Mega Man has certainly seen a number of changes over the years since our helmeted friend was introduced to us on the NES. He has gone from side-scrolling action hero to the star of his own action-RPG series entitled Mega Man Battle Network. Then again, our favorite hero has seen little change, particularly when it comes to the mentioned RPG series. Mega Man Battle Network 5 Double Team DS is a somewhat revamped version of the Game Boy Advance game’s two available versions, Team Protoman and Team Colonel (much like the color-coded versions of the Pokémon games on the GBA) and despite the touch screen the game still feels and looks the same. Then again this game does feel a lot more comfortable on Nintendo’s innovative handheld.
The Battle Network series has introduced a new take on the Mega Man legacy and its futuristic theme, of course, makes its return in the game’s fifth iteration. The world has come to the Network Age, a time where a network is used to keep society safe within its construct. However, just like in the Matrix, the safe confine of the network is not always safe thanks to viruses that always wreck havoc. Enter Lan, a sixth grader from ACDC Town with the skill to bust viruses cold. Of course, he has help from his friend Mega Man who acts as his Net Navi (an avatar used within the network to do battle). It isn’t until one day that Lan jacks on to the network that he comes to meet a man named Baryl that controls Team Colonel and a boy named Chaud who leads Team Protoman. From there Lan discovers a plot by a mysterious Navi that means to control the internet.
With a story that takes Lan and his friends all the way deep into the Dark Chip Factory, we follow the youth and Mega Man as they battle various enemies. In the real world, we take control of Lan as he can move about ACDC town but thanks to his PET he can log into the cyber world where we take control of Mega Man. The cyber world itself is huge and while in the beginning Mega Man travels alone he will meet other Navi characters that can join his party. It is here that you will be introduced to the concept of battle chips and chip folders. Battle chips are basically selectable actions used in combat or, in the case of Sub Chips, used to heal yourself.
Battle can be a bit intimidating but once you grasp the concept of chips, Dubl Soul (the souls of those Navi Mega Man battles can be absorbed and can allow our hero to transform into said Navi and use their abilities against the enemy). You can ask for support in battle but that depends on Mega Man’s state of emotion (certain events and enemies can enrage him or even worry him to the point that he can’t perform a Dubl Soul attack). The best part, though, is that there are hundreds of chips to discover in this game. The sheer amount is due to both versions of the game included in this DS version so some features you don’t find on the Protoman version you’ll find on the Colonel version.
So what’s different from the GBA versions, you might ask? The most obvious difference, of course, is the Nintendo DS touch screen. Here the second screen becomes a tool to instantly access your Chip Folder, e-mail, Data Library, Net Navi, Network and save functions. You can select your battle chips using the Stylus. The best feature, though, is its wireless multiplayer. Up to eight players can participate in Battle Tournaments while two players can go through Net Battles or Team Battles. This is also a great way to trade chips with friends as well as other interesting features.
Mega Man Battle Network 5 doesn’t sport new graphics that will set it apart from the GBA version. In fact, the game resembles the GBA version in almost every way except for the touch screen that features a neater interface. This doesn’t mean the game is bad looking - it’s far from it since the environments and characters look crisp and colorful. It just means that no special attention was placed on the graphics when it made it to the DS. The character models are now true to the Saturday morning cartoon so expect Mega Man to look nicely animated. The game’s sound is handled a lot better than the game visuals since there’s some good voice clips from both Mega Man and Lan. There are good sound effects in the game and the soundtrack that plays throughout the game is actually good.
There is much to like about Mega Man Battle Network 5 Double Team DS, a Nintendo DS game that feels much like the GBA version but with touch screen action and wireless multiplayer. The two versions offer plenty of replay value for Battle Network fans but it’s the wireless multiplayer matches that will steal the show and give gamers more bang for their buck. If you missed the GBA version, you might want to look into this one instead.