(Game Boy Advance)

Mega Man Battle Network (Game Boy Advance)

Game Review

Mega Man Battle Network Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Net neutrality

While the Mega Man series is mostly known for its action platformer instalments, in a move to perhaps appeal to more audiences Capcom decided to try pairing the Blue Bomber with some other genres, first in the form of Mega Man Legends, an action RPG, and then again with this title, Mega Man Battle Network.

Released on Game Boy Advance at the turn of the century, this is essentially another attempt at making a Mega Man RPG, though with some vastly different gameplay to the Legends games. In this title you control two different characters — first you'll meet a young student called Lan, who you can control in the "real" world. Lan's gameplay is more exploration-based as you look around the isometric world, talk to characters, shop for items, accept quests and more.

When you switch to the Net, a virtual world, you take control of MegaMan.EXE, another incarnation of the blue hero and Lan's "avatar" that gets to explore dungeons in cyberspace, find items and fight enemies, which are referred to as viruses. As in most traditional RPGs encounters are completely random — there's no indication you're going to get into a fight before it suddenly happens.

The actual battles, however, are a little different from those typical of turn-based ones RPGs, as they're actually in real-time. As you enter a fight you'll be presented with a horizontally aligned battlefield consisting of 18 squares, 9 for MegaMan.EXE and 9 for the enemies, both laid out in a 3x3 pattern. MegaMan.EXE can freely move around the squares on his side of the field, and can fire from any one of them to try and hit the enemies, while said enemies can also freely move around and shoot back at him from their side of the field.

Further spicing things up are the so-called Battle Chips, special abilities which allow you to perform various special moves. These can have all sorts of effects, such as summoning allies, firing a strong attack, healing HP or destroying part of the enemy's side of the battlefield. These Battle Chips can be found and bought all over the place, so they're a key strategy to swinging the tide of battles in your favour.

Although this game takes place in an alternate universe of sorts, with the previous few series supposedly having never happened, there are still plenty of references for the fans. Among other things you'll encounter several heavily redesigned versions of past Mega Man bosses, such as ElecMan.EXE and WoodMan.EXE, who naturally retain their position as bosses.

If you simply rush through game's main story you'll find that it's relatively short for an RPG, though still clocking in at a little over 12 hours, but Mega Man Battle Network is not unlike other RPGs in that it offers a lot of optional content, which can easily double or triple its length should you choose to go for the 100% completion. Naturally, this extra content all leads to additional items, which can greatly assist you if you're having trouble with a particular part.

As it is a pretty early Game Boy Advance game the music, for the most part, is decent at best, but the game shines on the graphical side with big, colourful environments that house lots of little details.

Conclusion

Although the Mega Man Legends games never quite got the popularity they deserved, Capcom struck gold with the Battle Network series, creating 6 main titles and plenty of spin-offs which all sold well. This first title lays the baseline for its sequels, introducing players to a fun, unique battle system, plus an interesting world and characters. Its successors arguably do the job a little better, but the first game in the Battle Network series is still a great place to start.

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User Comments (32)

outburst

#1

outburst said:

Finally! Thanks NL!

@Drake, does it look better with screen smoothing? I'm kinda turned off by the trailer and the screen shots on the eShop. Though the other GBA VC I own looks better with it but those are Nintendo games and I'm not sure with this one.

outburst

#3

outburst said:

@Tigus
Ahh thanks. :) I've never played this series. I may get this game then if the Battlechip Challenge will have a good review as well.

NodesforNoids

#4

NodesforNoids said:

Bass hunting in MMBN games reminds me of the Crossbone Isle dungeons in the Golden Sun games. They've always seemed like the most challenging portion of the game.

Phantom5800

#7

Phantom5800 said:

@outburst don't expect anything from battle chip challenge. It is a vastly simplified game that is more of a card game than anything else.

@sinalefa this should be a good place to start. BN3 is considered the best of between myself and most people I know, but this one does introduce you to all the characters where as later games will assume you already know the early plot points.

outburst

#8

outburst said:

@Phantom5800
Thanks. I could skip Battlechip Challenge. But I couldn't skip BN if I'm gonna get BN 2, BN 3 and the rest of Battle Network games. I'm glad this one got a decent score.

Phantom_R

#9

Phantom_R said:

I've played a lot of Battle Network 3. Pretty long game. One part toward the end had me stuck for years and I'm convinced that the final boss is unbeatable.

FlaygletheBagel

#11

FlaygletheBagel said:

Never played a Battle Network game and I've never really been big into the Mega Man platformers, but I'm thinking of picking this one up. You all seem to attest to the quality of the series, plus I like a good RPG every now and then. You think I should?

FX29

#13

FX29 said:

@FlaygletheBagel
Battle Network 1 is pretty basic when compared to the sequels. The biggest problem is that you can only run away with the escape battle chip and it can be hard to navigate through since a lot of areas in the net look the same. I would recommend Battle Network 2 and 3 when those come out since they are much more refined. However BN1 is a good starting point.

HyperSonicEXE

#14

HyperSonicEXE said:

BN1 isn't as dated as it can be made out to be - the MegaBuster at max charge and upgrade can do a whopping 80 damage, as opposed to 25.

Incidentally, I recommend boosting Charge, then Power, and alternating between the two, leaving Rapid for last.

S3OL

#15

S3OL said:

Very glad I bought this on the eShop a couple of days ago, haven't started it yet but will do eventually. It seems great from the little that I've played so far.

Massive fan of the Megaman series.

alex167

#16

alex167 said:

I never played this game but i watched the cartoon, i´d like to buy it but some people say it´s boring because it doesn´t have the action other Mega Man games have, i´ve heard it´s a Mega Man RPG game, so what do you say guys? besides i´d like to know if Mega Man can copy his enemies powers like previous games, thanks for your answers. BTW i haven´t read the review yet because i´m at work right now.

chucknorrmis

#17

chucknorrmis said:

@sinalefa The sequels are much better (look up a few top battle network games on google) but waiting for them... I'd say you're going to have to wait a long time. If you got a backlog of games, then I'd definitely wait for 2,3,5, or 6

DarkKirby

#18

DarkKirby said:

The original Battle Network was practically an experiment. The online world was so simple in appearance and mapless that I got lost all the time. The game was still above average overall though.

BN2 and BN3 were AWESOME.

BN4 and BN5 were trash.

Battle Network 6 was above average again.

Lasermaster123

#19

Lasermaster123 said:

Great game and the start of it all. I loved the Battle Network Games but I still have to find Bass in Network 1, 2 and 6! I missed him in Battle Network 4 due to missing a chip which had become undroppable! :(

Can't wait to try this series again! Will be fun :D

Kaze_Memaryu

#20

Kaze_Memaryu said:

@DarkKirby Wait, BN4 is bad? I couldn't possibly tell since I got into the series with 4 and never played the previous, but I thought BN4 was pretty damn good.

Azikira

#21

Azikira said:

The battle system was so unique and fun. And I'm not just saying that because of my icon on anything.

JacketsNest101

#25

JacketsNest101 said:

@FlaygletheBagel The only problem I have with this game is the somewhat same-ness of the net. Well, that and the fact that there's no counter system, although the add system is really awesome.

JacketsNest101

#26

JacketsNest101 said:

@alex167 It's worth a purchase, although the double soul stuff doesn't appear until BN5. This one will get you used to the combat system though.

Phantom5800

#27

Phantom5800 said:

@JacketsNest101 Yeah, 5 and 6 are both excellent. I prefer the story for 3 over those two, but the mechanics for 6 are my favorite in the whole series, and I loved the strategy scenarios in 5.

JacketsNest101

#29

JacketsNest101 said:

@Phantom5800 Yeah the liberation missions in 5 were the highlight. I loved going back to old ones toward the end of the game and just napalming everything and clearing the missions is two or three turns. Gyroman was so helpful for those missions.

FlaygletheBagel

#30

FlaygletheBagel said:

@JacketsNest101 @FX29 Thanks for the recommendations! I went ahead and purchased it, and I'm enjoying it a lot this far. The net definitely is the weakest point of the game, definitely confusing to navigate. The battle system is unique and I'm impressed with it, even if it is a bit clunky to work with at first. Overall though, it's a lot of fun!

BulbasaurusRex

#31

BulbasaurusRex said:

As much as I like the Battle Network series, I actually prefer the GameCube spinoff "Mega Man: Network Transmission." It combines the world, storyline (taking place between BN1 & BN2) and Battle Chip system from the Battle Network series with the side-scrolling action platform genre (but at a less punishing difficulty level) of the main series.

FX102A

#32

FX102A said:

@Phantom_R Oh I remember Alpha.

Basically the only way to beat him was to memorise the pattern of his lightning attack, it always followed the same pattern of column wide attacks. I basically memorised when to press forward and back to a beat.

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