Rory On March 10, 2004 at 5:02 pm

Mega Man has come a long way since his first outing on the NES back in ’87. The Blue Bomber began as a simple little action game about a robot fighting to save the world against evil robots created by his nemesis Dr. Wiley, but when the series progressed, things got a little crazy. Mega Man X was introduced, set in the future (well, further in the future than the original Mega Man series at least), you played as a more modern version of Mega Man, a sort of meaner, more advanced model. Then, in 1998, Mega Man Legends, (or Mega Man 64, if you played the game on your N64) which helped Mega man make the leap into 3D. It was set in a sort of "Alternate Universe", with Mega Man becoming a little more "human" in the process. And finally, with about a million games later (including the usual "Mario Kart" affair and for some strange reason, a soccer/football game), Mega Man is reborn as an Internet virus-buster, a programme existing only on the net. This took the series, stripped it of just about everything that makes Mega Man, well, Mega Man, and turned it into an RPG called "Mega Man: Battle Network" for the Pokemon generation. Now, Battle Network has gone back to its side-scrolling roots, in his first ever adventure on Gamecube.

Set between the events of the first and second Battle Network games, Network Transmission begins where the first game left off. With Mega man defeating the evil WWW organisation and life in the town of ACDC (nothing to do with the band guys, sorry) is getting kind of dull. But soon, Mega Man’s friend Roll, and Mega Man’s owner’s friend’s (that was a mouthful) fellow internet PET, has gone missing, and on finding her they uncover something much bigger than they expected. OK so it’s plot isn’t exactly stunning, but hey, this is simple platforming at it’s best so who really needs a story?

The game isn’t really presented too well, the title screen has two ion terms of game play, Mega Man really has gone retro this time, pretty much nothing has changed since his games from over a decade ago. Jumping, shooting and going from A-to-B is pretty much all you need to know, so Mega Man purists should be happy that not a lot has changed. Because this is part of the Battle Network series, developers Arika have thrown in some RPG elements for good measure, so for one small portion of the game, you are Lan, and you have to basically point where you want to go on a map and talk to people, as well as upgrading Mega Man with new armour and weapons. Another cool feature is the CHIP system, Mega Man can find and collect CHIPs, which enable him to perform new moves and have new weapons. It’s an idea borrowed from the GBA incarnations from the Battle Network series, and it works surprisingly well here in a platform game. Often the speed at which Mega Man runs is frustrating, I’ve seen the elderly walk to the supermarket faster than he runs.

The graphics are, despite what I’ve heard, pretty nice on the eye. Capcom and Arika decided to go with a cel-shaded look, suiting the anime-style designs perfectly. The cut-scenes are especially impressive; it’s like watching a TV show. Mega Man’s surroundings aren’t really up to much, but it’s hard to imagine anything better for this type of game. The only real disappointment is the "real-world" section of the game. It’s pretty much just a simple map with very little detail, and the inside of the houses are really not up to scratch.

Any fan of bizarre Japanese SNES games might get a kick out of the game’s soundtrack. It definitely has a cheesy J-Pop feel to it, and while others may cringe at the thought of it, I reckon it’s better than the usual pop-punk trash that’s cropping up in today’s gaming. The voice acting has, thankfully, been kept in its original Japanese form, making the game seem a lot more authentic. Points to Capcom for keeping the game the way it was supposed to be.

To be honest anyone who didn’t play the old Mega Man games might find this game a tad on the boring side, thanks to it’s often frustrating difficulty and lack of true 3D, but for any Mega Man fan, this should bring a nostalgic tear to their eye.


The game, on the whole, is a blast to play through, but it’s one of the harder games in the series.


While the levels and the “real world” sections are a little bare bone, the cel-shading looks stylish enough to make up for it.


A cheesy, but class soundtrack, and Capcom decided to leave the voices alone. Definitely a good move, but it might not suit everyone.


Put it this way, if you want this kind of game for the Gamecube, you’re going to have a hard time trying to find it. It plugs one of the Gamecube’s many gaps: the side scrolling platformer.

Comments are closed.