Part 1: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Let the trainwreck begin...
And right off the bat, we can sum up just about everything.
"Gee, it sure is boring around here!"
This is the very first line of the game, discounting narration and a sigh. I confess to altering the screenshot post-production and switching the mugshot to the middle of the blink animation for this, though. It just seemed more appropriate that way, given my track record.
So yeah, first thing you'll notice is the graphics overhaul. This is good and bad. For one, sprites are actually proportional now, Lan is about shoulder height to his mother for example rather than everyone in the world except kids and Yai being the same height.
The second thing you'll notice is that this game's text is horribly spaced. "It only goes downhill from here" is a mantra for MMBN4, trust me, you haven't seen anything yet.
Nice name. This is NAXA, the lazily covered-up NASA analogue. They couldn't add a Cyber-, Net-, or Elec- prefix, so they went with Xtreme Zpellyng not even worthy of a wannabe-awesome 8th grader's approval. Let's see, the game begins in a space observation facility.
Specifically, it looks for earth-bound asteroids. I have no doubts that you know exactly what's going to happen.
I'm debating whether to keep a running tally of typos and other wallbanger moments of stupidity in this game. For now:
Fuckup Tally: 1
Blah blah fucking blah, they go on and on about idealism and dreams of discovering things until deciding to do their jobs and look at their screens. Can you guess what's just been found?
Capcom's already shown their brilliant grasp of the subjects of biology, radiation, economics, physics, and computer science. Time to add astronomy to the pile, obviously, since it's being spotlighted.
To be fair, poor Pluto was still a planet back then, but that's not what I'm talking about.
Just pay attention to what they say about how the thing moves from here on out, m'kay? And I'm sure an asteroid headed straight towards Earth is a terrible threat, because planets stay just where they are and all.
Given the computational power demonstrated by the series, what with AIs, reality-warping radiation, and direct violation of the conservation of mass, it's fair to assume that the computer could already have calculated the trajectory of the asteroid. That is, if the 3 idiots here actually told it to do so. They just kind of stand there and immediately know that an asteroid roughly 6 billion kilometers away is on a perfect course to avoid or nudged onto the deadly path by the gravity of everything else in the solar system and smack us in the nose. If the computer ran the calculations for them, than it would have to be capable of recognizing a threat, and in that case, what the hell are they even needed for?
So we open the game with 3 entirely useless characters. Mind you, I could say the same thing if we opened with Mayl, Dex, and Yai. Or just about anybody for that matter.
At least they're proactive, I guess.
This is NAXA, in the center specifically for identifying dangerous asteroids. You ARE THE FUCKING EXPERTS.
How!? The asteroid is, at the closest considering Pluto's orbit, 4 and a half billion kilometers away. You can't exactly send a beam of light all that way and test the emission spectrography, for obvious reasons. And sending a probe out to it would be absurd. To put things in perspective, a current mission to Pluto was launched in 2006 and won't even get to Pluto until 2015. And that's just sending a flyby probe, actually landing, taking a sample for composition, god help you if you want to analyze it on earth in an actual laboratory as opposed to onboard equipment that might fail at some point in the 9 year journey.
Fuckup Tally: 2
By this point, you're seeing the quality of MMBN4. The entire rest of the game is like this. And I will pick apart every last fuckup.
Our protagonist, in finest tradition, is busy sleeping in late.
At least we get to be with Yuuichiro instead of the usual Useless Brigade.
Why Yuuichiro refers to his wife Haruka as Mom consistently. Her name is never used in the games, not even once. I forget if I've mentioned this already. But yeah, let's not even go into the Oedipal issues that nudges up.
There's an oven right there. And a stove.
Fuckup Tally: 3
I'm getting flashbacks to that scene from The Day After Tomorrow where the characters, trapped in a freezing library, dramatically start burning books. Rather than the wooden furniture in abundance. Don't tell me I'm getting desensitized to this kind of thing already....
Lan proceeds to stuff his mother head first into the microwave, shoving battlechips into her socks and screaming out to use a WideSword.
Fuckup Tally: 4
Do note that I won't misrepresent the game. Yes, he's speaking to Haruka, not MegaMan.
At least the Jack-In sequence is cool. It's animated properly, and yes, in Red Sun it's red instead of blue.
The standard square generic Cyberworld area's gotten a makeover, as with the rest of the Net. You'll see what I mean later in the Cyberworld proper, but this isn't only a cosmetic change.
No shit. 3 Mettaurs? You know what time it is!
Fuckup Tally: 5
It's tutorial time!
And the usual "Nobody gives Lan any credit. Ever." status quo is preserved.
Fuckup Tally: 6
The first two segments of the tutorial are the same as the last 3 games.
Lan himself narrates the tutorial, rather than Ms. Mari or the generic scientist from 3. Which makes him look like he has some sort of genuine mental disorder, given that he defeated Alpha only a few months previously and now suddenly has trouble remembering what chip codes are.
There are, however, two important things that merit detailing in the tutorial. For one, notice that the WideSword chip isn't null element anymore, it's Sword 'element'. The Fire-Aqua-Elec-Wood-Null element system has been bulked up into a more descriptive system:
Fire < Aqua < Elec < Wood
Breaking (Breaks defenses)
Earthshattering (Not to be confused with Breaking, breaks panels)
Cursor (Pierces Invis)
Invis (Avoids non-Cursor damage)
Recovery (Heals or confers similar benefit)
Obstacle (Places an object on the field)
+/- (Affects the strength of other chips)
Wind (Blows enemies around)
The actual properties of these elements have all existed before, even multiples in the same chip. For example, a Sensor1 from MMBN3 would be Obstacle, Elec, and Cursor. Aside from Cursor < Invis, only the old element cycle has any weaknesses. The new element system is basically so you can identify which chips count as what, which will be important later. MMBN5 and 6 introduce new element cycles, so everything besides Null has a strength and weakness.
I know my infodumps are boring, but shut up and deal with it, this game has a lot of new stuff that needs explaining. Making sure the audience knows how things work is a vital step in preventing a repeat of certain Omega Navi challenges where not being aware of what someone was asking of me wound up making many of the challenges far harder than intended.
The Add function, to my sorrow, has been kicked out of the series permanently. The tutorial segment devoted to it covers an entirely new game mechanic: Emotional states.
Remember counter hits from MMBN3, which would net you bugfrags after the fight if you got them? Pulling them off in 4 instead triggers the Full Synchro emotion, which will double the damage of your next attack, give you indications when to hit enemies for further counter hits, and give MegaMan a fabulous pink hula hoop to play with. After using the next chip you have, Full Synchro will fade unless you scored a counter hit. It will also fade if you get hit. Unlike 3, you can't get a counter with any chip that freezes time. Lastly, if you end a battle with Full Synchro on, you'll start the next battle with it automatically.
Getting whacked around for a while without doing much damage back to the enemies will result in the Anxious state, which prevents Full Synchro from working even if you get a counter hit. It also does other things to game mechanics that haven't been introduced yet, so more on this later.
If an enemy interrupts your attacks with their own, MegaMan enters the Angry state, which, like Full Synchro, doubles the damage of the next chip, and as a bonus you get Super Armor (no knockback/chip interrupts when hit). It won't fade if you get hit, but will fade after about 8 seconds or so.
There's another one, but now isn't the time to explain it because it'll be part of an entirely different game mechanic later on.
Our reward for the tedious-as-usual tutuorial is a tedious-as-usual fetch quest.
This is what MMBN4 is like, about 3 minutes in tops. Great first impression, huh?
Fuckup Tally: 7
A RcvPatch is being sold in ACDC3, Yuuichiro tapping into his latent psychic powers to know this.
So we hit the Net, and here's what I meant before about the cosmetic changes having a dark side: It's all bigger. And really, I liked 3's Net more, it was more blocky and less Web 2.0. It just felt more computer-ish.
Billy: Seeing these guys surprised the hell out of me back when I first played. The last time they showed up was in MMBN1! Thankfully, they've been nerfed since then, no longer do they have that nightmarishly evil damage-every-time-you-take-a-step-and-resets-the-duration-of-this-status-condition thunderball attack. They do have a thunderball attack, mind you, but it merely moves slowly, following you, and paralyzes on contact.
Also, check out the GMD in the middle of the battlefield. Any damage done to it, including by enemies and chips that aren't 'supposed' to deal damage like AreaGrab, will destroy it. If it survives until the end of the battle, you get whatever was inside it.
This is quite a bit of money for this point in the game, considering the average fight usually yields a tenth of this.
You have to wonder about the economy in these games. Imagine gold-farming in an MMO, but with legal tender. How in the hell is 500z expensive by ANY stretch of the imagination? I'm pretty sure you buy MiniEnergy subchips with that teeny amount.
Bringing it back to Yuuichiro, and we're finally off to go do that thing with him. Shopping, wee.
Father-Son small talk ensues. This is a blatant lie, obviously, we all know Lan. Wait, what's the Metroline doing way the hell over here? Yeah, ACDC's been reorganized entirely. Despite it being the same for 1-3, 4 decided that some sort of urban renewal project scrambled the town up.
Yuuichiro ditches us momentarily, having remembered that he had an email to send. So obviously, he needs to head back to the house, use a computer, and send it.
Dr. Yuuichiro Hikari, the creator of the PET, doesn't fucking have one.
Fuckup Tally: 8
I don't mind most of the new graphics, but the redone mugshots creep me out. Some of the heads and faces just look....deformed. Naturally, we're supposed to chat with all the NPCs in the area to move things along and recieve useless bits of tutorial from them.
Speaking of useless, Dex mentions that there'll be a meetup of the Idiot Brigade on the net in ACDC area later. After talking to everyone, Yuuichiro returns and we head on to the area where they'll do their shopping: ElecTown.
You don't say!
Fuckup Tally: 9
And now for a true rarity in the entire series: Something I have no damned idea about. I've completely forgotten what the heck this is. The Name field will make sense next update, as we enter a name much like in Battle Chip Challenge, as was shown before by Keyboard Fox. The rest of that gibberish I think has to do with some multiplayer mode? I even checked GameFAQs, no answer there either. I'd appreciate some help with this.
Keyboard Fox posted:
That code you found can be put into BCC to generate an opponent with certain chips.
So it's completely useless, in other words.
Scroll back up to the title screen, and you'll this game's copyright year. Funny in hindsight, don't you think?
The sign is about a pig restaurant mascot advertising pork. Pronoun screwups ensue even without anything but narration.
Fuckup Tally: 10
Anyway, here's the store Lan and Yuuichiro will be shopping at. We only ever see the exterior, the game mercifully uses a timeskip to an hour later. Yuuichiro mentions that he forgot to buy lightbulbs, so he goes back in, leaving us with the usual talk-to-everyone-nearby labor.
MMBN4 is no Worst Game Ever candidate, but you have to wonder if anybody even playtested this.
Fuckup Tally: 11
Oh boy. Mayl and Yai. I am so happy to see you.
The usual give-Lan-orders routine is established immediately, Roll and Glide are in the radio and want to see MegaMan.
Once inside, we meet EvilEnemy McBlantantlyFuckingObviousVillain. Who creaks like an old hinge for some reason. Meet ShadeMan.Exe, and get used to seeing this guy.
Someone mentioned the Conservation of Detail back in MMBN3, and it's alive and well this game too. Gee, there was a special promotional campaign a while ago, but it just ended.
Fuckup Tally: 12
It'll start back up when the item awarded by it is plot-relevant, however.
We're told to Jack-Out, but still can't leave the area. MegaMan, strangely, refers to Yuuichiro as Daddy for the first and only time in the series.
Right, we have to talk to Mayl, who repeats what Dex said before, before things move along. This was absolutely necessary.
Fuckup Tally: 13
Yuuichiro returns from his lengthy quest for lightbulbs, although there is a reason for his slowness.
He's been called away by a sudden, urgent need for him in Netopia. The game doesn't say so yet, but it's obviously NAXA. Like all scientists, Yuuichiro is a practitioner of Science and knows everything about Science, especially asteroids and the physics of a city-sized hunk of dust, rock, ice, and stone hurtling through space. This is like asking a chemist to perform brain surgery.
To be fair, the amount of competent, intelligent people in the MMBN world throughout the whole series can be counted on two hands. Although being included in this game has probably has the same effect on the brain that years of heroin does or something.
Lan doesn't, since Mamoru never shows up again in the entire series and no mention or passing reference to our Little Buddy is ever made. But I do, and by the end of this game, I have a feeling they'll be staging an intervention for SOMETHING.
You can't see it, but the loudspeaker behind him is the size of a small 2-story building. Something tells me turning it up to full volume isn't necessary, let alone safe. Especially considering that all 6 people listening are less than 10 feet away.
Fuckup Tally: 14
DNC, not DNN! This is totally not an attempt to rehash the N1!
What. This was never mentioned before. Ever. And with viruses running amok everywhere, actual connection to the Net be damned, that would...buh...so...AUGH.
Fuckup Tally: 15
They want to improve people's Netbattling abilities, so a tournament is being held.
Wow! So, MMBN3 had the N1 and the Undernet Ranking tournaments. Battle Chip Challenge was a game 100% comprised of tournaments. Now this. This is the first of 3 tournaments in this game, and as I've mentioned before, I'll have to play through them many times over and over.
Okay, I have to fucking wonder. Let's look at the Scenario writers for these games.
MMBN1: S. Kurosawa
MMBN2: S. Kurosawa, Masakazu Eguchi
MMBN:BCC: (No information)
MMBN3: S. Kurosawa, Masakazu Eguchi, G. Onishi
MMBN4: Masakazu Eguchi, Hiroshi Yamashita
MMBN5: Masakazu Eguchi, T. Takenaka
MMBN6: Masakazu Eguchi, T. Shimogawa
Well, that's uninformative. So much for the "one of the writers had a serious tournament hard-on" theory. I've mentioned before that Mr. Famous' Japanese name is Meijin Eguchi, and Masakazu Eguchi has dressed like him during Capcom events. He gets the self-insert, but his presence is basically standard. By the look of things, S. Kurosawa is to thank for the quality of the first 3 games, while Hiroshi Yamashita deserves insulting.
Yes, the City Netbattle Tournament. Sponsored by the Government Agency, while advertising is handled by Commercial Company. And the preliminaries are being held tomorrow, right in this very spot!
The female NPC, rightfully annoyed, asks why the hell they waited to inform people until the day before the preliminary events. Everyone else agrees.
So you waited until the last moment possible to let people in the area the event is being HOSTED at that the event is occurring at all, while letting everyone else know first. I'm honestly not sure if this guy is supposed to be a dumbass, or if it's just standard MMBN4 fare. The other characters outright boo him.
Fuckup Tally: 15.5
I'll call that half a mark since it's still incredibly stupid writing even if the character is to blame. Not like this one guys is in total control of the tournament, after all.
He reassures everyone that they'll be on TV if they attend the preliminaries, however, which may as well have been "you take your common sense and get the fuck out of my game" instead, which the complainers obey.
Make your own joke.
We get yet ANOTHER reminder that hey, everyone's in ACDC area! I fucking know, damn it, you've mentioned it 3 times in the span of as many minutes.
And yet it was explicitly set at full volume.
Fuckup Tally: 16.5
We need to get our hands on some expensive whiskey! Jokes aside, this is only slightly not as bad as it looks. The explanation, provided by other NPCs, is that they're Netopians.
So yes, saying yo after everything just means you're Netopian. If I had to guess, this was in the original Japanese version of the game, where suffix-based catchphrases would be more common, like Japanese GutsMan adding -gutsu, or BubbleMan adding -de~puku to the end of nearly every sentence.
It doesn't carry over to English well.
ShadeMan decided he was hungry, you see.
ShadeMan's dinner was-
Excuse me, ShadeMan's lunch was apparently every Navi in the radio.
Fuckup Tally: 17.5
Mayl and Yai already left for ACDC area, however. ShadeMan's blink animation actually works out pretty well here. Malevolent smirk.
Fine with me. Normally I relish the chance to crush an opponent, but ShadeMan's practically an emblem of the monotony of this game. You fight him twice, and it isn't until quite late in the game that you ACTUALLY get to fight him for real.
Three guesses where he's going.
And I'm sure this is just terrible misfortune on the part of Roll.
You can eat me, alright...
To ACDC Area 3. MMBN4 has a fucking fixation with making you run all the way to the very back of internet areas. An unbelievably massive chunk of this game is spent backtracking to the end of whatever area because for some reason, absolutely nothing ever happens in places that aren't an annoying, boring slog to get to. The only exceptions are when you have to play Collect the Progress Tokens and hunt across EVERY area to find things.
ShadeMan's catchphrase is Wh-Wheeee, apparently, and I think that might be supposed to represent a bat's echolocation. Or he's a jolly sort of villain who just has an absolute blast doing generic evil things.
GutsMan and Glide waged a valorous battle against ShadeMan, with expert teamwork, skill, and tactical foresight.
That stuff accumulating on your monitor is concentrated sarcasm.
We are a single Rope1 chip away from a cheesy Japanese hentai rape scene.