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Part 10: Saving Room for Desert

Arriving via the ferry, the remaining four participants get mail from Sunayama telling them to come to the studio.

Lan's gotten some admirers for his battling up to this point.

Even Jennifer seems pretty upbeat despite losing to Raoul.

Johnson is pretty down about all of the Netopians losing, though.

Yes, shower me with praise.

In the lobby are a few familiar faces, but before we chat them up, this guy has something for us.

Beardsley seems to have been keeping up with Lan's N1 progress and gave him this program called Break Charge. This allows MegaMan's charged shots to have a breaking property. He even throws in a Mod Tools code so that you can use it regardless of whatever Style Change you have.

What a guy!

Tamako is also here and available for a rematch with MetalMan Alpha.

Boss Fight: MetalMan Alpha

It's literally the same fight again, though now you can use your actual folder.

After the battle, Tamako gives Lan her Security Cube code.

Mayl and Co. are also here again.

Yeah, praise me.

Ribitta abruptly appears and asks Lan to find Chaud for her. I believe this might be her only appearance in the game, so naturally ToadMan doesn't show up at all.

He will be back for Ribitta's final appearance, though.

A few NPCs point you in Chaud's direction if you talk to them. There's also a kid who mentions how Q is weird, but we already knew that.

Chaud is as cordial as ever to Lan.

The two of them have a pissing match that essentially boils down to "I went out of my way to find you so you wouldn't be late and this is the thanks I get?" "Heh, worrying about your enemy before battle? Nerd." "I-It's not like I came looking for you of my own accord!"

Eventually Ribitta shows up, stopping them before they can spend the rest of the day bickering at each other.

Lan gets a bit smug about how he's going to take Chaud to the cleaners.

And Chaud then throws out this question. It's pretty clear by now that Chaud's trying his best to make his father happy, despite how his father probably would just expect him to win rather than being happy that he did win.

Lan's response does not impress.

Chaud then evades the question when Lan turns it back on him and leaves.

MegaMan at least picks up that Chaud is a touch different from usual, even if his usual bluster is there.

Ribitta asks Lan to return to the studio, and so we do.

Why don't you ask for Lan's autograph?

Everyone is cheering Lan on again.

Though this girl is doing so begrudgingly?

I get the feeling that this is that girl that usually hangs out outside of Mayl's house and she's jealous that Mayl is closer friends with Lan, Yai, and Dex than her. That might just be me reading too much into things, though, since there are a bunch of NPCs at the school that look like her.

Got anything you wanna say, chief?

No? Ah well. Maybe later.

Back on the stage, the Semi-Finals begin with a word from each of the contestants.

Lan wants to win just because.

Tora thinks everyone except Chaud looks weak.

Q continues to suffer from chronic ellipsitis.

And Chaud is quietly confident.

Boss Fight: Semi-Finals

Nice job not holding back, bro. I really felt your true power in that completely unchanged boss fight.

Tora starts to get mad that he lost.

But then he calms down. Apparently he was putting on a big act seeing as he didn't even think he'd get as far in the N1 as he did.

Fake it until you make it, I guess?

At any rate, it seems like the two of them have come to an understanding.

Ribitta is momentarily touched by Lan and Tora becoming friends. Which seems a bit presumptuous! Rivals, maybe. Seems a bit early to call them friends.

Then again, this is the shonen tournament arc, so defeat = friendship is likely in full effect.

It seems like the final match will come down to Lan vs. Chaud, just like the anime's rendition of the N1.

Y'know, just without the part where Roll became a dominatrix and started doing weird BDSM things to MegaMan.

Speaking of Roll and Mayl, they want to talk outside.

Johnson seems to be sulking like a child, while Jennifer is trying to get him to at least stay for the conclusion of the tournament.

This time, I'm fairly certain we never see either of these characters again.

So it turns out Dex and Mayl want to talk about Yai.

Did I mention that DNN had probably racked up a few lawsuits over the course of this tournament?

As it turns out, Yai has been taken to the hospital that was blocked off earlier.

Lan wonders if he should go visit her rather than continuing the tournament, but then gets a phone call.

Seeing as Yai is feeling well enough to threaten legal action, everyone assumes that she must be fine.

Yai turns the conversation towards the tournament, though, and tells Lan not to get distracted thinking about her.

Despite her complaining about not being okay, I'm pretty sure she's mostly fine and doesn't want Lan to get distracted worrying over her. That being said, I'd want to sue someone, too, if they dropped me through a trap door to land on my head. Assuming I survived the experience, of course.

Lan continues to exude waves of smugness before remembering that Chaud's match is ongoing.

It seems like Chaud hasn't ended the match just yet.

Lan heads back to the stage to watch what's going on.

It seems that ProtoMan has been struggling to win quickly against a Normal Navi.

That seems implausible!

ProtoMan himself even points this out.

The Normal Navi then reveals that he was hiding his true power level.

He begins to power up, much to Q's displeasure, and changes into his final form.

DesertMan, much like KingMan, is another original Navi.

DesertMan wants to finish off ProtoMan immediately, but Q says that DesertMan should drag things out to help boost the ratings, mainly by using flashy moves.

DesertMan uses a mirage on ProtoMan, claiming that he will devour him slowly in order to prolong his torment.

However, ProtoMan can sense DesertMan's ki and immediately attacks him once he gets close.

Q then reveals the shocking truth: he is actually the real Marik Ishtar a WWW agent!

Needless to say, Chaud immediately has a complete switch in composure upon finding out the guy he's up against isn't just a tournament opponent with a weird fashion sense.

Q, seeing the jig is up, decides to reveal himself.

He sure is hamming it up quite a bit.

And that means there's really only one person who could be under the mask...

Who else?

While not one of the best reveals in the game, I do like this. It's a bit heavy-handed later on when Q starts saying things like "The ratings will plummet if you delete ProtoMan too fast!". However, I do like how Lan meets this guy at the start of the game and likely tricks you into believing that he's just a custom sprite NPC because he's the producer and not because he's a villain.

Some of you might be wondering "What? How can it be Sunayama? We see him and Q in the same place at a few points!"

To that I respond: Q almost never spoke and Wily is involved in robotics. Assuming that someone on the DNN staff wasn't just filling the costume at times, which they likely weren't given the surprise that results from this, it's not unreasonable to assume that Wily made a Q robot that stood in for Sunayama at times or a robot that wore the costume until Sunayama had time to switch into it on Hades Isle.

Chaud wonders why Sunayama is operating so publicly instead of from the shadows like the WWW normally does, and Sunayama explains that a public event like this was perfect for their plan. Chaud realizes that the WWW intended to use the N1 to defeat as many powerful Net Battlers as possible and demonstrate their strength to the world.

Which sounds like a fine enough plan until you remember that he cheated against Yai.

Chaud also points out that Sunayama could lose against him, causing the WWW to be a laughingstock due to losing to an elementary school student.

But... it already happened twice? You even introduced Lan as the kid who saved the world from the WWW!

Did you take a blow to the head between scenes?

At this point, though, Sunayama plays his hand. While it might not be immediately obvious to the player, Sunayama earlier introduced the IPC President as the man who funded this event (which was shown during the introduction video of the N1).

Yet, despite that fact, he's been eerily silent during this whole event. In fact, he's never made an actual appearance this whole time...

Lan tries to get Chaud to arrest Sunayama, but Chaud can't make a move given the circumstances.

Sunayama takes the opportunity to kill the lights and escape.

Chaud heads off to the editing room and Ribitta helpfully recaps the dramatic events for the audience.

I'm assuming someone is calling the police during all of this.

There's also a Mr. Prog practicing to be a referee in the Net Battle machine. It's adorable.

Anyway, we should probably do something about this hostage situation.

Lan takes the elevator up to the editing room and waits off to the side.

As it turns out, Shuuseki has been held hostage up here this whole time. Sunayama also deactivated the elevator so that no one could stumble across him by chance and Shuuseki also couldn't escape on the off chance that he escaped his bonds.

That's... surprisingly competent from a WWW agent.

Seeing that he can't beat ProtoMan in battle, Sunayama decides to take away ProtoMan from Chaud.

Now, on one hand, Chaud has mentioned he memorized ProtoMan's code, so presumably he could recreate him. But Wily having access to ProtoMan does seem like it could lead to something potentially bad down the line, at least. He could copy him better than Sean or even possibly reprogram him!

Lan's a bit late catching up on all of these plot points, but realizes there's no way he can let Wily have ProtoMan.

It seems like there's nothing they can do.

Or isn't there?

It seems like Lan has no choice but to use that technique. No, not the Lan Punch. He wants Chaud and Shuuseki to survive, after all.

What he has in mind is a bit more... well, I'll let you see for yourself. The cutscene continues into the boss fight video below.

Boss Fight: DesertMan

I forgot to get a picture of DesertMan during the battle, but fortunately DesertMan Alpha is fought against the same background. For some reason, it seems like his first fight takes place in Beach Area despite there being nowhere to jack into Beach Area's Net in all of Beach Street.

At any rate, DesertMan is a wimp. For whatever reason, he doesn't actually have a Desert Mirage attack, and instead he defers to his hands to attack for him while his head sits in place and waits to be hit. Given that he's made of sand, hitting him with water attacks has the same stunning effect as FlashMan or Zap Ring chips. Otherwise, he'll dissipate immediately upon being hit, making multi-hit attacks useless against him.

- Lion Head: When his hand lines up with MegaMan, it turns into a lion head and charges down the row.
- Antlion: Vortexes will appear on some panels, and will damage MegaMan if he stands on them.
- Heavy Sand: DesertMan drops two blocks onto MegaMan's area.

After the battle, Sunayama has been thoroughly humiliated in more ways that one and recalls how Wily was displeased by BubbleMan's blunder.

So he does the most obvious thing he can think to do.

He takes advantage of the fact Lan is an idiot.

Unfortunately, Chaud is not. In this game.

I can't believe you fell for it again. How would Wily magically get into the editing room?

...Actually, never mind, that sounds like something he'd be able to pull off.

As it turns out, someone actually DID call the police. Perhaps your evil plan would've gone off without a hitch if you hadn't publicly announced your WWW ties on live television, my dude.

However, before he goes in, Sunayama wants one simple thing.

I like Sunayama. I can definitely see how he and Wily got to working together given how overdramatic the both of them are.

Chaud agrees to give him that information before booking him.

In the end, the N1 was left unfinished (unlike in the anime where Chaud actually won). Chaud and Lan resolve to settle their battle someday, though.

Yes, unlike the previous two games, ProtoMan is not fought during the story. And certainly not this early in the game. We're just around the mid-point now.

MegaMan's also worried about Rei's needless blabbing about Cybergeddon earlier in the game. We still have no idea what Wily's up to regarding that.

For now, though, Lan and MegaMan resolve to rest after all of that battling in the N1.

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Doom, Wily's not too pleased about more of his agents failing. I imagine this is starting to feel like a repeat of last time for him.

However, he gets over his disappointment shortly, mentioning he'll be able to awaken "The Beast" to destroy Net Society.

No, he's not talking about BeastMan. Nor is he talking about Hank McCoy.

As Wily begins to laugh maniacally, a woman in a leggy outfit comes in. Meet Anetta.

Curiously enough, the anime used her as a character that wasn't a villain and instead a girl that had a crush on Chaud. They never meet in-game, though.

Wily grumbles something about millennials, seemingly upset by her insolence.

It seems that Anetta is another environmentalist with an emphasis on "mental", like Dave in the last game. Wily has let her go around shutting down factory that are spewing pollution thus far, but now he wants her to hit someplace else.

Anetta seems momentarily suspicious of Wily, but he assures her that acquiring the Tetra Code will help preserve nature.

I'm skipping ahead a bit here, but remember how Wily's base in the first game had a bunch of purple drank spilling into the ocean? That's true in this game, too. Anetta is not very smart.

Questionable intelligence aside, it seems like we'll be dealing with her (and my favorite Navi in the series!) in the near future.