Biggest Let Down - MegaMan Battle Chip Challenge

I'm a HUGE MegaMan fan -- we've already established this. The "Netto" in my username and this blog's name comes from "Netto Hikari," the main character of the MegaMan Battle Network series, (Known as Lan Hikari in the Western translations), and I've spent a large chunk of my life being influenced by that series. Not even kidding when I say that the series changed my life, and I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't because of it... But anyway, it's because of my love of that series, that I was also met with my first (and biggest) gaming let down of my life. MegaMan Battle Chip Challenge...

When I first heard about Chip Challenge, it was reading about it in Nintendo power. It sounded pretty awesome to say the least! It was a game where you could pick to play as different characters from the Battle Network series (other than our usual main character), and use their Net Navis to battle in tournaments. (For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Net Navis are virtual AI assistants that can also be used to fight.) Pretty much all of the main navis from the past three games could be obtained and used to fight, so it was pretty much a dream game for fans. (At least according to Nintendo Power.) So, needless to say, I wanted to get it as soon as possible, and Easter was my one shot at doing so.

You see, my family always bought Easter gifts to go along with the Easter candy baskets. Usually it was a movie, toy, or a smaller game, and because GBA games were only in the $30 range, it made it a game I would actually be able to ask for. So I did, and we actually managed to find a copy at EB Games along with MegaMan Legends 2! Even back then Legends 2 was rare, and I had been looking for it for over a year or so at that point -- so my parents actually let me get both. Legends 2 as a "now gift," and Chip Challenge to be saved for Easter. Little did I know, Legends 2 was the better deal, and Chip Challenge would be a huge disappointment.

I'll never forget how excited I was when I woke up that morning and got to open that game. I rushed to grab my GBA, put the game in, and tried to squeeze in some play time before I had to take a shower and go to church. So, I rushed through the start screen and intro dialogue, selected Chaud as my playable character (because he and Protoman are awesome), and then commenced reading... And then read some more... And then watched as Chaud automatically moved from screen to screen, and menus lead me into my first fight... Where I then watched as Protoman fought on his own by selecting Battle Chips (basically cards that have different attacks set to them) and then attempting to hit with them.

Assuming I was still in the intro/training (BN games always had a boring training part to teach you the battle system in each game), I paused it, took my shower, went to church, and went back to playing once I got home. This is when I realized that was the entire game. 

Yep, you can't control your characters/explore the world as them (as I had hoped), and even in battle you just watch. You set some chips on a grid in the menu, and then in battle you can really only hit L/R to activate some other attack commands... But that's it. The game plays itself, and is pretty much completely random. The menus are used to select which area/tournament you want to fight in, but that's really it. Winning fights unlocked new chips you could possibly see your Navi use, and you could unlock the other Navis as well... But you don't actually play the game. It's on auto mode at all times, and that's basically it. 

Looking back at it now, it was a lot like today's mobile games. Very little input, and is more focused on you collecting your favorite characters, more than anything else. But at least these games have stories attached to them (as many are visual novels), while Chip Challenge didn't even technically have that. It was tournament fighting, and that's about it... Nothing like I had hoped for, or how Nintendo Power had advertised it...

Of course, I don't actually hate this game. Again, collecting your favorite characters is cool. The game also allowed you to share codes with your friends, which puts you into each other's games as an enemy to fight. These ideas were pretty cool, especially during the GBA days, but it was a very limited system. Since you didn't really have control, who won really came down to luck and who had the better chips equip. As a BN fan however, I did play the heck out of the game, and I did usually take it with me when I was out of the house. It played itself, so I just kept winning auto battles while I was out doing something else. It was a way to make progress without wasting my time watching, and it's actually something I would find myself doing with actual mobile games years later. It's kinda funny thinking about it now, but that doesn't change the fact that it was still a let down.

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