Mega Man Battle Network
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|Mega Man Battle Network|
|Platform(s)||Game Boy Advance, GameCube, WonderSwan, Arcade, Mobile phones, Nintendo DS, Wii U|
|First release||Mega Man Battle Network|
March 21, 2001
|Latest release||Rockman EXE Operate Shooting Star|
November 12, 2009
Mega Man Battle Network, known in Japan as Rockman.EXE (ロックマンエグゼ, Rokkuman Eguze), is one of Capcom's Mega Man series and debuted in 2001 on the Game Boy Advance. It is an RPG spin-off series based on the original Mega Man series, taking place in a separate continuity where computer and networking technology advanced instead of robotics. There are six main Mega Man Battle Network games as well as several side-story games. It was later succeeded by the Mega Man Star Force series, which takes place hundreds of years after the Battle Network series.
The series is set in the year 200X (20XX in the sixth game), in an alternate version of the original Mega Man universe in which networks, rather than robots, were the subject of the most research. Like the original, there were two main projects and only one was funded, but unlike the original, the work of Dr. Tadashi Hikari (the series' version of Dr. Light) in the field of networking and AI programs had been funded over Dr. Wily's research in robotics. The result of Dr. Hikari's research was the PET (PErsonal Terminal), a small computer which is used similarly to a cellular phone or PDA and which contains a customizable artificial intelligence complete with emotions, known as a NetNavi (short for Network Navigator).
A NetNavi is responsible for helping the operator search, use, and surf the internet as well as protect the PET and itself from viruses. Within years the internet evolves to the point where it becomes possible to send an AI into it and physically move around as if it were another world. There is some danger, however; viruses evolve alongside Navis and the internet to become intelligent on some level. Because the internet has evolved to the point of taking on a manifestation, so, too, can virtual weapons be used. If a Navi or a Virus takes too much damage, its programming will lose integrity, disperse, and be deleted shortly afterwards. Each Navi has antiviral weapons that are built directly into its programming that provide basic defense, and can, in addition to this, be sent weapon programs from the PET via the use of BattleChips.
The series focuses on Tadashi's grandson, Lan Hikari, and his NetNavi, MegaMan.EXE. The pair get involved in foiling the schemes of a net-crime organization called WWW ("World Three"), headed by Wily.
In another tribute to the original series, most of the Navis in the series are named after characters from the original series. As the games progressed, however, certain characters from the X series, such as Zero, Iris, and Colonel have also appeared as NetNavis. Completely original NetNavis have also been made for the series, with some exclusive to the anime series. In every game since the second (with the exception of Battle Network 3), NetNavis used by Mr. Famous were created by fans of the series, being winners of design contests from Capcom of Japan.
The series uses a hybrid action-RPG/card battle system. Battle screens feature a 6x3 grid, with each character initially controlling half of the playing field, which can be modified by Battle Chips.
Like the original games, the player is in control of MegaMan who has the use of his weapon, the MegaBuster. However, core gameplay revolves around "Battle Chips" which are selected by Lan who is also controlled by the player. The chips are selected at the beginning of a battle and every time the player activates the full "Custom Gauge" which refills over time. Selection takes place during a pause in the battle. Specific selections of Battle Chips lead to "Program Advances" which combine chips to form a more powerful temporary Battle Chip. The player must choose 30 Battle Chips which act as a deck for each battle and is refilled after each battle ends. A secondary objective is the collection of Battle Chips which can range in rarity from common to Mega to Giga. With the success of the collectible genre with series such as Pokémon, Battle Network games (beginning with BN3) were released in two similar versions, and had content that were exclusive to one version of the game.
Exploration in the game takes place in two ways. First, the player controls the protagonist Lan Hikari in the real world, where the player can interact with other Non-player characters, and travel around the world map. These real-world areas allow the player to progress the story, and do side-quests as well. The real-world also contains jack-in points in which the player can jack-in to the net world, and explore as Megaman.EXE. The net world is where the player controls and plays as Megaman. While traveling in the Net World, battles can ensue at random, and to progress the story, Megaman must travel through these Net Areas in order to defeat enemies, and fix issues with the machines these areas are located within.
Mega Man Battle Network
A terrorist organization called WWW (World Three) attempted to destroy the world with the use of a super virus known as the Life Virus. Despite interference by Lan and MegaMan, the members stole the four element programs they needed in order to make it and succeeded in its creation. The virus was as strong as predicted, but was destroyed by MegaMan. Its defeat forced WWW to retreat. This game received an averaged score of 80% score on GameRankings and 79% on MetaCritic.
Mega Man Battle Network was later re-released for the DS as Rockman EXE Operate Shooting Star, which serves both as an enhanced port of the original, as well as a crossover with the Star Force series.
As stated, in an inside-Games Interview, by the game developers, the game was initially conceptualized with the intention of being a horror game.
Mega Man Network Transmission
A man known only as the Professor releases a deadly virus that infects Navis. MegaMan and ProtoMan move in to investigate and find the source of the virus, Zero. Once Zero is released of the curse, the Professor announces that Zero was merely a diversion to resurrect the Life Virus. With Zero's help, MegaMan deletes it again. The game takes place in the Battle Network universe, but the gameplay is unlike the hybrid action-RPG/card battle system of the other games. Instead, it is an action Platformer similar to the traditional Megaman series. The game received a 61% score on GameRankings and 65% on MetaCritic.
Mega Man Battle Network 2
The following summer after WWW's defeat, a new terrorist group called Gospel emerges. Their tactics differed considerably compared to WWW, as they appeared to have no set goal. Gospel's plan had seemingly consisted of only causing random destruction with their navis. Lan and MegaMan battled every member and prevented the worst possible situations. However, Gospel's hidden plan was to re-create the ultimate net navi, Bass. Using bug fragments, they planned to make a large army of Bass navis to take over the world. Unknown to Gospel, their method of creating Bass was imperfect, and his abilities were vastly below predictions. In an attempt to make copies of Bass to create an army, the leader of Gospel overloaded energy to the bug fragments; but something went wrong and the concoction transformed into a giant wolf-like multi-bug organism. Although the bug beast was stronger than before, Lan and MegaMan managed to eliminate it. This game received an averaged score of 82% score on GameRankings and 81% on MetaCritic.
Rockman EXE WS
Lan Hikari and MegaMan.EXE face off against the WWW. The story adapts aspects of both the first Mega Man Battle Network game as well as the anime series, MegaMan NT Warrior. The game play is similar to that of Mega Man Network Transmission.
Mega Man Battle Network 3 (Blue and White)
Battle Network 3 takes place not long after BN2. Lan and MegaMan participate in a NetNavi tournament called the N1 Grand Prix get into the competition, but discover the tournament is a set-up by WWW to intimidate the world about their return, and to initiate the revival of the net beast Alpha. This game received an averaged score of 77% on GameRankings and 77% on MetaCritic.
Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge
Lan competes in a new netbattling tournament known as the "Battle Chip GP", but there is a new organization behind the scenes who will delete the winning Navi and steal its data. The gameplay of Battle Chip Challenge is very different from the gameplay of the other Battle Network games. It uses the same chips from Megaman Battle Network 1 and 2, but instead of having a hybrid action-RPG/card battle system, it uses the battlechips instead in a more strategy based style. The game received a 49.9% score on GameRankings and 54% on MetaCritic.
Mega Man Battle Network 4 (Red Sun and Blue Moon)
Lan and MegaMan take part in a series of net battle tournaments. Depending on the version of the game, different opponents and scenarios will occur. In between tournaments, a criminal organization called Nebula attack. They spread corruption with the use of Dark Chips, Battle Chips infused with the power of darkness. Meanwhile, an asteroid is traveling through space, heading for Earth. This game received an averaged score of 70% on GameRankings and 68% on MetaCritic (the low scores on this title were due to lack of any real story other than fighting in tournaments).
Mega Man Battle Network 5 (Team Protoman/Colonel/Double Team DS)
Nebula attacks again, this time with an all-out invasion. They kidnap Lan's father and use SciLab's computers to take over the internet. In response, either Chaud or Baryl (depending on the version) create a team of elite net navis and operators. Lan and MegaMan are the first members. As the story progresses, more team members are gained, and more areas of the net are liberated. When all of the net is won back, the team locates Nebula's headquarters and attempt to defeat the organization. The GBA versions received an average score of 68% on GameRankings and 67% on MetaCritic, whereas the NDS version received 70% on GameRankings and 68% on MetaCritic.
Mega Man Battle Network 6 (Cybeast Gregar and Cybeast Falzar)
Battle Network 6 is the final game in the series. Lan's father gets a new job and the family moves to Cyber City, leaving behind Lan's classmates and friends from ACDC Town. WWW attacks once again, aiming to revive the legendary Cybeasts, Gregar and Falzar. This game received an average score of 64% on GameRankings and 63% on Metacritic (the low scores were due to recycled art, sound, and gameplay).
The games were adapted into an anime series titled MegaMan NT Warrior. The series spawned four seasons, Axess, Stream, Beast, and Beast+.
The games were adapted into two manga series by Shogakukan titled MegaMan NT Warrior by Ryo Takamisaki that consisted of 13 volumes and Battle Story Rockman.EXE by Keijima Jun and Miho Asada that consisted of 4 volumes.