Review – Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Volume 1
It’s been twenty-two years since Mega Man Battle Network first launched on the Game Boy Advance. With six games in the main series (ten if you include different versions), it’s no doubt that this was a successful series. Which means it’s not a surprise that the series eventually, just like the original platformers and Mega Man Zero/ZX, got a legacy collection. Unlike the other series, these games were locked solely to the handheld Nintendo system until this collection. The first volume of this collection features the original game, and includes the other installments, such as 2, 3, White, and Blue.
First off, the games play exactly as old school fans will remember. There is very little in terms of changes made through the games. While the games themselves may be as remembered, there is a lot of additional content to touch on so that’s where I’ll start. First off is the addition of online play PvP, each game has its own matchmaking, but finding others isn’t exactly easy. I wish it was so I could properly test it, but not having anyone to play against means I only managed a single battle, which played well in all fairness, not once isn’t enough to properly judge on.
Other inclusions are artwork from the game including original pictures of characters, box arts, alternate arts, and more. Lastly, you have a music player. Some of the music in Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Volume 1 is infectious, for better or worse, so at least you’ll be able to enjoy the tunes whenever you please.
Mega Man Battle Network Volume 1 is rough around the edges. It’s the first game in the series, so you wouldn’t expect any less to be fair. That said, this leads into two other inclusions from this collection. The first is the borders around the screen. These games were built for a square GBA screen, so they weren’t stretched to fit your TV. Instead, you can set a border around the screen, and each game has its own choice of borders based on the characters in that game, which is a nice touch. The second inclusion are the download chips, which were usually obtained from events that most people couldn’t attend. For instance, the Bass chip in the first Battle Network could only be received from an event in Japan (without cheating). These chips are INSANELY strong and can help to make the games a touch easier.
The Battle Network games are all about exploration and its grid based Battle system, each side (yours and your enemy’s) are 3×3 grids to move around. You have a basic Megabuster action, because it is Mega Man after all, and you have a selection of chips that you set to use to win each fight. Chips are stronger attacks with different effects, and in some cases elements, to help deal with enemies. You have a set amount of time to wait between each time choosing chips before you can select more, so it’s okay to be patient with them.
Each time you pick chips, you’ll have a selection of five to pick from, with various ways in different games to make that number higher. When selecting chips it pulls from a folder you put together, and you’ll only be able to pick chips of the same letter (each chip has a letter associated with it) or of the same name. Sometimes, if you pick chips of the same name in ascending alphabetical order, you’ll get a special chip to use. For instance using a cannon A, B, and C, will give you the Z-Cannon, which is significantly stronger and has unlimited use for a few seconds.
Battle Network 2 still stands as one of the favourites from fans. It released the same year as the first entry (in Japan, but within a year worldwide) and expands on it in many ways. Gameplay feels much smoother, and this is the first inclusion of the style change which allows Mega Man to change to have different abilities and elements based on how you’ve played the game. In 2 and 3, this comes at a set point in the story, allowing anyone familiar with these games to manipulate just how their game is going to play out.
Battle Network 2 has one of the best bosses/characters in it with ShadowMan, who was an optional boss in the first game. This time around he’s a story boss and features two more, harder, versions that are optional to fight. ShadowMan will test you, especially V3, with quick movements and powerful attacks. It’s a fun fight, if you’re up for something that might make you throw your controller across the room.
Battle Network 3 was the first of this series that I played way back in the day, so I have very fond memories of this game, and this will lead me into asking HOW I ever beat this as a kid? This series can be as obscure as they come when it comes to giving directions, and people think Dark Souls is bad. Battle Network 3 is also the first to pull a Pokémon and feature different versions, White and Blue, a trend that will continue even after the name (and gameplay) is changed for Mega Man Star Force.
Since it was the one I was familiar with, I stuck with White, taking me back to car rides playing this for hours and hours on end. Old school Mega Man fans may want to explore Blue for its inclusion of the Mega Man Killer, Punk. Blue also features one of the strongest chips in the game, FolderBack, which allows you to refresh every chip you’ve used in a battle. The last change is one of the trial bosses in late game changes, having you battle MistMan in White, and BowlMan in Blue. I personally believe Battle Network 3 has the most extensive post game of all the games, and features Serenade, who is insanely difficult just to get to, let alone beat.
Starting anywhere but the beginning could really make it hard to go back to the first entry, luckily that brings us to the last change of the collection, the BusterMAX. This will up the damage of the MegaBuster from 1 to 100. Maybe you just want to check out the story, maybe it’s too slow paced, whatever the reason, this will make everything significantly easier to deal with, and is available to use in the setting in each of the games. Plus, it doesn’t affect trophies if you’re bothered about those.
It was great to play through the first Battle Network for the first time, and having these games available again as a whole. While I still have a GBA, I have only been able to get my hands on Battle Network 5 for it, and being an adult now, it’s hard to hold only for too long having much longer fingers. I’m glad I can sink hours upon hours into this series that I’ve always adored, but it’s even better people will be able to experience this series for the first time. These are definitely the definitive versions of these games, making it the ideal launching place for everyone else to get lost when you’re simply told “I wonder if someone can help” and you need to Google what the hell you’re supposed to be doing.
The Battle Network games look just as they did back in the day. The border options are neat, but I feel as if a bit more could have been done with that space. I do like the art though.
These games still play wonderfully, and mixed with being able to use BusterMAX if you just want to make mincemeat out of your opponents and explore the story, makes this the best version of the game you could tackle.
While sometimes a touch repetitive, the music in Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Volume 1 is great. Given these are Game Boy games, there’s no voice acting to be concerned about either.
These are not easy games, but given the advancement of the internet since their original release, and the inclusion of the BusterMAX to make them significantly easier, these would be just as fun to anyone who found them too hard, as it would be to someone like myself who loved them back in the day.
Final Verdict: 9.0
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Volume 1 is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, and PS4.
Reviewed on PS4.
A copy of Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection Volume 1 was provided by the publisher.