MegaMan Battle Network

I know this game series is several years old, but it has held the test of time. At least with me. I picked up the first game in this series a loooooong time ago, probably when it first came out — I can’t really remember. What I do know is that I jumped right into the game without knowing anything about it. I never really played it seriously either until I got the fourth game, Red Sun/Blue Moon. Then it started getting fun, and I went back to play the first game and even picked up the third, Blue/White. Recently I’ve gotten back into it again thanks to one of my schoolmates.

The games are surprisingly addicting. They’re extremely simple — all you really do is move the main character, Lan, and his NetNavi (basically a human in the Internet, which is basically a completely separate world that the real world depends on) MegaMan to complete objectives and delete viruses. The battle controls are fairly simple as well — you’re allowed a 3×3 square grid to move around in (so are your enemies) and you can use weapons in the form of Battle Chips to attack your opponents. Lose all your HP and it’s game over. Again, simple, but really fun.

For all you MegaMan fans out there, the story takes place in a world where Dr. Light’s internet research was given funding over Dr. Wily’s robot program. Light is the grandfather of the protagonist Lan (and MegaMan for that matter, but I’ll leave you to find out why if you don’t already know).

Every game has its flaws, though. 1 suffered from having MegaMan regenerate all his HP after every single battle, which essentially broke the game. (Later games fixed that by forcing you to exit the internet to regenerate HP, or by using “Recovery” battle chips in battle or subchips outside of battle.) The internet pathways in 1 are also extremely narrow — MegaMan can barely fit through them. (Again, remedied in later versions, especially 4 and after.) 3 has been hailed as the best of the series, and as I am playing through it now, I can see why. Despite the mechanics being the exact same, the story is really intriguing, and the drive to level MegaMan up is always there.

4, however, is the game which most fans of the series say ruined it. Earlier games had a feature called “Style Change” which allowed MegaMan to adopt the features of a certain element (Wood, Water, Fire, Electric). This was replaced in 4 by the “Soul Unison” which allowed MegaMan to adopt the features of other NetNavis. Many people disliked this; I actually find it a lot better, perhaps because 4 was the first of the series I played with vigor. But the one thing that gets on everyone’s nerves is the fact that one must play through the game three times to fully beat it. Sure, it gets more difficult each time, but it is redundant.

Still, despite the flaws, it’s a great game to kill time with, and one that you can play seriously with your friends. You’d be hard pressed to find a copy of any of them, however, as the series ended several years ago. Perhaps you could check used game stores, or eBay; otherwise, you’re out of luck.

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