Mega Man Battle Network 5
|Mega Man Battle Network 5|
North American Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS box art
|Developer(s)||Capcom Production Studio 2|
|Composer(s)||Akari Kaida (GBA)
Mitsuhiko Takano (DS)
Seiko Kobuchi (DS)
Yoshino Aoki (DS)
|Series||Mega Man Battle Network|
|Release date(s)||Game Boy Advance
|Genre(s)||Real-time tactical role-playing|
Mega Man Battle Network 5, known as Rockman EXE 5 (ロックマンエグゼ5 Rokkuman Eguze Faibu?) in Japan, is a video game developed by Capcom for the Game Boy Advance (GBA) and Nintendo DS handheld game consoles. It is the fifth game in the Mega Man Battle Network series, and the first Mega Man game to be released on the Nintendo DS. Battle Network 5 comes in three different versions: Team ProtoMan (Team of Blues (チーム オブ ブルース Chīmu Obu Burūsu?)) and Team Colonel (Team of Colonel (チーム オブ カーネル Chīmu Obu Kāneru?)), both for the Game Boy Advance, which have similar gameplay but slightly different supporting characters and stories, and Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS, Rockman EXE 5 DS: Twin Leaders (ロックマンエグゼ5DS ツインリーダーズ Rokkuman Eguze Faibu Dī Esu Tsuin Rīdāzu?) in Japan, for the Nintendo DS, which includes the content from both games as well as extra content.
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Gameplay in Mega Man Battle Network 5 in this game is largely similar to that of its predecessors. The intrepid youngster Lan Hikari and his NetNavi (a sentient computer program) MegaMan.EXE must work to defeat the once-again-revived Nebula crime syndicate. Lan explores the real world and interacts with people and places there. When Lan jacks his PET, a handheld computer, into a computer with an interface jack (of which there are many), he can upload Mega Man to the cyber network. In that network, Mega Man can explore, but he's also threatened by viruses.
When Mega Man encounters viruses (or, later, hostile NetNavis), the screen shifts to a battle screen, set on a six by three square grid. On the left half of the grid is Mega Man, and on the other half are his opponents. Mega Man has a relatively weak arm cannon, the MegaBuster, but his main weapon is Lan's library of battle chips, one-use-per-battle special attacks which grant various abilities, including simple attacks, attack enhancements, defensive effects, terrain transmogrification, or assistance from other Navis. Before battle, the player can construct a folder consisted of thirty battle chips, and each turn of a battle (measured by a timer bar at the top of the screen), the player is presented with a random selection of these chips. The player can send Mega Man up to five battle chips, after which the battle takes place in real time, with MegaMan, controlled by the player, attacking with his MegaBuster, dodging attacks, or activating battle chips from his queue.
As implied by the games' titles, other Navis besides Mega Man play a much larger role. Mega Man joins a team led by either Lan's and Mega Man's rivals Chaud and ProtoMan.EXE or new characters Baryl and Colonel.EXE, and the members of this team assist MegaMan in various ways. Soul Unisons, originally introduced in Mega Man Battle Network 4 return: by using a chip of the right element to activate a Soul Unison (instead of its normal effects), Mega Man can take on the attributes of one of his teammates. For example, if Mega Man Soul Unisons with ProtoMan, his MegaBuster becomes a WideSwrd attack.
The team plays its largest role in Liberation missions. In Liberation missions, Mega Man and the rest of his team enter a part of the internet controlled by the Nebula crime syndicate, in order to free it from their control. Each Navi works autonomously, choosing corrupted Dark Panels to Liberate, or clear of Nebula's influence, to clear a path to the boss Navi controlling the area. Attempting to liberate a panel leads to a time-limited battle with a group of viruses. Each Navi has different abilities, including a unique chip always available to them in battle, a different weapon in place of the MegaBuster, and an out-of-battle ability which can clear multiple panels, protect teammates from damage, or other effects. These out-of-battle abilities almost always require Order Points, limiting their use. There is also a turn "goal" for each Liberation mission, with one turn representing the entire team of Navis attempting a liberation mission (or resting to restore HP). There are two Mega chips to be earned per liberation mission, one for completing the liberation mission on target or one turn less, and the better Mega chip for completing the liberation target in two or more turns less. Thus the player must actually complete each Liberation mission twice to earn both Mega Chips. Completing the liberation mission with more turns than the target will only earn zenny.
Also new to Mega Man Battle Network 5 are Dark Chips, super-powerful chips. While they appeared randomly in Mega Man Battle Network 4 when Mega Man was badly damaged, they are much more like normal battle chips in this game, in that they can be added to the battle chip folder like any other chip. Their extra power comes with a price: Mega man will no longer be able to achieve Soul Unison, and every time Mega Man uses a Dark Chip, he loses one point from his maximum hit points permanently. He can, however, use a Dark Chip for a Soul Unison; this is called a Chaos Unison, which is like a normal Soul Unison except that his MegaBuster is replaced with the effects of the Dark Chip he used for the Chaos Unison. While using this effect doesn't cause HP loss, it has to be done with careful timing, as charging with poor timing causes the Chaos Unison to end and an invincible, evil version of Mega Man to join the viruses and attack Mega Man for a short period of time using random battlechips. Conversely, if Mega Man never uses any Dark Chips, he will eventually (after about 1000 battles or so) become brighter in color and can achieve Full Syncro easier, just like in the previous game.
Connecting with other games
Much like previous games in the series, Game Boy Advance copies of Mega Man Battle Network 5 can connect using the Game Boy Advance link cable, to battle head-to-head or to trade battle chips. Unusually, Mega Man Battle Network 5 can also connect to other games and accessories as well.
Mega Man Battle Network 5 continues the theme of crossovers between the Mega Man Battle Network and Boktai series, reputedly originally initiated by Hideo Kojima, creator of the Boktai series, at the urging of his son, who is a fan of the Mega Man Battle Network series. By using a pair of wireless connectors (which were most infamously included in both versions of the GBA Pokémon games Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen) to connect a Game Boy Advance running Mega Man Battle Network 5 to a GBA running Boktai 2, a mode called "Crossover Battle" can be unlocked in both games. In Crossover Battles, both Solar Boy Django (controlled by the Boktai 2 player) and Mega Man (controlled by the Mega Man Battle Network 5 player) simultaneously battle ShadeMan.EXE, a vampiric Navi, in a race to see who can defeat him first. Performing well, such as performing counters and other such techniques will send Bats over to the other player's Shademan.exe, causing him to do special attacks or heal, even summoning more enemies. The battle is divided up into "rounds", which last about as long as it takes for megaman's custom gauge to fill. The boktai player can switch spells and weapons during this time, and the megaman player can pick new chips.
Japanese versions of the GBA games are also compatible with the e-Reader. e-Reader cards, when scanned, give Mega Man special power-ups, ranging from minor effects or one-time items to a special card that gives Mega Man the powers of Bass.EXE called "Bass Cross Mega Man" and unlocks a special side-story where Mega Man confronts Bass. Japanese gamers can also attach an accessory called a "Progress Chip Gate" to their GBA, which allows real-life toy battle chips to be used in-game. Interestingly, a Japanese Progress Chip Gate will work perfectly on English game cartridges, though they were never sold in the US.
Double Team DS
Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS includes both Game Boy Advance versions, and the player can choose which version to play when beginning a game. By making progress in one version of the game (either in a separate save file or in a GBA version of the game in the GBA slot of the Nintendo DS), the player can earn TP Chips (transport Chips), which allow the player to temporarily trade a teammate from one version of the game for its equivalent from the opposite version. For example, a player playing the Team ProtoMan version of the game would normally be supported by GyroMan.EXE. By using a TP Chip, that player could switch GyroMan with ShadowMan.EXE, the equivalent from Team Colonel.
Double Team DS also makes use of the DS's touch screen, mostly as a second screen. The menu screen is styled after the PETs from the Mega Man NT Warrior anime, and uses the touch screen to select menu entries. The second screen is also used for maps of the internet areas, once special map data is found. For battles, Mega Man can also download battle images of two of his teammates with the Party Battle system: these images can switch places with Mega Man mid-battle, or jump onto the battlefield to help Mega Man by attacking viruses, protecting Mega Man, or other effects.
Double Team DS also takes advantage of the greater storage space available for DS games, using this space to include voice samples, however they are not done by the actors from the MegaMan NT Warrior anime. This is not the only explicit reference to the anime; the touch-screen PET closely resembles the PETs from the anime, and, in the Japanese version, the opening intro song is a remixed version of Be Somewhere, the theme from Rockman EXE Stream.
By inserting related games, including other Mega Man Battle Network games, various secret features can be unlocked in Double Team DS. Sometimes these secrets are minor, such as remixed music from previous games. Inserting a completed copy of a GBA version of Mega Man Battle Network 5 or Boktai 2 (or Boktai 3 in Japan), however, unlocks special Crosses. Unlike the Crosses of Mega Man Battle Network 6, these are always-on special abilities based on those of other characters (Bass.EXE in the case of a completed copy of Mega Man Battle Network 5, Sol Django in the case of Boktai 2). also in addition to the improved battle system while you connect with other games (e.g. team protoman to team colonel your navi chip library will display secret chips or in this case the navi chips of the opposite version).
With the release of this DS version, all retailers pulled the original GBA versions from their shelves and offered only the DS version. The only way it was possible to buy the GBA versions was from Capcom's website (which still sells them to this day).
Lan Hikari and his friends, Dex, Mayl and Yai, are called to Sci-Lab headquarters for the revelation of the latest research project Yuichiro, Lan's father, has been working on. Before he can reveal it to them, however, mysterious agents take over Sci-Lab, subduing everyone with sleeping gas, kidnapping Yuichiro, and stealing the PETs (and thus the Navis contained within) of Lan's friends. However, Lan's PET is not stolen, because he was retrieving his father's ID, and is not seen by the agents. These agents turn out to be working for Dr. Regal and his crime syndicate Nebula, which has returned after being defeated in Mega Man Battle Network 4.
While Lan is unconscious, Nebula takes over the internet. To counteract Nebula's efforts, Chaud (in Team ProtoMan) or Baryl (in Team Colonel) form a secret, elite team of Navis, and Lan is wanted as the team's Navi operator, with Mega Man a member of the team. This team, which attracts new members as it progresses, liberates each section of the internet, revealing new secrets about both Nebula's plans and Yuichiro's research project. The membership of the team and how they join differs between the different versions of the game, but their roles are largely similar.
Nebula's latest plan, at first, seems to be the creation of Dark Chips, battle chips that corrupt the user. At one point, they even kidnap Mega Man, corrupting him and recruiting him by implanting a Dark Chip in him. This plan escalates, however, when Nebula corrupts the End City transmitter, corrupting NetNavis everywhere, causing them to act erratically and aggressively. Shortly afterwards, they corrupt the team's leader (either Protoman or Colonel, depending on the version of the game). In Team Colonel, Protoman helps Colonel break free of the corruption, and in Team Protoman, Colonel is introduced, and helps Protoman. It escalates further, when they spread micro servers all over the Net that cause people in the real world to act similarly. To complete this plan, however, they need Yuichiro's research project.
Starting with a clue from an encrypted message on Yuichiro's lab computer, Lan and Mega Man discover VisionBursts hidden in the net. These VisionBursts, virtual snapshots of ACDC Town, Oran Isle, and Sci-Lab from various points in the past, turn out to have further clues to Yuichiro's research project. This project turns out to be the unfinished work of Tadashi Hikari, Lan's grandfather, and his research partner, Dr. Wily.
Their project is SoulNet, a network connecting the minds and souls of people and Navis everywhere. While Tadashi Hikari and Dr. Wily hoped to bring people together with this invention, Dr. Regal, who turns out to be Dr. Wily's son, plans to upload NebulaGray, a program composed of pure hatred, to SoulNet, to shroud the world in darkness. Lan's team infiltrates the Nebula base and reaches Regal just in time to see him upload NebulaGray. While Lan's teammates are all affected, Lan himself is immune to Soulnet and NebulaGray, because he is wearing his grandfather's amulet of MagnoMetal, which protects the user from Soulnet's effects. Lan retrieves his friends' PETs, his teammates rescue Yuichiro, Mega Man defeats NebulaGray in a final confrontation, and Baryl rescues an amnesiac Dr. Regal from the self-destructing base, regardless of version. It turns out to be Dr. Wily, who survived the events from Battle Network 3, re-activates and overloads SoulNet, causing Dr. Regal to lose the last 10 years of memory in his life. He then moves on to working for Sci-Lab, having forgotten ever being evil in the first place.
The membership of the liberation squad differs between the two versions of Mega Man Battle Network 5. Recruiting each member involves largely similar challenges and each character fills a certain role on the team, but the motivations and in-game abilities of each character are sometimes quite different.
In both games, the liberation team is led by an experienced official Netbattler, with a Navi with a sword for an arm. In Team ProtoMan, the team is led by Electopian official Netbattler Chaud, Lan's recurring rival and operator of the swordsman Navi ProtoMan.EXE. His equivalent in Team Colonel is the new character Baryl, a Netopian official visiting Lan's home country of Electopia. Baryl is the operator of Colonel.EXE, a Navi who can adapt any chip to connect to his arm and adapt any object to fight as a soldier for him.
The first addition to the team is a Navi returning from Mega Man Battle Network 2, one who can protect the rest of the team from attacks. This second operator is drilling in otherwise-abandoned mine on Oran Island, and unknowingly endangering Lan's vacationing friends. In Team ProtoMan, this is Tesla Gauss, who has inherited MagnetMan.EXE from her Gospel agent father, Magnets Gauss. In Team Colonel, this is Princess Pride, operator of KnightMan.EXE.
The leader of the liberation team then hires a free agent to join the team, but this free agent insists on testing Lan and MegaMan at length, forcing them to overcome a series of challenges. In Team ProtoMan, this free agent is series newcomer Charlie Airstar, a Netopian helicopter pilot, and his agile Navi, GyroMan.EXE. In Team Colonel, this is former Gospel agent (now revealed to be a mercenary) Dusk and his ninja-like Navi, ShadowMan.EXE.
The next member of the team is recruited when Lan foils his plot to steal Ubercorp's booster system, a system that amplifies a Navi's effectiveness a thousandfold, from aboard the cruise ship Queen Bohemia. In Team ProtoMan, this is fireworks maker Fyrefox and former Solo-Navi NapalmMan.EXE, and in Team Colonel this is Netopian Native American Dingo, operator of TomahawkMan.EXE. Both of them get aboard the ship by being hired on to offer the passengers Netbattles for entertainment, but they have different motivations: Fyrefox wants to make more-spectacular fireworks, while Dingo wants revenge for the production of the booster system, which ruined the livelihoods of many in his home community.
The next member of the team is brought on to crack the security systems of Yuichiro's computer, in an effort to discover what he was working on when he was kidnapped. A wedge is initially driven between this member of the team when imposters from Nebula disguise themselves as MegaMan and this member's Navi fool them into thinking that the other is an agent of Nebula. Once they realize their error, they team up and defeat the Nebula imposters. In Team ProtoMan, Lan and MegaMan are suspicious of the close-lipped nature of Sharo soldier Raika and his military-minded Navi SearchMan.EXE, while in Team Colonel they are suspicious of how desperate shopkeeper and onetime WWW agent Higsby, operator of NumberMan.EXE, is to join the team.
The last member of the team forces herself onto the team, in order to accomplish her own goals. In doing so, however, she accidentally gets ProtoMan (or Colonel, depending on the version) captured and corrupted by Nebula, and the team must confront and rescue him. In Team ProtoMan, this is series newcomer Jasmine, operator of medic-themed Navi Medi.EXE, and she seeks to find a medical book hidden on the Undernet to cure her grandfather. In Team Colonel, this is DNN reporter Ribitta, owner of ToadMan.EXE, and she seeks to deduce the identities of Team Colonel.
The fifth installation of the game was first advertised in Japanese magazine, Corocoro Comic in August 2004.
Mega Man Battle Network 5: Team Proto Man was the 48th best-selling game in Japan in 2004 at 255,061 copies. This version was also the 55th best-selling game in the country in 2005 at 211,099 copies. Mega Man Battle Network 5: Team Colonel placed at number 65 with 194,472 copies sold that year. Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS was the 52nd best-selling Nintendo DS game in Japan in 2005 at 106,526 copies.
In North America, both the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions of Mega Man Battle Network 5 met with fairly tepid critical reception, with Metacritic and GameRankings aggregate scores just shy of 70% for all versions. Reviewers panned the game for its lack of innovation over its predecessors, describing it as an "incremental advancement," "an old, whiffy GBA kids RPG," and "just too darn much like its predecessors." Reviewers often highlighted the reuse of aging art and sound assets from previous games, comparing them unfavorably with contemporary Game Boy Advance games.
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- Official website (Japanese)