MEGA MAN X3 / Capcom / SNES
All in all, Mega Man X2 was a bit too short and easy. Mega Man X3 addresses this, but kind of goes overboard in the other direction.
I did think the level design was better here than in the previous game. Levels are much longer, and though some of this is padded-out empty space with repetitive or useless enemies, it's counterbalanced by a lot more hidden goodies to poke around for. And when it works well, as it does in at least half the levels, it works really well, much better than X2's levels did.
The problem here is the bosses. They went from being kind of a joke to ridiculously demanding. It's nearly impossible to beat any of them with the Mega Buster without a long, grueling battle in which you have to be absolutely perfect. If you can manage to find an "in" to the chain of weaknesses it gets a bit better, but they're still by far the most fiendish bunch of the series yet (a little too much so.) And the game is capped off by one of Capcom's cheapest final battles ever, a boss (take a wild guess who it is) that has a second form that is really nearly unbeatable without cheating. To plow through this tough game and then be left unable to finish it due to one shittily designed battle is really an insult to the player.
The game teases you with the prospect of playing as Zero in the requisite opening level, but it turns out to largely disappoint. While you can swap Zero in for MMX, it's only in confined and limited sections of each of the regular levels, and never during major boss battles or the final levels. It's kind of pointless anyway, as Zero doesn't have the free-handed sword he would in the later Mega Man Zero games, so he really kind of sucks here.
The game also features more pointlessness from the Cx4 chip which adds some transparencies and wireframe polygons that are as unimpressive as they were in the previous game, but of course upped the retail price of the cartridge.
* Password generator
* Boss guide
* Gameplay Video