Mega Man X3 - Zero Project is a ROM hack of Mega Man X3 made by Justin3009. As its name implies, the ROM hack expands on Zero's playability by making him usable throughout the entire game and giving him features that weren't available to him in the vanilla game and making its gameplay very akin to what is seen from Mega Man X5 onwards.
The game is currently in v4.0. It allows you to play as Zero in the intro stage, adding a fully functional save feature with a New Game+ function, and much needed balancing for the game. Later versions intend to alter dialogue and give Zero his swordplay from later games, but that's for Justin to decide on the future whether he'll keep working with the mod or not.
- Adaptation Expansion: Zero can now use weapons, and Ride Armors. In v4.0, he loses the capability of charging special weapons and using upgrades in exchange for being able to Double Jump and air dash on the fly and his Black Armor gives him a massive agility upgrade.
- In v4.0, Zero is also playable right from the intro stage if you want. Should you choose to, when he's captured by Mac, X takes his place in that section of the stage and Zero even berates himself for falling for Mac's trap.
- Zero also gets his own dialogues and ending to keep up with X.
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- The hack removes the original game's Character Select Forcing by letting Zero face bosses and minibosses rather than forcing him out of the stage with X. If the Mosquitus miniboss in the second Doppler stage is beaten as Zero, however, he will still be rendered unplayable for the remainder of the game.
- The X-Buster upgrade works like the upgrade from Mega Man X2 by letting X fire both charged shots at once rather than stopping him in place to prepare the next shot. Its properties are also changed; instead of spreading out when they collide, the Cross Buster now crosses itself at a point, allowing you to hit things with all pellets if you get the range right.
- Ride Armors can be used as soon as a Ride Armor Module is found rather than forcing the player to find the one in Blast Hornet's stage.
- Volt Catfish's forced use of the Gravity Well is now replaced with a section of spiked walls to challenge X's vertical dash and Zero's Double Jump abilities, allowing you to get the Chest part without having to beat Gravity Beetle first.
- The released version of v4.0 has changes to some breakable objects to compensate for Zero's inability to charge special weapons. Crush Crawfish's blockade at the start of the stage can be dealt with using Tornado Fang or the Frog Ride Armor; Tunnel Rhino's boulders can be cut down with Zero's saber.
- In v4.0, one big bad bug that was never discovered until Justin decided to check it out, involving your chances to meet Bit and Byte, was fixed. Now you can meet them randomly anytime from beating two Mavericks up to all eight, and they now appear on stages you completed.
- The new save feature also saves your Subtank load, saving you the trouble of stopping at a completed stage to fill them. Not only that, it also saves the MAX Hyper Armor/Black Armor upgrades and you can carry them over to the New Game+ along with Zero's saber.
- The updated inventory in v4.0 allows you to keep track of both Zero and X's life gauges at the same time.
- Ascended Extra: Zero, naturally.
- Competitive Balance: Zero starts out with a double charge shot and the ability to charge special weapons, while X has to find armor parts to do these. To make up for this, Zero has a larger hitbox, gets no defensive upgrades (barring the Black Zero Armor, and uses more weapon energy.
- Update v4.0 changes this around. Zero becomes a slower character and loses the ability to charge special weapons, but comes with his Double Jump and Air Dash in hand, and his Black Armor basically makes him frighteningly agile. Also, some blockades which originally demanded charged weapons to work were changed to accomodate for Zero's limitations.
- Volt Catfish's Mercy Invincibility is changed on v4.0 due to his ridiculous frames, in exchange for now being frantic.
- Double Jump: Zero can get this ability from the Leg Upgrade Capsule in Blizzard Buffalo's stage.
- Lightning Bruiser: The v4.0 makes the Black Armor turn Zero into this, increasing jump height, dash speed and length and his walking speed, while also increasing his defenses and damage output.
- New Game+: v4.0 adds one to the game along with the save function, allowing you to take every upgrade along, including the MAX Hyper Armor/Black Armor.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The v4.0 update explains that the raid on the Hunter HQ is forcing one of the playable characters to stay back to help with repairs. X and Zero agree to switch roles in order to simultaneously help with rebuilding the HQ and fighting Doppler's forces.
- Video Game Dashing: Zero gains his air dash from the Leg Upgrade Capsule. Black Zero can air dash twice. v4.0 removes the double dash and makes Zero able to Air Dash from the go, but his Black Armor gains much more agility to compensate.