Review: Megaman: Network Transmission


Platform: GC
Developer: Arika
Publisher: Capcom
Players: 2-32

First things first, I am HEAVILY biased toward Capcom. When I reflect on how their franchises have shaped the gaming world (Street Fighter saving arcades in the early 90’s, Resident Evil for Playstation swinging the 32-bit war) I freeze in awe of Capcom’s divinely inspired works. However, part of loving Capcom is sticking by them, even through their less-inspired moments. I’m sure you all know where this is going.

The graphics here are a mixed bag of great ideas and 2nd rate execution. Cartoon-y cel-shaded characters traversing “semi-3D” environments is exactly what Megaman games based around today. Unfortunately the color palette doesn’t often flatter the art style (Megaman himself is paltry 3 shades of non-detailed blue) and don’t even get me started on the hideous Home/Map interface. The backgrounds look nice, despite all being basically the same, simply substituting computer innards consumed with weeds for those consumed by fire and so forth.

Com-poo-ters? Megaman is one of many “Navi,” bots that are “jacked” into networks to fight viruses or other Navi gone wrong. The game’s highlight being cut scenes with old foes like Gutsman and Heatman reincarnated as rouge Navi and never looking better. Battling inside computer systems doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but game plots rarely do. It’s just an excuse for different Navi to be running amuck at different locations around town (places with computer systems like the bank, mall or park?) and thus giving Megaman a way to select levels as he’s wont to do.

Once inside a level it’s business as usual with Mega platforming gleefully and handing ass out to the usual suspects… except… WHY THE HELL DOES IT TAKE TEN BUSTER SHOTS TO KILL ANYTHING??? Our trusted weapon of choice has been neutered and replaced with “fun collectable battle chips.” Most are beyond useless and exist only for the Pokemon marketing angle. Egad! Plus, initially at least, the ration of 5 different weapon chips are selected randomly from all those available. That means you’re not guaranteed the one you need!

It’s a slippery slope when a company leaves one of their top franchises in the hands of an external development team, in this case Arika. Network Transmission certainly falls on the kinder end between Psikyo’s almighty Cannon Spike (a shooter featuring Charlie, Cammy, Megaman and Arthur?? I’m there!) and Software Toolworks’ Mario Is Missing. But with over 9,000 games starring the “boy in blue,” why waste your time.