The little blue guy just doesn't quit. For the third year in a row, Capcom's heroic robo-lad Mega Man stars as a virus-busting computer program in the Battle Network series. And with so much practice, he's getting quite good at it. While each game has a great deal in common with the others, the series manages to make respectable improvements each time. If you've never navigated a Battle Network before, the third installment in the sharp collect-and-battle series is a great place to start.
Battles are a mixture of planning, reflex, and luck.
In the not-so-distant future, humankind is living comfortably in an advanced computer age--at least when their world isn't being ravaged by the increasingly prevalent Net crime, that is. Mega Man is a computer program partnered with a boy named Lan, helping him to surf the Internet, check e-mail, and delete hostile viruses with extreme prejudice. You control Lan in the real world and Mega Man in the cyberworld, working together to solve puzzles and progress through the story.
Considering Lan's age (he's in middle school), the game's bright colors, the consistently upbeat soundtrack, and the occasionally silly characters you'll run into (who often have tongue-in-cheek tech names like Mayl or Dex), the game does seem to skew a bit toward a younger audience. But if you give it a chance, you'll realize that the game is pleasing to the senses, and anyone can be humbled in the challenging battles that make up the meat of the game.
The digital scrapping takes place on a rectangular grid divided into player and enemy areas, where you'll use your reflexes to dodge attacks and punish the enemy with Mega Man's arsenal of battle chips. These chips are drawn randomly from a folder, which you'll customize over the course of the game. Each has different attack or defense properties--some are more powerful against certain enemies, and some can be combined with other chips.