Mega Man Zero 3 is the third of four games in the Mega Man Zero series. It was released in 2004 for the GBA.
The game was re-released in 2010 as part of the compilation game, Mega Man Zero Collection for the Nintendo DS.
This game follows almost the exact same rules as its predecessor. Once again, Zero has his Z-Saber, Buster, and Shield Boomerang. However, Zero's rod weapon (originally the Triple Rod in Mega Man Zero and the Chain Rod in Mega Man Zero 2) has been replaced with the Recoil Rod: a pair of tonfa-like weapons that can be aimed in all directions. When charged up, a powerful stabbing attack is performed, which can knock enemies back, or propel Zero into the air if aimed down to the ground, like a makeshift pogo stick.
The Cyber-Elf system has been given an overhaul with the introduction of Satellite Cyber Elves. These are different from the standard Cyber Elves, which have been renamed "Fusion Elves", in that they are equipped for a constant benefit, and the use of them will not affect the mission ranking score. However, only two Satellite Elves can be equipped at once.
Cyberspace is a new addition to the game. It is said by one Resistance Member (Hirondelle) that the portal to Cyberspace opened up due to Omega's arrival. Going through the door to Cyberspace leads the player into an area that looks exactly like the one in which they left but with a green tinge to it. Enemy appearances are less frequent and if a transfer of info from a Mega Man Battle Network 4 or Mega Man Zero 3 link has been performed, certain virus enemies from the Battle Network series will appear. All enemies drop health items (instead of other items, such as Secret Disks) in Cyberspace. Entering the Cyberspace causes certain Cyber Elves (both Fusion and Satellite, the ones with the A-mark on the lower left) to auto-activate without dying, even if not grown enough to be normally used, and these Elves do not affect the score. However, going into Cyberspace decreases the mission ranking score, making it more difficult to obtain an S or A Rank, which is needed in order to win EX Skills of the end-of-stage bosses. Zero no longer needs to "level up" in order to create weapon combos as they are already in place.
Throughout the game, enemies may drop Secret Disks, which may contain information about the Mega Man Zero series, enemy information, Cyber Elves, energy capsules, energy crystals or even customization chips.
Most of the disks can be opened by Zero himself, mostly those containing Cyber Elves, but the others are locked and the player will have to take them to Cerveau in order to open them. Once opened, their info will be stored in a Secret Disk library featured within the game.
The Forms system from Mega Man Zero 2 has been replaced with Customization Chips. These can be found in Secret Disks and come in three types - head, body and legs. Only one of each type of chip can be equipped at a time (i.e. if one head chip has been equipped, you cannot equip another head chip, but can still equip a foot chip and a body chip.), which gives the player more flexibility in customizing Zero.
These Chips give direct upgrades to Zero's head, body or legs, and can be used to reproduce the effects of the various Forms that Zero could take in Mega Man Zero 2. As with the Forms in this game's predecessor, Zero can take on different colours when different body chips are equipped.
As with other Mega Man Zero games, beating the game will allow you to play the completed save file again in a "New Game+". Zero will start with all Fusion Elves used from the previous game still in effect (although he will still be penalized for their use), and will also get to keep any EX Skills and body chips that he earned in the previous game.
Hard Mode can be unlocked after completing the game once. It can be accessed by pressing the L shoulder button before pressing Start while selecting a New Game. In Hard Mode, Cyber Elves cannot be used and Cyberspace cannot be accessed (save for one specific level). Zero's triple-slash and full-charge shot are also disabled, and he cannot earn EX Skills.
Ultimate mode can be unlocked by collecting all of the Secret Disks in one game and beating it. Hold R when starting a New Game to play. In Ultimate Mode, Zero starts with all Fusion Elves with permanent effects (such as the Elves that extend the life meter) already in use and without penalty in mission scores. Zero will also have a few body parts available from the start, including the Ultima Foot chip. Finally, Zero can use full-charge attacks instantly by means of simplistic button combos.
There are also seven mini games that can be selected from on the game's Start Menu. They are all unlocked after certain criteria have been met:
- Zero mini-game
- Ciel mini-game
- Copy X mini-game
- Fefnir mini-game
- Harpuia mini-game
- Leviathan mini-game
- Phantom mini-game
- Copy X MK-II
- Anubis Necromancess V
- Blizzack Staggroff R
- Hanumachine R
- Fighting Fefnir
- Sage Harpuia
- Fairy Leviathan
- Hidden Phantom
- Dr. Weil - is the mad scientist responsible for the Elf Wars, and was banished for his actions. He excelled at bringing dead Reploids back to life, and eventually took over Neo Arcadia with a restored Copy X upon his return. He returned for a final confrontation with Zero in Mega Man Zero 4.
- Deathtanz Mantisk - a praying mantis-like Reploid originally created for the sole purpose of execution.
- Childre Inarabitta - ice-based rabbit Reploid designed for high-speed maneuvers, being able to spring and pounce freely on water. He was one of the Eight Gentle Judges before being brainwashed by Dr. Weil to be one of Weil's Numbers. He was sent to capture the Dark Elf, but was defeated by Zero.
- Blazin' Flizard - fire-based lizard Reploid who attacks with a flamethrower. He also deploys three small spheres that set fire to the floor, and throws his collar like a boomerang.
- Hellbat Schilt - (changed in NA to "Devilbat" Schilt due to censorship) - is an electric-based Reploid based on bats that was originally created as a reconnaissance Reploid. He vanishes to defend himself, and attacks by releasing small bat drones from his armored cape, using sound waves and releasing electric spheres.
- Tretista Kelverian - a Reploid based on the three-headed dog of legend Cerberus.
- Glacier Le Cactank - the cactus-based Reploid was one of the Eight Gentle Judges before being brainwashed by Dr. Weil. His personality after this is that of a very cruel courtroom judge who issues the death sentence to even the smallest of offenses. Glacier attacks with ice thorns, punches, and jumping into Zero.
- Cubit Foxtar - based on the kitsune (the nine-tailed fox of Japanese folklore), Cubit has nine remote control options to attack and can create flaming mirages, preferring to use strategy to defeat enemies instead of physical fights.
- Volteel Biblio - another of the brainwashed Eight Gentle Judges, he is based on electric eels.
- Crea and Prea - Baby Elves, one blue and one red, named by Alouette.
- Omega - is one of the primary antagonists of the game alongside Dr. Weil, serving as both the boss of the introductory stage and the final boss. It is revealed that Omega is Zero's original body encased in armor by Dr. Weil after the events of the Mega Man X series.
At the start of the third game, the following synopsis of the first few games is shown:
The legendary reploid Zero awoke from a long slumber... With Ciel's resistance he defeated Copy X, the ruler of Neo Arcadia. The terror of the Neo Arcadian regime ended, but the energy shortage remained a constant problem. Ciel devoted herself to researching new forms of energy. And Elpizo became the newly appointed resistance leader. However, overcome by his desire for power, Elpizo awakened the Dark Elf, whose magic had once nearly destroyed the world. Elpizo thirsting for the power of the Dark Elf, lost sight of his true duty, and was finally defeated after a fierce battle. However, the Dark Elf fled, her destination unknown.. The battle has just begun...
The third game starts two months after the events of the second. A recently crashed spaceship emits energy similar to the Dark Elf, and Zero sets out to investigate. Not long into the mission Ciel and a pair of resistance members are captured by Neo Arcadia as Zero enters the ship. But they are not harmed, nor are they held prisoner, as an incident breaks out involving a giant reploid named Omega that not even Leviathan and Fefnir combined can handle. Zero interrupts the battle and is left to handle things on his own. Soon thereafter a Dr. Weil is introduced, as well as a new Copy X who has reclaimed leadership of Neo Arcadia, much to the chagrin of Harpuia.
After a missile is launched at a densely populated area to enable Omega to capture the Dark Elf, Zero goes off to fight Copy X and defeats him. But before Copy X can transform again, he is betrayed and killed by a trap placed on his body by Weil.
With Copy X out of the way, Weil assumes command of Neo Arcadia and uses the Dark Elf and Omega to seize control of all Reploids. After Zero destroys both Baby Elves, he heads to destroy Omega's Dark Elf enhanced form, defeating the Reploid twice. From the remains of Omega, however, rises a Reploid that looks just like Zero and at that moment, Weil informs Zero he is merely a copy and that Omega inhabits Zero's original body.
After Zero and Omega do battle, X appears and confirms to Zero that they fought against and sealed Omega a century ago. Before Weil can force the Dark Elf to rejoin with "Omega", the Guardians appear and further damage him. Eventually Zero makes the decision to finish him off, regardless of him being inside Zero's real body. In the explosion, Zero is knocked out and sees visions of X. He tells Zero that he is out of power and can no longer exist in the human world. He is confident Zero can protect the world from now on and fades away (presumed to have retired to Cyberspace). The fate of the Guardians, while not shown, is revealed by official materials to have died in the explosion (Rockman Zero Official Complete Works artbook).
Zero's unconscious body is brought back to the Resistance Base by the Dark Elf. With Weil's defeat, the curse placed upon the Dark Elf (now known as Mother Elf) is broken and she flies away.
But losing Omega and Mother Elf still did not change the fact that Weil was now the undisputed ruler of Neo Arcadia. The humans living there would soon realize the wrath of Dr. Weil.