by Jon Causith
The Mega Man games have always been known for incorporating a "rock-paper-scissors" sort of system by grabbing the Robot Master weapons and using them to defeat the next big bad boss. Over the years, the weakness logic had ranged from the straightforward and plausible-- such as Bomb Man being vulnerable to Fire Storm-- to something as absolutely weird and seemingly nonsensical as Wave Man being pummeled by the Charge Kick.
But one game that seemed to baffle even the most hardcore Mega Man fans was Mega Man 3. From ninjas being weak to spinning tops to the zodiac destroying needles, the logic behind the weakness chains of the third entry in the series was quite bewildering for many.
Whenever I played the games, even as a little kid, I've always been taught to REALLY think about how every weapon is effective against the Robot Masters, and I've come to realize that it's not because the element of the weapon works (if that was true, then shouldn't Fire Man melt Ice Man?), but the science behind taking out the Robot Master him/herself. So let's dive in and put this crazy elemental wheel to rest!
You would think that he'd be weak against Magnet Missile due to needles being made of magnetic metals like iron. Nope! He's in fact strong against ol' Magnet-head's weapon, and his real weakness is the Gemini Laser.
It really works in a gameplay sense, as it has the perfect trajectory to hit him while he's jumping around his arena since it can bounce around for a while and cover a decent chunk of the area! It also works in a scientific sense as a concentrated beam of intense heat can burn through even the thickest of metals.
Magnet Man is funny, in that he is weak to almost everything, including the Hard Knuckle, Shadow Blade, and Gemini Laser. However, his true weakness is the Spark Shock.
The function of a magnet is to pull anything with a charge opposite to the magnet's charge, so it only makes sense that a blast of electricity would neutralize the magnetic charge of Magnet Man.
Now there aren't any written myths about the Gemini twins having a fear of snakes, but the fact that Gemini Man is weak against Search Snake works in two ways: Gameplay and weapon functionality. Since both he and his clone run and jump in a huge loop during this phase, Search Snake's ability to crawl on the ground makes a perfect trap for the twins.
Snake Man was supposedly made as a reconnaissance robot, so it could be that Search Snake was used to seek out targets in tight spots. Using such a weapon could be used to take out a decoy-generating robot like Gemini Man, or even remove the decoy altogether.
Giant keg of metal. Highly magnetic. Jumps high. Magnet Missile homes in on target. 'Nuff said.
The main objective in taking out Top Man isn't to let him spin, but to make sure he stops spinning. A great punch to the face definitely stuns anyone for a moment, so Hard Knuckle has the perfect stopping power for a skinny showoff like Top Man!
Reptiles are known to repair damaged or missing limbs, but they can be killed by attacking the head. The Needle Cannon not only shoots rapidly and widespread (possibly hitting all limbs), but it's perfect to make the bulls-eye.
Also, Snake Man's arena is lumpy, making it almost impossible for Snake Man to dodge the constant hail of needles!
Spark Man is considered to be the super-powered version of Elec Man, despite Spark Shock only paralyzing targets and doing less damage to Mega Man than Thunder Beam did. Ironically, both robots are taken out by sharp boomerang weapons!
The toss-and-return nature of Shadow Blade makes it incredibly effective to take out two of Spark Man's conducting arms in nature. Also, throwing a conductive metal into Spark Man would possibly shock himself while trying to generate electricity, making it even more deadly to ol' Sparky.
From a gameplay standpoint, the Shadow Blade can be aimed upward and forward, which can hit Spark Man almost anywhere in the wavy battle stage.
Ah, the most baffling of the bunch. How does a top defeat a ninja? Well first let's look at what makes a ninja truly deadly:
Ninjas are silent assassins relying on agility and stealth, thus open combat is kept at a minimum. So what makes someone so swift and quiet? Balance.
No matter what way you look at it, Top Spin is all about taking Shadow Man's balance away. If the weapon was all about launching tops, then a top could make an effective caltrop. (Seriously. Don't step on a top. It's nasty.) However that is not the nature of Top Spin.
Instead, Top Spin involves Mega Man spinning around. With Shadow Man caught in the extreme speed and twist of Top Spin, his balance would be crippled, leaving him a dizzy mess.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Mega Man always has a leg sticking out while performing Top Spin, so it could be seen as a crude martial art. One swift kick spun at such a high speed could also do a number on Shadow Man, much like the Hard Knuckle would do to Top Man!
So yes; when you first look at it, the weaknesses don't really make a lot of sense. Mega Man 3 was more about thinking on the gameplay scale, rather than using elemental logic (i.e. Bubble douses Heat, which burns Wood). But the best way to figure out the most logical weakness is to look at how the weapon is used and what would cripple the Robot Master's fighting style. If you can beat Dive Man by having him ram into a force field of skulls, put up that wall, baby!
Jon Causith is a member of The Mega Man Network's User Content Submission System, and the views expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mega Man Network.