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PLAYERS:   1-2
June 17, 2002
Mega Man Universe

Mega Man Universe

Mega Man Legends 3 Project

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Mega Man 10

More in this Series
 Written by Tim McGrew  on April 11, 2003

Review: It's Megaman, but it's not. Read on to know why.

It's hard to imagine the level of technology that humans will have a hundred years from now. In fact, it's hard to imagine what we'll have ten years from now. Not too long ago, not even fifty years in fact, it was estimated that we'd have cars that flew through our great metropolitan cities with robots that did all of our work for us in a utopia of beauty paralleled only by artwork depicting said scene. As the 21st Century dawned upon us, these utopian ideas were oft thought of as pipe dreams and the future of humanity and the vast pace that we were evolving is fact, but hardly in the direction our ancestors once predicted and dreamed of. Today, there are hundreds of different ideas about the future of humanity and the evolution of our society to incorporate such ideas as a fact of life and these ideas are depicted through books, movies, and games that we have grown to love a great deal.

One of these ideas is depicted in the opening of the spin-off Mega Man series, Mega Man Battle Network. Although this review is going to be about Mega Man Battle Network 2, the ideas of this game and its predecessor remain predominantly the same with a world integrated to such a scale that the vast oceans now only seem like quick trips and the rest of the world is accessed by tiny robotic entities known as PETs. PET stands for Personal Electronic Devices and these devices contain NetNAVI which is basically the personality of a PET that the owner interacts with. PETs can be used to access a number of different things including the virtual world of the Internet that has access to just about any electronic device in existence integrating the world to a massive and grand scale that can only be imagined by today's estimations.

In fact, the world is so perfect that the only predators inhabiting the net are viruses. Yes, viruses are problems even today, but these viruses can destroy your NetNAVI which is something no one wants since each one is unique and trained in their own special way. During the game, players will fill the roll of a boy named Lan who owns a personal NetNAVI named Mega Man. Using Mega Man, Lan wishes to become the greatest virus hunter out there and through diligent school work and training, he is well on his way.

In the opening of Mega Man Battle Network 2 (MMBN2), players are essentially re-taught the information about the battle system from the first game in a homework assignment as opposed to learning it from a teacher in class. Before each random battle is encountered on the digital highways of the Net, players will choose a series of chips that allow them to perform a number of actions that range from regaining life to attacking enemies and to destroying the battlefield to limit the enemies attack options and distance. The chips themselves are very powerful, but just like traditional Mega Man games, Mega Man still has his trusty blaster which can knock one hit point off of an enemy with each hit. Although that is very little when you consider enemies have hundreds of hit points later in the game, it is useful in the occasions when you are waiting for new chips to become available in your chip folder through a type of ?wait? bar at the top of the screen. However, picking the right chips at the beginning of a battle is the true key to quick victory as the faster you win a battle benefits your NetNAVI just that much more.

Another element to the battle system is the player's ability to move Mega Man across the screen utilizing red squares as moveable spots for your NetNAVI. The blue squares are essentially enemy spots, but there are a number of different chips that can nullify these restrictions in a heartbeat. Enemies and players alike can gain the ability to move between all colored squares or even remove entire rows or columns of squares restricting movement a great deal making fast moving targets far easier to hit. It's strategic in nature and a whole lot of fun in practice.

Aside from the massive number of battles that players will participate in, the game is basically a hunt for new chips and the solutions to puzzles slowing your path to the next objective. One problem is the player's ability to discover the next objective on the net primarily because of a lack of a map for players to use to navigate the area, but after a little bit of searching and a whole lot of teleporting, all will soon come to fruition. The storyline is quite good, but the game is rather linear as puzzles will unlock new areas to be explored and thus point them in the right direction to advance the plot and the game considerably. In fact, the whole game is balanced all the way through and so long as the correct chips are picked and switched out for battles and the puzzles solved; there shouldn't be any trouble for players to breeze through this one in a few hours.

Graphically, Megaman Battle Network 2 is incredibly similar to the first MMBN. In fact, there are very few refinements to note here and none of them really affect the gameplay in any way. Although this may sound disappointing to fans of the first game, it's actually welcome here since, first of all, the graphics are already excellent for what they are trying to portray, and, second of all, there's nothing wrong with the interface as it is building on the fact that this is a continuation to an already excellent RPG. The music of MMBN2 is also top notch but, like the graphics, is changed very little from the music in the first game. Again, this may anger those of you out there who never liked the music in the first place, but since there is no spoken dialogue in the game, you can always turn the sound off and be done with it.

One of the better features of MMBN2 is the ability for players to carry over a number of chips from the first game in the Retro Chip Trader and players can also trade chips with friends who also own copies of MMBN2 increasing your arsenal through simple exchange or through battling. It's actually quite fun using your NetNAVI against your friends because those battles are particularly fierce, similar to the workings of the multiplayer in the Pokemon GBA games.

Bottom Line
Given the fact that MMBN is an excellent RPG and MMBN2 is more of a continuation of the first rather than a remake, players will find much to enjoy here. It's a solid RPG with very few things to complain about in the interface and the battle system. Although the story isn't terribly deep with mounds of character development, it is a fun and worthwhile game that is perfect for the pick up and go gamer in all of us with our trusty little handheld GBAs.

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