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Astro Nut
Feb 22, 2013

Nonsensical Space Powers, Activate! Form of Friendship!



Mega Man Star Force - known in Japan as 'Shooting Star Rockman' (Ryuusei No Rockman) - was the second release of the Mega Man franchise onto the Nintendo DS, following after Mega Man ZX. Where ZX was a return to the 'classic' timeline, Star Force brought players back to the timeline of Battle Network, and so could in some sense could be considered its equivalent of the X series. It took various traits, both gameplay and narrative wise of the previous series, and used them in both new and tired ways with varying results. Barring the first entry in the series, the series saw a massive decline in sales, with almost 600,000 unit sales in Japan later falling to under 300,000 for the second game, and less than 200,000 for the third and final entry into the Star Force franchise.

But one step at a time shall we?

So how are you going to be doing this?

Screenshots, cropped from one screen per pic, and with some commentary and analysis to go with. Some of that will be done with the assistance of Epee Em, who'll be the half of us going in blind on this thing. I meanwhile got the game when it first came out (in the UK, mind you), and given that previous games were already released when I began to start really enjoying Mega Man, this is effectively the series I 'grew up' with. I'll try to be objective as I can on some matters, but childhood biases might slip through.

You seem to have only Leo up there, what about the other two?

Right. Star Force 1 came as three separate titles - Pegasus, Leo, and Dragon. Beyond some superficial menu colours and power ups later on though, the differences between the games are non-existent. Unlike the Battle Network series, there aren't even differences in bosses (save one) or support characters, which means that little is lost from playing just the one game. For now we'll be going with Leo, because sometimes you just wanna see things burn.

Spoilers?

Please keep them to a minimum or hidden, since the point with Epee Em is that he's going blind, and at the very least, I'd rather not have some things spoiled ahead of time for those who haven't played the game.

Anything the audience can even do?

Suppose so. If Dragon or Pegasus would be seriously preferred over Leo, then thats alright, and there'll be more than a few moments in which to mess around with for the sake of sheer hilarity.

Update List:
Update 1: In the Future (of an alternate reality)
Update 2: Are we there yet?
Update 3: MegaMan
Update 4: The Game Begins In Earnest
Update 5: Beef Is Back On the Menu
Update 6: MegaMan, the Matador
Update 7: All Up In The Air
Update 8: For Science!
Update 9: Duck is no substitute
Update 10: I fought the law, and...
Update 11: With friends like these...
Update 12: Rock You Like A Hurricane
Update 13: You Look Familiar...
Update 14: The Appearance of PlotArmorMan
Update 15: Not just Daddy Issues, but Daddy's Issues
Interlude #1: Visitors from Another Dimension (Lunar Knights Crossover)
Interlude #2: Meanwhile, in Another Game... (Lunar Knights Crossover)
Interlude #3: Where's the Beef? (Lunar Knights Crossover)
Update 16.1: The Return
Update 16.2: Our Power Is Off The Scales
Update 17: A Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do

What this thread has spawned:



Astro Nut fucked around with this message at Dec 12, 2013 around 19:47

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Astro Nut
Feb 22, 2013

Nonsensical Space Powers, Activate! Form of Friendship!

Update 1: In the Future (of an alternate reality)




Shooting Star

Here's our title screen (after a sequence I admittedly forgot to cap), with not much else to say about it. The theme music is fairly nice, getting across a fairly sci-fi feel, but also retaining a pretty upbeat, if at times rousing tune to it. But, good music is not necessarily indicative of a good game, so lets get into it.

That said, music is commonly one of the things NOT a trainwreck in bad games. Not a universal rule, of course.

Zero Gravity



We begin of course with the typical establishment of the date that will subsequently never advance across the games no matter what amount of time passes. Just wouldn't do for the year to end in anything but X, now would it?

Par for the franchise, at lease.



So part of Star Force's backstory, aside of being set 200 years after Battle Network began, is that 3 years prior to the bulk of the game (so would that make it 220VII?), alien life was discovered. Combined with a later bit of exposition in the intro, this has some rather interesting implications for a certain entry in the earlier Battle Network franchise...



: in an effort to enter into a friendly relationship, or "BrotherBand", with the aliens, launched a space station named "Peace"...

We learn that the local substitute for a real life organization launched an entire space station as part of attempting first contact, and that in addition to giving us a plot relevant term, gave it a name that I'm certain will not in any prove to be dramatically ironic later on. Also raise your hand if you can already tell what one of the themes of this game will be.




Yes, it had finally been realized. Which means that this dude:



Either did not happen, or even in universe is regarded as an idiot. Take your pick.

If this turns into a bunch of MMBN4 jokes, Astro, I'm bailing on this project. Do you know how awkward it is to have my buddies elsewhere bring it up constantly? Even one-off gags like Clench Assiron from OFS' FFT thread get repeated at me.

Uuuuuuunfortunately though, after the presumed time, effort, and sheer resources that had to have gone into building a sufficiently sized space station in the span of mere months and setting it up god knows where in the cosmos...

It disappeared. Yeah, whole thing, gone without a trace. NAZA of course proceeded to search for it - presumably to save themselves from the embarrassment of losing a goddamned space station - but failed miserably to find it. Well, at least until a chunk of Peace wound up crashing into the ocean. This is even more spectacularly hilarious to think about when you realize that, given the evident lack of deep space faring technology in the rest of the series, either NAZA had scrapped whatever it is they used to get the station so far out there that they couldn't know what had happened...

Or they lost something that was somewhere in Low to High Earth Orbit. Again, take your pick.

So we open with a clusterfuck of stupidity that defies any and all belief. Yup, this is Battle Network's child series alright.



Well... not quite, but we'll get to that in a bit.

Wait, so these people found intelligent alien life, proceeded to launch a space station to make contact, and then misplaced the drat thing and gave up? "Welp, guess there's nothing we can do about it. Might as well just stay on our lonesome down here."



Which brings us to the present in the future.

Considering the space theme, I'm personally hoping for a Jetsons-style setting. MMBN6 had a flying bus system, so if there's still ground-bound cars chugging around in the Star Force era, I'm going to be wondering what happened to technology.

No music



Here we have our first look of the overworld that we'll be spending the bulk of gameplay in. You may notice up in the little corner a red little icon - that's our Transer, which is the current equivalent to the PET of years ago. Its pretty much a wrist mounted computer, and its color varies depending on which version of the game you have. Allow me to also introduce these two characters you see on the screen here:



Hope Stelar is, to put it succinctly, your mother in the game. Dressing in a similar color scheme to her counterpart from Battle Network, Hope's had to look after her son for the last three years by herself as a single parent, shuffling her job with having to care for an emotionally scarred young boy, whilst having to also herself recover from the loss of her husband without even being able to say goodbye.

I thought the game said Hope was lost. Also, Christ, she's young-looking for a parent of a teenage boy. She looks younger than I do.



Aaron Boreal meanwhile is your Dad's old colleague and friend, and the leading expert in whatever the hell the games need him to be, because apparently once you're a rocket scientist you're smart at everything. A pretty amicable guy I find, though he is admittedly sometimes a bit too forward.

So he replaces Yuuichiro in terms of function. Science Man, with a Master's in Science. I like how apparently academic wardrobe in the future resembles a trucker's outfit.



: since Kelvin's space station vanished.

They're discussing what happened to the space station, which Kelvin (your Dad) was in charge of.

These mugshots look familiar already. I think they were re-used in the Chrono X fan project.



'He' referring to your character, of course. Also, whilst it normally more lends itself to comedy, I swear the blink animation here makes Aaron almost... introspective. Like remembering a fond memory of a better time...

This is actually part of the subplot involving Hope having an affair with Aaron, only for Kelvin to knock her up and thus force her to pay attention to the home.



The dude even remembers how old you're meant to be!



Remember the 'emotionally scarred boy' I brought up? Yeah, well, losing dear old Dad kinda made the player character recede away from any form of social contact whatsoever, right up to not going to school. Aaron says he can understand and all, due to the loss, but expresses some concern over just whats happening education wise what with the lack of school and all.

Thankfully, I'm going to assume that any angst in the character will clear up shortly, given what little I know about the series. Remember how I said "this is a world where the internet runs on magic and contrived stupidity" about Battle Network? Star Force, to my understanding, runs on space-magic and contrived friendship. Still, "charming in its own idiotic way" probably fits both.



Basically, for this game at least, data in the future is carried on cards which can be inserted into Transers for all sorts of stuff. Whilst that stuff will come up later, I can tell you now, 'Card Force' has actually nothing to do with the game's title. Kinda weird. Anywho, Hope's actually not certain that the Card Force thing is up to snuff anyway - her son is less focused on studies and more on gadgets and space, one day dreaming of going up there to try and find his Dad. Nice sentiment, but how exactly does he plan to become an astronaut without proper qualifications that education would provide?

I smell an e-Reader gimmick. Wait, this was a DS series. Did the DS have any sort of card-reading peripheral in Japan?




Oh blink animation. Now I can't help but find some sass in that remark.

I'm surprised Navis are still around. You see sass, I see something more like "Oh, TeacherMan, you're so masculine..."




...And now I can't help but think these two had something to do with it. Curse you blink animation!

33 screenshots in and the blink animation already makes its co-commentator status prominent. Still, you keep saying she looks sassy with her eyes lidded like that, I get a sort of accidentally seductive look. Now I'm already imagining Hope as a harlot who's been hitting on every male to come within a block of her house, further adding to the protagonist's misery. Like, she orders pizza, and then something like "Why yes, I did order the Meat Lover's pizza, but I can't seem to find my money to pay you with!" followed by a deadpan "Ma'am, I can see your purse on the table from here, and you ordered Extra Cheese anyway."



Oh yeah, there's meant to be a protagonist, isn't there?



And he dashes for the door without even a hello. Not even care or concern over who this strange man is in his family's home. Simply doesn't give a drat, or an all too familiar sight? Take your pick.

Note to the readers, we're doing this where Astro writes up an update and then sends me the whole thing, which I add my text too. The "all too familiar sight" of strange men being at home becomes even funnier in the context of my deliberate misinterpretation.



Never mind, Hope's not about to let her son slip away so easily.



Yes, this cheery ball of sunshine is you. Or the PC. Or [Insert Name Here]. Not sure how to consider it for the rest of the Let's Play, so some feedback would be helpful on this one. And yes, his facial mug is going to have that frown for quite some time - get used to it folks.

Oh dammit, you're seriously going to... Fine. I hope you all suggest "Dongs" and teach him what an error he's making.



Hope tries to introduce Aaron to her son, Aaron giving a nice 'Howdy!', before going on to talk about what a swell guy Kelvin was. Presumably trying to connect to the kid, which given what he's just heard, is fairly understandable.

"I want you to like me, so I'm going to bring up the source of your depression immediately. Hiya, kiddo!"



He even brings up the fact he quit NAZA and instead started his own institute, similarly space orientated, but presumably without the same restrictions as his old job.

"NAZA? More like NAZI, I swear. They gave me all kinds of weird looks for wanting to run an 18-wheeler racecourse on Saturn's ring.



He even offers to have you come by a visit, even if he can't remember your name...



And thus we come to introductions!



Geo is the standard name, and will become explicitly canon by Star Force 2. For now though, whether he had a silly name in additional to the loss of a father, or if he has something entirely too awesome, is up to you guys. Once a name is selected, the adventure(?) continues.

Jokes about punishing your naivety aside, I say we give him something ridiculously awesome so he has something to perk up about. 6 characters each...space theme...how about "Cthulhu Meteor?"

Astro Nut fucked around with this message at Nov 10, 2013 around 18:43

Epee Em
Jan 16, 2010

FUCK THIS STUPID INTERNET!


Creative thread titles are for chumps. Oh well. And for the curious, no, I'm not ditching Hatoful Boyfriend to work on this. In all likelihood, it'll serve as a 'warm up' for me and will actually lead to more frequent updates, given my odd work ethic.

TheFattestPat
Dec 28, 2012

Santa Cat Says: Good deeds are the things to always do, just make sure someone is watching you


Alright, great to see you hitting up the Starforce games Epee Em. I lurked in your old Battle Network threads and they were the best. All the familiar Capcom science, annoying "friends", and kickass gameplay are waiting for you.

Astro, I also picked Leo when I got this game. Can't go wrong with burning things.

Level Seven
Feb 14, 2013

Wubba dubba dubba
that blew.


So now we have a SF1 LP and a SF3 LP going on. Some people can have fun seeing the difference in folder mechanics and some battle mechanics between each game. And everyone can have fun dealing with this game's Capcom Science™.

I got Pegasus as my version on its release date. Weirdly, the store only had one copy of Pegasus but multiple of Leo and Dragon.

Since it's Leo version, make his first name Leo.

And with that first name, make the last Cantus.

Momomo
Dec 25, 2009



Uh, I only played the game in Japanese and always heard this happened three months ago Anyone know if I'm just crazy?

TheFattestPat posted:

All the familiar Capcom science, annoying "friends", and kickass gameplay are waiting for you.

Well, you got two of those right...

Classy Hydra
Oct 30, 2011

You did wrong, Jack,
rest your soul.

Momomo posted:

Uh, I only played the game in Japanese and always heard this happened three months ago Anyone know if I'm just crazy?

I think the anime adaptation changed it to three months? Might be what you're confusing it with.

I had a lot of fun with this game back in the day, so it's nice to see it finally get an LP. It's stupid as you think it is, but I guess it's somewhat charming too? Well, I liked the plot a bit better than that of most Netbattle games anyway, so faint praise and all that.

I vote to keep the default name. It is entirely unnecessary to add a goon name to make this concept more ridiculous.

BlitzBlast
Jul 30, 2011

Fuck

Off

You

Worthless

Piece

Of

Shit


Hopefully this LP will go better than the other two SF1 LPs.

SF1 is probably the least fun of the trilogy to play, but I still think it had the best bosses and story. Also, if you want I could provide you with Brotherbands from Dragon and Pegasus.

SystemLogoff
Feb 19, 2011

Shutting...Down...


Why are your images so blurry?




Why are they JPGs for a sprite based game?

I'm looking forward to this LP, don't get me wrong: but it's in the guidelines in tech support thread...

Astro Nut
Feb 22, 2013

Nonsensical Space Powers, Activate! Form of Friendship!

Momomo posted:

Uh, I only played the game in Japanese and always heard this happened three months ago Anyone know if I'm just crazy?

Classy Hydra posted:

I think the anime adaptation changed it to three months? Might be what you're confusing it with.

Yeah, the anime changed the time frame severely for some reason. Given the contrast in character behaviour, it was probably to 'justify' Geo/Subaru not being quite so affected by his father's disappearance with the grief not having had as much time to settle in, thus skipping over half the effort required to get him back out into the world again.


SystemLogoff posted:

A valid point

There's kind of a three fold thing with this, one of which I've only realised in response to trying to get the image I'm working with to match yours.

1) I was kinda silly and forgot to change the image format in Irfanview to PNG for both screen captures AND batch conversion. Corrected now, and for the colours at least, there's a definite improvement which shall become the norm for the rest of the LP.
2) The rest of the blurryness likely comes from the filters that I'm applying for the game to improve its look. The most basic of them admittedly does little by itself, and makes the game even more blurry and even greys it a little, but with another in tandem, the game looks relatively smooth and truer to colour.
3) Why I don't just then remove any and all filters and upscale to the size your screen is at, is that unfortunately, that won't physically work for me. At the current size, the emulator distorts the pixels and results in it looking horribly uneven, whereas even 2x original size - ie, the size of your capture - isn't capable of fitting on my screen. Even 1.75 is barely, and it sadly still has the distortion problem.


Well, I think we don't need the ? in my picture. I didn't even realise that the SIDE BY SIDE feature existed. Well, now there'll be no need for filters.

Astro Nut fucked around with this message at Feb 23, 2013 around 11:23

Larryb
Oct 5, 2010


Since this is the only game in which you can actually rename him I'd say just keep the default name

BreakTargets
Apr 5, 2009

Just a random Spiral Knight...


Larryb posted:

Since this is the only game in which you can actually rename him I'd say just keep the default name

Seconded.

SSNeoman
Jul 19, 2011

Villain tip: Next time kill
someone I actually like.


Subaru Hshkwa

Lemme see if I can find my Pegasus file.

SSNeoman fucked around with this message at Feb 23, 2013 around 16:03

LateToTheParty
Oct 13, 2012

The bane of my existence.


Let's call our protagonist Not Lan .

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Larryb posted:

Since this is the only game in which you can actually rename him I'd say just keep the default name

...what, did they put voice-acting in the other ones or something?

SSNeoman
Jul 19, 2011

Villain tip: Next time kill
someone I actually like.


Glazius posted:

...what, did they put voice-acting in the other ones or something?

Yes, but that's not the reason.

In this game your chosen name is also the name that shows up in multiplayer and on your friends' Brotherband. Future games decided to be sane about this and created a separate nickname option for multiplayer.

Incidentally, good call on picking Leo OP. Everyone wants to have Leo friends, but nobody wants to play Leo.

SSNeoman fucked around with this message at Feb 24, 2013 around 06:01

Magnus Ragnar
Feb 24, 2013

My own artwork sucks, but I'd like to think it's good that I tried.

I vote to keep the default name of Geo Stellar.

Pureauthor
Jul 8, 2010


I'm gonna go with Default.

And good luck with this LP!

Astro Nut
Feb 22, 2013

Nonsensical Space Powers, Activate! Form of Friendship!

Update 2: Are we there yet?



Looks like we're going with the default name, with it having more votes than the others, which admittedly does help make a pun down the line make a tad more sense. Doesn't seem all that pleased to be talking to Aaron though.



So of course, he resorts to bribery. A tried and true tactic, no?

You mean aside from "Oh, look how tall you've grown!" remarks?



...Okay, I swear this LP is going to entirely change my view of this guy. Of course, much as it might seem like a con thanks to blink animation there, its actually an old piece of tech that Geo's father used to keep around in his work. Of course, for reasons of plot, thats all Aaron actually knows about the thing.

I'm going to guess that this thing is what leads to MegaMan at some point.




Due to the vague nature of when precisely Aaron quit - which raises so many questions in and of itself, as you'll see - its hard to say whether this is deliberate withholding of the last thing with any connection to Kelvin from their own family, or one of those 'found it but got so caught up in work that I haven't had a chance' scenarios.

It could be a situation of Aaron misplacing the thing repeatedly. Scientists are notoriously scatterbrained.



Well, item get anyway.



The obvious misuse of space here is actually because Geo pauses a bit each time, as if he can't even fully comprehend whats going on here. Also, I love the Visualizer just because of how funky the lens is.

It reminds me of those 3D Gaming interface headsets that people keep trying to popularize to no success. When will gaming companies learn that we want games, not gimmicks?



...*sigh* Can't resist.
"Because Mr. Boreal and I have some 'catching up' to do."

I should start doodling up some pictures to go along with these silly misinterpretation asides. I'm in a hurry today though, sadly.




Yeah, Geo goes stargazing in his spare time, and if his angst is anything to go by, the reason why is actually pretty obvious.

So if Link shows him a picture of the full moon, does Geo give him a Piece of Heart?




I know this isn't really the fault of the translators, but it just goes to show the potential power of the blink animation.



This subsequently appears on the upper screen, a basic status screen of sorts. All pretty basic really, though stuff like the Favourite section will be explained in a bit.

"Favourite"? Yes, folks, Astro's a Brit. Between him and Redundant, I'm starting to wonder if I won't start picking up bits of an accent. On topic, I like how there's literally a "Bro" stat.





More game lingo coming our way, but to summarise, Geo's being a smug brooder, and the blink animation is supporting him on this one.

I wonder if we run into any 'street' characters at some point who put a huge focus on being Brothas. Still, it intrigues me how Capcom's writers essentially predicted the rise of social networking with this game. Much like how Battle Network's PETs predated smartphones, it seems that Starforce had some inkling of Facebook and the like.




Hope's counter is that... Her son's private information won't be as readily available to strangers? I'll admit, I'm kinda baffled on what the hell her point here is.

She wants to get him out of her life, obviously, nobody wants a chick with baggage.



Either way, Geo heads for the door, leaving us to linger slightly on the scene as his mother and Aaron talk some more. Hope's concerned about her sons lack of friends and wants him to make some BrotherBands, whilst Aaron is curious on where the hell Geo is even going. The answer is Vista Point, a lookout platform of sorts. He goes there to look up at the stars because, well...



Geo being too stupid to actually realise a proper way to try and look for his Dad (read: going to school to later become an astronaut), or shattered to a point of sheer desperation? Take your pick.

Series precedent leads me to the former. Then again, Geo just seems broody thus far, not a total moron like Lan. It'll be interesting to see him develop as a protagonist.






Methinks Aaron has a few ideas.



And with that little message, we have our first semblance of any actual control over the game. Direction pad for basic movement, and X opens up your menu...



Like so. A slightly curious edit between the USA and UK versions, and I've honestly no clue why, is that in spite of them both being in English, is that in the UK version, various menus and such don't have a small electronic announcement when selected. i.e., in other versions, clicking 'E-Mail' makes it say, well, E-Mail. Its a minor thing, but an odd one.

I'd hazard a guess that it has to do with voice acting credits and weird legal situations.



Whilst I'm not entirely sure how this was even sent to Geo, given he's not been to school for quite some time, its mostly just exposition on the Transers. Some of it IS useful, or at least, will come into play later.

They need to set up exposition for the player somehow. Clunky or not, this is the first entry to the series, so it's forgivable. If they pull a Battle Network and have a literally identical, unskippable tutorial every game? Then we can make fun of it.

Ah, that reminds me! The Chrono X folks have completed their fourth demo recently, would the thread be interested in me playing through that? I'm probably going to do so anyway, but I think this thread would be a better fit for it than the Hatoful Boyfriend thread.






Like so. Even if you somehow mixed it on the box art whenever you picked up your game, this makes it relatively easy to discern which satellite you're hooked up to by the symbol on your Transer menu.

You've said that the version differences are fairly minimal, so whatever anyway.




This however is just silly. The notion of such an arbitrary restriction makes little sense in universe, given how even Hope seems to have a different model from her very own son, but for a real world context, imagine if you couldn't contact a friend just because you had an iPhone whilst they had an HTC phone. Capcom Communication!

What did I say about the MMBN4 LP cracks? Still, I think that providers have actually tried to pin down consumers like that in reality. I wouldn't be surprised. Or it could be like how ATMs work, and connecting with a different service incurs a small fee.




Yes, because sharing friendship across a digital platform simply did not exist until three great big satellites were in orbit. Or hell, a way that you could say, engage in competitions of sport against others through digital avatars... like battling on a network of some sort... HMMMMMM...

Given what I know thus far about the Starforce games, which is very little, friendship is a tangible force in this series. Like, Electromagnetism, Gravity, Strong Nuclear Force, Weak Nuclear Force, and Friendship. The three satellites probably function as some sort of friendship servers or something.





Wandering around town for the first time (Echo Ridge, for those curious), I decide to talk to this guy. He gives a lot of the same exposition on Transers, but eventually also gives some about viruses in this series. Yes, they come from space now - Navi's are otherwise still around (for now), but the viruses they spent half their time fighting? Poof, gone.

You can thank Dr. Wily for that. Remember the Colonel and Iris system from MMBN6's ending? Looks like it really worked.



He also tells us which satellite system he uses. Not sure whether to consider this a fuckup or not though - see, his Transer is blue, which would indicate Pegasus, but other characters get a slightly off colouring to their transers which I just can't pin down.

If you start a "Fuckup Tally" at any point in these games, you're on your own from then on. That aside, it could just be that most Transers don't color-correspond for NPCs. Most likely though, Transer details and sprite design weren't fully communicative during game development.





More attempts to hype up the current setting result in some hilarious hindsight when looking back at Battle Network.

Team Colonel/ProtoMan in particular. Or, if you want to go back further, the Navi Master thing in MMBN2. Speaking of MMBN2, if you read this MissEchelon, get your freaking LP archived! That thing was fantastic!







Fun Fact: You don't actually have to stop and talk to anyone on the way here, meaning that this piece of actually relevant background info? Can be entirely missed.

Whether we'll actually see non-combat BattleCards seems doubtful to me, given their name.



Also security systems in the future are STILL disguised as doghouses. Two hundred years of progress, eh?

Jack into that sucker ASAP, if you ask me. Actually, on the note of connections to the past, did this game have any of the DS console's usual "stick the old GBA game into the slot, get a bonus in the DS game" benefits? I can show you how to do that in the emulator.

Also, the Starforce games had a sort of "crossover" with the remake of MMBN1. It was absolute garbage. I would link to my coverage of it, but I think it contains spoilers for this game. If you want to see it, though, it's in the MMBN1 LP on the archive.





<Astro's original comment deleted by EPM> We haven't even met either Zack or Bud yet.

I reserve the right to act as editor. Though yes, those do seem to be mistakes if you mean that Geo himself hasn't met them.



At least they had the sense to hide this one for later, even if raises questions on why the others weren't caught.

I take it the old man doesn't have anything of note to say?



And just when I'm trying to progress with the plot...



These three show up. Say hello to our 'friends' for the game.

If they're as horrible and annoying as Dex, Mayl, and Yai, we're in for it, alright. Whether these three actually have any usefulness remains to be seen.




It would appear though that Geo's reputation precedes him. And speaking of reputations...



Luna Platz is Geo's class president, or at least, she would be if he ever bothered to turn up to school. Comparing her to the 'old' trio of the Battle Network era, her closest counterpart is Yai, due to the blonde hair and both being stinking rich. However, as Star Force at least had the decency not to go for complete proxies, she's also taller, far more interested in class politics... and utterly self-centered, as you'll see. She's not entirely without some sympathetic aspects, but whether or not they go far enough to redeem her stuck up attitude is in the eye of the beholder.

Holy anime hair, ShadeMan! How does that even...Well, does she have a 100% useless Navi?



Bud Bison is thus Dex's apparent counterpart, if any reference to food were taken up to 11 - seriously, this kid wears it as part of his shirt. His actual biggest trait however is that of sheer loyalty, tying into his motivations across the games to varying degrees. Remember that for later.

Is that a jumpsuit he's wearing? Luna's outfit was frippery, but this marks the first time I've seen a wifebeater-style jumpsuit, with furred shoulders no less. Accompanied by a hat with ear flaps that lets hair spike out from it.



Someone hit Higsby with a shrink ray and it resulted in Zack Temple here. Insert smart guy mode and short jokes at your pleasure. Sadly not much else to say really, because the across all three games, the effort made to develop his character is on the minimal end of things. Its there, sure, but we'll have to get to that.

If he results in anything resembling the Number Trader, which was easily the most abused, hilariously game-breaking thing in the parent series, I think we can all forgive him.

Moving on...



Yeah, Geo has to go stand out a platform for hours waiting for the sun to go down, you know.




...Has anyone ever taught this girl about this thing called 'first impressions'? Because she's off to a bad start.

We're virtually guaranteed to be forced into saving her stupid damsel-in-distress self later on, aren't we. Sigh.




Chances of her realizing WHY Geo stays away from school?

Or that there'd be a reason in the first place?



Geo tries to tell it how it is, and besides, given how Luna is acting here, would you-



...Oh.



Oh lord.



For those who don't realise whats going on, its not a glitch - just something that doesn't translate well to screenshots. These two are hopping mad. Literally. Capcom apparently couldn't be bothered with just making an 'angry' mugshot or sprite, and so just decided to having the standing sprites suddenly move up and down. With the kind of clearance off the ground they're getting, Zack and Bud could probably qualify as Olympic Athletes with a little training. That or as henchmen for Batroc the Leaper.

Which is odd, actually, given that Double Team DS had different mugshots for different emotions across most of the cast. Weird to put that bit of effort into one DS game and not the subsequent ones.



SERIOUSLY.

Thankfully in the end, Luna tells them both to calm the hell down, before turning her attention back to Geo.

Eh, short people will be short people. Ever read/watch Of Mice and Men? Could be worse.




Our hero takes a moment to ponder this possibility...

"On one hand, I could listen to someone who makes presumptions about me without knowing anything about my situation."



Before simply walking on by. Whilst this is reflective of Geo's largely non-confrontational nature (which'll cause a few problems to be sure), I partly like to imagine he just gave up trying to reason with this girl.

"Or I could just ignore the little twat." Plan B sounds acceptable, but who wants to bet we'll wind up at school the next day anyhow?



I dunno you guys, Geo seemed pretty keen to me, what with the total lack of an answer and just going away.

Well, Luna's already proving herself to be annoying and pushy. Given precedent, I doubt she's the love interest per se, but I bet she'll be shoehorned into situations where she justifies her existence weakly on a regular basis.



Open him up? To your commands out of the blue?

There's extroversion, then there's being outright invasive. Luna's crossing that line here.



*facepalm*

This better be good. Is it going to be some sort of Care Bear Stare friendship-enabling attack?



We're not even five steps into a new area, for crying out loud.




Whilst I might be reflecting Geo's sentiments slightly, playing this in hindsight, I do have something of a question...

How in the name of Nessie swandiving over Niagara Falls did this girl GET HIS EMAIL?!

Due to the ID system his mother made him activate, probably. That or a school directory. It's like an NPC conspiracy to abduct Geo into the Cult of Friends.




Seriously, he hasn't been to school in YEARS. I can get like, if the faculty were given it by his mother as part of him keeping him registered there, but this girl is a fifth grader. And given the reaction of Geo's homeroom teacher when we finally meet him, I highly doubt she got it with permission.

I'm going with the ID system theory, then. Spam filters in the future are probably more sophisticated than military data servers, considering one's personal info is being broadcast at all times, or is at least readily accessible.



And given the school evidently CAN email Geo already, if they gave a drat about him doing this supposed 'homework', then why didn't they send it themselves?



And no she won't shut up about it.



WaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitWHAT?! How is she forcing this program to activate on GEO'S Transer?! I-I think I'm scared...

Wow, and I thought she was being invasive before. Now she's outright running programs on Geo's Transer for him. Is this going to escalate into a DDoS attack on Geo if he keeps refusing?



And before you ask, no, this tutorial (at least in general) isn't optional. Geo just has to stand there as his personal computer is remotely controlled by the witch of hair drills.

People may recall that I made a "Friendship is Magic" crack at this series' expense back in the MMBN1 LP. Could any Bronies give some input as we go on, regarding how 'magical' the friendship is in this series in relation to that standard?



To explain whats going on as Luna realises what we already know, this particular tutorial is to introduce players to the BrotherBand properly, and the related minor (read: aesthetic) features that go with it. You reach this screen by selecting the Brother button from the menu, and would - if you had any - show your current set of Brothers.



And as the game fakes you out...



The sheer horror of what Luna can do on your Transer can get more horrifying. She just hacked into THE core aspect of the Transer system and without even a hint of Geo's consent, added herself to the ultimate in a glorified Friends List. Egads, its been too long since I last played this game...

She doesn't even give you the Goron's Ruby. This is lame.



This comes up if you choose to say that no, you do not know about something that admittedly is pretty much commonplace in universe - hell, it'd be hard for Geo to understand what it is to not have 'Brothers', if he wasn't aware of how the BrotherBand even worked. Her explanation is pretty much whats been made fairly clear so far: BrotherBands are friendships, with the twist that people are connected by 'EM Waves' and thus can communicate with each other no matter where they are. When people are joined like this, they're considered 'Brothers'.

I made the joke about Friendship being a fundamental force of reality in this game before, but it seems that Electromagnetism and Friendship are a unified force or something. I can see it now. "Electrons are attracted to Protons because they want to be friends with each other! Hadrons are like social clubs!"




Another fakeout, because there's no actual question to whether or not you want to go through with this part. Luna asks whether or not you'd like her to go over the previous explanation.



And as Geo desperately searches for his Transer's power switch, Uber Hacker Luna is already working to further invade his privacy.



Its a bit like the earlier screen really, but with a few other things. To reach this, you select a portrait in the Brothers list, and you'll get the respective page for that person.

That "Secr[et]" tab has me intrigued. B. Combo is empty, though Afro Sigma explained to me what that actually is in the past, though I suppose Geo at least has a Navi if he has favored BattleCards.



Which evidently, and in an interesting implication that the menu screen is what Geo himself sees when he uses his Transer, is blocked by Luna's textbox.




At least she knows when to get out of the way.



Tempted to stay on this screen forever...

The "LK Ability" must be the bonus that you confer onto your Brothers. If I recall correctly, one of the selling points of this series was that you could link up with other players online.



But its a Let's Play, not a Let's Stall, so we move on. And if you clicked A by accident, then Luna says gently caress you.




This information is actually mildly useful, so long as you have someone else to use it with. But its only gonna come into play later.

Furthering the Linked Play stuff, it seems that you can in essence "share" your Card library with players you have set as Brothers. I doubt they put restrictions on this, so I imagine that the minute you can start having Brother players, you then have access to the most powerful chips in the game courtesy of advanced players/cheaters. Given that we've seen Geo and Luna as "Level 1" so far, I imagine there's a way to upgrade the passive boost your Link confers to others dependent on your level.



...Is something that Luna knows actually nothing about, so that's tossed aside.




This is where BrotherBands will have a lot of their game impact, as with more of them, you unlock more room with which to customize Mega Man (once you get to that) and give him further abilities.

Looks like I'm getting ahead of Astro with my speculation. Woops.



This is where your 'Message' and 'Secret' features reside, abbreviated in true Mega Man fashion. Both of these can only be seen by your Brothers, so I still struggle to understand whats the difference besides intent - sure, one's meant to be your 'secret' whilst the other is a self-intro, but you can use them both for whatever message you want.

Aw, Secret is just a personal detail, not something game-breaking. Disappointment for EPM.



And yes, we need to put in SOMETHING to proceed. Dastardly thoughts for anyone? (And I PROMISE Mega Man is actually coming)

I'm suspicious, still. Is there any secret you can unlock by putting in specific messages or codes?

Pureauthor
Jul 8, 2010


Welcome to Why Everyone Hates Luna: Part One.

Classy Hydra
Oct 30, 2011

You did wrong, Jack,
rest your soul.

Eh, maybe I just have a higher tolerance for annoying fictional characters than others, but I was never too bothered by Luna. Or maybe I just found her repeated insistence to "COME TO SCHOOL" funny. I dunno.

Epee Em's predictions about the gameplay systems sound a lot more interesting and better rounded than what we actually got.

BreakTargets
Apr 5, 2009

Just a random Spiral Knight...


Put "something" down. Literally the word "something".

Astro Nut Epee Em posted:

I'm suspicious, still. Is there any secret you can unlock by putting in specific messages or codes?

Yes, there is.

SSNeoman
Jul 19, 2011

Villain tip: Next time kill
someone I actually like.


Epee Em is really on the ball.

As for our secret, We are all TigerMojo.

Tuxedo Ted
Apr 23, 2007

I'm not optimistic at all, actually.

I'm glad you switched to pngs, but having a screenshot for every line of text gets grating after a while. Put any thoughts to transcribing the text?

Astro Nut
Feb 22, 2013

Nonsensical Space Powers, Activate! Form of Friendship!

This is probably due to it being my first LP, so getting used to figuring out what is/isn't good to keep in screenshot wise might take a bit. Hopefully it'll get easier for me to summarise things as we go on, particularly as EPM's experience is pretty much going to be derived from what I upload. I might transcribe if things get particularly bad (which given the last update, I suppose is rather saying something), but for now I'm going to avoid the extra hassle where I can. Even if its just perceived hassle and I'm severely overestimating how much would be involved.

Classy Hydra
Oct 30, 2011

You did wrong, Jack,
rest your soul.

If you have multiple screenshots where everything is basically identical except for the text, just go ahead and transcribe it. It'll cut down on the number of screenshots you have to use and be easier on the eyes. It's not exactly like Starforce has a huge amount of text either, so I doubt it'd take you more than the few seconds you'd need to prepare the screenshot anyway.

TheFattestPat
Dec 28, 2012

Santa Cat Says: Good deeds are the things to always do, just make sure someone is watching you


I don't have much of a problem with Luna either. Maybe because the anime showed us how much worse she could have been.


It's been a while since I played this game, but aside from some bizarre literal friendship magic (especially at the end), there's some good old figurative kind along the way.

SSNeoman
Jul 19, 2011

Villain tip: Next time kill
someone I actually like.


They explain the background of Brotherbands in the second SF game. I don't think they go into it in the first.

I could no longer resist:

Epee Em posted:

We're virtually guaranteed to be forced into saving her stupid damsel-in-distress self later on, aren't we. Sigh.

Oh man, you have no idea

Astro Nut
Feb 22, 2013

Nonsensical Space Powers, Activate! Form of Friendship!

SSNeoman posted:

They explain the background of Brotherbands in the second SF game. I don't think they go into it in the first.

Funny enough, playing my older copy of the game so as to get back into things, thats not entirely true. And oh many does it get confusing as a result.

Seriously, SF 1 says Kelvin and the AM-ians, SF 2 claims Lan. Retcons~

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


My log saw something that night is a pretty good secret, I think.

...I think you've got enough spaces for that.

Are you limited to the four friends, or has our class rep ground out her friendship levels so she can link up with the entire class?

Astro Nut
Feb 22, 2013

Nonsensical Space Powers, Activate! Form of Friendship!

BrotherBand in game has, as one might tell from the screen, room for six people. These won't all fill as part of the standard story though, as best my memory serves me, and the limit disappears from the series (at the very least, by SF 3). Otherwise though, the game does kinda sadly expect you to be able to know someone else who has it, for the sake of full power.

SSNeoman
Jul 19, 2011

Villain tip: Next time kill
someone I actually like.


Astro Nut posted:

BrotherBand in game has, as one might tell from the screen, room for six people. These won't all fill as part of the standard story though, as best my memory serves me, and the limit disappears from the series (at the very least, by SF 3). Otherwise though, the game does kinda sadly expect you to be able to know someone else who has it, for the sake of full power.

You can only have 6 real life players on your Brotherband. In SF1, the NPCs take up these BB slots whereas in the other games they have their own separate BB.

SSNeoman fucked around with this message at Feb 25, 2013 around 05:30

BlitzBlast
Jul 30, 2011

Fuck

Off

You

Worthless

Piece

Of

Shit


The silly thing too is that there are 4 NPC brother bands (5 if you count the bonus one), so if you don't want to be a huge dick in-game you'll have to limit your actual Brothers to 2/1. And considering how loving overpowered the Brotherband system is, you're actually encouraged to be ultra dick.

Solaris Knight
Apr 26, 2010

ASK ME ABOUT POWER RANGERS MYSTIC FORCE


As a big fan of both this series and Frendship is magic, I do find it funny that there are two characters both named Luna.

Though FiM's Luna is closer to Geo in personality, which is a funny irony.

ThunderousMan
Apr 4, 2011

I say RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

That something should be Luna Platz please die
I really like this game even though some gimmicks in it can really be infuriating.

Count Bleck
Apr 5, 2010

The club is mine. I am the beginning and the end.
All clubs exist through me.
Let the universe despair.

I think our message needs to be something along the lines of
Geo was here, Lan is a loser!
Yes. Yes that is perfect

Astro Nut
Feb 22, 2013

Nonsensical Space Powers, Activate! Form of Friendship!



So we decided to sort of mix and match the suggestions. Here's our message.



And the secret. There, done and sorted.



There is actual cause for celebration here, as with this, we can finally get out of this. On a slight note to those who brought it up, Luna claims that at the start of the game, you can only have three real life BrotherBands. Probably more due to the various plot reasons involved than anything to do with say, preventing you from breaking the game early in.

Yeah right. One BrotherBand from an advanced player would probably be more than enough to smash the difficulty curve inside-out.



Her parting message to us. At least she's consistent on that point.



Heading into Vista Point proper, we catch sight of a train, but beyond that, not much to check out. Not particularly much of a Jetsons future, eh?

Er, what. There's a steam locomotive just sort of on-display. Is this like some sort of open-air museum?



Stepping up onto the nearby platform though triggers the next cutscene, and with it, switches the setting from day to night. Geo stares up at the heavens, mesmerized...

"Yeah, this is a great spot to view the stars." Geo, you're standing DIRECTLY next to a freaking street lamp. You probably can't see a drat thing.



And speaking to his father as if he were there. He talks about Aaron's visit that day, and the Visualizer he was given.

At least this is a really easy gravesite memorial thing to engage in regularly. No need to head out to the cemetary for angst, the whole night sky beckons!



Nothing really changes though once he puts the glasses on, and even he realises it was a mostly pointless gesture.

Maybe they're polarized or something. Maybe they somehow block out the street lamp's glare.



See what I mean? However, a beeping noise begins to ring out from his transer...

"Elton John, paging Elton John!"



And its getting louder and louder, as if the source was just about to hit him.

"When the moon hits your eye" isn't supposed to be so literal.



Which it does. And yes, Geo will spasm in pain for as long as you refuse to press A or B to move the dialogue on.



And this ladies, gentlemen, and goons...



Is our second protagonist. And yes, Geo's spasming was thanks to the blue fella crashing into him.



Meet Omega-Xis, alien from Planet FM (yes, seriously) and literally made of EM Waves. He is the source of Mega Man's powers - as you'll see shortly - and is on the run from his people after a none too sweet history with them. Apparently humans can't pronounce his actual name properly or something (at least for the English translation, not sure if it was in the Japanese script), so he'll just go by 'Mega'.

Wait, he's from the stars and has an unpronounceable name? Can we call him "Geno" instead?



Anywho, he's just as surprised to find that Geo can see him about as Geo himself is (minus potential pants soilage), given that being made of EM waves, he should be invisible to the naked eye.

He looks kind of like some sort of feline predator, oddly.



...And why are they green? No, seriously, thats an actual issue with the emulator it would seem, because they're meant to have more than a little orange in there. A little help anyone?

For what it's worth, to someone who's never seen the "correct" palette in use, it doesn't look unnatural. That said, if the only emulation issue this LP encounters is wonky color palettes, call yourself lucky. DS emulation is, in technical terms, an absolute clusterfuck.




That aside, all it takes is Geo removing the Visualizer and putting it back on, for Omega-Xis to measure his reaction and eventually realise whats up - its not that Geo himself can actually see our glowing friend here, but rather, that his glasses enable him to do so. Geo protests that they did nothing of the sort before, so Mega figures that when he inadvertently shocked Geo, he probably kicked the Visualizer into life as well.

I'll hazard a wild guess that the fact they can communicate at all is never addressed, or is given a very bizarre justification like "brainwaves are EM waves too, so EM beings can interpret them regardless of language".



Well can you honestly blame him? Its freaking first contact where the contact involved a crash and a major shock to the nervous system.



Geo asks the rather natural question of just how the hell an alien he's never even met before would know his name, with Mega answering that some human he met in space mentioned it at some point.

Which falls apart when you realize that Mega lacks a face to go with the name, so the fact he knows Geo's name is indeed silly.



Well who else knows his name that has left the planet over the last few years? Its kinda obvious.



One loud noise and a rumbling of the screen later though, and Geo's officially got bigger things to worry about.



Like the train that, aside of pulling off a pretty impressive turn when you consider its starting position, is moving by its freaking self. Mega grumbles that he's already been followed to Earth so quickly by viruses from Planet FM, and that they'll probably be using the train to wreck up the town. Just using it as a high speed battering ram could probably tear down any building in the way, once it gets past the steps.

Wait, I just realized what the Visualizer reminds me of. Not Elton John, it's...let me see if I can't dig that comic up...drat, no luck. It makes me think of those hideous green sunglasses Calvin tried on once, only for his mother to say "absolutely not".



Geo of course freaks out more than a little over this, particularly given his mother is back there and all. Dammit, he may be antisocial, but family is still family. Of course, there's the little matter of how in the world an eleven year old is meant to stop something that big...

It's a train. Turning on a dime isn't possible, flat-out. Hell, turning PERIOD isn't something a train can do.



Mega meanwhile is the kind of guy to cut straight to the point. So Epee Em's comment about jacking in wasn't entirely off, even if it has a different name in this day and age.

MMBN prefixed things Net- Cyber- etc., it seems Starforce just uses the EM prefix with old concepts. Who wants to bet the tutorial consists of 3 EM Mettaur rounds?



Mega subsequently invites himself into Geo's transer, because he's going to need a little trick to help himself access the train's local EM comp space (yes, it has one of those, and I can only presume its a retro design).

I take it anything that gives off EM waves theoretically has a comp space?



Remember, it was only battle cards that came into existence three years prior as part of the sudden arrival of EM viruses on Earth - the card force system is itself probably older, so given who Mega has met, knowing about it isn't entirely out of the question.

Considering the existence of the previous setting's Colonel system, BattleChips presumably went obsolete and were re-purposed into generalized Navi tools rather than weapons.



With a unique sprite that I don't think pops up in the game again (never know, maybe we'll find I'm wrong), Geo draws a blank card as Mega requests, before watching as it glows. That's because Mega is instilling his power into the thing, for a little trick coming up soon.

"Is this your card? The 9 of Clubs! Ta daaaaa!"



A wavehole is, according to Mega, an area of space thats been warped into a whirlpool.



Thats what I just said isn't it? Anywho, just what that even means is honestly lost to the realms of technobabble. Matter isn't physically deformed by the presence of a wavehole, and they're certainly not black holes - those we'll get to later - so how precisely space is warped and why, beyond it being something that just happens in this world, is never touched upon. Then again, probably for the best they don't try and explain it too much...

It's...wow, I could bullshit something for almost everything the previous series threw at the player, but I've got nothing here. How does one explain naturally-occurring rifts in reality that allow someone to just turn into pure EM waves or whatever the hell happens? Actually, on that note, if all the Visualizer does is make things visible, how come people haven't been tripping into these things all the time!?



Fortunately, one happens to be literally right next to the platform Geo is on, which is mighty convenient.

So I take it that orange color is the correct palette for the rest of the EM space structure? It looks an awful lot like the sea of Tang.



To do this, you press the R button when on top of a wavehole. To find one, and see the wave world in general, you press the Y button and Geo will draw the Visualizer over his eyes.



We're also told to say this when swiping the card. If you've not played this game before, but if you know your Japanese television, this should be an indicator enough of whats about to happen.

You know, when this series came out, I derogatorily referred to this kind of thing as "Mega Rangers Starforce".




Let's do this!



Blessed by the light of a shooting star...

Wow, that's a background only slightly less lazy than one I'd draw.



A new hero is born!

I think this is goofy, so yeah, I'm going to do my best to ruin the moment. Hey, look at us, we can apply an alpha channel to static sprites as we move them over each other, woopdie frick. DTDS had full animation, that apparently went in the toilet.



Uchuu Sentai - ROCKMAN!

*cue explosions*

(And yes, that sequence is stock footage. You will see it EVERY time)

This update will likely see a lot of negative commentary out of me. The Starforce games flat-out did not make a good first impression with me, so there's a reason I didn't play them.



Back to the Let's Play! Tokusatsu fan I might be, Geo is less than amused, almost immediately criticizing the new outfit. He also might not appreciate that his hair has been turned a tinge of purple.

At least he doesn't have a pair of energy tonfas. That'd be just silly.



Mega explains what the heck just happened though, and why - for whatever reason, on Earth, he doesn't have anywhere near the same power he originally had. In order to be able to fight to any significant degree, and regain some strength, he basically had to make Geo part of the arsenal.

So the game opens with an alien energy being assimilating a prepubescent boy so it can fight other alien energy monsters. I like this.



Remember, Geo's eleven - thingie is still a valid part of his vocabulary. But yes folks, this is Mega Man for this incarnation of the franchise - cutting out the middle man from the Exe Stream anime to create what is, at its core concept, pretty much a superhero.

To elaborate on what he just said, the EXE anime turned into a Mega Rangers thing where, on an episodic basis, a Navi would fuse with its operator completely, taking the Full Synchro concept instead as a sort of Power Up Activation Suit. This was made possible by Dimensional Areas. Wanna know who was the villain for this time period? Dr. loving Regal, my old hated adversary of good writing. Needless to say, it was ridiculous even by series standard. It seems that the writers for Starforce took one look at that and said "Perfect!"




However, Geo is more along the lines of a classical anti-hero than say, Superman, and given this is the first time ever he's even heard of all this, let alone doing it, he has more than a few worries holding him back. Ultimately however, the threat to his town, plus the incentive of potential info about his Dad from Mega, gets him moving.

Alien-assimilated child soldier, in short.



Passing by various NPCs on the wave road - basically pathways made of EM waves, and the only terrain Mega Man can traverse as of this game - we arrive at the train. The wavehole on it represents an access point for EM waves (hence I think its a retro design, because its clearly not a genuine steam engine), and is how Mega Man - who is also EM waves - is going to be getting inside that thing.



Its also one of the various places that Capcom decided to apply the touchscreen capabilities of the DS. Given the 'distance' between Mega Man and such access points, and other things we'll see later, this is actually a sensible - if mundane - application, especially compared to some of what will come later. On a minor note, Mega's tiptoing around the fourth wall is a bit weird here, given that previous references to the control scheme just outright said 'the A Button' or 'the R Button'.



And in we go. Arriving in a beam of light - the only good way for a Mega Man to arrive - Geo and Mega are now in the Comp space of the train, which means the viruses behind it are not far. This entrance by the way is typical of almost every comp space in the game that isn't a dungeon of some kind, which is admittedly kinda disappointing.

It looks almost utterly identical to MMBN6's layouts, down to the green and orange blocks. Real creativity went into this, I see. They had a whole new system's hardware to work with, even.



And yes, despite it being two hundred years later, despite the fact that its established that these things are technically aliens, and despite the fact these three literally only arrived moments ago following Mega...

Blobs with pickaxes and yellow helmets are STILL the tutorial fight. Seriously, would it have killed Capcom to maybe come up with something new for the new Mega Man to face?

So they're Pickelhaub Mettaurs. You folks don't blame me for not having a shining opinion of this series based on what we've seen so far, do you? I hope to be proven wrong, but this is pretty much textbook definition lazy.



To get Geo to overcome his second doubts about the situation, Mega plays the always effective 'I knew your Dad' card. Knowing he won't get answers otherwise, Geo begrudgingly walks over to the Mets...



And proceeds to scream his head off. Baby steps Geo, baby steps.



As you do. This tutorial is mandatory every time you play the game, right down to the explanations you have to listen to, so I'll just use it as a chance to try and explain the battle system, and how it is both similar and different to that of its predecessor.

All this "wave" terminology just makes me think of surfers. Jesus, identical right down to the 40 HP.

Now, Mega Man Battle Network had its fields be 3x6, with an area of 3x3 squares for each repsective side at the start unless the circumstances of the fight differed from the norm, either before or after it began. Star Force not only removes a whole row to make that 3x5 overall, but also limits the player's movements to only the 'back' row, or the one right in front of you. Yes, Mega Man is only capable of moving left and right, with no forwards or backwards, which as you might expect can make break panels something of a pain if you don't have the proper ability to counter that. Your enemies meanwhile have free range of the field in accordance to their existing movement patterns. The field is also reorientated so that you're looking down it from behind Mega Man, meaning that yes, you will see more of his improbable spikes than you will his face.

This. This is what killed Starforce's chances with me. I took one look at what seemed to be a greatly simplified, even kiddified version of Battle Network's combat system and rejected the series outright. There would be no Bass Buster dodging antics, no AreaGrab, no complexity. Just a watered-down grog of a battle where you move left and right and fire projectiles at far enemies and slash at close ones. Whether this impression proves correct or not remains to be seen.

Other parts of the Battle Network system are retained though without much difference. Health bar? Yep, damage persists across battles in the wave world just as it did online from BN 2 onwards, but one quick exit - called a 'pulse out' here, with 'pulse in' as the opposite - will return you to the physical world and restore your health. A custom bar sits on the side of the screen, filling up as a round is played out, before allowing access to your custom screen by pressing either L or R.



The Custom Screen itself has more than a few changes to go along with it as well, perhaps most discernable being the lack of codes. Yes, your arsenal is no longer limited by pesky A, B, or C differences, and no longer need you worry about a powerful weapon being entirely incompatible for usage with everything else because its the only O you have. On the other hand though, this has removed the concept of program advances from the game, and battle card usage is limited in one of the most potentially frustrating fashions possible. Barring a pair of exceptions, the rule is that you can only select battle cards if they are within the same column - above or below each other. Going across? Not allowed, meaning that whilst you will have a minim two cards to use till you run out, on the other hand, you are limited to two cards. The first exception to this rule, and will most likely serve more to get around the positioning problem than anything else, is that duplicate cards can be selected together - ie, you could select any of the three pairs in the above picture, so long as you limited yourself to the pair you choose.

Again, kiddification. I was bothered by the general trend of Battle Network becoming more and more "for kids" as the series went on, particularly with the second half of it. Seeing that trend continued, nigh embraced fully in Starforce made me discard it. Taking all the complexity and challenge out of the system, bleck. It's like someone looked at MMBN5's "S-code is what everyone should be using, so we're making everything good in S or * code" and thought "Naw, that's too hard for them to understand." I feel condescended to.



This is the other exception - white cards. These function as the equivalent of the * code, capable of being added to any number of battle cards regardless of their original position. However, normal white cards are support cards like Invisible or Attack +10, and it is impossible obtain damage dealing battle cards in white card form.

Eh, that's for the better really. I'd rather have Invis, WhiteCapsule, and IceStage as * than half my arsenal's weaponry. Every folder in MMBN6 having KillerMan * and JudgeMan *, anyone? This is some streamlining I'll happily accept as it encourages diversity.

So instead, the game lets you make them. Remember the Favourites from your Personal Page? Yes, those cards are turned into white cards, and you're free to change them whenever you want from your folder menu. That's the other reason you'd want to set your strongest (or most useful) as your favourites - because you are then free to use them as you wish to rain down a full ensemble of destruction, with up to six cards from the get go if you're fortunate enough.

I'm going to take a stab that there's SOME sort of limitation on this. No way in hell would they allow the equivalent of GigaChips to be given that sort of fluidity, or the game would be too drat easy. Unless this game doesn't have an equivalent to endgame supercards? Eh, I doubt that. I'll go with the assumption that cards are organized by relative power level in some way, and that level restricts the player from just setting the most overpowered crap in the game to be chained into each other.

But wait, there's more!

As you might have noticed in the previous pic, swords still exist as weapons to use. Indeed, a good number of the high damaging cards in this game are melee ones. But given Mega Man can't even take a step forward, that should make using them theoretically useless on even the Mettennas you fight here.

But, to quote Mega on the matter:


The MegaAttack is itself... actually not an attack, but is a lock on system. Pressing down on the direction pad will make a set of arrows appear around Mega Man - these point forward and diagonally. If an enemy lines up with these arrows, a circle will appear in front of that enemy with a small chime, confirming Mega Man has a lock. Activate your battle card then, and you'll immediately teleport to a viable range so as to use the card. You can't walk up to your enemies and slash them in the face anymore - no you teleport straight in and out as needed. One thing to be aware of however with some cards is the slight delay that occurs compared to just using them regularly, which whilst not too great a risk, can sometimes land you in the right place at the wrong time.

Wow, they took the overpowered as balls BeastOut lock-on and made it permanent? How can these games have ANY sort of difficulty!? You don't even have to aim! If we don't see bosses that facefuck your sinuses out, I'm going to be sorely disappointed with how easy this is.

But Capcom thought to give even more gifts, perhaps not realizing their folly. Not only does your buster now charge automatically, if you avoid using it till its ready, but you also have the usage of a shield intended to block attacks from your enemies.

And I hate that. No need to dodge if you can just block! And I bet all the really tough stuff just has guard-piercing attacks anyway. So in essence the player is probably going to rely on a crutch that gets kicked out from under them. Swell.

And then you have counters.

Where in Battle Network, counters had you go 'full synchro' and double the damage dealt by your next chip, Star Force goes a different route for dealing more damage. Likely designed as a means to alleviate the scenario of not having enough battle cards available to wipe out all your enemies in one turn, if you use a standard card to interrupt an enemy just as its about to attack, you'll have countered it. This not only momentarily stuns the enemy, halting them in place, but it also rewards you with an extra battle card to use.

Hm, I can approve of this. It rewards skill by in essence making precision the root of battle flow. I'm sure that randomly-warping enemy movements or bosses with slim timing make this hell, however. Good!



Like so. The supposed 'limitation' here is that if you get a card from a counter, that card cannot in turn be used to get another card - it will only result in the momentar stun effect. But even then, with enough white cards, some timing, and maybe a little luck, you can go through a round with potentially twelve battle cards.

Yes, this is the basic battle system - there are so many other ways to tip the odds even further in your favour with this game that its almost not funny.

Let me guess. A NaviCust bootleg, whatever the SoulUnison/Cross equivalent is, maybe some Extra Codes ala MMBN3... Yeah, getting serious MMBN5 flashbacks here, where completely insane power was handed to the player pretty much from the word go. That said, DTDS featured BassXX, arguably the uberboss of the whole series, and that monstrosity was made with all your firepower and most common tricks in mind. A lot of my negativity towards this series will clear up if I see a demonstration of actual difficulty.


Anywho, with the viruses mopped up, Mega expresses an interest in hanging around. Geo doesn't particularly like that idea though mind you, wanting neither an alien or the apparent trouble its bringing with them to become part of his life. However, Mega brings up the 'I knew your Dad' card...



Geez, Geo can't catch a break. Luna trying to manipulate him, and Mega actually succeeding...

That's the Power of Friendship, for you.



At least he got to avert a disaster that nobody knew was coming, and put the train back where it belongs. Hoping he was able to put it into reverse, because superpowers or no, moving out to push would be just icing on the cake of pain.

Count Bleck
Apr 5, 2010

The club is mine. I am the beginning and the end.
All clubs exist through me.
Let the universe despair.

Ugh. Ugh.

Starforce left a sour taste in my mouth, as did the other games in the series, because was I was the most retarded 16 year old, I bought a version from each installment!

The battle system in this really what made me start thinking that Mega Man was a dead franchise and Capcom was trying to squeeze the last drop of blood out of it's writhing shriveled up corpse like some sort of desperate Money Vampire.

I really wish it was just Battle Network 7 with new characters...

Looking forward to looking back at this game's mediocrity (at least in my opinion) and wishing I had that 30 bucks back, multiplied by 3 so 90..

Pureauthor
Jul 8, 2010


And this is the core of the problem with Star Force.

The battle system is literally Battle Network Lite.

It's not like they were going for something different or something. You can see how nearly every single gameplay element from the BN series (well, we're missing a couple important ones) was carefully brought over and filed off until it was 'easier', and packed into Star Force.

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Pharohman777
Jan 14, 2012


Really, I feel that Capcom had perfected the folder-balancing mechanics with MMBN6, with the megabyte system used to determine how many copies of a chips you could have, along with * chips and the 'tag' system for folders.


And then they release this.
:facepalm:

I mean, the refinements they made by MMSF3 make the battle system good, but I remember coming back to MMSF2 after a year, and completely forgetting how my folder worked, since I built it for the 'super secret final boss' specifically.

With no chipcodes, I think it becomes too easy to have a menagerie of cards that you put in and forget why you placed them. At least BN gave you a way to see what folders you could easily make with chipcodes.

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