VC Weekly 349

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe’s guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo’s download service. Written by Sam C Gittins

Another RPG featuring a virtual version of a certain blue-hued robot and his faithful companion, or is that the other way round? Anyway enough from me and on with the game!
Available for download this week we have...     

Mega Man Battle Network 4


Price: GB £6.29, EU €6.99
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Released: 2004
System: GBA

Most people will know what to expect from this series by now if they've played the previous titles, except here a few changes have seemingly been made mainly on the side of narration or rather the poor translation, read on for further misinformation. Predictably we have MegaMan.exe along with Lan Hikari rising through the ranks of yet another netbattling tournament, which is taking place to determine who is the strongest NetNavi/Operator in the World!!1! How exciting... But wait! There is an asteroid on its way to Earth which is the real reason for this faux-show of power because there is a chance disaster can be averted providing a NetNavi who is strong enough can enter cyberworld to change its course; then you have the evil organisation - because there has to be one - named "Nebula" who just get in your way and... you might as well forget about the plot right now as it seemingly merges into the background for most of the game never to be properly exploited though that might be for the best considering the rather dodgy translation work including "Megaman, is the jack out now!" and other such gems of unintentionally hilarious dialogue.

Veterans will be pleased to know that the battle system plays out similarly to that of the previous titles, there are a few changes which serve to streamline things though such as getting rid of Style Changes in exchange for Soul Unisons but don't worry as they are essentially the same thing! Six are present in each version, these change MegaMan.exe's form which then applies various strengths/weaknesses, however you must give up a transformation element chip if you wish to make the switch plus you need to defeat various NetNavi to obtain each Soul Unison so it makes you work for them.

Another addition is the "status window" showing how the BlueBomber.exe is doing under the strain of battle which will affect how things play out, if you land a counterattack then you get "Full Synchro" which activates making the next chip attack deal double damage which is always useful. Upon taking several hits while not dealing any damage you will then become "Worried" which disables your Soul Unisons, this might tempt you into using the ominously named "Dark Chips" - ohhhhh! - which could offer you the potential to turn the tide of battle but at a cost, you might obliterate the enemy but if it comes at a cost of your HP on a permenant basis... you can see why this might not be a popular option. Also one other thing, if you enjoy exloring the overworld plus virtual world in pursuit of collectables then you might well love this but the game seems to require you play through the game three times no less in order to obtain everything, definitely not a plus in my book but each to their own, it's perfectly playable at least.  


Rocking a new art style which edges toward becoming minimalistic which would then become the standard for the series from that point, so gone are the larger sprites unfortunately, the only real plus is that everything looks more vibrant now especially on a big TV screen but at the time it was clear to see that the art style suffered slightly due to it being a bit of a rush job. Sadly the music takes more than a small hit as well, only managing something that will go down in history as being unremarkable but still fitting for the type of game, some reasonable chiptunes but they are just there to move things along; so it's all mood music basically with similar sound effects to the other titles.

Changes were made in Mega Man Battle Network 4 which are ones which would change the formula forever more, so if you prefered the previous entries then this might affect the the "score" yet underneath it all this is still the same game at its core. But for those who are new to the series and who are perhaps unsure, you just might want to try one of the earlier titles before agreeing to commit to any more. These may not be my personal favourite games from within the Mega Man universe though I can certainly see why they would appeal, the Mega Man X series holds far greater significance for me as those are at the top of the tier for experiences which bring about that important classic feel.  

Verdict : More Mega Man battling madness for your virtual money.  

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

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