Game Review: Megaman Battle Network

Geek Specs:
Title: Megaman Battle Network
Platform: Gameboy Advance
Genre: Action/RPG
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release: October 31, 2001


Introduction: Megaman, our beloved blue bomber. He's become a household name to gamers around the world; myself included. I've been an avid Megaman gamer since his original debut on the NES up until his latest X game. And if it's another X game you're waiting for, then I suggest you wait until March 15, 2002 for Rockman Zero. Megaman Battle Network is certainly not another side-scrolling Megaman game. Far from it in fact, it is the blue bombers first stab into the RPG genre, with a little bit of Mega for good measure of course. There's always a first time for everything, and MMBN shows that it is Capcom's first attempt at an MM RPG. It is not an epic tale of love, hate, and all that is in between. To be quite honest it's not epic at all, it's fun. That's all it is, a fresh twist on an aging franchise. There is no deep and all encompassing storyline; no moments of revelation, not once will you find yourself at the edge of your seat begging for more. But...it's just plain fun. From the innovative real-time battle system to the colorful sprites and perky music, MMBN is a treat for Megaman gamers around the globe.


Review: The game plays out in a pseudo 3D-Isometric perspective, where you the player assume control of [no not Megaman] Lan, a teenage boy with a killer net-navi. Megaman in fact is not a "real" character. Instead he is Lan's PET or Personal Exploration Terminal [also called a navi]. A PET is like a space-age web-enabled digital cell-phone/palm pilot/cyber pen-pal. It allows the user to check e-mail, store Battle Chips, and eradicate viruses via a real-time action battle system. Lan's PET is Megaman.EXE, an exceptionally powerful net-navi designed by Lan's father. Lan will at times jack in Megaman into the net to do some virus busting [think of it as a dial-up connection with a Buster Cannon]. The plot has Lan/Megaman battling the sinister WWW and their plans of world domination/destruction through internet sabotage. As usual it is always up to the Lan/Megaman team to stop the WWW's evil schemes and bring them to net-justice. The actual world of MMBN is quite small; there is no "world map" so to speak. A great deal of the population looks identical to one another [possibly because Capcom reused their sprites]. Still, what these re-hashed characters have to say can be endearing at times. A renegade navi-program challenged me once by saying "All your base are belong to us".

Battle System: This is what truly makes the game unique and gives it that Megaman feel we've all come to know and love. The battlefield is seperated into two 3x3 grids, one for Megaman to move around in [left side read squares], and one for the enemies [right side blue squares]. Megaman then has two choices, blast away with his Buster Cannon for minimal damage [can be enhanced by finding power-ups for it's 3 components, attack, rapid, and charge], or use one of his Battle Chips Lan has collected to do special attacks or use special abilities like stealing parts of the enemies' grid. The Battle Chips are an integral part of the battle system and the game. There are 175 to collect in all [pokemon style]. You can 'collect em all' by searching the game, trading with in-game characters or real life friends [if you have any] through a link cable, or by the most common method, deleting viruses. The effects of these Battle Chips vary to a staggering degree, from firing hi-powered cannon shots to sword attacks and even summoning some of our favorite Megaman characters like Gutsman, Roll, and Bass. Money received after defeating a virus can be used to purchase more Battle Chips, HP-Memory ups, Power-ups for your Buster Cannon, and Armor from net-merchants found on the net.

Conclusion: Megaman has finally stepped into the realm of RPG gaming, whether it is for the better or worse is remains to be seen. MMBN provides a unique gaming experience that even some hardcore RPG gamers might find entertaining, and needless to say Megaman fans will love the game for its nostalgic return to the original blue bomber [and Protoman EXE I might add]. Recommended to anyone who likes Megaman or Action/RPG hybrids.


Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 4.0 Graphics: 4.0
The game is fun and decently long, about 15-20 hours for the first time through. There really isn't a second time through; the game just doesn't warrant a replay. It's not that fun, and with a lackluster storyline the hardcore RPG-gamer might be somewhat turned off by it. While nothing eye-bulging, the graphics get their job done smoothly and enhance the gameplay. Some of the backgrounds are gorgeous, and the overworld doesn't look half bad. The graphics during battle are very nice, and the battle animations flow smoothly unlike some other RPG's. All in all it's nothing to be ecstatic about but there really isn't much to complain about either.

Sound: 3.0 Overall: 3.5
Here the game falters somewhat. The sound effects fit very nicely, however, there is not one song that will get stuck in your head. Nothing seems to jump out, partly due to the inferior sound system of the GBA. If the game featured more Megaman X style music it would definitely be awarded full points in the sound department, but alas it falls short of the musical masterpieces that are the X games. MMBN provides a unique gaming experience that even some hardcore RPG gamers might find entertaining. Needless to say, Megaman fans will love the game for its nostalgic return to the original blue bomber. I recommended to anyone who likes Megaman or Action/RPG hybrids.

Written by Vagrant Zero

 

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