Mega Man is one of those few video game characters that can truly be called an icon of the industry. From his humble beginnings on the NES, he has remained one of the most popular video game characters ever created. This is even more true in Japan, where Mega Man has spawned hundreds of products, comics, toys, and even TV shows. Most recently, Capcom brought their favorite character to the world of Action RPGs with Mega Man Battle Network.
The game was a departure from previous Mega Man titles in several ways. Besides the obvious difference in play mechanics, the game featured the Blue Bomber as a virtual PET named Mega Man.EXE. His owner, Lan, ran around in the real world, inserting Mega Man into computer systems to cleanse them of various vicious viruses. The game was a success, and an anime series based on the game has been produced in Japan.
Now, Capcom continues its long tradition of producing a sequel to any marginally successful game with Mega Man Battle Network 2. Taking place not long after the original, the game finds Lan and Mega Man once again exploring cyberspace in order to rid the world of evil viruses and prevent cyber-crime. A new net crime organization has arrived in town, and their viruses are quickly spreading throughout town. Not at all incidentally, most of the viruses happen to be based on classic Mega Man villains, such as Air Man, Snake Man, and the always-cool Protoman. In addition to keeping cyber-crime in check, Lan can also pit Mega Man against other PET's, even receiving licenses from the official Net Battle orginization.
Battles take place much as before, with Mega Man facing off against various enemies on a colored grid. The color of the panel telling you whether the space can be inhabited by Mega Man or his foes. At the start of the battle, Mega Man randomly recieves 5 battle chips which he can use to inflict a great deal of damage on his opponents or affect the battle grid itself. If he doesn't use the battle chips, Mega Man can only move and fire at the enemies with his weak arm cannon. Therefore, the heart of the battle system lies within the use and management of battle chips. The game features a total of 260 battle chips, an increase from the 175 in the original game. Additionally, picking certain battle chips may result in a powerful combination attack.
Other than tweaking the battle system, few changes have been made to the game, which may be a good thing as the original was well-received by critics and fans. Players won't have to wait much longer to continue their Net Battle careers. Capcom is set to release Mega Man Battle Network 2 on June 11th. In the meantime, be sure to check out RPGamer's coverage here, and stay with RPGamer for any more news as this game moves closer to release.