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Video Game / Mega Man Battle Network

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Mega Man Battle Network is a video game created by Capcom for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. It's the first installment in the Mega Man Battle Network series.
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In the near future, everyone has a personal exploration terminal (PET) and a Net Navigator or NetNavi, an interactive AI assistant. The heroes are Lan Hikari and his Navi MegaMan.EXE. Together, they stop cyber crimes, eventually discovering a criminal syndicate named WWW (World Three).

This game completely ditches the previous Mega Man platformer gameplay and instead is an RPG. Battles are a mix of real-time and turn-based: MegaMan can move about a grid to line up attacks or dodge his opponents'. He can move and use basic MegaBuster attacks freely, while an Active Time Battle-esque timer dictates when Lan can upload Battle Chips that allow MegaMan to use special moves.

In 2009 the game would receive an updated port to the Nintendo DS called Rockman.EXE Operate Shooting Star, released only in Japan. Along with some quality-of-life improvements and slight gameplay rebalancing, this version features a new crossover scenario with Mega Man Star Force.

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This game provides examples of:

  • Accidental Public Confession: Mr. Match accidentally reveals that the serial arson he engineered was actually all about getting the Fire Program in the Hikari oven when he consoles himself over his loss by mentioning he "completed his mission". He immediately realizes he probably shouldn't have told Lan that.
    Mr. Match: "But who cares! Soon war will start and you'll all be dead!"
  • After-Combat Recovery: MegaMan fully heals after every battle outside of the Power Plant, and that's due to extenuating circumstances.
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: The game has a multi-part final stage where each part is a smaller copy of the main Net areas you've been to previously, with each containing the same level gimmicks as its corresponding levels, only generally harder (i.e. melting fires with ice blocks in the FireMan copy, opening doors with numeric passcodes in NumberMan's area, etc.).
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  • Ambiguous Syntax: After the NumberMan scenario, a Metroline worker declares that a landslide has occurred that's preventing the Metroline from running. As near as can be told, the only "landslide" that has occurred is the pileup of StoneMan's boulders blocking the internet pathways, but the Metroline worker makes it sound like one occurred in the real world, too.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Operate Shooting Star not only includes several mechanics and interface updates from the later GBA games, but throws in some of its own to smooth gameplay.
    • The lower screen displays a minimap and gives names to the Internet areas. The aesthetics of the Internet have not changed, but it's a pretty big help for navigation and orientation.
    • The overall random encounter rate is reduced. The ice puzzle areas of the Waterworks Comp 5 completely disable random encounters so you can focus completely on the puzzles.
    • The Power Plant Comp now highlights its invisible paths with flickering dots, and you no longer have to recharge the batteries when figuring out their configurations.
    • You now run as your default speed.
    • S-Ranking an encounter always yields a chip. Some of the best chips can now be obtained at ranks 8 or higher.
  • Artistic License: Lan's microwave catches on fire due to interference from viruses, and he's able to put it out without the computer shutting down or causing lasting damage. In real life, any electronic device that gets hot enough to combust is pretty much FUBAR.
  • Beef Gate: In contrast to the later games, you can access the postgame dungeon as soon as you defeat WoodMan, which is right after reaching the Government Complex. (To put into perspective, this game's Undernet is inaccessible until after the power plant crisis.) The game merely discourage access to those areas by filling them with viruses that are overpowered in relative to MegaMan's progress at that point in the story.
  • Big Damn Heroes: During the final dungeon, Lan and MegaMan routinely come across impenetrable obstacles and are assisted by the arrival of their friends and the people they've helped. Glyde, NumberMan, IceMan, GutsMan, and Roll all come to the rescue in this fashion.
  • Black Comedy: Once Wily announces the EndGame, one of the little old lady NPCs is excited to join her dead husband in Heaven.
  • Chain of Deals: There's one involving chip trades, where you can take a humble Dash G and, through a series of trades with various NPCs, end up with the unique BstrBomb D.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: At the start of the IceMan scenario, Yai notes that a student from another class has gone missing. Then she reveals she's learned this other student was kidnapped. It's Dr. Froid's son, who is being used as leverage against him to work for the WWW.]
  • Contrived Coincidence: One of the programs WWW needs for its Evil Plan just happens to be in Lan's house. Specifically his oven.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Most of the crossover scenario for Operate Shooting Star happens because Geo, trying very hard not to mess with the timeline, aims to stop ClockMan with a minimum of interaction with others. Too bad ClockMan kidnapped Roll, inevitably resulting in a meeting between Geo and MegaMan, and Geo's attempts to keep MegaMan from complicating things ends with Geo beaten down... and MegaMan captured. Geo is forced to explain everything to MegaMan's and Roll's distraught operators anyway.
  • Damsel in Distress: Double Subverted in Operate Shooting Star. Miss Madd and Count Zap were going to kidnap Mayl, but abruptly get put in their place by Geo showing up. Unfortunately, Geo's on the prowl because Sonia and later Roll got kidnapped instead, courtesy of ClockMan.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Fire Tower chips can be obtained as soon as you start the FireMan scenario, and FireMan's battle chip can be obtained shortly afterwards. They do 100 damage which is huge this early in the game, and synergize well with FireMan since they share an F chip code meaning that if you take time to fill your folder with a few of each, you can easily trounce many early-game viruses in one hit, as well as take huge chunks out of the health of many a boss. They even stay useful in the late game!
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Instead of deleting Roll and blowing up a bus with Mayl in it as he is supposed to, ColorMan holds Roll captive and tortures her in a...compromising position, as one lets player pointed out.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first Battle Network is not only an Obvious Beta, but it was still trying to figure out how to hash out the world itself. The Updated Re-release, Operate Shooting Star, removes some of them by incorporating features from later games.
    • In this game and 2, the Navi Customizer doesn't exist. They instead have purchasable Powerups that permanently upgrade the MegaBuster.
    • You can have up to 10 copies of a single chip in your folder. Your folder's Navi Chip capacity is at 10, with a cap of 5 copies of one. The caps were lowered to 5 for the next game, and further refined afterwards to disallow dupes of Navi Chips.
    • There is no *-code to act as a wildcard, making it difficult to build a monocode folder.
    • Your maximum custom screen capacity is 15. While your opening hand starts at 5, the "Add" function lets you, at the cost of fighting with no chips for a round, temporarily increase capacity by 5 for the next round. Adding a second time in a row pushes to the cap of 15, but it all resets once you stop Adding. The Add function would be reworked into a Discard and Draw mechanic with more lasting perks in the second and third games.
    • HP values for enemies are much lower in the first two games. With the Navi Customizer comes massive HP spikes for both players and enemies.
    • Enemies (especially enemy Navis) become faster as the series goes on. In the first couple of games, the flinch that enemy Navis perform when they take a heavy hit is exaggerated and they only remain in Mercy Invincibility state for a few seconds (if even that); by 4, their flinching and Mercy Invincibility lasts about as long as MegaMan's.
    • There is a general willingness to be more sexually explicit in the early games. In the first game, you can walk in on Mayl changing clothes or discover Dex has a Porn Stash.
    • There are some notable characterization differences. Lan is much snarkier than his later Idiot Hero self, being not at all thrilled to have Mayl drag him to school so she can chat about the plot. He also mocks Dex's boasts about taking on WWW viruses. Yai is more helpful, occasionally giving hints to Lan and has the ability to show gratitude instead of bragging about her superiority.
    • Dex refers to GutsMan as a commercial model, implying that he's not the only owner of GutsMan out there.
    • The main internet area looks very different than it did in later games — it's a mostly-incomprehensible maze with a few chip salesmen scattered all over and no real pattern to distinguish areas, whereas later games are much more orderly with the layouts and differentiate the regions better. Indeed, because the first game has the same background for all parts of the Internet, it's impossible at a glance to tell the difference between the "regular" Internet and the Undernet.
    • You can buy Elemental Armors that halve all damage that isn't from the armor's elemental weakness. No similar equipment system exists in later games.
    • Viruses are not named during battles, and Ms. Mari calls the Mettaurs "Mettools", as in the Classic series. Viruses that never appear again in later installments have their names only mentioned in the artbook.
    • Chip Traders are vulnerable to Save Scumming. Later games implement an autosave whenever you use one specifically to prevent this.
    • Escaping battles can only be done with the Escape chip. 2 introduces the L button as an escape option (with a chance to fail) but retains the chip, while the third game onward removes the chip completely.
    • There is After-Combat Recovery, where MegaMan will recover all of his HP after every battle. The only exception is the Power Plant, where the lack of recovery is part of the dungeon gimmick.
    • Most of the Mystery Data you find in the net draw randomly from their possible reward pool, regardless of color. You can even save-scum those rewards without needing to jack out and in again. Only a few instances are once-only rewards with fixed locations and yield. The second game onwards standardizes the behavior of each color of mystery data.
    • Paralysis is handled differently; when hit by an Elec attack, MegaMan will spasm and keep taking damage anytime he moves. Later games would make it so that the status causes the target to be stunned for a few seconds without triggering Mercy Invincibility.
    • Opening up Internet areas starts off a little complex. There are two key items that are required to unlock gated parts of the Internet areas; the "/" items are keys that simply open up Internet area entrances (normally given through story progression or defeating the owner in a boss fight), while the "@" items (obtained from the owner's respective PCs) link those PCs with the Internet areas, but they can only be activated by entering from a different PC and then unlock the portals from there.
    • Slot in Sword, WideSword, and LongSword in that order and, instead of creating the signature LifeSword Program Advance, the player gains access to "BetaSword" (B-Sword). Beta and Sigma Program Advances, which let the player activate one of their component chips (chosen at random) 6 and 9 times, only exist in this game.
    • RockCube in this game creates three random cubes in the player's area. Not only is this not how the chip works in later games, but it is impossible to place three cubes in the player's area outside of this game. RockCube from Battle Network 2 onward takes its behavior from IceCube, a chip exclusive to this game.
    • Mine, BubbleWrap, and what would later be known as Tornado are all claimed from viruses in this game and have three versions.
    • The artwork for Guard and its variants usually depict an attack bouncing off of a Mettaur's helmet. Here, it is just a sprite version of the Mettaur's official art, not showing anything about how the chip works.
  • Establishing Series Moment: MegaMan's attempt to pass through the oven's cyber-world is impeded by a field of flames. Lan clears the way for him by spraying the real oven in his house (which is also on fire) with a super-soaker. This works.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Just about every crisis scenario ends with a silly moment or cheesy joke that is just begging for a laugh track. At the end of the ElecMan scenario in particular, everybody really laughs.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • As soon as you can use the Metro, you're prompted to pay Yuichiro Hikari a visit at work. He's not in, but while you're at the office you can find a photo of his family revealing that Lan is not an only child, and talk to some Navis in the large workstation who tell you about an experimental Navi with human genetic data.
    • At the SciLab party, Dr. Hikari briefly mentions that Lan's PET is specially made.
    • Miyu Black, the Seer, is quite impressed with the spirit inside Lan's Navi.
    • Talk to Ms. Yuri under the right circumstances and she'll ask if Lan's a twin.
  • Guide Dang It!: Locating the Undernet memos near the end of the game. The first one is easy enough to find, but the only hint you're given on the other two is that you need to find "a young beautiful lady and an old man". Never mind how vague this is, the lady is in a school in Dentown that you probably didn't know existed until this quest. To rub salt in the wounds, once you've found her, she won't give you the memo unless you've filled out enough of the Library. Hope you've been diligent on S-ranking battles! These memos are needed to progress in the story, too.
  • Late for School: Lan is late on the second in-game visit to school, and has to sneak into his classroom. He takes the back door, and sneaks to his front-row seat. The class only has nine seats, meaning his absence should be easier to notice.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Several net-navis stay back in the farthest column and never leave, such as NumberMan and StoneMan.
  • Mercy Kill: The altered Programs in the first game's Power Plant dungeon have been irrevocably ruined by the WWW, some driven crazy, all turned into viruses. There's no way to save them from this, and so one of the sane programs asks Mega to kill them.
  • Mythology Gag: Aside from a few Canon Foreigner, the WWW Navis are counterparts to four of the original Mega Man Robot Masters (a fifth is also introduced in this game, as a supporting character, Guts Man). The only one missing in the lineup is Cut Man.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: During the IceMan scenario of the first game, Lan sends MegaMan a "FireShot" to melt the pump water supply program. While there's no "FireShot" in the game, the idea of using elemental chips to remove elemental obstacles will be used in Battle Network 3.
  • No Endor Holocaust: An attack on the city driving system causes a series of wickedly violent car crashes. Beyond the spectacle of the crash itself, the game studiously ignores what should rightfully be devastating wreckage and a huge death toll.
  • No Fair Cheating: Hacking will cause an impassible stream of water to bar Mega's entrance to the Waterworks dungeon, requiring a total reset of the game.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: There's an old man NPC who spends most of the game telling you he's not senile. He's the one who knows how to access the Undernet.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: NaviChips typically use a chip code based on the Navi's name. Capcom apparently thought better of having so many S-coded NaviChips for Operate Shooting Star, as the remake changes SkullMan's and ShadowMan's codes to D-code and T-code, respectively.
  • Off-Model: Operate Shooting Star has its fair share of obviously rushed mugshots; which is bad considering the sixth game (which was released before it) has clearly shown that the mugshots can look pretty and on-model.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: The ClockMan scenario in the Updated Re-release Operate Shooting Star takes characterization notes from MegaMan NT Warrior rather than the original game, which really shows in the suddenly romantic undertones of the scenario. The attempt to capture the Ship Tease of the anime jars against the rest of the game, where Lan has much less in the way of heroic impulses, and MegaMan and Roll have no romance at all.
  • Perfect-Play A.I.: Invoked with ProtoMan. Official NetNavis can carry their own Battle Chips and battle without Operator input; according to ProtoMan, solo-fighting was his standard operating procedure, which fact combines with his "untouchable" reputation to form this trope.
  • Point of No Return: You can't jack out of the Power Plant comp before defeating ElecMan and ProtoMan at the end of the dungeon.
  • Sequel Hook: The end reveals that Wily is still alive.
  • Sequential Boss: During the ElecMan Scenario, Chaud and ProtoMan finally break through the system protection and appear in the power plant computer where Lan and MegaMan fought ElecMan. They reveal that they intended to lure Zap in so they could defeat ElecMan and secure the WWW Server data, but MegaMan and Lan (the amateurs) thrashed him so thoroughly there was no useful data left over. Chaud gets fed up and orders ProtoMan to delete MegaMan.note 
  • Space-Filling Path: While present to some degree throughout most of the game, the main internet is a particularly dramatic example, filled to bursting with loops, dead ends, and paths that twist and turn constantly. This is all made worse by how the paths all look more or less the same, combining with the isometric perspective and small field of view to make it very frustrating to tell where you are and where you're going. Prepare to spend a lot of time wandering aimlessly before stumbling across your destination.
  • Take That, Audience!: An NPC Navi, located at the farthest reaches of the internet (which requires an extent of completion to reach) expresses this:
    "So you've made it this far...It's a shame you're wasted on the outside world..."
  • Understatement: Wily drops this line while brainwashing an entire classroom of children.
    "To reach our goals, the WWW is hiring new staff members!"
  • Useless Useful Spell: The "Add" function in this game lets you forgo using chips for the next turn in exchange for 5 extra chips in your Custom Screen for the next turn only. You can Add a second time in a row to expand the total hand capacity to 15 chips, but you go back to 5 the moment you stop using the Add function. While there are some situations where an individual use of Add can help with searching for a desired chip combo, there is almost nothing that would justify fighting two turns in a row without any chips. Operate Shooting Star keeps the Add function unmodified, but gets rid of the superfluous third row of the Custom Screen.

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