A Critical Look at Mega Man 3 Stages: Spark Man

Spark Man's Stage and Music

After one Peterchy, we meet the Electric Gabyoall. These move back and forth slowly and fire an electric beam between them now and then.

This robot made of plugs is Elec'n, who drops from the chutes above and fires sparks in eight directions. They're soon combined with Gaby, making for a fun section that looks difficult but can be run through without stopping if the Elec'ns are shot in time. The next room is another Hammer Joe by itself.

These platforms move upward quickly once stepped on, so the player needs to quickly jump to the next before being crushed against the spikes at the top. However, not all of them can be reached right away, so each jump has to be timed properly as well. The arrow is also a nice touch, giving players a good chance to guess what's going to happen on the first go. The next screen mixes a couple Gabys with pits, which can be dangerous if a player gets caught between them. Beyond that is a simple enemy and free items.

The next hallway has a bunch of Peterchys followed by a long drop.

At the bottom is a series of chutes that spit blocks of trash in your way. These can be destroyed, but it's easier to just move over them before the second one has a chance to fall. The next screen simply has a few more freebies.

The last section before the boss combines the moving platforms from earlier with small platforms and Bolton/Nutton combos. A player could try to kill the enemies at each safe platform or keep moving and run under them, but both options require more precision than anything we've seen so far.

This stage does a great job of introducing a couple new traps and mixing them up with increasing difficulty. The parts that don't involve Elec'n and the moving platforms are mostly filler, though the drop and trash chutes are at least thematically interesting.

The placement of the Hammer Joes seem to be a problem for this game, as they're really not dangerous or interesting enough to deserve a room to themselves. With two other mostly harmless enemies (Peterchy and Pickleman Bull), the level fluctuates wildly in difficulty, though some players might appreciate having something simple to shoot between platforming challenges.

Though the stage's wall tiles are just blocks of electronics, the flashing lights and moving machinery help it stand out, and having enemies pop out of the chutes helped establish it as a place that's being used for something. The music remains at the high quality we should be expecting from this game now.