Mega Man gives 2x power-up to DS

We love Mega Man. We really do. Beating down Dr. Wily (or, in a pinch, Sigma) is one of any classic gamers' favorite pastimes. But both enduring villains have been missing for some time now, making way for the Battle Network and Mega Man Zero franchises. Well, fans can expect to dig into another pair... no wait, a quartet of new Mega Man games, later this year.

The newly announced ZX Advent picks up where last year's ZX left off, offering a huge map to explore and new powers to obtain. It's a bit like Metroid or Castlevania mixed with robots and morphing teenagers. Instead of either Mega Man or Zero, however, you'll take control of Ashe or Grey, two new characters created just for ZX Advent. Both will go through slightly different stories and gameplay elements, but both will employ the new "Biometal" system that enables Grey and Ashe to don super-powered armor.

First, they're simple kids with some kind of energy gun. Then they can use acquired memory metals to turn into a prototype Mega Man-ish suit. While using this suit, either character can destroy the eight enemy bosses, copy their DNA and use their power to advance. So, even though its miles away from a standard Mega Man game, at least the core values are intact. We saw a fire-based boss and an ice one too, so elemental powers are well represented. The touch screen will switch back and forth between Biometal management and the essential map.

The developers have promised to address criticisms of the last game, saying each area of the map will be more diverse and easily distinguishable. The game has a winning formula, so we're all for it getting a makeover in any way.

The other title for this year, Star Force, is more like the Battle Network games. Grid-based attacks, card battles, techno babble, kids entering the internet... all that stuff fans love. This is like what, the 18th game in the series or something?

The whole point of Star Force, however, is the "Brother Band" network, where you join up with friends over Wi-Fi and obtain better cards for battle. Trading items and cards will net you a stronger deck for future scraps. Most everything else is familiar Battle Network terrain - except the story, which involves an enemy planet called FM and a heroic techno-boy called Geo Stelar.

Three (!) versions are coming out, Leo, Dragon and Pegasus, all of which have their own perks and content. Linking up with a friends' copy will give you access to certain parts of the other versions though, so it's not like you have to buy all three.

We have a preliminary review for the import version foundhere, but keep in mind the score is for the import game. Heavy text means lots of Japanese, so English-only gamers will definitely want to wait until the US version hits.

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.