Days 26 and 27 of 31 – 8 – Bit All-Stars

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone! Seeing as how it is a long weekend, a lot of us at DRE get kinda swept up in doing family, vacation, relaxing or other activities so my apologies to the awesome readership for missing the 26th. This DOES however mean that you guys get a twofer for the 27th. I know, awesome, right? Anyway, let’s dive right into today’s TWO 8-Bit All-Stars!

 

 

These two have more than just a FEW things in common. They both came out on the NES, both end in “3” and are both ridiculously awesome. These are are also both parts of a successful, long-running series that need little to no introduction to even a casual gamer but I personally decided to focus on the third installment of each series, primarily because in my opinion, they peaked with their third games. Super Mario Bros. 3 is a phenomenal game. Since its predecessor wasn’t really all that reminiscent of an established Mario game as set forth by the original SMB 1, (mostly because THIS is the game SMB 2 was redesigned as) SMB 3 was a breath of fresh air for the classic fans of critter stomping, brick busting and stat altering plant collecting happiness. The most notable addition to Mario’s repertoire being the Raccoon Tail, which allowed him to fly.  Also added were the famous suits that granted Mario interesting new powers and abilities. The game was also not lacking in number of levels and hidden secrets. Each of of the eight worlds consisted of over ten levels comprised of various obstacles and hazards.  Players were also able to stock items to use to give themselves the advantage upon entering a new level that could be sourced from little freebie shops on the map screen or won via various mini-games and end of level questing. Speaking of which, the boss Airship levels are something that I personally love to play over and over because of the fact that they’re just fun. The maps and levels also had branching paths of all kinds, giving a great non-linear feel to the progression through the game. Anyone who’s played this game knows exactly what I’m gushing about and if you happen to count yourselves amongst the minority of players that hasn’t played this game yet, then you really need to rectify that grave injustice to yourself and fire up Super Mario Bros. 3.

As ringing an endorsement as all that was, I actually have more love for Mega Man 3. I’ve been a fan of the little blue bomber’s adventures for near 25 years now and I quite literally have played every game in the series and every game the character has been in (stateside, anyway). It’s a simple concept that was and is still repeated ad nauseum: go through stages, shoot things, survive, battle boss and repeat. The Mega Man series however, took it to a new level for me as I was able to sit through and keep playing these games over and over when it was essentially more of the same. Followers and fans of the series know about this magnetism I’m referring to. Simple touches like excellent level design, fantastic soundtracks that to this day have remixes done of them and a game play formula that stuck to the principle of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” were some of the things that really set the series apart from the other games of that sort during its day. So, why focus on Mega Man 3 if I have such regard for the entire series? It’s pretty simple. Mega Man 3 is my absolute favorite one. This is kind of a tricky thing for me to admit to a lot of my fellow fans since Mega Man 2 is usually the far and away favorite but I have always preferred Mega Man 3. Firstly, I love the boss and level design in MM3. The best example I can give of this to someone is Gemini Man’s stage. The colorful lighting that pervades the stage and the sort of crystalline motif that makes up the background is really striking, sort of like if Flash Man from MM2 held a rave on his level. On the subject, Gemini Man himself is an awesome fight, as he splits himself into two copies of himself and forces the player to keep track of the real one to end the fight and gain his power. The diversity in this game stands out to me like a beacon and never fails to pull me in. Combined with all the elements that make a classic Mega Man game great, Mega Man 3 holds its spot as my favorite game of the series. As always, go check it out!

– Evo out.

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