A Critical Look at Mega Man 3 Stages: Shadow Man

Shadow Man's Stage and Music

Shadow Man starts with a vertical drop. The Neo Shotman is in a good spot since he doesn't have to be fought, but the fall gives him enough time to lob a shot at you immediately. Aside from that, these screens are just an atmospheric introduction.

The following corridor has a few simple enemies we've seen before, and ends with a Proto Man fight identical to the one we saw in Magnet Man's stage.

The middle portion of the level is crawling with Peterchys, but after a few screens we meet Hologran, who prevents us from viewing the floor. It can be destroyed in three hits, but most of them can't be reached without a special weapon. They move forward slowly though, so waiting for them to leave the screen is a safer option.

This section also tosses Walking Bomb into the mix, which explodes when shot. The terrain here is greatly staggered and the Walking Bombs can jump when they reach a wall, making it difficult to predict what they're going to do. I particularly like the one in the second-to-last shot there, who drops into that narrow hole and is likely to catch a player doing the same.

After a hallway filled with Mechakkeros, we meet Parasyu. He drops in and slows himself halfway down, then drifts side to side in an attempt to knock us off of the small platforms. He takes three hits and tends to drop almost above Mega Man, making it difficult to line up shots for the kill. One Mechakkero and a few Yambows guard the way to the boss door.

The Hologran and Parasyu sections stand out, and there's an honest attempt here to give the basic enemies a positioning advantage, but it suffers a bit from having too many simple enemies, and having them appear one at a time. Peterchy and Pickleman Bull are just slow-moving walls to be shot through, and while Mechakkero can be tricky, they all appear alone. I like that one at the end though, since it has a chance of knocking players off as soon as they jump over.

The flowing... red stuff and yellow machinery work well together visually. The first screen is intimidating, and I like that some of the machines making up the floor are hooked together. The red-on-black style of the liquid is both appealing and mysterious. The music once again holds up to the game's standards.