Released on December 14, 2006 in Japan as Ryuusei no Rockman (Shooting Star Rockman) and on August 7, 2007 in North America for the Nintendo DS, Megaman Star Force was the beginning of the seventh sub-series of the Capcom franchise.
Star Force is the sequel to the Battle Network series. Following the tradition of Megaman series being separated by vast stretches of time, Star Force takes place two-hundred years in Battle Network's future. Instead of a Twenty Minutes In The Future society revolving around a nigh-magical server-based Internet, Star Force features something a little closer to Raygun Gothic meets Osamu Tezuka that revolves around a worldwide cloud computing network, Everything Is Online taken to its logical extreme. The word “cyberspace” is interpreted rather literally, for both electromagnetism-based computing and outer space are the cornerstones of the series.
The series is still an action RPG, so much of the gameplay mechanics from Battle Network are still present, only altered and tweaked to fit the new setting. Though a little more action-based, the presentation will be very familiar to anyone who's ever picked up any of the prequel series's games.
Star Force often seems to be treated as the red-headed stepchild of the Megaman franchise. Battle Network always got heat from fans of the platformers who saw the spinoff as devaluing, while Star Force gets heat from both them and Battle Network fans of the They Changed It, Now It Sucks or even It's the Same, Now It Sucks persuasion. It doesn't help that it was clearly intended by Capcom to succeed Battle Network's place as a multimedia brand with its own anime, manga, and what have you and wasn't able to command the same kind of popularity. Battle Network had six main entries, Star Force only had three (though that's not a bad thing, depending on who you ask). And of course it being the most recent Megaman series it's easy to use it as a scapegoat for some of the distress the brand has recently fallen into. I personally thought its setting was rather creative, the gameplay was solid though could've stepped out of Battle Network's shadow a bit more, its storytelling and characterization a step above its predecessor (though admittedly the bar wasn't very high for much of the time), and anything that scratches the back of my inner astronomer is A-OK in my book. I like Battle Network more overall, but Star Force isn't bad at all in my opinion. The series doesn't really have a whole lot of outside exposure, so if this liveblog series encourages anyone to check out the games themselves, more power to you.
So, one big tradition of Battle Network's that the first game (referred to as Star Force 1 going forward) continued was coming out in multiple versions. This time though, Capcom took things a step further. Star Force 1 comes in not two, but three different versions. I've always found this excessive, both for the obvious reason and the fact that the version differences are pretty minimal compared to what later Battle Network games offered, only tallying up to a single unique transformation, a single unique boss, and the usual few version-exclusive battle cards (Star Force's version of battle chips). The three versions were Leo, Pegasus, and Dragon after the constellations (Dragon being what the Draco constellation is known as in Japan), and the version I own is Dragon, so that is what I will be playing.
New series, new cast. You can draw a number of parallels to Battle Network's cast of characters, but there is some mixing up and subverting going on. It helps that for the most part they're more distinct and fleshed out than their predecessors.
Our two main protagonists. Geo is like Lan in that he's introduced as a fifth grade elementary student, but the similarities end there. While Lan was outgoing and not at all book-smart, Geo is introverted and studious. After the disappearance of his astronaut father Kelvin he cut himself off from others, preferring to spend his time stargazing than being around other people. He dreams of being an astronaut and going into space to search for his father. The glasses he wears are called a Visualizer, which allows the wearer to see the electromagnetic waves that make up the Wave Roads of the world's Net.
Omega-Xis is an FM-ian, an alien composed of EM waves. He claims to know Geo's father, and is on the run from others of his kind for stealing an artifact called the Andromeda Key. Omega is loud, brash, and intensely curious about Earth, so it's a good thing that most people can't see or hear him. Since he and Geo have similar wavelengths, they can undergo a process called EM Wave Change where they combine to turn Geo into a wave himself. This form is dubbed “Megaman.”◊
Geo's mother. Though supportive of her son despite his antisocial tendencies she's not around as often as Haruka was as she works part-time to help support the family.
One of Geo's classmates (or would be if he actually went to school) who's every Class Representative trope rolled into one. Well-off, bossy, and ambitious, she's set her sights on getting Geo to show up for class in the hopes of raising her reputation as class president.
If Luna's on the prowl, these two are sure to be following her. When in Luna's presence they're happy to act as her subordinates and attempt to bully Geo into obeying her, but when on their own they're more agreeable and Geo can interact with them on more even terms.
Despite being the same age as Geo, Sonia Strumm happens to be an idol singer who's popular amongst the residents of Echo Ridge. However, her popularity and sunny disposition doesn't mean that she doesn't have problems of her own.
Another one of Geo's classmates. He's kindly and understanding, yet at the same time holds a dark secret...
A family friend of the Stelars as he used to work with Kelvin at the NAZA space agency. Nowadays he runs the astronomical research institution AMAKEN. Like Yuuichiro was in Battle Network he's something of the go-to guy for network and space-related issues.
A detective of the Satella Police, a police force that deals with Wave World-related crime. He's investigating a source of energy called Z waves, and is a bit of a thorn in Geo's side since Omega emits tons of them.
The Satellite Admins
A trio of entities that reside within the three satellites that broadcast the Wave World around Earth: Pegasus, Leo, and Dragon. They offer Geo and Omega their aid, but what are they really?