bad level but it is probably the only level that I would ever consider adding anything too. I will say that the needles, while a very obvious tie in to the boss name, are pretty fun to dodge when they come down from the ceiling.

What this level lacks in memorable challenges it makes up for in style. This is perhaps the second most visually appealing level. It has a sweet metropolitan feel to it and the color scheme outstanding. The best way I can describe it is sort of like a space pirate ship (this is probably just because of the canon enemies). Also it probably contains the only appealing use of green in the whole game.

Most annoying part: The porcupine enemies. They always shoot their needles and block the last shot that I need to hit them with to kill them.

Most fun part: The enemies that throw the ball and chain at you. You can totally kill them below their attack range by staying just barely on the ladder.

Score: 8 out of 10

Snake Man’s Stage: This level starts out pretty basic just a few snake themed enemies to kill (oh and dumb jumping enemies that have nothing to do with snakes but are still fun to watch hop around) but gets a bit more exciting with the part up in the sky at the end where you have to jump across the floating clouds and dodge the bullet bill wannabe clouds. By this point in the game there aren’t a whole lot of surprises in the 8 main levels but this one is still well designed and a lot of fun to play.

If you are a fan of green then you will love how this level looks.

Most annoying part: The really wide jump after the second snake mini-boss. I always think that I am not going to make it.

Most fun part: The part up in the sky. It is the only part that isn’t green.

Score: 9 out of 10

Wily Stages: These stages are awesome and since I have already talked about the first 8 stages in detail I will let any potential players be more surprised by these stages. They basically compile all of the best elements of the previous levels as well as add a few challenges of their own.

Most annoying part: Memorizing the pattern to the second stages boss.

Most fun part: Beating the game. WITH TOP SPIN! (whoops should’ve called spoiler alert again)

Score:10 out of 10

Overall Score for Levels: 9.4 out of 10
(Yes, I know I skipped the second time through Spark Man, Gemini Man, Shadow Man, and Needle Man’s stages with the Mega Man 2 bosses. I am tired of writing about levels though so just imagine everything I already said only slightly more difficult.)

Character Design:

Ok I was gonna put a lot here, but this is getting way too long and out of control so let me sum it up for you.

These Characters get 10 out of 10 for their awesome design: Mega Man, Protoman, Top Man, Spark Man, Shadow Man, Hard Man, Needle Man, Gemini Man, Magnet Man, Dr. Light, and Dr. Wiley.

These Characters get 1 out of 10 for just looking like a dude wearing a lame snake costume: Snake Man.


Score: 9.3 out of 10


Final Thoughts:
This game may not be perfect in every single aspect, but it is in all the areas that really count to me, control, gameplay, and music. Sure the character design sucks some times (*cough*Snake Man*cough*) and the theme of the levels doesn’t always go along with the boss the, but nostalgic value that I have for the game makes even the little flaws seem endearing to me and really boosts every category to a perfect 10.
Weighted Nostalgic Overall Rating: 10000000 out of 10

P.S. Sorry this sucker is so long. I really love this game.

P.P.S. I apologize for any lack of consistency when it comes to putting a space between the first part of a robots name and the word “man”. I am never sure how it should actually be and I generally change the way that I write it on a daily basis.