A Critical Look at Mega Man 3 Stages: Needle Man Revisited

Needle Man Revisited

Much like the original, this starts with a few Hari Harrys, with the addition of a small spike pit at the end. Lasers make quick work of them.

The spike section is more intense this time, and the spike gives players something to think about when using Rush Coil, though the Jet works just as well.

The enemy placements are nothing we haven't dealt with before, but they're starting to throw in things we need the Rush Jet to get to, which is a bit of a jerk move, considering that...

The next section is a long stretch requiring Rush Jet, and new players probably used that large energy refill for whatever they lost during the boss fight. The first group of enemies is great, as they'll startle the player by all dropping in together and act as a warning for what's to come. It's also possible to grind up Jet energy on these if needed.

However, a player unaware that you can jump repeatedly to avoid energy loss is going to need a few of these items along the way, and those aren't going to come back after a death, though not all of them are necessary even without jumping.

Another property of these games that can be deadly for any Rush section is that pausing will cause Rush to leave. After this, we meet a single Bubukan before running into...

Giant Metall! This slowly rises from the ground and alternates between firing a spread of three balls and dropping Mets. It is often out of reach, but only requires ten hits to kill, so it can easily be destroyed before it starts attacking. Though it isn't weak to any in particular, most special weapons will damage it more than the Buster and Shadow Blades can hit it while it's out of reach. Rush Jet works fine too if you have any left by now. Despite its low health, it's pretty fun as mini bosses go.

We meet a new type of Metall here that tries to fly over us and shoot downward. This gauntlet is fun for the sheer number of them, and ends with a couple Cannons.

The remainder of the stage consists of another Giant Metall fight and one last Hari Harry, with a welcome refill before the second boss.

It's nice to see Hari Harry again and try out our full weapon collection on them, but the ones in the first section were enough, and the later screens with a single one could have been used for something else, or at least partnered them with something. However, the new Needle Press does a good job of upping the ante without overstaying its welcome, and the new Metalls work out fine.

I also like that it fully explores the use of the Rush Jet despite certain rules of the game that can cause it to be infuriating at first. Parasyu drops pretty low before slowing and staying in the upper half of the screen is enough to avoid them entirely, but the Yambows and the terrain help force the player downward at times so they can still get in the way.