Part 5: Landslide, what landslide?
After the rest of the schoolday, which passes uneventfully, Lan remarks that the local train system is opening today.
MegaMan notes that they could pick up that PowerUp program for him at the same time. Sounds like a worthwhile venture to me, not that the player has any choice in the matters.
A small wink and a nod towards the player that yes, this series follows RPG conventions. I've always referred to the computer systems as dungeons, so it's funny to see Yai doing it as well.
Before we leave, this NPC has appeared in the AV room. He knows how to modify BattleChips, which is a cool concept.
For each game in the series, collecting 100% of the chips unlocks postgame content, so we'll definitely be seeing this guy again later. 30 MetGuard A chips aren't hard to come by, but I'll let them accrue naturally rather than do any grinding.
And before anyone asks, yes I'll be doing the chip collecting offscreen. Probably via cheat code, because seriously, this game's internet is just that hard to navigate. I'd do it fair and square if I could actually tell where the hell I was at any given time.
Bet that doesn't mean anything. Exiting the school, the area immediately around it isn't notable except for that car right there, which has an HPMemory upgrade inside it.
And when it does open, this game will weep, because a massive gamebreaker awaits in the future.
Loving that recycling bin design over there. Arriving at the Metroline station, which is right by Dex's house, there's been a rather unfortunate delay.
You'd think that the fact there was a landslide in the first place would be why the trains aren't open, but nope, it's due to a virus. By the way, look closely at the posters in the background when you see them, there's usually an easter egg or two for the observant.
The guard mentions that nobody broke into the control room, so someone must have come in via the internet.
I chose to jack into Dex's computer to try and use a shortcut, but unfortunately, that doesn't work in this game. You can access peoples' computers from Cyberworld, but not the other way around, meaning that there are no handy ways to skip large portions of the internet. So you'll always be hauling ass from Lan's computer. Joy.
Edit: I was incorrect about this, you just need to connect to the computer from the internet, and the shortcut will work properly. It's been a while.
Returning to Lan's computer and doing things the "correct" way, there's an NPC here with a warning for us. He's impressed that we beat FireMan!
By "sometimes" he means "every boss fight against someone who isn't a friend". Navi Ghosts are set encounters, tougher versions of bosses you've already defeated hidden in the Cyberworld. They're invisible, but will always appear in one location, you just have to step on the appropriate spot to trigger the fight.
FireMan Version 2 is tucked away in this discreet corner of the area, for example.
As you can see, he has 100 more HP, and his attacks do more damage. He also moves around slightly faster. Barring rare exceptions, and I don't think any are in this game, upgraded bosses never have any "new tricks" to throw at you.
Defeating the V2 Navi Ghost awards you the basic version of the appropriate Navi Chip. Once you've done so, the V3 Navi Ghost becomes a random encounter in the same area. Defeating the V3 Navi Ghost with higher busting levels will net you the V2 or V3 NaviChip.
Speaking of upgrades, might as well start shelling out for them. I prioritize HPMemory items over PowerUps, but I'll need to clean them all out for 100% completion of the game.
See how MegaMan is "Level 8" right now? Raising your level doesn't involve experience of any sort like a traditional RPG, instead you must use the HPMemory and PowerUp items. This is important because one of the postgame bosses will only show up if you have a level of 70 or higher. The rest of the status screen I'll cover later as it becomes relevant.
Unfortunately, to continue into the greater internet from the starting area, we need to get past this broken bridge here.
This is explained in-universe as being part of Dex's web links. Remember, the users of the Cyberworld shape it. Makes a bit of sense why the thing is so convoluted. Why only Dex has links to anything outside the ACDC town network is a mystery, though.
Fetch quest time. Get used to this from NPC "friends".
Thankfully, Dex has a vague idea of where the Recov50 L is, so it's not bad at all.
Just enter Mayl's house, and jack into her piano.
Strangely enough, the chip is inside a GMD, which are supposed to be random. The first game is inconsistent about blue and green mystery data, they're supposed to be distinct from each other.
Returning to Dex, he challenges us to a NetBattle for access to his links.
GutsMan V2 has 100 more HP and a new attack, proving that I have the memory of a goldfish. Okay, so upgraded bosses pull out new attacks sometimes, but it isn't often, particularly in this game.
His new attack cracks a row of panels ahead of him. This is laughably self-defeating, because shockwave attacks, his main offense, can't travel over broken panels.
So GutsMan renders his own attacks useless, basically.
Dex is shocked that we've defeated his upgraded GutsMan.
After a bit of sputtering, he voices his disbelief.
At least Dex has a sense of honor about things, I'll give him that.
Dex forks over the /Dex item, but also has a kicker prize.
The GutsMan G chip! It's decent on its own, dealing damage to the whole field, but the real value is in a certain Program Advance you can use it for. Dash G, MetGuard G, GutsMan G. This produces the GutsShoot P.A., which deals 400 damage in a straight line to one target. This was already an easy game, but such raw power is an easy early gamebreaker.
This is actually a common theme to the MMBN games. It isn't like Orange Fluffy Sheep violating an RPG through clever min-maxing, it's strategic folder builds. And by that I mean "Tapping into some idiotically powerful attack/chip that can make easy work of everything in the game". GutsShoot is just the earliest example of a gamebreaker in MMBN1.
Dex admits that we're skilled, and we're off back on track.
The /(name) items are probably the most important in the game, they're what enable you to explore the internet more. If you really want, you can get pretty deep into the net very early into the game, racking up powerful chips much earlier than you normally would. Once again, this makes it very easy to break MMBN1. Subsequent games in the series are much more restrictive about where you can go at one time. I have a feeling that the game designers wanted to allow an element of exploration so the player could get a sense of how vast the internet was. Then they realized that this let players snap the difficulty curve in half, so they tightened up exploration opportunities for all future games.
This is the area with the Metroline program. Also, this NPC attempts to give you directions, but due to the isometric perspective of the game, this is rather unhelpful. There's a slew of new viruses though!
Hardhead: These viruses are immune to attacks that lack the "breaking" attribute when their mouths are closed. Very few chips in the game have that attribute, thus far only the Hammer chip available from the area 1 merchant does. Fortunately, it opens its mouth to spit cannonballs at MegaMan's panel periodically, and it's open to attack then. The cannonball cracks the panel. In future games, Hardhead viruses shake a little bit to give you an indication of when their mouths are going to open.
Swordy: These knight viruses always do their best to move in front of MegaMan when possible. They're restricted to their side of the field, but they can and will use Steal chips to shrink your field, making them very dangerous. When in front of MegaMan's row, they'll slash down all three panels in what is referred to as a FighterSword range, due to a chip called FighterSword doing that. This 3-panel slash gets nerfed into a two-panel slash in later games. Lastly, when MegaMan is directly in the column in front of them, they will swipe with a WideSword attack instead.
Volgear: These viruses have fire and, oddly, aqua type variations. They'll spit a column of fire or water out, which will track MegaMan loosely as it moves to the back of the field. Much like Spooky viruses, they'll stick to one column and warp around it whenever MegaMan enters their row.
"Miner": The first of the viruses which never appear in later games with a name, and so I'm forced to invent one for the sake of taxonomy. Miner viruses are very annoying. They stay in place at the back of the field, unmoving. Periodically, they will drop down below the field and hide a mine on MegaMan's side. This stops time and features a short animation, so if you watch closely, you can see where the most likely place the mine ended up is. Needless to say, if you step on the panel that has the mine on it, it will explode and damage MegaMan, even through an Invis chip. Multiple mines can be on the field at once.
Wandering around the area, there are two access points that require /Name items. /Miyu won't be obtained for a few chapters, but /Sal will be in our hands soon enough.
Can you tell where I am? Neither can I. The internet only gets more and more winding and twisty as the game progresses.
Of particular note, the Swordy viruses have a chance to drop LongSword S chips with a high enough busting rank. Since the game gives you Sword S and WideSword S by default, this is an easy P.A. to obtain.
Meet StoneMan.EXE, who signals that not every boss in the MMBN series arrives in the original order. For some reason, he speaks only in "gok gok" sounds, which get translated in parentheses. What's especially weird about this is that Nintendo Power, in an issue detailing the first 3 bosses of MMBN1, stated that this boss' name was Gok-Gok.
Two in one day is enough to make MegaMan exasperated.
See, this is why it's particularly bizarre that Nintendo Power made that goof, StoneMan even identifies himself.
With 600 HP, and no movement from the back row, StoneMan is a long boss. His attacks involve dropping rocks on large sections of the field, and strangely enough, a laser cannon. Of note is that I'm good at dodging attacks normally, but I am terrible with attacks that target multiple panels at once and then damage them. My reflexes just seize up and compel me to move MegaMan more or less randomly.
Anyway, funny thing about the boss fight. As you can see from the screenshot, I assembled the Sword-WideSword-LongSword P.A. successfully. Those familiar only with the later games in the series (which would be the bulk of the readers, due to the odd ordering of the LP) will expect the LifeSword P.A. Instead, you get the BusterSword P.A., which gives you 6 uses of the sword series of chips. 2 slashes of Sword, 2 of WIdeSword, 2 of LongSword.
After the fight, MegaMan opens fire on the rock. This clears up the virus problem, and for some inexplicable reason, the landslide is also nothing to worry about now.
We'll cover that next update, though, I dislike gigantic ones.