Hands-onMega Man Zero

A new Mega Man series is heading to the Game Boy Advance, and we have hands-on impressions.

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Mega Man Zero for the Game Boy Advance was shown this weekend at the 15th Next Generation World Hobby Fair, which was held at the Makuhari Messe in Japan. The game marks a return to Mega Man's roots on the Game Boy Advance, as the first two Mega Man games didn't exactly feature classic Mega Man gameplay.

Mega Man Zero takes place 100 years later than the Mega Man X games, and both X and Zero are known as legendary repliroids. But the situation takes a turn for the worse, as X seemingly becomes evil and enslaves the world. One of the members of the resistance--a young female scientist named Shelly--encounters a nonoperational Zero during the escape, and with the help of her fairylike bot, Zero comes back to life. Players will assume the role of Zero and protect Shelly in the initial stages of the game.

The game follows the traditional side-scrolling action-game formula of its predecessors. Players will have the usual mega buster and zet-saber, along with some new weapons such as the triple rod and the shield boomerang. However, Mega Man Zero is somewhat different from previous Mega Man games, as players can level up their weapons by using them more often during the game. For example, the zet-saber starts out with a single slash, but once the weapon reaches a certain level, players are able to perform double slashes with it.

The graphics are quite impressive for a handheld game, but the control is a little problematic in its current form. Players use the A button to jump, the B button to use the primary weapon, the R button to use the secondary weapon, and the L button to dash. Because the Mega Man series always demands quick maneuvering between these four buttons in various situations, it feels a little uncomfortable when using them all together. Otherwise, the gameplay is quite solid at this point, which should be something fans of the series will greatly appreciate.

Mega Man Zero for the Game Boy Advance is slated for a March 15 release in Japan.

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