Most of the Battle Network games play in an almost identical style, so I have compacted those tips and strategies into a single page.
The overworld is relatively straightforward and resembles any typical console RPG (except that Lan has roller blades permanently glued to his feet, which most player characters don’t sport). However the battle system is quite confusing to a first-time player and warrants some discourse. There is usually a tutorial during the game as well which you may wish to pay attention to before fighting any real battles.
First of all, battles are in fact action-based, even if they don’t appear to be from the screen shots, although it’s a bit different than a free-style “run around and shoot everything” type of game. MegaMan is restricted to the red blocks on the left side of the screen; the enemies can only move in the blue blocks on the right (except when attacking). Pressing a direction on the control pad will cause MegaMan to move from one block to the next.
To attack, you fire your buster or use special items called Battle Chips. You can use up to five chips per “round” (when the bar on the top of the screen fills up, you can open your “Custom Screen” to choose new chips); however you are restricted in what sort of chips you can use at a time. Only chips of the same type or of the same code (the letter in the corner) can be equipped at once. Each chip can only be used once per battle, but chips are never actually consumed (you’ll still have them when the battle ends even if you used them).
That’s the basics. Now for the tricky part. Chips that you pick up during the game are stored in your “Sack” (sometimes called a “Pack”). Chips that you have prepared to use during battle are in your “Folder” and this Folder must have exactly 30 chips (no more, no less; obviously you begin the game with 30 chips to satisfy this requirement). However during battle you can’t just pick any of the 30; when a battle starts, you are given a choice of just five of the 30, picked randomly. (This was probably done to prevent people from just using the same five chips over and over again to blast through battles, but it adds an interesting challenge. This is one way the game somewhat resembles a trading card game, although you must take a bit more of a personal involvement in the actual battles.) When you choose to use one or more of the five chips, in the next round the ones you used will be replaced with more random picks. Alternately, in some games you can use the “Add” feature to choose to pass the round with no chips—if you do so, you’ll get to choose from more chips in the next round.
Each chip can only be used once per battle, and you must use the chips in the order you selected them. You can see which chip is up next and also how many you have left based on the icon over MegaMan’s head during battle.
Battle chips are the way to win battles but try not to miss with them. Sometimes it’s better to wait and dodge attacks until the enemy puts himself into a position where he remains stationary before firing a chip (you don’t have to worry about firing your buster—it’s infinite).
Generally speaking battles are fairly easy if you know the enemy’s attack patterns (everything can be dodged) but this assumes you are facing only one enemy at a time. Groups of enemies can be lethal since their attacks combined together may corner you. Learn who will be the most dangerous in a group and take that enemy out first. Sometimes, an enemy with a particularly difficult attack pattern can be nullified quickly using the proper Battle Chip, but you can’t really count on that chip coming up in the random draw.
There are two schools of thought for picking chips to place in your Folder: one is to choose a diverse collection of all of your most powerful and useful chips, and the second is to pick chips based on their types and/or codes. With the first, you’re more subject to the gamble of the draw since the chip you need at any given moment may or may not actually come up, but your attacks are more varied and interesting. The second method involves picking large groups of identical chip types or codes so that you’re almost guaranteed to come up with chips which can be used together. If you decide you really like a particular chip, you can attempt to gather as many copies of it as possible and fill your Folder with them so as to “stack the deck” so to speak and guarantee that the chip will come up more often in battle. It’s up to you, but remember that being able to use multiple chips per round can really speed up things. Also it is possible to combine certain chips into a single chip to be used in battle (see below).
The following are some of the major features that have been introduced into the series. Not all of these are present in every game.
You can combine certain chips into new chips. When you choose the correct chips together, they will automatically merge. When chips combine, you get the combination attack as a new chip which is immediately readied and can be used like any other chip. All of the chips that you combined are used up that round as if you had used them separately—in a way, you’re giving up your separate multiple chips for a single rare chip. Note that combinations only last for that round of battle; you don’t get to keep the chip you created (it doesn’t appear in your Folder or Sack), and you don’t lose the chips that were combined.
There are two basic ways of getting a Program Advance; once you recognize the patterns, it’s pretty easy to put together new advances. The first method is to use chips of the same type but different (usually consecutive) codes. For example, select a Cannon A, Cannon B, and Cannon C together, and they will combine. The other method is to use different chips with the same codes; in this case, usually you are looking for chips that are similar to each other (which are usually chips that have successive IDs—you can view the ID in the Library). For example, combine a Sword, WideSwrd, and LongSwrd in that order (it’s also the order of their IDs). You can discover Program Advances through experimentation or by talking to people.
A Style Change alters MegaMan slightly. He typically gains an Element (making him weak against certain attacks, but able to hit weaknesses on certain enemies as well) and changes how his charged shots operate. Styles come in two categories, which are then mixed-and-matched for the final style. One category is the Element, and the other is the special features that the Style Change gives you. Each time you get a new Style you will be given a short description of its capabilities.
You gain Styles by fighting battles. The type of Style that you receive depends on how you fight. (For example, defeat things with your Buster a lot, and you’ll tend to get the “Guts” Style.) On the other hand, as far as I know, it is not possible to determine your Element. The Element appears to be selected at random.
Soul Unisons replace Style Changes in later games. Rather than getting a Style Change, you literally merge with a Navi of a particular type. To use a Soul Unison (also known as “DublSoul” in the finest eight-character limitation tradition), you select a chip of the correct type, then choose the “Unite” button. Once you do this, the chip you selected becomes the unison command. (Note that you don’t actually lose the chip, as the tutorial implies; you just use it up for the transformation, so you can’t use it normally during that particular battle.) Since this chip now no longer counts as being selected, you can go ahead and select more chips to use that round, like normal. When you close the Custom Screen, MegaMan will transform first, then you can battle with the other chips that you selected like normal.
Like Style Changes, a Soul Unison gives you the Element type of the Navi that you merge with (when applicable), which can increase the power of those chips but may also have the disadvantage of making you weak against certain attacks. Also, your charged shots will change according to the unison that you are using, and additionally you can also charge Battle Chips in some cases as well (but only ones that match the type of the Navi you are using). You get other benefits as well, depending on the Soul Unison. Each time you get a new Soul Unison you will be given a short description of it.
Note that there are a few limitations put into place to prevent you from just using Soul Unison all the time. First, you can only use each merge once per battle. Second, a Soul Unison only lasts for three rounds (although “round” is defined as you opening your Custom Screen, so if you don’t mind not having any Battle Chips, you can conceivably stay merged forever). Finally, you can’t use a Regular chip to merge (the one that you set using your Regular Memory).
A “Counter Hit” means to strike an enemy just as it is starting its attack. The exact timing of this varies based on the enemy type. Each enemy has a moment during its attack pattern, specific to that enemy, where it can be countered. The basic rule of thumb is to hit it just as it is beginning to attack, but not before. The timing can be finicky on some enemies.
You know you’ve countered an enemy when you hear a special sound effect and the enemy will freeze into place (or blow up). Sometimes the text “Counter Hit!” is displayed also.
In some games, you have to destroy the enemy to get the counter hit; in others, you must use a Battle Chip to counter.
In some games, when you counter an enemy (get a “Counter Hit!”), you will go Full Synchro. When you go Full Synchro, the attack power of any Battle Chip you use (that has an attack rating) is doubled. However, this only lasts for one hit; once you fire off a chip while using this, you lose the Full Synchro. (Note though that firing your Buster or using non-attack chips like Recov have no impact on this.) You will also lose the Full Synchro if you get hit by an enemy attack.
Also, while you are in Full Synchro mode, enemies will flash when they can be countered. This can be a useful way to learn how to counter new enemies (but usually you can just guess and experiment, or do it by accident).
Finally, it should be noted that you can go Full Synchro in other ways besides countering an enemy. I’m not exactly sure how it is determined (the tutorial in the game just says it is when you are “fighting well” which could mean anything, really), but in my own personal experience, it seems that if you overkill an enemy, or destroy more than one enemy with a single shot, you will occasionally go Full Synchro even if the shot wasn’t a counter. This is more difficult to do on purpose, but it can sometimes crop up unexpectedly.
The Navi Customizer is a way to increase MegaMan’s stats and give him special abilities. You pick up pieces (“NaviCust Parts”) to add to the customizer from Mystery Data, merchants, and other places. There are rules and restrictions on how you can arrange the pieces; the in-game tutorial will explain the procedure when you first get the customizer.
If you don’t follow the rules, you’ll introduce “bugs” based on which parts have errors. For example, bug an HP enhancement part, and MegaMan’s HP will slowly decrease during battle. A buggy movement enhancement will cause MegaMan to keep snapping in a direction during battle, and bug an attack enhancement and sometimes MegaMan’s buster will jam. And so forth.
The rules include:
- You can’t place parts of the same color next to each other. Diagonals are okay, as long as their sides don’t touch.
- Parts which are made up of solid-colored squares (for example, the green ones in the screen shot shown here) must be placed on the “command line,” that line that runs horizontally across the grid.
- Parts which have patterned squares (like the pink ones in the screen shot) must not be placed on the command line.
- You can only use a certain number of colors. If you place parts of more colors than the limit, this will result in a bug. For example, you might be able to get away with using a white part, two pink parts, a yellow part, and a blue part, but if you also place a red part, you’ll have too many colors.
- You are also restricted to certain colors in certain games based on your current Style Change and other things. Also, some parts require codes to use. Consult the documentation in the game in question for these details.
As the manual suggests, you can actually bug MegaMan on purpose. The main reason you would want to do this is to stuff more parts into the customizer than would otherwise fit. If the bug doesn’t affect your ability in battle too much, it may be worth it. (Poor MegaMan...)
Found in later games, DarkChips are a way of making MegaMan “evil.” They have certain benefits and drawbacks:
Once MegaMan is “evil,” all you have to do is refrain from using DarkChips for a few battles and he’ll start to shift back to being “good” again. (Actually, maintaining “evil” mode is somewhat difficult, as you have to sacrifice a lot of HP to hold the form.)
- Every DarkChip you use subtracts 1 HP from MegaMan’s maximum HP. This is permanent in that there is no way to get the HP back. (You can, however, still use HP upgrades and the Navi Customizer to recoup some of your losses.) Note that in some games, you lose only 1 HP per battle, not per DarkChip, which means once you commit to using DarkChips in a particular battle, you can do so as much as you want and only lose 1 HP.
- Using a DarkChip also usually involves a bug similar to when you bug the Navi Customizer (above). Each DarkChip will inflict you with a different bug.
- DarkChips are linked to the “evil” mode that MegaMan can obtain (that purple face portrait with the crazy evil grin). Generally the only way to obtain “evil” mode is to use DarkChips, and you must be in “evil” mode for certain things to happen:
- Certain Battle Chips (most notably DS Navi Chips) can only be used when you are in “evil” mode.
- Certain other Battle Chips (e.g. SP Navi Chips) cannot be used in “evil” mode.
- While in “evil” mode, you can trigger the berserk mode on death that I describe on the Battle Network 4 page.
Using DarkChips almost never has an effect on the plot.
Title Menu Stars
When you beat most of the Battle Network games, you will see some sort of star or icon on your title screen when you are selecting “Continue.”
When you load your saved game in this case, you still start in the same place where you’d saved before beating the game, but the difference is, having the icon is generally a requirement for accessing certain areas. These hidden areas tend to be designed to be extremely difficult, usually preventing you from jacking out for as long as you are in them. Hunt around when you have a title menu star to find them.
Once you have a title menu star, you can do things and then save again without losing the icon. The Battle Network games are generally designed to avoid “lost forevers” so by the time you reach the end of the game, you should be allowed to revisit any area and finish any side quests or other things that you missed along the way.
Note that Battle Network 4 works differently—its “Title Menu Star” system is really more like a “New Game +” system in that it places you back at the beginning of the game but with most of your items intact.
In many games, beating the game and then fulfilling other requirements (such as having a copy of every Battle Chip that exists in the game) will “upgrade” your star in various ways.
(I don’t go into details about title menu stars on MMHP because I haven’t the time to delve into them. It takes me long enough just to beat the game the first time and get the Game Hints page up...)
- Mega Man has three statistics which are never really explained in the game. They are:
- Power: In my opinion the most important of the group. Each point of Power increases the damage of your shots by 1 (charged shots are increased by a percentage). While this doesn’t sound like much, put a few PowerUps (or a Style Change!) into it, and suddenly you’re doing upwards to 10 damage per hit. Couple this with rapid-fire, and you can take down enemies in record time with just your buster. Also with a high enough Power rating, your charged shots will be strong enough that you’ll be able to make Navis reel by just hitting them with a charged buster shot.
- Speed: The higher this value is, the lower the cool-down between shots. This means MegaMan will be able to fire his buster gun more rapidly. Does not seem to affect Battle Chips.
- Charge: The higher this value, the faster MegaMan can charge up his buster. Does not affect the actual power of your charged shots (the Power rating does that). In some games, you have to put at least one PowerUp into this before MegaMan is able to use charged attacks at all; in those cases I recommend putting your first PowerUp here.
- Elements affect both you and the enemy equally. They are:
- Fire is weak against Aqua. Fire characters can stand on lava tiles without being bothered by them, but they take damage on water panels. Fire attacks do more damage to things standing on grass panels, and can burn away the grass.
- Aqua is weak against Elec. Aqua characters are not affected by ice panels and some of them can hide in water panels. Aqua attacks negate fire panels.
- Elec is weak against Wood. Elec attacks do more damage on things standing on ice panels and often can paralyze things.
- Wood is weak against Fire. Wood characters can recover health by standing on grass panels.
To use Atk+10 and other similar chips, you have to select the chip you want to enhance first, and then select the Atk+10 chip. When you get to that chip in battle, you should notice “+10” (or whatever) by the chip name at the bottom left of the screen. If you don’t see this text, the chip you chose cannot be increased or you used the wrong type of increase. You don’t actually have to use the Atk+10 chip during battle; it is applied automatically. (If you see the Atk+10 chip over MegaMan’s head and press the A button and get a little puff of smoke, you just wasted it.) Note that it is possible to stack multiple bonuses on a single chip.
- The Regular Memory slot appears in later game titles, and allows you to select a single Battle Chip to be guaranteed to appear during every battle. You are restricted in what chips you can choose based on how much memory you have, and once you use the chip in a battle, you won’t get it again during that battle (like any other chip).
- Dodging is very important in this game; all attacks can be dodged or interrupted (assuming you’re facing only one virus at a time), and some attacks will do massage damage if you fail to dodge them. Oftentimes an enemy’s attack formation leaves it invulnerable at certain points, meaning you must dodge and wait for your opening before you attack. Learning when to attack and when to dodge—and how to dodge—is key. Pay attention to enemy attack patterns.
- Use cracked panels strategically. If there are a lot of them on your side, don’t just blindly move around—you’ll more than likely trap yourself. On the other hand, if you know you won’t be trapped, sometimes it’s useful to break cracked panels on purpose because holes will turn back into normal panels after some time, but cracked panels won’t.
- When Mega Man is blipping from one square to another in the battle field, he’s invincible to most attacks. This applies to the enemies as well; also enemies that fly can position themselves between blocks or so high in the air that your attacks miss. Take this into account before throwing full-screen attacks.
- If you hit a NetNavi boss hard enough (do enough damage with a single hit), he’ll reel. This can interrupt or cancel many of the boss’s attacks. However keep in mind that after this the boss will flash for a couple of seconds, during which time he’s invincible, so don’t waste your chips.
- Revisit the Net frequently; green Mystery Data will reappear there on subsequent visits, and the enemies in any given area don’t get any more difficult, so it gets easier as you go.
- Search everything. Particularly in the “real world” as Lan. You can learn all sorts of secrets and find hidden items by searching things. Talk to people, search desks, book cases, signs, trees, anything and everything. Likewise, try jacking in to everything you see—even if the description doesn’t tell you that you can jack into it.
- Jack into everything. At the very least, most of the minor devices (such as vending machines) each have a blue Mystery Data that can contain valuable power-ups like RegMemUp items. If you make it a habit to jack into all devices when you first encounter them, you have a better chance of staying ahead.
- Never gamble away your last copy of any Battle Chip of any given chip code in a Chip Trader machine. You never know when you might need to trade it with someone to gain a better item. Also, the chip codes are significant. For example, if all you have are copies of Cannon A and Cannon B, and the person wants a Cannon C, you’re out of luck. No matter how many Cannon chips you may have, if they aren’t the right code, you can’t trade them. So even if you have 50 copies of a chip of one code, if you only have one copy of that same chip in another code, don’t get rid of it.
- You can earn “Navi chips” which allow you to call other people’s NetNavis during battle. Earn Navi chips by challenging their owners and winning. Also, sometimes defeated Navis appear as normal enemies in the Net and you can win their chips by defeating them there as well. The easiest way to find these guys is to walk to the very end of every dead-end path in the Net—that is usually where they are lurking.
- In some games you can get extra Folders. In particular, there is usually one folder of this type that you cannot edit; you can only overwrite it with another folder. Always take new extra folders when they are offered to you even if you’re not sure you’ll like them. All chips in an extra folder get placed into your Library even though you can’t take them out of the folder. This means you can go order copies of them for your own use from Higsby’s shop later.
- It is important to note that MegaMan can be hit out of attacks. This means if you, say, try to fire a Cannon, and an enemy strikes you while MegaMan is trying to fire but before the shot goes off, you’ll lose the shot and still use up the chip for that battle. This is highly annoying and can occur at any time during the shot’s animation (some shots can actually be aborted in mid-transit by this). There is one exception to this however: Navi chips and others (such as Area Steal) which dim the screen when they execute freeze the action and cannot be interrupted. This makes these sorts of chips more useful because you never have to worry about losing your shot once you set it off.
- Some enemies’ shots can hurt their own allies. While there are few cases where you can take advantage of this, it is humorous to, for example, watch a foe use a dash attack right into a mine planted by another enemy and blow itself up.
- Panels can start out in battle as one of several types besides normal (some chips can cause these effects as well). In almost all cases, breaking the panel and then allowing it to recover (or using a repair chip) will negate the panel’s special characteristics. Panels affect both you and your enemies. Some of the special panels include:
- Cracked: Most commonly caused by chips and enemy attacks. Anything which moves onto and then off a cracked panel will turn that panel into a destroyed panel (a hole). An enemy standing on a cracked panel that dies will also leave a hole behind. Using an attack which cracks panels on a panel which is already cracked will break the panel.
- Destroyed: A gaping hole. You can’t stand on destroyed panels, but some enemies can. Also some attacks can’t cross destroyed panels. Destroyed panels will recover after a span of time, turning back into normal panels, or you can use a repair chip on them.
- Grass: Fire type attacks do double damage to anyone who happens to be standing on a grass panel at the time, even if that target isn’t weak against Fire. Fire attacks also burn away grass panels. Wood type viruses and Navi standing on grass panels slowly regain health.
- Lava: If you’re not using a Fire-type Navi, you’ll lose health stepping onto one of these. Aqua chips combat them.
- Ice: You and enemies alike will have a hard time moving on ice—if you attempt to move to a tile, you’ll slide all the way across in that direction until you run out of free squares. Rumor has it Electric attacks are particularly powerful on ice panels.
- Magnet: These pull you toward them or in other directions. They affect some of the enemies as well, although some foes are immune to them of course.
- Aluminum: These panels can never become cracked, no matter what you hit them with.
- Sand: This will sometimes prevent actions from taking place on them. For example an attack might not go off, or you might not be able to move. Like all panels, this can affect enemies as well.
- Water: Stepping onto water will slow you down briefly, preventing you from moving around quickly. Fire-type characters lose health while standing on Water panels. Some enemies can submerge themselves in water.
- Poison: Your HP will slowly decrease while you are standing on this. Like all tiles, this affects enemies as well.
- Holy: Standing on these panels will halve the damage of all attacks that strike you.
- Blocks or immobile objects sometimes occupy tiles. Some of them are simply there when the battle starts (such as boulders), and others are caused by using certain Battle Chips. These objects block shots from both you and the enemies. They act like viruses that don’t move and don’t damage you when you touch them. They don’t have a visible HP value, but they do have health, because if you or the enemies shoot the object enough it’ll be destroyed.
- Your Busting Level is based on several things, and without looking at the code it’s difficult to know for sure how exactly it is determined. Here are some observations on how to raise your Busting Level that have held pretty true during my playing:
- Be quick. As the manual says, your time does matter, and even if you do everything else perfectly, your level will gradually decrease the more time it takes you to finish the battle.
- Don’t get hit. The more times you take damage, the lower your level plunges.
- Use chips. If you blast an enemy to oblivion using your buster, you’ll score a relatively low Busting Level even if you do so quickly and without taking a hit. To get the best ratings, you must use chips and use them well.
- Defeat multiple enemies at once. For example, wiping out a single enemy with a single blow from a chip will get you an 8 or 9. Wiping out two or more with a single blow will net you an S.
- Your Busting Level determines how much Zenny you receive after a battle, and the percent chance that you will obtain a Battle Chip instead of Zenny. As Battle Chips are arguably more useful than the Zenny anyway, it is important to get high Busting levels. Note that many boss battles have a guaranteed reward, be it either an amount of Zenny, or a chip, and your Busting Level in these cases will have no impact on the result. This is particularly the case for the first time you battle each boss.