Rockman EXE 4: Red Sun

Netto (Lan) and friends are back for another adventure...


The Lowdown

Pros: Excellent graphics and animation, same Rockman exe gameplay, cute story

Cons: Same old Rockman exe formula, little differences between two "versions"

Purchase at Play-Asia
Capcom knows when they have a winning formula. The Rockman EXE series (known as Mega Man Battle Network in America) featured funny characters, great graphics and a major gameplay change in the Mega Man formula. Rockman EXE has been so popular in Japan it has spawned numerous games, action figures, manga and even an animated series that follows the games. However, Capcom is doing the same thing it did with the original Rockman series, make sequels that are pretty much the same game.

Rockman EXE comes in two flavors Red Sun and Blue Moon, each game has minor graphical differences and a few different stages. In either game you start the game as veteran net battler Netto (or Lan in America) Hikari. Netto starts out in his house where you get a brief tutorial by Netto's father, which will get you familiar with the game. If you've played any other Rockman EXE game before you'll already be familiar with the gameplay. Battles take place on a row of panels that Mega Man can walk around on the panels to target enemies and evade attacks. After a certain amount of time you can add in battle chips, which allow for high damage attacks. When your chips are all used up you'll be forced to wait a few seconds to input new chips. While waiting you can still dodge attacks and shoot the mega buster to give some minor damage. When you're not battling enemies you're walking around either the real world or the net world. While walking around the world you can talk to people, collect items and jack in to electronic devices, if you're in the real world.

The main difference between this game and other games of the EXE series is the soul system. Instead of the style change that was prevalent in past EXE games the soul system takes over. Souls allow Rockman EXE to gain new abilities, upgraded states and a cool look. Souls can be gained from other Navis. Some of the soul fusions are really cool like Rockman fusing with Gutsman or fusing with Blues. The types of souls that you obtain are one of the few differences in the game. For instance you can only get the Guts soul in the Red Sun edition and you can only obtain the Blues (Protoman) soul in the Blue Moon edition. The other difference are the types of chips that you can get, but these differences are minor. The overall story of both games are the same.

The story of Rockman EXE 4 revolves around a space agency called ANSA. In the start of the game a scene plays with two ANSA scientists talking about experiments they're doing in space. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out something is going to go wrong and Netto with his friends are going to save the day. I don't want to give anything in the story away, but don't expect an epic story here. This story can easily be an episode of the anime series. The graphics look very similar to the anime series. Clips of the characters faces are well detailed for the GBA. The static graphics easily rival first generation PS2 games. Capcom used few colors in the backgrounds to allow more colors for their sprites. This technique makes the graphics look more vivid than another GBA games. However, the graphics are pretty much the same as other games in the EXE series. Some of the enemy sprites are directly lifted from previous EXE games. While the sprites look nice, the backgrounds don't. The backgrounds consist of a pattern of flashing images, which is just distracting. Also while in the net world the graphics are redundant, which leads to confusion when walking around the net world.

If you've played a Mega Man Battle Network game (Rockman EXE) game before you know what to expect when you play either edition of Rockman EXE 4. The formula is still the same old formula, luckily for Capcom it still remains fun. Also lucky for Capcom there are hordes of EXE fans that love the characters who will get this game just to see the Netto's next adventure.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 5

Everything is in Japanese, which means you'll have a hard time if you don't understand any.

US Bound?

This game is slated for a spring 2004 release in America.

Overall

If you're an EXE fan you'll like this game, but if you're not a fan of the series there is nothing new in this game that will draw you in.