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The Mega Man Battle Network series, known as the Rockman.EXE (ロックマンエグゼ Rokkuman Eguze, also written as Rockman EXE) series in Japan, is set in a parallel universe from the original Mega Man series, where the Internet has become integrated with almost every piece of electronic equipment in existence (from TVs to ovens). In fact, it's become so complicated that special programs called Internet Navigators, NetNavis for short, are needed to efficiently process all of the data. NetNavis are stored in hand-held devices called Personal Terminals (PET). These devices act as phones, pagers, instant messengers, news beams, and hacking devices all rolled into one, essentially making them portable computers.
The main characters of the series are a fifth-grader named Lan Hikari (光熱斗 Netto Hikari in Japan) and his NetNavi MegaMan.EXE (Rockman.EXE), this universe's incarnation of Mega Man. Although MegaMan.EXE has no body (unless the PET device itself counts), he can wander around in cyberspace and explore computer systems as if they were alternate worlds. Together, Lan and MegaMan cooperate to fight off cyber criminals and viruses.
Mega Man Battle Network
The relative peace of ACDC Town, Lan's hometown, is shattered when the infamous net terrorists “World Three” (“WWW”) begin to spread chaos. MegaMan and Lan decide to tackle the problem from two sides—the real world and cyberspace, meeting interesting new people and digital versions of classic Robot Masters along the way. But they have no idea just what the WWW plans to do.
The first Battle Network game set the framework for later series to expand on. It was later re-released only in Japan for the Nintendo DS as Rockman.EXE Operate Shooting Star, an enhanced port and crossover with sequel series Mega Man Star Force.
Mega Man Network Transmission
Taking place just a month after Mega Man Battle Network, Lan and MegaMan.EXE try to track down the mysterious and destructive "Zero Virus" that has been infecting Navis and causing them to go crazy. As they do so, they meet both old and new faces, as well as a remnant of WWW.
The only Battle Network game to be on a home console, Network Transmission removes Battle Network's overworld and random encounter system in favor of the platforming style the Mega Man series is known for.
Mega Man Battle Network 2
Peace has been broken again, but the culprit is not WWW, it's a new Net Mafia called Gospel. Lan and MegaMan work to stop crises as they pop up, and eventually learn Gospel's plan: to create a Super Navi and rule the Net. Can our dynamic duo stop them in time?
This game refined the Battle Network series' game mechanics and also introduced Style Change, an all-new power affecting MegaMan's abilities.
Mega Man Battle Network 3 White and Blue
WWW is back, but this time their plans seem completely random, ranging from driving animals in a zoo berserk to a phony tournament. Lan and MegaMan must figure out what the WWW is up to and stop them. Along the way, they will learn some shocking secrets involving their family, SciLab, the Undernet, and the Net itself.
This game introduced the Navi Customizer and further refined game mechanics.
Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge
A gaiden game taking place after Mega Man Battle Network 3. For the first time players can choose to play as other characters besides Lan Hikari. Whatever character chosen will compete in a series of tournaments, eventually escalating to either a battle against Lan or (if the player chooses Lan) Lan's rival Eugene Chaud.
Battle Chip Challenge is markedly different from other Battle Network games, with the total removal of movement, a complete restructuring of the folder and chip system, and a cast of characters from the three previous GBA games.
Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun and Blue Moon
As the world's scientists secretly scramble to stop a meteor that threatens to destroy the Earth, Lan and MegaMan enter a series of tournaments in hopes of proving their abilities. However, Nebula, a new criminal organization, has been spreading an alluring power that threatens a Navi's very soul. Can MegaMan resist the temptation of the dark power?
Battle Network 4 greatly changed the series, abandoning the art style and basic game system of the first three games in favor of an all new one. It introduced Double Souls and the Karma system, as well as more extensive version differences.
Rockman.EXE 4.5 Real Operation
In this Japan only release, the player can choose a NetNavi from a sizable cast of characters to play the game as. However, unlike other games where the player has full control over their Navi, this time the Navi will move on its own while the player simply selects attacks to use. This was done to simulate what actually operating would feel like.
This game has been officially stated to basically be a test version of Battle Network 5's ability to play as other Navis in battle.
Intending to spread its dark influence again, Nebula has seized control of several areas of the Net. Lan and MegaMan have been recruited to join an elite team of Navis with the goal of liberating the Net. MegaMan must learn to work with both new faces and certain former foes and rivals in order to save the day. This game expands on Battle Network 4's Dark Chips, rebalances basic game mechanics, and introduces Chaos Unisons and Liberation Missions. Unfortunately, just like its predecessor, legitimate E-Reader bonuses are Japan only.
A remake for the DS was later released, expanding on the Team mechanic with features such as the Party Customizer and Navi Assist.
Mega Man Battle Network 6 Cybeast Falzar, Cybeast Gregar
(Unlike previous games, the year in this game is 20XX.)
The final game of the Battle Network series has Lan and his family move to Central Town. But, despite the new environment, their old foe the WWW shows up, this time with the goal of awakening the legendary Cybeasts that rampaged through the Net years ago. MegaMan manages to capture one of these beasts in a last ditch attempt to stop it, but now he must face both WWW and the beast inside him. This game introduced the Cross System and Beast Out and Beast Over, and also revamped much of the customizable features of the series.
The games lent themselves to anime adaptations. The English language version, known as MegaMan NT Warrior, has many edits resulting from Americanization. The first season is very loosely based on the first two games with few story events in common. It also takes some cues from the third Battle Network game such as the PET designs, the jack-in sequence and the tournament concept but with only a few of its cast and none of the plot-relevant characters introduced in the game appear. The series has spawned four sequels, Axess, Stream, Beast, and Beast+. Axess is loosely based on the fourth Battle Network games, Stream is loosely based on the fourth and fifth Battle Network games (the latter due to the prominence Liberation team members), with some Battle Network 3 elements. Beast has shown fairly heavy influences from the sixth Battle Network game(s).
Though Beast was half the length of the previous series, another series premiered after it called Beast+, taking elements and characters from Network Transmission such as the existence of Zero.EXE. At this point, the series had become part of the Oha Coliseum programming block in Japan, taking up only a 10 minute time-slot. Beast+ focused on the more obscure, left-over elements from the games that were previously ignored, such as Transmission and the Japan-only mobile game, Phantom of the Network. The twenty-sixth episode of Beast+ marked the series finale, and an anime based on Mega Man Star Force took its place immediately afterwards.
The MegaMan NT Warrior manga authored by Ryo Takamisaki was serialized in Japan's Shogakukan's CoroCoro Comic and later published in thirteen volumes between 2002-2006. The manga was published in English by VIZ Media between 2004-2008, and retains its right to left format of reading. Following suit with the conclusion of the Mega Man Battle Network games, the manga officially ended at Volume 13. The manga was also published in Brazil by Conrad between 2005-2006, but it was canceled after six volumes (equivalent to three volumes of the original, as each volume had three chapters).
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The following timeline events take place before Mega Man Battle Network.
65,XXX,XXX BC: Duo launched from foreign stellar body to judge life in the universe. [Citation needed]
11XX BC: Stuck in a war lasting 10 years, the advanced civilization of Atlampia disappears overnight due to the Trojan Horse weapon.[Citation needed]
XXXX XX: Roman Empire of Netopia.[Citation needed]
19XX AD: Dr. Cossak born
19XX AD: Tadashi and Wily work on SoulNet. 197X/198X.[Citation needed]
19XX AD: Dr. Wily's robot research cancelled in favour of Network Society, Dr. Wily kicked out of labs. (30 years before MMBN1 -197X/198X-[Citation needed])
19XX AD: Wily raises Baryl as his Foster Father after Baryl's father died in war. -197X/198X/199X-[Citation needed]
19XX AD: Tadashi Hikari joins SciLab (20 years before MMBN3 -198X/199X-[Citation needed])
19XX AD: SciLab experiments with network technology. -198X/199X-[Citation needed]
19XX AD: Gregar is formed by BugFrags merger, the grandfather of Principal Cain builds Falzar to counter 'Gregar,' he is called a devil for this act and shunned by the people. The Legendary Beasts rampage the net and are eventually cast into a large hole. (20 years before MMBN6 -198X/199X-)[Citation needed]
19XX AD: Tadashi builts the Prototype Internet, Alpha. (A decade before MMBN3 -199X-[Citation needed])
19XX AD: Yuichiro Hikari attempts to invent new type of navi (auto-navi) by utilizing human DNA, he fails. (A decade before BN1 -199X-)[Citation needed]
19XX AD: Cossack completes the first true auto-navi, Bass.EXE.
19XX AD: Hub dies by HBD, Hub continues living as MegaMan thanks to Yuichiro's human DNA program. (1 year after Hub's birth.[Citation needed])
19XX AD: Alpha revolt. Bass blamed, hunted down by SciLab Elite Corps, He barely survives and roams the Internet from then on. Vows revenge on humanity.
19XX AD: Alpha sealed away by Tadashi. Tadashi places the Guardian Program within Alpha. (6 Months after initial Alpha Revolt.[Citation needed])
19XX/200X AD: - Mamoru Urakawa born, Mamoru discovered to have HBD like Hub did. - Sean's parents die in plane crash caused by bug in computer, media exclaims biggest netcrime ever. (5 years before MMBN2.[Citation needed]) - Sean lives with his cruel relatives. His parent's fortune bringing him little joy. Sean grows distrust of anyone but himself.[Citation needed] - Bass breaks into WWW labs and steals Life Aura.[Citation needed] - Bass battles Serenade, Serenade wins after a battle lasting days, Bass survives. (Assumed after Life Aura theft due to sheer length of battle) - Wily creates Zero.EXE.[Citation needed]
Current Story, AD 20XX
The following timeline events take place between Mega Man Battle Network and the final historical entry of 20XX.
200X AD: Mega Man Battle Network 1
200X AD: Mega Man Network Transmission (1 month after MMBN1) Wily manipulates Sean into forming Gospel and start up the Supernavi project.
200X AD: Mega Man Battle Network 2 (3 Months after MMBN1.[Citation needed])
200X AD Bass hunts down remaining Bass clones. Side Quest: WWW schemes its own revival using a chosen one. MegaMan brings them down. Before fleeing the WWW Area, he is however confronted by Bass who roamed around to defeat his clones.
200X AD: - Mega Man Battle Network 3 (One month after Zoo Incident.[Citation needed])
200X AD: New school semester starts, MegaMan returns. (4 months after WWW's defeat.[Citation needed]) Bass is saved by Gospel and becomes BassGS. (Side Quest: MegaMan manages to reach Serenade and win, becoming the top ranked of the undernet. He encounters Bass GS and defeats him. Bass denies any connection with his creator when confronted with it) Bass Starts quest to find Ultimate NetNavi. -> Bass sleeps as a statue in the Undernet.
200X AD: - Mega Man Battle Network 4 (5 months after the battle with WWW.[Citation needed]) Side Quest: Awaking of slumbering Bass by resonating with MegaMan's Dark Soul.
20XX AD: - Mega Man Battle Network 5 (One month after 4.[Citation needed]) Side Quest: MegaMan discovers and liberates NebulaArea, encounters and defeats Lord of Chaos.
20XX AD: - Mega Man Battle Network 6 (Unknown time after 5) Side Quest: Bass battles MegaMan on numerous occasions, after second defeat, he searches for the powers of the CyberBeast and obtains them, he is defeated and blows up. Lan and MegaMan believe him still alive.
20 years pass - 202X/203X:
- Dex becomes mayor of ACDC.
- Yai takes over her father's company.
- Mick becomes principal of Central Town's School.
- Chaud becomes leader of the Official Netbattlers.
- Mayl and Lan marry and have a son called "Patch", whose NetNavi is the "offspring" of Roll and MegaMan.
- Unlike it's predecessors Mega Man Battle Network is an action role-playing game and not a platformer.
- The first Mega Man series to debut on the Game Boy Advance in 2001.
- Mega Man Battle Network was created by the same team that created the Mega Man Legends series: (Capcom Production Studio 2).
- Mega Man Battle Network contains many references from fellow Mega Man games such as: Classic, X, Zero, and Legends.
- Many Net Navis in Battle Network are redesigns of the Classic series' Robot Masters.
- The series features only four female NetNavis throughout the series: Roll.EXE, Ring.EXE, Meddy.EXE, and Iris.EXE.
- Mega Man Battle Network 4 is the 2nd best selling Mega Man game in the entire Mega Man franchise with an estimated 1.32 million in sales.
- Mega Man 2 is the best selling Mega Man game, the estimated retail sales are 1.51 million.
- Alongside Mega Man Zero, both have a definitive conclusion to their respective series, the sixth installment being the final game for Battle Network.
- After Mega Man Battle Network 2 every subsequent game in the series was released with two versions.
- Excluding side games, Mega Man Battle Network is the third longest running Mega Man series containing six main titles. The series trails only behind Mega Man and Mega Man X in terms of sequels.