Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS
Genre: Role Playing Game
Rating: E for Everyone
Release Date: November 1, 2005
Platform: Nintendo DS
Number of Players: 1-2
Mega Man comes in a lot of different flavors. Whether you are a retro gamer or a modern enthusiast, Mega Man has a new look and storyline for you. Possibly his most successful series, other than his classic version, is the Battle Network series. Having six games in all, a TV show, and a line of action figures, Battle Network has been a booming success. Maybe to prime gamers to Mega Man Starforce, or maybe to occupy Capcom between Battle Network 5 and Battle Network 6, Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS was introduced to us in 2005.
Double Team DS is a compilation of the GameBoy Advance versions of the game, Team Colonel and Team Proto Man. In the game, you play as Lan Hikari and his best virtual friend, MegaMan.exe, or Mega Man for short. As fans of the series know, Mega Man is an artificial intelligence computer program called a Navi that deletes viruses with a Samus-esqe arm-cannon. When Dr. Regal, leader of the Dark Chip Syndicate Nebula, kidnaps Lan's best friend's Navis, as well as kidnapping his father, Lan and Mega Man must defeat Nebula and in the process, learn about his past (As to avoid spoilers, none of what Lan and Mega Man find out will be mentioned in this review). To do so, he joins either Team Colonel or Team Proto Man, and you can choose which team you prefer, as this is an anthology of the GameBoy Advance titles.
Mega Man Battle Network 5 revolves around six central concepts: virus busting, liberation missions, mini-games, net-battles, customization, and controlling Lan. These concepts make or break your progress, and once again creator Keiji Inafune and Co. have masterfully achieved them.
First up, virus-busting. In the year 20XX, viruses are rampaging, invading people's home-pages and the like. Similar to a wild Pokemon battle, a virus will spontaneously appear while you are walking. Mega Man uses "battle-chips", which are basically attack programs, to damage these viruses, as well as his Samus-style arm cannon called the "Mega Buster". Some chips will heal Mega Man, some will have an adverse effect on the enemy, such as "Blinder" which decreases their accuracy, and some simply damage the enemy. Similar to the cards in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, your chip folder is customizable to your preference, so you can put your best foot forward, or rather, kick some viruses in the face with your best foot. Several viruses can attack at once, so be on guard. Also, depending on who is in your team, you can substitute Mega Man for another Navi. This addition was not in the GameBoy Advance version, and it's a welcomed addition. In Team Proto Man for instance, Magnet Man and Napalm Man can be used, as well as others, and in Team Colonel, Knight Man and Shadow Man can be accessed.
Secondly, Liberation Missions. Dark Chip Syndicate Nebula has invaded certain areas on the net, and Team Colonel or Team Proto Man must liberate them. Basically, a boss is waiting for you at the end of the stage. You and your team must free each panel of the floor from darkness to proceed. Twists and turns are thrown in though, sometimes a panel may be a trap that damages you, and some panels may be an item (such as a key of a heart) that will help you proceed to the boss or heal your damage, respectively. Smaller bosses will attack you along the way, and you must delete the "darkholes" they pop out of to proceed.
Next up: mini-games. Not much is to be said here, mini-games are basic button-mashers that require little effort to proceed. Most of the time they are unnecessary or forced, but these little guys pepper the game. Occasionally a fun one will come up, but don't count on it.
Fourth, net-battles. The heart and soul of Mega Man Battle Network is the net-battles. After honing your skills on viruses, you can battle other Navis. battle chips and the mega buster are still used. Quite often you will receive a battle chip from the Navi you defeat, called a Mega Chip. These are more powerful than regular chips, so only 5 can be placed in your folder at once. Sometimes you net-battle for fun, and sometimes you net-battle for your life, such as in Liberation Missions.
Fifth, customization. In the game you receive and "NaviCust", which modifies Mega Man to be stronger. Like customizing a program you are writing, adding components to the NaviCust will make Mega Man tougher, quicker, have more HP, and a variety of other effects. Frankly, without the NaviCust Mega Man wouldn't be half as strong as he is.
Lastly, controlling Lan. Lan is a real person, Mega Man's owner, so you control him in the game as well. Basically Lan gets you from Point A to Point B, he walks around and talks to people, investigates things you need to know, etc. He never fights anyone, so he's usually the character you play mini-games as. Most of the time you will be using Mega Man, but Lan in a necessity as well.
Controlling Lan. As you can see, Mega Man's Japanese name is Rock Man.
Brace yourself techno fans, Mega Man is as futuristic sounding as they come. Mega Man's Japanese origins show in this game, because most of the music is cultural or techno.
As for sound effects, they also are futuristic sounding (well what do you think a weapon called a "mega buster" should sound like?). Not much can be said about the effects, their pretty cookie-cutter and predictable, because a year called 20XX is bound to be futuresque.
The only complaint I have as far as sound goes it the voice-over. One feature that has added from the GBA title was a partial voice-over for Mega Man, Lan, Colonel, and Proto Man. Lan is a fifth grader, as it Mega Man, Proto Man, and Proto Man's owner, Chaud. However, they sound like 30 year olds at best. Having a line like "Let's battle!" from a 30 year old man makes it sound like Lan is some bum in his mom's basement.
Reminiscent of the GBA titles, the DS installment uses the A, B, L and R buttons liberally.
In Battle Controls:
B- Fire Mega Buster
Hold and Release B- Fire Charged Mega Buster Shot
A- Use Battle Chip
L or R- Open Custom Screen to select a new chip
+ Pad- Move Up, Down, Left or Right
Touch Screen- Change Navi (when available)
Out of Battle Controls:
Start- Access (same as Options)
+ Pad- Walk
R- Jack in or Jack out of the net (Note: In the Japanese screen shots shown in this review, the game says "Plug-In" instead of "Jack-In)
Hold B and + Pad- Run
A- Talk or Interact
Touch Screen- Advice, Jack in/out, Access
Frankly, the graphics in Battle Network 5 are lacking. As this was a transfer from two GameBoy Advance titles, the sprites are out of date, as well as the in-battle sprites. The graphics for the touch screen, however, are decent, but not very well executed. The 3-D Mega Man on the touch screen looks good and is remarkably fluid, but he rarely moves, so the fluidity of his motions are all but wasted. Overall, the graphics are disappointing, but since it would take a complete graphic overall to improve them to fit the DS, they are tolerable.
Mega Man has always been a series that can brag about a significant amount of replay value. From collecting all the chips to personalizing your Navi to exploring the realms of the UnderNet, a shady area where evil Navis lurk, there is always more to be had if you play long enough. While it doesn't boast the longevity of previous titles, such as Mega Man Battle Network 4, Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS has replay value in a different way, because once you have beaten Team Colonel, you have Team Proto Man to beat, or vice versa.
Every game has it's downfalls, some more than other, but they all have them. The most significant downfalls of Battle Network 5 are the graphics and the voice-overs. Some other small things are present, but they are trivial compared to the games replay value, storyline, etc.
I was a die-hard fan of the first four Battle Network games for a long time, and I still remember being psyched when the fifth title came out on GameBoy Advance. The transfer of such a great game to the Nintendo DS makes it even better. While not my favorite Mega Man game, Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS is well worth your money.
85%. Letter Grade: B