NEWS FROM THE SHADOWLANDS
Huh, looks like another week is already over. It was more eventful than I might have let on, but I suppose we're back to Sunday, and... oh, let's just get down to it.
Mega Man 3 takes the Blue Bomber to new heights by introducing the slide mechanism. Now, in the light of the latest Mega Man games for the latest systems - 9, 10, and 11 - retro was in for awhile but came and went. In 1993, however, the slide was new and exciting, and we were all about it.
As with previous games before (and since) the soundtrack is classic. Gameplay was fair, and challenge was both simple and yet also fair. Perhaps due to pressure from fans for the previous game, however, bonus pickups were borderline excessive. Extra lives, spare energy tanks, even a reserve tank made the final battles almost numbingly easy. The kicker was that, like in most Mega Man games, that the hardest attack to use is the one attack that the final boss is weak against. Top Spin could be drained in a single attack if you weren't careful, and yet it could defeat the Peacekeeper Robot in a single hit. But, up to that point, the platforming was classic, and as long as you avoided those dreaded spikes, fun.
Unlike Mega Man 2 before it, the selection of weapons in MM3 were more versitale for the most part. Shadow Blade replaced the boss power of the Metal Blade, while Needle Shot, Gemini Beam, and the Spark Shot proved to be very handy weapons. Even the Snake Shot, a weapon that might appear useless, had its uses when monsters climbed upon the walls. The Hard Punch could be handy if it connected, but the Top Spin - yeah. The introduction of Rush brought a handy dynamic, suggesting that a boy and his dog can do anything when they work together - even if they are robots.
Mega Man 3 might have been among the first games that I saved up for, although I cannot remember if it was a purchase I made or went in on with my brothers. (For some reason, those kinds of memories are lost on me. Must be something I repressed. I'm sure it's a good reason.) Much like other games, this was played when we put the old 19" magnavox in a dormer upstairs and sat and played it. Why the dormer? Because Dad didn't want us putting a TV downstairs (which, in retrospect, made more sense) and because we couldn't have a TV in our own bedrooms. TVs weren't as cheap back then as they were now, plus the three of us never seemed to want to hang out in each other's room anyway (although we did gather in my middle brother's room a few times.) But, sitting there in the narrow hallway by the stairs to the main floor seemed to work, if only because the room was bare except for the windows, had white walls, and had a spot for a folding shelf where we could keep the games nearby. Plus, that window on the south side of the house opened wide for some really good ventilation. Funny how I got by in an upstairs house without central air for so long.
In addition to the slide, the latest glitch mechanism in MM3 is the infamous super jump. If your friend held left on the D pad of the second controller, Mega Man could jump as high as the height of the screen. This was problematic when spikes were above, naturally, but you could save Rush Coil power in stages like those of Gemini Man and Needle Man. Supposedly you could stave death when you fell into a pit, though I don't recall if you could actually jump out again or not.
This is likely the reason why Mega Man games are still viable. It stands as a legacy that the game doesn't have to be mind numbing hard, challenging, or item-sparse to be fun. Even though it has challenge, has items galore, and has weapons, it is fun - and I'd almost say it has the most fun of all the early MM games. The Doc Robot stages introduced a legacy chapter to the game that, while spike heavy at times, kept the player interested and introduced a mechanic that old robots can have new weaknesses, which was very interesting at the time. Still, fun times.
Yesterday I ended up going downtown to St. Paul to, inadvertantly, watch the St.Patricks Day parade. I actually hadn't realized that it was going on then - traditionally you'd think it goes on Sunday, but then Minneapolis has theirs today, and the two cities are too polite to have them on the same day. But everyone on the light rail said that St. Paul's is better, and I suppose if it's the third largest (and I think oldest) St. Patrick's Day parade in the country, it must be.
I got a chance to make six mirrored acrylic ornaments at the laser machine. The backs are black and charred, and have a neat grey pattern on them from the laser, but the fronts are mirrored and appear much like the hammered brass originals, which is neat. I only broke one of them when getting the tiny lasered scrollwork out from the details - but I broke the other side of it so it looks intentional. (Suppose I can post a picture.)
Looks like a week of rain and 40 degree weather shrank our mountains of snowbanks enough so that it's easier to get around again. The roads have been fairly forgiving, which is good since I half expected to be skating Friday morning after two days of hard rain and a hard freeze overnight.
We did have an issue in the three season porch, though. I may have lost a few puzzles and a 1991 classic game of Life to the water. The plastic pieces are salvageable, but the box is very soft and I'm worried that the board might have been soaked beyond repair. (I actually haven't had the courage to take it out and check it yet.) I figure that it might be worth making a few trips to the local Goodwill stores to see if I can't find a worthy replacement, since it's a classic game and there are copies on eBay that say they're the 1991 original but have the wrong boards. As for the puzzles, it was a Korean Frozen puzzle that might have cost some bucks - I'm hoping that it'll dry out adequately and be fine. In the meantime, we're going to have the guy who rebuilt our roof last summer install a system to melt the snow and ice dams that might occur up there again. It might not be the perfect solution, but this winter was no ordinary winter and, while I did my best with the snow rake, will at least work to help the situation should that much snow pile up there again.
I'm going to leave that fan on the carpet out there for a week. There had better not be any mold out there. I was able to plug in the amplifier for the old school HD antennas, but the signal still isn't very strong, which leads me to consider another amplifier for the basement. This would boost the noise, though, so maybe it's time to consider a professional's advice. Hmm...