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Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun/Blue Moon Package Art
 GENRE
  Action-RPG
 DEVELOPER
  Capcom
 PUBLISHER
  Capcom
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1
 CONNECTIVITY
  No
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Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun/Blue Moon

The Mega Man franchise as had an outstanding showing on the Game Boy Advance, especially since he began celebrating his 15th anniversary earlier last year. With titles like Mega Man Zero, we’re still treated to the usual side-scrolling action, if not insane difficulty. However, with the battle Network series, GBA owners get a fresh, fun look at the classic franchise in the form of a strategic Action-RPG. Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun and Blue Moon are the follow-ups to last year’s White and Blue, which were both met with equally respectable reviews and sales. Fans of the series may say that the fourth in the series is just more of a good thing while others may say that it’s the best of the four available titles. Say what you will, but we’re all lucky to have such a successful franchise finding its necessary niche on the Game Boy Advance.

visuals

There’s nothing new here, but the quality is still commendable. Each character sprite is well animated and detailed. However, during battles the animations are extraordinarily sparse due to the quick pacing. Attacks generally use two to four frames of animation whereas moving around on your battle squares doesn’t use any. The environments are nicely put together but things can look a little boring and repetitive while you’re jacked in. Speaking of which, the jack-in screen is back which was absent from the third title. The colorful montage is very pretty but isn’t completely necessary. It doesn’t hurt, though.

audio

The music has been completely revamped, but it still keeps with the same Mega Man flair. The catchy theme song is still in-tact and each musical styling keeps your toes tapping and fingers pumping. The sound effects, on the other hand, are average. Much like every Mega Man title since the 8-bit era, sound has never really been a strong muscle to flex. So long as the music and effects are memorable, fans and casual gamers alike will enjoy it. The same is held true here.

gameplay

The play mechanics in Battle Network 4 are very similar to what you may or may not have played in the past incarnations. You’ll use Mega Man to jack-in to various locations in the city. Once you’ve jacked in, you must run to your objective while battling your way through several random encounters. Once you’ve tripped up on a battle, you’ll start in a large rectangle across from a handful of enemies. In order to do battle with these villains, you must use “chips” that you’ve collected throughout the game. You only have a handful to choose from but you must choose carefully because you can’t just mix and match your chips. If the chip matches a certain code like A or S, then you can use multiple chips. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a very small amount of chips every round. Once you’re out of chips, you can fall back on your blaster, which is extremely weak, comparatively. This type of gameplay is fresh, albeit old to the series.

New to the series is Mega Man’s “mood.” If he takes too much damage, he’ll become a little more lethargic and once he’s nearly down for the count, he’ll begin to go berserk. At this time, Mega Man won’t take any direction from the Lan (his user) and will just fight to the bitter end.

There’s also a Soul Unison system in place which allows the Mega Man to merge with other friendly Navi units. This alters his form a little and grants him special powers. There are six exclusive “soul unisons” in both Red Sun and Blue Moon and they are hardly used at all. Some more focus on this new power would have definitely helped set this title across from the others.

Dark chips are also included in this title, which renders Mega Man into an evil state, incapable of performing soul unisons. All this new stuff may take newcomers a bit of time to get used to, but fans should have no problem.

multiplayer

Players can link up and trade or compare chip libraries. It’s not much, but it’s something that should be done with titles like this.

overall

While Mega Man Battle Network 4 shares most, if not all, of its play mechanics with its three predecessors, it still offers some new aspects and, above all else, it's still very fun. While I’d like to see new, more inventive concepts, I’d rather not see a painfully average game like the GameCube’s Network Transmission. For now, fans will have to deal with what they have here, which should be a problem for most. If you’ve never set foot in the series, I think you would be pleased with this incarnation and it would be a great place to start. If you got out on the wrong foot a while back, perhaps it’s time to check back with it. After all it isn’t every day you get a Mega Man title that lasts you 20 hours or so.

final score 8.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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