Known as Rockman in Japan, Mega Man, one of Capcom's most popular mascots, is making his way to the Game Boy Advance in a new series called Battle Network Rockman EXE. A departure from the classic Mega Man formula, Battle Network Rockman EXE puts a new spin on the Internet and everyone's favorite blue-suited hero.
The year is 200x, and humans live through the existence of a portable console called PET with the help of an AI program called Net Navigator. The PET has made life more convenient, but it also enables Internet-related crimes caused by viruses and crackers. You'll assume the role of a young boy named Hikari Netto, who will use Rockman, his Net Navigator, to help bring peace and order to the world.
Battle Network Rockman EXE is composed of two completely different worlds. In the actual world you play as Netto, and you can walk around and talk to people in typical role-playing-game fashion. The cyberworld is where you take the role of Rockman and fight enemies in random encounters, solve puzzles, and complete various missions.
You won't be able to directly control Rockman, but you will take on an almost technical-support role for the character. You are required to help Rockman exchange e-mails, surf the World Wide Web, and purchase items from online shopping sites. Also, by connecting to a PET you will be able to enter into different electronic home appliances such as a microwave oven or toaster. Not only will each appliance have valuable information stored within it, but it will also have dangerous enemies for you to battle and crimes for you to solve.
The battles occur on a 3x8 grid. You can push the D-pad in any direction to move from one square to another and fire your weapon. Pressing on the L button brings up a menu where you can equip special weapons, such as a shotgun, sword, or pickax. The battle continues until either you or your enemies have been "deleted." The game is mission-based, and the story progresses in a series of chapters.
Battle Network Rockman EXE is certainly a departure from the conventional Mega Man formula. The game could breathe new life into the series, or it could be too far from the mark to satisfy fans. Battle Network Rockman EXE is scheduled to ship this March in Japan.