Megaman Battle Network 5: Double Team DS
Review posted March 2006 by Ken Pradel
Although it is just a repackaging of the recently released Megaman Battle Network 5 games for the GBA, the DS version still stands out as a solid game. The Battle Network game series takes place in the near future where everything from microwaves to museum exhibits have computers in them that are connected to the Internet. Also, everyone carries around a PDA called a Personal Terminal (PET) that serves as an organizer, cell phone, and an access point to the Internet. Each PET also has a Net Navi, the owner’s custom avatar on the Internet, many of which are classic Megaman characters. The protagonist of the series is Lan Hikari, a rather lazy sixth grader whose Net Navi is none other than the blue bomber himself, Megaman.
However, with the convenience of this comes the possibility of cyber terrorists whose plan is to rule the world by taking over the Net. In this title, you must once again fight against the nefarious Dr. Regal and foil his plans of world domination with the help of either Protoman or Colonel and their teammates.
One of the more appealing aspects of the Battle Network games has been its gameplay. In these games you play as Lan in the real world, and switch over to Megaman in the virtual world. Often, you have to solve puzzles in one world to help your partner in the other. This allows for more interesting puzzles than in traditional RPGs. But the game truly shines in its battle system. In traditional RPG format, one runs into random battles as your progress over the map; Megaman battles however are in real time. The field is divided into equal 3 x 3 areas given to both you and your opponent. You move around your field shooting your enemies with Megaman’s trusty megabuster and battle chips. Battle chips are items that you make a deck out of to help you in battle. At the beginning of each turn you are given a selection of five random chips from your folder that can be used to do more damage. Chips can be chained by letter code or name so that you can use multiple chips in one turn. As you continue through the game, you will acquire stronger and stronger chips from enemies, shops, and events. Sometimes choosing three specific chips in the right order will fuse them together into incredibly powerful chips called program advances, special moves that do many times more damage than regular battle chips.
Battle Network 5 is unique in the series as it introduced liberation missions. In a liberation mission, you not only get to play as Megaman, but as the other members of your team. In a liberation mission, you and your teammates must get to and beat the evil navi controlling the area by destroying dark panels along the way and eventually destroying the navi itself. Every time you challenge a dark panel, you fight against a set of enemies. However, you only get three turns to win. These missions are challenging and fun especially when you get to experiment with each teammate’s different style of fighting.
One question many may have about this game is what makes it different from Battle Network 5 for the Game Boy Advance. The answer is very little. The one major addition is the party battle system. This allows for you to have two of your teammates follow you around and support you in battle. Although useful, it is not a dramatic improvement.
In terms of controls, this game works exactly the same way as the GBA version. The only slight difference is the optional use of the touch screen. During gameplay, the top screen is exactly the same as on the GBA, and the bottom one has the PET screen. All of the options on the PET screen can also be done with the buttons, but it is sometimes fun to use the touch screen. Simple touch screen mini games have been included, and one uses the touch screen in battle with the party battle system to quickly switch characters by simply tapping them. Another creative addition is using the DS’s microphone to cheer on Megaman if he gets low on health.
Little has changed in terms of the graphics. The same moderately detailed sprite graphics have been directly taken from the GBA version, and thanks to the DS’s better graphics and screen, they look better than ever. The DS’s 3D capabilities are used on the PET with the inclusion of a 3D Megaman who moves around during cinema sequences. Although it is nothing special in the long run, it’s a nice addition that adds to the interactive feel of this game.
When I started playing this game, I assumed that every aspect of it would be exactly the same as the GBA game. When I first turned it on, I was proven wrong. The already catchy music has gotten a distinct makeover, and sounds much clearer thanks to the DS’s higher quality speakers. Also, voice acting has been added for several characters. Although the repetitive comments get annoying quickly, they help players get more immersed in the game.