MEGAMAN BATTLE NETWORK - REVIEW

Capcom sure has been releasing a lot of great games lately. First Resident Evil CODE: Veronica X, then Devil May Cry, and most recently Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival. Now Capcom has released yet another awesome, must-play game -- Mega Man Battle Network.

Mega Man Battle Network takes place in a futuristic world that is ruled by technology. If you thought people were obsessed with the Internet in the present time, then wait till you see what MMBN's world is like. Personal digital assistants have evolved into exploration devices called PETs. PETs can send and receive e-mails, make phone calls, store data, shop online, etc., just like the old PDAs. However, what makes PETs so essential to everyday life is the ability to "jack-in" to the Cyber World and actually explore the Internet. It's like The Matrix, except that everyone understands the differences between the real and fake worlds.

You can jack-in to any object that connects to the Internet: phones, televisions, ovens, motor vehicles, etc. Even a GameCube console can be jacked into, just like in our world (once the modem and broadband adapter become available). PETs use a personality simulation program called Net Navi(gator). You can give your PET a unique personality by customizing the Net Navi program, which will then allow you to talk to it. Talking to your PET isn't overly exciting, but it is a necessary part of the game. When you're lost and don't know what to do next, press the L button and your Net Navi will usually give you a hint.

All is well in this .com world, until a mysterious organization called WWW (World Three) begins wreaking havoc on the Internet world, which causes many problems in the "real" world. People wanted everything, including their stoves, to be connected to the Internet and now it's backfiring -- literally. The ovens are spontaneously combusting into flames all around town and no one has been able to figure out why. They suspect that WWW is behind it, but every time someone tries to do something about it, the viruses annihilate all of the Navi that get in their way...

Until our hero, Lan, saved the day. There's nothing special about Lan. He's just like every other 5th grader, but is exceptionally good at battling with his Navi, Mega Man.EXE. Lan found a repairman working on the television when he came home from school one day. The repairman looked suspicious, chuckling as he said he was going to fix the TV. But Lan thought nothing of it. His Mom thought he was in the way, so she sent him up to his room. After removing a few viruses from his computer, Lan exits the Cyber World. Heading down stairs, Lan is startled by the flames coming from the oven. His Mom panics, not knowing what to do. Without a second thought, Lan jacks into the stove and destroyed the viruses. That's not the end of the war against WWW though. This was only the beginning...

Mega Man Network Battle is more of a strategy/RPG than anything else. All battles are random and take place on separate playing field. The playing field is made up of 18 panels -- six of them are blue, and the other six are red. Mega Man can move anywhere he wants on the six red panels, while the enemies can move around the blue ones. Before the battle begins, you may choose one of five Battle Chips. Each Battle Chip can only be used once per turn, unless you select more than one of the same weapon, in which case you can use that weapon multiple times during that turn. Battle Chips range from swords and cannons, to healing and defense items. Unlike traditional RPGs, you may move around and dodge attacks even when it's not your turn. You can also attack when it's not your turn, but if you run out of weapons, you'll be stuck using your standard gun until your Battle Gauge is full again. This gives your enemies the advantage, because they do not have to worry about waiting for their turn to select another weapon. They only have a few weapons to choose from, whereas Mega Man has several, so they are allowed to use theirs as much as they want. However, if the five Battle Chips that you have to choose from are not to your liking, you can sacrifice that turn in exchange for an additional five chips. You may do that a second time for a total of 15 chips. But once you make a selection, the list goes back to five chips.

When you're not battling, you're exploring the world and talking with the locals, RPG-style. Some of them may have valuable information that will help you on your quest, while others will just ramble on for hours about absolutely nothing. Every RPG seems to have NPCs (non-playable characters) like that. You'll also have to save a few women in distress, battle a cocky 5th grader and explore the insides of a GameCube (yep, you heard right!). A lot of these tasks are optional, but well worth the time taken to complete them. Anytime you see something that has a jack-in port, jack-in! What have you got to lose? Time?

Graphics
All of the characters, backgrounds and enemies in Mega Man Battle Network have that rendered, two-dimensional look made famous by Super Mario RPG. While not as polished as Mario (due to the GBA's limited graphics chip), MMBN looks really good. There aren't as many enemy animations as I would have liked, but it's hardly something to complain about

9.0
   
Sound
You won't believe your ears the first time you hear Mega Man Battle Network's music. I don't think I have ever heard such a wide variety of tunes on the Game Boy Advance before. Diversity is a hard thing to come by in portable gaming. When I wasn't playing MMBN, I left the GBA on and turned the volume all the way up just so I could hear my favorite song!
9.0
   
Gameplay
I haven't played a Game Boy Advance game this intently since the system was first released! GBA has a lot of great games, but other than Castlevania, none of them have sucked me in as deeply as Mega Man Battle Network. When the sun came up this morning, I still didn't been to bed. Despite being exhausted, all I wanted to do was continue playing MMBN.
10.0
   
Concept
I can guarantee that you have never played a Game Boy Advance game like this before! Mega Man Battle Network is an RPG, no doubt about that. But it's not just an RPG with the Mega Man name attached to it. The gameplay feels a lot like Mega Man in an RPG environment. The only downside is the somewhat childish story. I didn't expect the story to be as mesmerizing as the Final Fantasy series, but something comparable to Okage: Shadow King would've been nice.
10.0
   
Lasting Appeal
Well once you've finished it thats it you wouldnt want to repeat it i guess soit wont last long on ya :) but i dont know about RPG fans they might replay it again when they're bored.
10.0
   
Difficulty
Here's some advice: save your game very often! You can save almost anywhere, so don't hesitate. If you're worried about saving at the wrong place or the wrong time, don't. Leaving the Cyber World is as easy as jacking-out. But no matter how many precautions you take, you're still going to die. Mega Man Battle Network isn't a pushover. Pokemon is, for the most part, a simple game, but MMBN will have you screaming and yelling only a few hours after play.
10.0
   
Overall
I just have one thing to say: thank you! Thank you Capcom for releasing this game just before the launch of the Xbox. If there is any game that will truly help pass the time when I'm waiting in line, it's this one. Really though, Mega Man Battle Network can "delete" hours from any boring situation. Whether it's a road trip to Aunt Edna's, waiting line for Episode II tickets or standing in the cold in hopes of getting the latest game console, MMBN is bound to keep you occupied. Like Pokemon and Castlevania, once you start playing Mega Man Battle Network, you won't want to stop. For that reason, you'd be better off leaving it in the box until November 14th. Otherwise, you might beat it before then. Even if you're not going to be going to Uncle Bob's anytime soon, and are happy with the game consoles you have, this is a great buy. There's a lot more gameplay in MMBN than in most GBA games combined. Strategy/RPG fans will surely love it, and I think most other gamers will, too.
9.9

 

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