Mega Man X3 (stylized as MEGA MAN X³), known as Rockman X3 (ロックマンX3) in Japan, is a video game released by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The game was originally released in Japan on December 1, 1995, and later in North American and PAL regions in 1996. It is the third game in the Mega Man X series and the last to appear on the SNES. Mega Man X3 takes place in a fictional future in which the world is populated by humans and intelligent robots called “Reploids”. Like their human creators, some Reploids involve themselves in destructive crime and are labelled as “Mavericks”. After twice defeating the Maverick leader Sigma, the heroes Mega Man X and Zero must battle a Reploid scientist named Dr. Doppler and his utopia of Maverick followers.
Mega Man X3 follows in the tradition of both the original Mega Man series and the Mega Man X series as a standard action-platform game. The player traverses a series of eight stages in any order while gaining various power-ups and taking the special weapon of each stage’s end boss. Mega Man X3 is the first game in the series in which Zero is a playable character (albeit in limited form) in addition to X. Like its predecessor, Mega Man X2, X3 features the “Cx4” chip to allow for some limited 3D vector graphics and transparency effects.
Mega Man X3 adopts the gameplay of Mega Man X and Mega Man X2, an expansion of the gameplay model of the original Mega Man series. These action-platform games involve taking control of the protagonist X and completing a series of eight, selectable stages. Each stage has a variety of obstacles, traps, and enemy robots to fight. The stage terminates in a Maverick boss fight; defeating this boss will add a new special weapon to the player’s arsenal. Each boss is particularly weak to one special weapon, so the player may complete the stages in an order that best exploits these weaknesses. The player character X retains certain abilities from past games. Namely, he is able to run, jump, dash, cling to and scale most walls, and fire his chargeable “X-Buster” arm cannon and special weapons. The player can further upgrade X’s abilities by collecting armor parts (head, body, legs, and X-Buster) found within capsules in some levels. Capsules containing special chips add new abilities as well. X is generally only able to benefit from one chip at a time, allowing the player to customize the character as needed. However, one hidden capsule gives X the benefits of all four special chips.
Like the two previous Mega Man X games, the player can locate power-ups such as “Heart Tanks” for extending the maximum life energy and “Sub-Tanks” for storing energy for later use. Also returning are powerful “Ride Armor” vehicles that can be piloted in some of the stages. Items hidden within certain levels can be collected which allow the player to summon vehicles at any time. Mega Man X3 is the first game in the series which allows the player to play as X’s ally Zero, although his playability is more limited compared to later games in the series. Zero can be called to take X’s place during nearly any stage, but he cannot collect any of X’s armor parts or power-ups, and cannot fight mid-stage or end-stage bosses, with only one exception that grants access to a secret weapon for X. If Zero is ever defeated in battle, he will be unable to be called upon for the rest of the game.