Super Robot Wars 3 was the first Super Robot Wars for the Super Famicom, and compared to its Famicom predecessor, it's still quite good to date. 3 is the first title to introduce backgrounds during combat animations, pilot and units stats and upgrades for playable units. Additionally, 3 features the first of many animated titles outside of the "Holy Trinity" of Mazinger Z, Getter Robo and Gundam.
Unfortunately, compared to anything afterwards, 3 pales in quality. However, most players are willing to forgive it for this because whatever quality it does have is evident in the obscene amounts of (very well done) Shout Outs to most of its series, ESPECIALLY Gundam.
The main plot of 3 is the arrival of the "Inspectors" hailing from the intergalatic "Zuvorg Alliance" who instantly pacify the Earth, deeming them too dangerous and a potential threat to the galaxy. Londo Bell, who had been forewarned of this impending invasion in Super Robot Wars 2, are ready to fight back.
The original Super Famicom release was fan-translated by Aeon Genesis.
Tropes prominent to Super Robot Wars 3 are:
- All There in the Manual: Subverted; the Inspectors eventually appear the player will deduce who they are at any rate, but it's possible to wind up skipping their introductions and motivations speech, thus having no clue what their real goals are for most of the game.
- Bag of Spilling: The Federation simply strips all the upgraded mecha from the Londo Bell without justification.
- Canon Ending: There are three possible routes in this game - one where Anavel Gato decides it's the smart thing to join the Londo Bell, one where Inspector Mekibos decides to assist the Earthlings via Non-Player Character for a scenario or two, and one where neither of these things happen. Super Robot Wars 4 establishes the Mekibos route is the canon one.
- Combat Pragmatist: Paptimus Scirocco is perfectly willing to tip off his enemies to your location for Enemy Mine benefits.
- Degraded Boss: While common to the franchise as a whole, 3 elevates this to an art form. The same mooks who likely gave you a hard time will return the favor a few scenarios later. This gets ridiculous when you realize this is S.O.P. to the ENTIRE GAME, with little to no variation, regardless of whether you're fighting the Divine Crusaders or the Inspectors.
- Disc-One Nuke: A couple, but in any scenario that isn't in space the Getter 3 and its "Daisetsusan Oroshi" attack, once you acquire it, will annihilate anything. Additionally, since the unit comes with three sets of Spirit Commands from its three pilots, it gives you access to pretty much all available Spirit Commands in the game, except the "Love" Spirit Command.
- Enemy Mine:
- The only reason why most of the Divine Crusaders are willing to get along (despite fairly major series canon incompatibilities); in short, they all hate the Londo Bell. Subverted when you discover that there are internal power struggles, but considering the Divine Crusaders are run by various Universal Century Gundam Big Bads, that's not really much of a surprise.
- Played straight with Gato in one route, who decides the aliens are just too big of a threat to continue attacking the Londo Bell.
- Excuse Plot: Daitarn 3 has no plot whatsoever in 3, especially since none of its story is utilized (not that most fans care, however). To a lesser extent, the Combattler V and Brave Raideen stories are rushed to make them available to the player without plot attachments. Getter Robo and Mazinger Z are slightly better off, but most of their plot outside of a few scenarios is totally ignored, though Mazinger at least gets enough of its own plot in to be recognizable. The main plot points regarding Getter are Musashi Tomoe and his Heroic Sacrifice and the Getter Robo G Mid-Season Upgrade. The Dinosaur Empire mooks are enemies, but none of the actual leaders like General Bat or Emperor Gore appear. Likewise, Dr. Hell is absent, as is Archduke Gorgon. The majority of the screen time goes to Universal Century Gundam, more or less.
- FaceHeel Turn: Shu Shirakawa
- Flanderization: Henken Bekenner and his attraction to Emma Sheen is way overblown to the point of making him a Stalker with a Crush. The Super Robot Wars Alpha series is way more mature in this regard, and tones it down appropriately.
- Fix Fic: Minor instance of this - if Kamille Bidan defeats Scirroco in their final battle, Scirroco will do his usual Mind Rape on Kamille a la Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. However, the instant Kamille hears the voice of Four Murasame, he snaps right out of it.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Stage 12 has you start with a skeleton crew, since most of the pilots are relaxing on the beach. They're supposed to deploy on Turn 5, but if you manage to defeat all the enemies first (either by cheating or being insanely good at SRW), they're unobtainable. Hope you like using a small handful of Gundam characters and the Getter Team!
- Guide Dang It!: Did you know that Quess Paraya is in this game? Good luck finding her
- Guest-Star Party Member:
- Ryu and Hayato wind up being this in name only, and really being around for the early parts of the game. According to the developers, they didn't program in more than a handful of Spirit Commands for them, seeing how they're always going to leave. Their stats seem to emphasize that the player should focus on using other characters.
- Sayla Mass also becomes this if the player meets the requirements for recruiting Char Aznable (in his Paper-Thin Disguise as Quattro Bajeena) - sadly, there's no sibling team-up beyond one stage. Unlike Ryu and Hayato, Sayla has rather good stat gains and a decent Spirit Command set.
- Depending on the path taken, Chuck Keith is only playable in one stage, or else he becomes a permanent party member.
- HeelFace Turn: Gato and Char, among others, should you choose to recruit them.
- Intrepid Reporter: Kyra Soon does this to Mashmyre Cello, to his hilarious consternation
- Joke Character: Bernie Wiseman and the Boss Borot
- Laughably Evil: Mashmyre comes off as even more of a lovable doofus than he was in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. In his case, any possible Flanderization is a good thing.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Lune Zoldark's debutting stage is as bad as Michiru's Getter Q scenario in the previous game. As an unhealable NPC, she simply rushes into enemy's army while she's piloting a Fem Bot with mediocre dodging rate and subpar armor.
- Magikarp Power: Kou Uraki
- Multiple Endings
- Negative Continuity:
- The defection of Reccoa Londe and the brainwashing of Four Murasame happened last time. It happens again in this game. No one bothers to mention that it's happened before. Further, recruitable characters Puru I and Puru II have jumped back to the DC and must be convinced to rejoin. Luckily, saving Puru II does not kill off Puru I like it did last time.
- Lalah Sune was savable last time as well, which is a rarity for the series. However, that didn't stop her from randomly jumping back to the DC between games, and again... no one seems to notice. Also, unlike the others above, Lalah can't be saved.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: One of the bad endings
- Nintendo Hard: 3 is harder than the succeeding Super Robot Wars 4, due to its limited gameplay mechanics from a limited game engine. However, it's not as hard as Super Robot Wars 2. To be fair, part of the difficulty comes from having to finish the game in a limited number of turns to fight the True Final Boss, otherwise you could abuse the game over trick to power up and make bosses run out of ammo. The principal factors of difficulty are allied units don't deal enough overall damage, Real Robots can be hard to hit for Super Robots to a point where you might need to use weaker, but more accurate attacks and lots of end game opponents have protection against (or even absorb) beam-based attacks. Oh, and there aren't enough powerful Gundams for all of the pilots the game gives you... well, on your side, anyways...
- One-Winged Angel: In his bid to test how strong Londo Bell is, Shu taps into the powers of the dark god Shiva Volkruss, morphing his Granzon into the Neo Granzon.
- Original Generation: Lune Zoldark, the Valsione, the Inspectors and the Neo Granzon
- Schizo Tech: Justifed since its a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, but it gets insane how many "one-of-a-kind" mecha the villains can use.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: In a rare SRW instance, Gundam fans were totally geeked out of their minds by being able to recruit Gato, kill both Kycilia Zabi and Gihren Zabi (with the added bonus of her Oh, Crap! reaction to Quattro Bajeena leveling his weapons in her direction), and being able to repeatedly beat the piss out of most of the Gundam Big Bads. Also, most of the dumbest character FaceHeel Turn moments (like Reccoa Londe allying with Scirroco) can be averted or given a Lampshade Hanging on its sheer idiocy (Quattro tells Reccoa her defection over him not showing her affection is pure bullshit). The death of Sleggar Law is totally avoidable, and the GP-03 Dendrobium Orchid/Stamen is obtained by means that don't force General Eiphar Synapse to a Redemption Equals Death event. Also, the depressing endings of Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ and Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack are entirely averted.
- True Final Boss: Shu and the Neo Granzon
- Villain Team-Up: Like the previous game, the Divine Crusaders is a patchwork of villains from across the Gundam spectrum, as well as the occasional Super Robot enemy.
- Wake-Up Call Boss:
- When Scirroco appears for the first time, you'll be facing an opponent that is both durable and evasive, tougher than what you're used to fight. Even Amuro Ray in the Nu Gundam is not guaranteed to hit him. If you don't get wise and use both the terrain and units that take advantage of barriers to even the odds, you will have an horrible time.
- This also applies to Cima Gaharau and the Gerbera Tetra, one of the first bosses that can be run into in the game. While a pushover compared to Scirocco's later nightmares, the Tetra runs circles around everything you have and tends to evade almost everything while dealing incredible damage in return for what you have at the time, like the Proto-Getter or most of the early Gundam units given to the player.
- Willfully Weak: For some reason, the Getter Team downgraded between the previous game and 3 to a Proto-Getter that barely scratches some foes. Amuro also took a downgrade from his Nu Gundam to the RX-78-2 original.
- Zerg Rush:
- 3 is notorious for sending huge waves of enemy mooks at you, almost to the point of absurdity. In one scenario, presuming you decided to be honorable to Gato and help him out, the game throws you a bone and he destroys a huge portion of mooks in a later scenario to make your job easier. It should be noted the Zerg Rush factor in future games is toned down to varying extents.
- Then again, with units like the Cybuster and Valsione equipped with a MAP Attack that is Friendly Fire Proof, those waves can be cleaned up in a surprisingly short amount of time. This gets more ridiculous when their pilots will gain the ability to perform two actions per turn.