Re(?)Considered: Mega Man X3

The worst of the SNES trilogy, but far from the worst in the series

I really dislike Mega Man X3. I've been pilloried for this before, metaphorically stung with vicious verbal barbs, physically bruised by thrown projectiles. But I have weird Mega Man X opinions in general, I suppose; the only ones I really like are the original, X5 and X8. And X5 is mostly interesting on a conceptual level rather than actually fun to play. Anyway, Mega Man X3. It's terrible.

Its direct predecessor X2 was still novel enough, though cracks were already starting to show in the bizarre structure that saw you gathering sidekick Zero's "parts" (oo-er!) from the X-Hunters; essentially a different experience every time, but mostly it just ended up funneling you wherever the game needed you to go for the "good ending", encouraging you not to care about it lest you have a much more frustrating experience.

Mega Man X3 is full of strange stuff like this; most prominently, it's absolutely overdosed on collectables, for one thing. Besides the now-customary four extra armour pieces that X can pick up, there are also four additional chips (computer chips, not tasty chips) you can find, but only one of these can be activated at once, so going to all the effort to find them (and they are very well hidden to the point of being baffling) is pointless, since you can only take one with you. Oh! Unless you're going for the ultimate Golden Armour upgrade, which requires you to collect everything in the game except the chips, as it grants you the power of all four, thus incentivising getting 100% collection except only kind of? Not really?

The Mavericks selection screen, because it's the best part of the game.

There are also multiple types of Ride Armour here, which would be cool if they weren't extremely situational and basically only used to access further items, like a key turning in a door. Nothing here is particularly intuitive and the giant mecha aren't fun to use, which is an absurd outcome.

God, what else is bad? Ah, the music is appalling. Sorry, I know some people like it, but that squashy SNES faux-guitar doesn't work here. It's cool hearing Neon Tiger's stage take on Guns N' Roses' "My Michelle" - once - but holds no other appeal. The bosses barely seem to animate much of the time, giving it all a slapdash, lazy feel. Visually many of the levels look extremely similar, too, feeling pedestrian in their design and lacking interesting set-pieces. Remember getting chased by the lava in Flame Stag's stage, the enormous moving vehicle that was Wheel Gator's stage, and the gigantic sliding crystals of, well, Crystal Snail's stage? Nothing like that here. It's a factory, a different kind of factory, and a sort of additional set of factories. Properly boring stuff.

I don't normally like to be negative on here, but seeing that Mega Man X3 had turned 25 I just couldn't resist expressing my distaste for it. Of course, it's worth noting that it's still a Mega Man X game, with all the slick controls and dashing action that come with it. Air-dashing still feels good and it's still an order of magnitude better than X6 or X7.

Mega Man X3? More like Mega Man :(. It's an emoticon joke. Look, shut up.