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Part 4: The Beast from the East
To the surprise of no one, Lan is late for school again.
And on field trip day, no less.
Can MegaMan not just yell really loudly from the PET or something?
For that matter, shouldn't he have noticed this when Lan went to sleep?
And why didn't Haruka wake him up?
There's not a lot of NPCs to talk to at present, aside from three in ACDC, seeing as you can't use the Metroline.
Two of them just wish you a good field trip while talking about their own experiences while the other is just curious why so many kids are showing up at school with a lot of belongings.
Fortunately, everyone is standing in the hallway and Lan doesn't get into trouble despite being late.
With that concern aside, everyone prepares to go on their field trip.
And so they depart.
Music: Yoka Village
Well, there is a zoo nearby. You're even planning to visit it for your field trip.
It seems that the zoo abruptly closed today, though, so today is a free day for the kids.
Ms. Mari reminds everyone to meet at the inn for dinner later, and so everyone heads off.
More proof that kids in the Battle Network world get everything for free, and a charming little remark from Lan about automated machines never being able to replace the genuine smiles from the zoo staff.
Here's your proof that this field trip wasn't poorly planned or something. The zoo director suddenly shut down despite everything being set up.
An old man over to the side of the zoo reminisces about the days that power lines weren't underground, gesturing to an older type of power line as he does.
Yoka, it would seem, is rather old-fashioned. It's not quite like Okuden in the last game, but there's no easy way to get onto the Net from here and a number of people remark on how archaic a few things that are around seem to be.
Like this pinball table, for instance.
While it's never really commented on, there seems to be something like a fair in Yoka as well, based on these games and food stands.
On the next screen, past a pair of kids who are contemplating riding some cardboard down a slope, we find this souvenir shop. It seems the owner isn't around later, but given that the T-Shirt stand can be jacked into and leads to the Yoka Area, it's a safe bet we'll be meeting them soon.
And here's where we'll be staying for the night: the Ura Inn.
Here's the inn's proprietress: Kimie Urakawa. She has her own custom sprite to distinguish her from the other characters around here.
Around the sign in desk is a suit of armor that, oddly enough, can be jacked into.
We can't do anything about that now, though, given the SubPET.
There are also apparently wild boars around.
Yeah yeah, we'll behave.
Dex is hanging out over here near the entrance of the baths. Mayl is in the shared rooms rented for the class watching raccoons from the windows.
Zip it, you! We're not even getting to those in this scenario!
Well, as this NPC went ahead and pointed out, Style Changes are indeed in this game. We'll talk about those again, albeit later when they come up.
It's not uncommon for backgrounds in the series to feature nods to other games in the franchise, but this is one of the few times I recall seeing an anime reference in the games: this particular shot comes from a battle between ProtoMan and MegaMan in Episode 22 of the anime, if I'm not mistaken.
This television, unlike the one in the lobby, can be jacked into since it's pay-to-watch.
Yai is also outside wandering around. She points out that there's a fence nearby, but it looks like it's about to fall over.
After examining the fence, Ms. Mari calls everyone together for bath time.
There's a short bathing scene with Lan and MegaMan here (and also Dex in the background). That said, I wonder why Lan has his PET with him in the water. That seems a bit risky.
Presumably, MegaMan can feel the water due to the power of Hub Batch/psychic twin powers/anime.
After the bath, everyone then has a pillow fight before turning in for the night.
The morning after, Lan and MegaMan get an email from Yuichiro. It seems their PETs repairs are finally done.
It seems that Yuichiro has supplied more than just a PET fix!
Music: Navi Customizer
Disappointingly for the story, FlashMan's Shining Blue Screen of Death was just an excuse to introduce this thing. Which is a shame, because FlashMan's capabilities seemed like they'd have some amazing story potential: hypnosis through a screen and gradual PET destruction? Those are some crazy abilities to just gloss over!
At least the Navi Customizer itself is nice, though. While in use, MegaMan shuts down so that Lan can work on modifying him. Yuichiro helpfully supplies three programs so that he has a base idea of what to work with.
The three programs supplied here are Undershirt (If MegaMan has more than 2 HP, the next fatal attack reduces him to 1 HP instead), Attack+1 (Buster damage up), and Speed+1 (Buster speed up). The rules of the Navi Customizer are quite simple:
- The colors at the top right are the only color programs MegaMan can have installed.
- Solid programs, like Undershirt, have to touch the Command Line in order to run properly.
- Blocky programs, like Attack+1 or Speed+1, cannot touch the Command Line in order to run properly.
- Programs of the same color, like Undershirt and Speed+1, cannot touch each other in order to run properly.
Of these rules, only the first one is enforced strictly.
After using the Navi Customizer, Lan will always check on MegaMan.
His response will let you know if there's a problem or not. If he feels strange, MegaMan will have a bug in battle that depends on what program you installed incorrectly. For example, installing a buster program incorrectly might cause his buster to occasionally shoot blanks.
Later games remove this "I feel strange" dialogue, presumably to get you to pay closer attention yourself rather than have the game handhold you.
Despite the fact that Lan was surrounded by sleeping students, it seems that tutorial went on long enough for everyone to wake up, get dressed, and head to the zoo. So now Lan has to go catch up with them.
Kind of a crummy TV then.
I'm funny like that.
Kimie helpfully points us in the direction of the rest of the class
but along the way, we run into this woman!
Tamako is, in fact, Kimie's younger sister. Presumably her surname, Shiraizumi, was Kimie's original surname before she was wed.
But never mind that: we have a tomboy to Net Battle.
Boss Fight: MetalMan
MetalMan, like MagnetMan and KnightMan before him, is a big Navi with Super Armor. Unlike both of them, he actually moves around a fair bit in order to attack. Additionally, he's got a few obstacles on his side of the field in order to keep you on your toes since the gears will damage you if you run into them.
That said, early on he's pretty slow and lethargic about attacking, so he's not too bad just yet. Later on, when he gains some speed, he's more of a threat.
- Metal Gear: MetalMan starts with two gears that move back and forth on the central row. These gears will obstruct MegaMan's movement, and deal minor damage.
- Metal Blade: MetalMan fires a large razor that loops around the edge of the battlefield.
- Metal Missile: MetalMan fires three missiles which will target MegaMan's position.
- Metal Fist: MetalMan moves up to the MegaMan and punches on his panel, destroying it.
Between one of MetalMan's attack names and this closing line, I have to wonder if there's some intentional MGS references going on here.
Sadly, we don't have her passcode yet. Though, even if we did, there's a strange path just beyond the Security Cube.
Lan catches up with the class in front of the zoo, and Ms. Mari reminds them not to feed the animals.
Chisao has also come along for the field trip, curiously enough. Dex suggests they meet by the lion cage later on, and with that we have free range of the zoo.
Classic BN NPCs.
I'll save myself a bit of trouble and mention that it's several dialogue boxes of "The animals look pissed off".
Also I refuse to take a screenshot of the elephant's mess.
If I had to guess?
The overpriced zoo sodas. Stop shaking me down for money, you con artists.
Unlike the other animals, the panda is enclosed inside of glass.
It also occasionally has an animation where it scratches its behind, which I did not notice until I was taking screenshots.
You can also jack into the alarm for the enclosure, though it's broken.
After checking all of the animals, Lan waits for everyone in front of the lion cage.
Mayl teases Lan about how odd it is for him to be getting onto someone for being late, though conversation eventually turns to the animals' odd behavior.
Yai casually name drops another country, though sadly one we won't be visiting: NetFrica.
It... it's a lazy name, I'm not going to lie to you.
The lion starts roaring at the group, which causes the danger music to play, but Lan seems nonplussed.
I guess after that radiation bath in the last game, he figures he has no need to worry about anything.
The condor from before suddenly flies past with Chisao, though.
Dex shows up shortly afterwards to explain how the condor suddenly abducted his brother. When Lan tries to follow after it,
things get a little hectic.
Lan and Co. are now surrounded by lions on two sides and an elephant on another.
The elephant lets you get close, but the game stops Lan from getting too near the lions.
Fortunately, the panda exhibit loops around in an L shape, allowing Lan to get behind the elephant.
And the giraffe is on a lunch break.
I don't know why, but this old man's reaction to all of this amused me.
This woman also cautions Lan about the nearby gorillas, which the game also doesn't let you approach too much.
There are zookeepers around trying to calm the animals, incidentally.
Despite Dex saying this, the zoo entrance will be reopened within a matter of moments.
Fortunately, the gate that Yai pointed out yesterday wound up being important.
Unfortunately, this is because the animals invaded the inn.
Not shown: more animal mess all over the school children's room.
In the hallway, Kimie distracts the snake so that Lan (and presumably the other kids) can sneak past.
Tamako also comments on the situation, though she still doesn't do much more than offer Net Battles with MetalMan/tell you to wait on challenging her because she's doing repairs.
Ms. Mari asks about Dex and Mayl if you speak to her, as she seems to be trying to gather all of the children together.
Keep in mind that pretty much all of these NPCs are optional to talk to. You only need to leave the zoo and head over to the power lines to advance the plot.
I do like seeing how everyone reacts to these events, though.
I have no idea, but the game doesn't let us approach the flamingo.
This time because it's on an area that Lan can't walk over to, mind you.
Needless to say, people are trying to scramble to the train station.
Amusingly enough, this lady's kid isn't scared and is just pouting that they had to leave the zoo.
What is it with this particular NPC model always having dumb things to say?
On top of the power lines, the condor has abducted Chisao and divebombs Lan when he tries to get close. Probably for the best considering the "DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE" signs on the gate nearby.
Lan's friends eventually arrive and discuss what to do,
when one of the zoo employees suddenly shows up, mentioning that the zookeeper has gone crazy and is controlling the animals from his office.
Apparently, he's somehow mind-controlling them with the chips that monitor their health.
I... sure, why not?
As it turns out, the main zoo network is over by the panda cage, so Lan has to go back into the lion surrounded territory to save the day. Fortunately, since this is an RPG, the lions will never move any closer, so Lan's not in any actual danger.
This is also the point the zoo entrance is unlocked, incidentally.
Was it in the sideburns? I bet it was the sideburns.
The zookeeper is Inukai, if you haven't caught on yet.
Music: Maze of Wilderness
The Zoo Network! This dungeon is not difficult in the slightest, but it's certainly a very... eccentric experience.
It starts with this Mr. Prog,
continues with this virus,
and concludes by bringing the former to the latter.
The gimmick here is basically four areas of very easy "Do you know what animals fit in this context?" puzzles.
The part that becomes memorable is some of the later viruses' deaths for being so...
What do you even say about this?
In the third area, I ran into these guys. This Beetle is the replacement for the Beetank in the last game.
After that very strange dungeon, MegaMan finally reaches the end and finds
a strange, beast-like Navi!
Aha, it was SlashMan all along!
SlashMan also complains about the heretofore and never again mentioned discrimination between humanoid Navis and ones that are shaped differently. Which is pretty weird, because I can think of at least two Navis in later games that MegaMan befriends that don't have traditional humanoid bodies, not to mention ToadMan.
Heck, for all of his complaints, he also has a humanoid body! Maybe he's just whining about his elongated claws or his face mouth?
Oh, excuse me, apparently it's not SlashMan. It's an original Nav-
Really? It's not SlashMan?
At any rate, Lan asks how Inukai and BeastMan could work for the zoo and do this, and Inukai drops this little bomb on him.
Being blown up by a missile is an easy death?
Inukai jabbers on a bit too much about how Wily has put together a new WWW of new members before telling BeastMan to take care of these two while he has the animals kill the kids.
What a dick. Even BeastMan comments on that fact.
But that's not going to stop him from attacking.
Boss Fight: BeastMan
Remember how I mentioned I hated QuickMan as a kid? And was walled by him for a week? Meet QuickMan's equally annoying spiritual successor! His fighting style is similar to ProtoMan's, what with him stepping into your area to attack from the front or behind. Only ProtoMan is usually a late-game boss!
He's not too bad for me now, but he is fast and he does like to make it very hard to discern whether you should step forward or backwards to dodge his attacks! So I'd bring some Invisible chips just to ignore his nonsense so you can slap him in the face as efficiently as possible.
- Beast Ray: BeastMan rushes at MegaMan in a diagonal direction.
- Jumping Claw: BeastMan leaps into the air, and descends on MegaMan, attacking in a Widesword-esque fashion.
- Back Slash: BeastMan warps behind MegaMan and slashes at him with a wide slash.
- Wild Rush: BeastMan separates his claws and head and attacks MegaMan, his claws first diagonally and then his head at forward at MegaMan.
BeastMan explodes after the battle and Inukai insults him.
Lan asks why his operator is blaming the Navi rather than operating him, which is an excellent point.
Inukai decides to cut and run, though, once MegaMan disables the brainwashing, leading to him not having an answer for that particular question. Also, apparently he has another one of those TetraCodes for Wily.
...Why was it hidden in the zoo? I'm getting flashbacks to the oddity of the Super Programs' hiding spots.
Lan wants to know if Wily is actually still alive, but MegaMan says that Chisao is a more immediate concern.
Back with Chisao, the condor quacks and flies away.
Even Chisao has no idea why the condor quacks.
He then falls to his apparent doom
only to be caught by Dex!
The hero theme plays here. Much like BN2, I'm going to hold this off until later.
Chisao is grateful to Dex for saving him,
but Dex is having a moment of character development!
As you might imagine, this moment is nicer if you let Dex win against you.
But I needed that GutsMan V2 chip.
Either way, Lan lets Dex keep the charade up for his brother, which kind of disappoints me.
A cut to later, and Dex explains why Chisao came to visit.
Dex has no plans to leave anytime soon, though he mentions that he hates disappointing his dad and Chisao.
Chisao went back to Netopia yesterday, though, and Dex apologizes for all of the trouble that he caused.
Mayl says that it's no big deal, though, and finds it cute how they got along. Dex changes the topic to the new WWW, though, and mentions that he feels like taking them on after all of that.
Yai proves the usual snark.
Dex is not amused.
Meanwhile, at the Hall of Doom, Wily is unhappy about the Hikari twins deleting another of his Navis.
But he also remarks that he's two TetraCodes away from enacting his new plan.
He also seems to have a new friend.