Wow, is it June already? You know how I can tell? Because Capcom has just brought us yet another entry in the Mega Man Battle Network series for GBA. For four years now (since the release of MMBN2), June has brought us another adventure of Lan Hikari and his Net Navi buddy, Mega Man. Ever since the third game in the series, Capcom has also released two different versions of each title to create a Pokémon-ish excuse to link up with a friend to fight and trade Battle Chips.
The two game flavors this time are Cybeast Falzar (the “blue” version) and Cybeast Gregar (the “red” version). Falzar and Gregar (a hawk and a wolf, respectively) are ancient, mythical creatures that are said to have terrorized the internet before being cast into a virtual pit. Think of them as the equivalent of Pokémon‘s legendary creatures. It should hopefully come as no surprise to you that the two “Cybeasts” are indeed real and are soon revived, giving Lan and Mega Man something to do for the rest of the game.
As you might have guessed, each version of the game focuses on one of the Cybeasts, so if you’re looking for the complete MMBN6 experience, you’ll need to play through both variants. There are a few other differences as well. Throughout the game, you’ll encounter different Net Navis that Mega Man can merge with (more on that in a bit). Depending on which version you play, you’ll meet different Net Navis and experience slightly different storyline paths. One has to wonder if Capcom will release both versions of MMBN6 on one chip for the Nintendo DS as it did for Battle Network 5.
Same Old, Same Old
Perhaps the biggest complaint directed at the Battle Network series (and it’s a very valid complaint) is that the games tend to feel pretty much the same. Sadly, that doesn’t change this time around. Unless you’re a hardcore fan of the series, you’d be hard pressed to tell this game apart from the 2001 original just by looking at it.
So dedicated is Capcom to cranking out a new installment of the series each year, the company barely bothers to create any new artwork or animation. The status quo gets shaken up a bit this time thanks to a plot device that sees Lan moving to a different town. This results in a few new buildings to explore and people to talk to, but you can’t shake the “been there, done that” feeling, especially when you enter the game’s online world. I was also disappointed to see skimping when it came to new animations. Frequently, whenever something is about to happen that would require new character animation, the screen fades away and the action happens off-screen. It’s a cheap tactic and a sure sign that development was rushed.