Oh Mega Man, what
have they done to you? You have changed from the stumpy blue badass
robot bristling with weaponry to being nothing more than a tall skinny
GigaPet trapped inside a computer. OK, so maybe it isnt that bad, but
for those of us that grew up with old school Mega Man, the Battle
Network games take some getting used to. Mega Man Battle Network 3 is
the latest game that has taken the popular route of adding a collection
aspect to the traditional RPG gameplay. This game takes that concept a
step further and offers nearly endless customization of Mega Man along
with an interesting backstory and great gameplay. Battle Network 3 adds
a few new gameplay elements to the Battle Network series and is
definitely worth checking out.
You may be
wondering why this game has the subtitle White attached to it. For Mega
Man Battle Network 3, Capcom decided to release two different versions
of the game, Blue and White. Much like the Pokemon series, the two
versions of BN3 offer content exclusive to each version. There are rare
battle chips tucked inside each version as well as an exclusive fighting
style and even special boss battles. With a link cable, you can battle
against friends or exchange battle chips between the two versions of the
game. In practice, the differences between the two versions arent
enough to warrant purchasing both of them, but if you have a friend with
a different version than yours trading rare battle chips can be fun.
In the world of
Mega Man Battle Network, the Internet plays an enormous role in everyday
life. Just about everything from chalkboards to toilets is linked up via
network. Intelligent programs called Navis protect the network against
viruses, but they are also sort of like cyber-pets for their owners in
the offline world. When trouble is brewing online, people have to jack
their Navis into the network so they can find the problem and solve it.
Megaman.EXE is the Navi of elementary school student and expert Net
Battler Lan Hikari. Battle Network 3, just like the other two Battle
Network games, follows Lan and Mega Man as they take on the evil WWW
organization. There isnt really much story once you start the game, but
the setting is interesting enough to keep you hooked.
The gameplay in
Battle Network 3 takes place in two environments. In the offline (real)
world, you control Lan as he goes to school and does normal kid stuff
like hanging out with friends and uncovering international conspiracies.
When you jack into the network, control shifts to Mega Man so he can
track down the digital counterparts of the aforementioned conspirators
and other bad guys.
into the web as Mega Man you do battle with viruses, compete in friendly
tournaments, collect new battle chips, and fight against enemy
controlled Navis. When you encounter an enemy, which occurs via the
"wonderful" system of random battles, you are taken to the battle plane
and the game becomes a whole lot more interesting. The battle plane is a
3x6 grid with half belonging to Mega Man and half being taken up by the
enemy. You are free to move around your area at will and the battles
rage on in real time.
In addition to
Mega Mans standard Mega Buster arm cannon, Lan can send him new battle
chips that will give him new abilities. Only five compatible (each chip
is classified and only chips with matching codes can be used together)
chips can be used at a time and range from new types of projectiles to
swords to being able to manipulate the battle plane itself. Once you use
a chip, it is gone and you have to send Mega Man new battle chips to
use. The difficulty of the battles rises nicely as the game progresses
and the mix of skill and strategy required to win is very satisfying.
Getting the right chips and knowing when and how to use them is crucial
if you want to succeed in later areas of the game.
As in the
previous Battle Network games, Mega Man will evolve a new style based on
how you play the game. When you find a style you like, you can upgrade
it through the Navi Customizer. The Navi Customizer allows you to
install new programs into Mega Man. The program parts, which come in
various shapes, sizes, and colors, must be installed in accordance to a
few simple guidelines or glitches can occur. Most glitches produce
negative effects while a few will produce gameplay quirks that you can
use to your advantage. The Navi Customizer and the programs you can
install are like a big puzzle mini game that adds a lot of replay value
to the game as you can experiment with new programs and make the game
play the way you want it to. Between collecting the hundreds of
different battle chips and the Navi Customizer, Battle Network 3 has a
lot going for it besides just playing through the main game.
Mega Man Battle Network 3 looks outstanding. I am playing it on the Game
Boy Player and I have to remind myself every now and then that this game
was designed for a handheld system. The graphics are bright and colorful
and the characters are surprisingly detailed. The Navis, particularly
the boss Navis that are modeled after classic Mega Man robot bosses, are
detailed and look great. If you have played the previous Battle Network
games, you literally wont see anything new, but the game still looks
The sound in BN3
is good, but like the graphics, it is pretty much the same as it has
been for the last two games. The bleeps and bloops of the sound effects
do a good job of representing the virtual online world and are pretty
much what we have come to expect from a Mega Man game. Likewise, the
music is vintage Mega Man and will no doubt bring a smile to the face of
anyone that has followed the Blue Bomber through his 15-year career.
Mega Man Battle
Network 3 is a fun cross between a standard RPG and a collectible card
game. Despite the fact that it looks and sounds just like the other two
games in the series, there are enough new gameplay elements here that
make it worth another trip through those same environments. Having two
versions to choose from is a nice idea, but it isnt necessary to
connect them in order to enjoy everything the game has to offer so dont
worry about which version you get. This is easily the best game in the
series and is worth checking out for fans of the series as well as
newcomers. Jack in, customize your own Mega Man, and enjoy.