After the first 8 stages, Mega Man 3 takes an interesting twist by making us revisit a different and often more damaged-looking version of half of them. We'll also be fighting new versions of the Mega Man 2 bosses here, but we'll come to that later. For now, let's look at the stages. With a few exceptions this game has been lacking in difficulty, so as with the usual Wily stages, this is their chance to spice things up and take advantage of the knowledge that the player has been exposed to the various stage gimmicks and has all weapons available.
The ladder's gone, so we'll need Rush to get up there. Right away, we meet a Jamacy on the ladder above that needs to be taken out with either the Gemini Laser or Shadow Blade. The next section is similar to its previous incarnation with the addition of more holes, spikes, and a new object. These small round platforms spin, moving Mega Man left or right while standing on them. It's a great twist on the last version, and I love that going for the large health right away with Rush Coil puts you in danger.
The next room has a few more spinning platforms before we leave them behind, and the distance on the last jump is a little scary when our movement is being messed with. The last section has two Giant Springers and two long slides before the mid-boss door. Nothing new to see there.
Here we have another spiky wall drop. It's pretty tame, but the staggered spikes at the end was a nice visual touch.
This section has Electric Gabyoalls in more awkward positions than before, and the player will be harassed by Bolton and Nutton while dealing with them.
It's not that difficult though, and the final section is just a return of the garbage chutes with pits involved. They can still be bypassed with no problem if you keep moving.
The new platforms at the beginning were done well, the spike drop was a nice twist on the previously safe one, and the chutes were made at least somewhat dangerous. However, the overall difficulty was toned down significantly and we saw none of the vertically-moving platforms that were so much fun before.
Front-loading the challenge wasn't the best idea either, as the mid-way point is at the end of the drop of all places, and the level is two thirds finished by then with most of the difficulty over with. It's not bad really, but we should be expecting a little more from it since the previous version had one of the hardest sections of the first eight stages. Of course, we have to keep in mind that there are two bosses per stage now, which is going to be tough on the player by itself.