A Critical Look at Mega Man 3 Stages: Needle Man

Needle Man's Stage and Music

Hari Harry is our only enemy for the first section of this stage. These fire a spread of five projectiles twice before rolling into a ball and chasing you. They take six hits but can't be harmed in ball form, and the needles can be destroyed with shots as well. Though they only appear alone, they're a fun enemy to fight since they can either be shot down quickly or jumped over, and appear on different terrain levels.

This section offers a choice to fight a Met for an energy item, and introduces another new enemy, simply named Cannon. These can't be damaged until they open, during which they fire two arcing shots (also destroyable) before closing again. They take three hits and won't fire until you get close. While they're all easy to deal with, there's a nice difficulty progression with these three, with the second being above you and the third offering less footing to work with.

The rest of the area is a combination of Mets and Yambows, which fly overhead from the right, drop down behind you, and fly back to the right at your level. The enemy placement here is pretty good, giving the player a variety of situations to deal with. I like having the option of running under a Met for once.

These Needle Presses act as a series of timed traps, forcing Mega Man to use all of his standard abilities to bypass them. I'm not sure if this was intentional, but I like that the three in a group are right against the edge, encouraging players to try standing there while waiting for a chance to run. The ability to stand next to them comes in handy with the last one.

The next Hari Harry gets a slightly better position than the previous ones, as players can be caught by the ladder if they don't move quickly. There's also an E-Tank here to give Rush something to do. The Hammer Joes on the next screen are at least on Mega Man's level, though they can be easily dealt with from the ladders. The level comes to an end with another Bikky guarding a boss door.

This was a short one for this game and not particularly difficult to get through, but it made good use of the space it had for almost every screen, and all of the unique enemies worked well. The graphics are also more complex here, with the scenery changing slightly in each section. The ropes and stage layout sort of imply dropping onto a large ship from the city, but I've never been quite sure.