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Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS Package Art
GENRE
RPG
DEVELOPER
Capcom
PUBLISHER
Capcom
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
Yes
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Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS

If there's one thing that can be said about the games in the Battle Network series, it's that there are a LOT of them. There have been five different installments in the series since the original game's debut in 2001, and if the spinoffs and different versions of each game are included, the number shoots up to eleven. MegaMan Battle Network 5: Double Team DS is a different edition of the two GBA versions of MegaMan Battle Network 5. So, with that being said, is the game still worth playing?

visuals

Graphics are at best slightly-upgraded versions of the GBA visuals. While interacting with various real-life objects and people as Lan Hikari, environments are appropriately styled, if somewhat condensed. Jetting through cyberspace as Mega Man reveals a psychadelic, electrically-charged universe that would be quite at home as a set on the movie Tron (which was probably an inspiration for the series).

The DS's engine is not challenged in any meaningful way by the game's look, which is reminiscent of many SNES games, although what appears to be a cel-shaded polygonal model of Mega Man is present on the lower screen when playing as Lan. The model looks good, but is disappointing because it hints at the unrealized potential of the series on the newer handheld.

audio

The game's sound is likewise a rendition of what was on the GBA with minor improvements. Several themes from earlier games in the Battle Network series appear, and the Net is filled with upbeat synthesized tunes that contrast sharply with the peppy, uber-happy music that sets the mood in the real world. Also included on the DS version are some voice samples for Mega Man and Lan, although since these tend to make grade-schooler Lan sound like he's twenty-five, they enhance the experience slightly at best.

gameplay

Any veterans of the Battle Network games will know what to expect from the story--evil Net crime syndicate Nebula has kidnapped Dr. Hikari, Lan's absentee father, and abducted several Navis (the personalized programs which people use to peruse the Net), including those of Lan's friends. Fortunately, Lan and Mega Man managed to avoid capture, and since Lan sees his father rarely enough when he isn't captured by terrorist organizations, he vows to do all he can to rescue his dad and the kidnapped Navis.

Depending on which version of the game is chosen, Lan will team up with scientist Baryl and his Navi, Colonel or young Net Battler Chaud and his Protoman. Each is selectable from the very start, and once the game is completed, the player can begin the other version, carrying over some Battle Chips that were gained the first time around. Players can also earn in-game bonuses by inserting other MegaMan Battle Network games and Boktai 2 into GBA slot of the DS.

As Lan guides MegaMan around the Net, viruses and other evil Navis will periodically attack. Battles have not changed significantly since the series began and consist of two separate nine square-by-nine square areas belonging to Mega Man and his opponents. The Image Data system allows Mega Man to summon help from two of the other Navis on his team and have them fight in his place. Switching can be done on the fly or at the beginning of a turn and is made easier by the use of the touch screen.

New to Mega Man Battle Network 5 are the Liberation battles in which MegaMan and his team of Navis try to free one sector of the Net from enemy control. These tactical-based battles allow the player to control several Navis at once and corrupted panels of the sector must be liberated before the characters can cross. The system mixes turn-based strategy with the regular battle system, providing a needed change of pace from the standard gameplay. Also new is the Dubl Soul (yes, that's spelled correctly) ability that allows Mega Man to gain the attributes of one of his teammates by sacrificing a battle chip. Dubl Soul is one of many abbreviations, such as SciLab and ObsrvnRm2, that gives the Battle Network games a 16-bit flavor and may be a comment on the speed-filled Net society.

Touch control is used for menus and customization in different ways. The entire menu is displayed on the bottom screen and is accessible through touching or using the face buttons. Unfortunately, it seems as though some functions are easier to use with the touch interface while others are better executed with buttons, so picking one method and sticking with it is difficult. Also, the touch control is used only superficially--the game can be played almost entirely without it.

multiplayer

MegaMan Battle Network 5: Double Team DS allows for up to eight players in Multi-Card play. DS owners can trade battle chips and data, Net battle or organize tournaments in which to compete.

overall

The Battle Network games have continued to be popular, because of their consistently solid gameplay. Not a whole lot has changed since the series began, but Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS continues the tradition in good form. This title offers a lot, but not necessarily for gamers who've already tackled one or both of the GBA versions, which have been available since last summer (except for you completists. Of course you'll be getting it). Those who haven't, however, will find a competent, somewhat addictive RPG that is actually one of the best on the system. It's just too bad that Capcom didn't choose to create a new game from scratch for Nintendo's dual-screened handheld. Next time, expectations will (and should) be higher.

final score 7.7/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Aaron Roberts
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"HISSHO! BURAIKEN!!!!!"


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