After the runaway success of Mega Man 2, Capcom realized they had a hit franchise on their hands, and it was only natural for them to soon follow up with Mega Man 3 in 1990.The story is centered some time after 2, where Dr. Wily has seemingly reformed after his previous two defeats, and is now working alongside Dr. Light to build a peacekeeping robot called Gamma. However, a batch of robot masters in charge of eight mining operations go berserk and start reaking havoc. Naturally, Mega Man is sent off to stop the rogue machines, this time with the help of his new canine companion, Rush! Along his journies, he encounters a mysterious being called Break Man, who keeps fighting him, as if to test him...Obviously, it turns out Dr. Wily was behind the whole scheme, tricking Mega Man into defeating the robot masters so he could steal Light's prototype robot and use it for his own evil ends. Oh yes, and "Break Man" turns out to be Proto Man, Mega Man's long lost older brother.All in all, 3 was another hit in the series, selling over a million copies and receiving excellent critical reception, although not quite on par with 2. The refined gameplay of 2 was expanded upon further, with the "Items" turned into the far more flexible Rush vehicles, a much higher limit on how many E-Tanks you could carry (nine instead of four), and a new slide move. On top of that, 3 is the longest game in the entire NES Mega Man series, with a whopping 18 stages total! Unfortunately, Keiji Inafune claimed that 3 was his least favorite Mega Man game, due to the strained development of the game keeping it from reaching its full potential in his eyes, as well as losing the simplicity of the previous two games.As with 1 and 2, 3 would later receive a 16-bit upgrade as part of the Europe and Japan-onlyMega Man: The Wily Wars/Rockman Megaworld cartridge for the Sega Genesisnote Aside from being a Sega Channel exclusive for a brief time. It would also receive a Japan-only PS1 re-release as Rockman 3: Complete Works, complete with remixed music and bonus content. The game would eventually get a major re-release as part of Anniversary Collection for PS2, Gamecube and Xbox, and it is now available on Virtual Console.Robot Masters:
All There in the Manual: The only way to learn about the story, since the game's rushed production didn't afford it the luxury of having an intro cutscene.
Continuity Nod: The Eight Doc Robots download the attack patterns of the eight Robot Master bosses from Mega Man 2, and the ending scene that looks up all of Dr. Light's Robot Masters shows the six bosses from Mega Man 1.
Also, stages 1 and 2 of Doctor Wily's fortress bear more than a passing resemblance to the first and fourth Wily stages from the previous game.
Crate Expectations: A form of this appears as canisters with a "?" on them. Shooting them gets you a random item, from a small energy refill to a 1-Up to an Energy Tank. They were exclusive to this game, however the mechanic was modified into Eddie in later games.
Disc One Final Boss: The Wily Machine. As soon as it's destroyed and Dr. Wily starts begging for mercy, "his" head pops off, revealing that he's a robotic fake.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Doc Robots, arguably. They simply just appear after the 8 Robot Masters are defeated, and are then not mentioned or even referenced in later games. Heck, even on the stage select screen, they simply appear as mysterious silhouettes, and the usual boss intro screen simply displays a question mark symbol and nothing else.
Hollywood Magnetism: Magnet Man is able to pull Mega Man in towards himself whenever he activates his magnetic field. It'll pull Mega Man in at the same speed regardless of your location on the screen.
Lethal Joke Weapon: The Top Spin is often ridiculed as the worst weapon in the series when it's actually quite potent in the right hands. It's a One-Hit Kill on any non-boss enemy except Hammer Joes. It is also the weakness of Shadow Man and no less than three bosses in the Wily stages, including the Final Boss, which it downs in one hit.
Long Song, Short Scene: A few tunes, like the Skull Castle intermission theme and Proto Man's theme in the cast roll, never played in their entirety. And thanks to the lack of an opening, you're unlikely to pay attention to the main theme of this game when first playing it.
Nerf: The Shadow Blade is a weakened version of the Metal Blade from 2. Despite its lower range and higher energy cost, it's still an incredibly useful weapon, which goes to show just how broken the Metal Blade was.
Obvious Beta: A much less severe example than most, though there are still some quirks at times (uneven energy use for the Top Spin, all Robot Masters being weak to their own weapons, inaccurate Skull Castle map paths, etc).
One-Hit Kill: All it takes to defeat Gamma's second form is one Top Spin.
Power Copying: Naturally, but there's a twist this time: the hologram Mega Men fortress boss, instead of mirroring whatever weapon you've got readied, can fire plasma shots in any direction instead of just left or right.
However, to avoid it being useless or having incredibly obvious "use it here" sections, it breaks the normal "angle of reflection equals angle of incidence" rule of physics, and the first bounce will always be a 45 degree upward angle. Subsequent bounces will follow the rule.
Remixed Level: After beating all eight robot masters, you don't go directly to a fortress like in most games. Instead, Spark Man, Needle Man, Gemini Man, and Shadow Man's stages will open back up. They have drastically different layouts and each of them has two Doc Robot bosses, which mimic the robot masters from Mega Man 2.
Sequel Hook/The Stinger: Though it seemed Wily had been crushed by the debris from his collapsing fortress, you can see what looks like his saucer floating away in the distance as Mega Man is gazing up at the sky during the ending.