Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Today is a wonderful day. November 23, 2010 marks the 5th Anniversary of the release of Rockman EXE 6 in Japan. Rockman EXE 6 - Dennoujuu Faltzer and Grega were officially released on November 23, 2005. This release marked the official end of the EXE series. It is also the first game that I actively followed since its announcement back in the summer of that year. I've quickly created a little graphic to commemorate this day, which can be clicked to bring up a larger version.
I've always considered EXE 6 to be the best game in the series. Maybe it's because I followed it till the very end, or because I actually decided to play it in Japanese to completion before it was released in the US. But there was a feeling of "newness" surrounding the game while it was announced. Suddenly most of the game's graphics had changed. It made the game seem to stand in a class of its own - EXE1-3, EXE4-5, and EXE6. The game felt more refined and truly ended the series on a high note. Finally, the unbalanced system of Light and Dark chips was gone. Players no longer have to beat the game before fighting stronger viruses; EX viruses were removed. The EX and SP system was established for boss chips which made Navi chips useful halfway through the game! Furthermore, the game boldly broke the norm and had a unique final boss for each version. The Graveyard area made a perfect addition to the game and its unfortunate that the entire area didn't make it to the US game. EXE 6 also pushed the limit by adding a boss from another series - Hakushaku from Boktai! The post-game extras had much more depth than the previous games. Then there is Bass BX. He is clearly one of the toughest bosses in the entire series. Compared to the fluffy stuff EXE 1 set up, Bass BX is a monster! For one attack to do 640 damage to 7 panels is absolutely insane no matter which way you look at it. And most importantly, chip attacks got stronger! Finally the player no longer had to struggle with weak, low power attacks which became evident farther into the game. The benefit of stronger attacks is that the game can play on a higher or faster level. I can't quite describe it but it makes the game much better than the rest.
However, there were some problems. Going back to the power issue, it could have interfered with Player-vs-Player battles. It encourages a power bias where strategy is no longer relevant and powerful attacks rule. That's not fair. Then there's that KillerEye electric glitch. Yeah, it's a glitch! There's no reason for a damaging panel to hit again after it has already caused damage. And I remember that Japanese version had another glitch that Tornado did 4x damage if it had a White Capsule and it hit on a grass panel. It was fixed in the US version. EXE 6 being the last game in the series, I was disappointed to find out that they failed to unite the two game versions as nicely as in EXE 4. EXE 4 was the best in terms of multiplayer. If you had a friend with the opposite game version, your game got almost twice as fun! By linking up, you were allowed to participate in Free Tournaments where your friend's game-specific Navis fought using their playstyle. You could even use Dark Chips freely in the toruneys. Also, next time you started the game, their Navis would appear in the main tournaments and it would be like playing the opposite version in one game cart! And at the end, it would be possible to encounter Navis in EVERY area of the Net. This would also make it possible to complete the Secret library and obtain the opposite-version Navis' chips yourself. It was amazing! I was disappointed to find out this was never carried on. Instead, the Navis became "reflections" of the opposite. A "this instead of that" case. It's a shame, really, because it was lots of fun.
But that didn't stop the fun. Shortly after the US game was released, I browsed the GameFAQs boards frequently. It was there that I encountered a member named "RaijinK" who was attempting to collect sprites of all the enemies in the EXE series. He realized that there was a missing Rare Virus in the WindBox family: RareFan. The then omnipotent game hacker, Terrence appeared and helped out RaijinK. He located the offset that edited a Catack in ACDC HP. RaijinK got what he wanted, but I followed along as well. A couple months later, I published the first Megaman Battle Network 6 Battle Hacking Guide. By then it was obvious that people like Terrence wouldn't appreciate such a discovery. Making custom battles for the best EXE game was any fan's dream! I can safely say that for the next 3 years, hacking the game was something every fan had to try because it was getting more out of the game. And it was a challenge.
For a while, many people had said the game was too easy. In fact, early screenshots reveal that the game would have actually been more difficult than it is right now. Looking back at my history with the game, I am aiming at giving the fans a challenge. I won't say much about this now, but you won't be disappointed. It's been 5 years. I think it's time we started playing the game again. I will shortly release my MMBN6 patch which I encourage people to play from the beginning. But for the true diehard fans, I encourage you all to wait patiently. I hope that within a week, we can all start playing Megaman Battle Network 6 again and relive the experience one more time. I've seen this "Pass the Playthrough" going around and I fully support it for replaying the game with my patch.
Thanks to everyone who has been there since the beginning. It's been a fun 5 years.
at 8:30 AM