Finally, another WonderSwan Color title I can actually play and enjoy without having to endure endless Japanese menus, cut-scenes and dialogues with incomprehensible text! Well okay, there is a story and there are Japanese text fragments, but they are mercifully short.
Rockman is the Japanese name of Capcom's well-known Mega Man and if the WonderSwan Color had had more quality platformers like this one, it could have been a much bigger success than with the pile of average games only Japanese can understand.
I'm so pleased with this game on the pathetic handheld console; I can hardly find words to express my joy. Nevertheless, I will try, since that's my task as imminent reviewer of Defunct Games - a site that, as Cyril wrote one day, will be looked on by historian as website that, besides ending all wars (we're still busy with that), changed the world.
Back to Rockman EXE.The game starts with some guy talking Japanese gibberish to the hero, but that doesn't last for too long. Then it's a joy of recognition for anyone who ever played a Mega Man before: the character, the animation, the stage design all seem comfortably familiar. Officially, Rockman EXE is part of the Mega Man Battle Network-series, most of which has been released on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, so if you played any of those games the style will even be more familiar. However, to my understanding there isn't any real 'network'-aspect in this game: it just has the same look and feel.
The clue of the game is to find chips, which you do by defeating enemies and searching stage. The stages, that aren't very long, always have a part in which they splits into two paths: those paths lead to a hard or a little easier boss. I found this to be a pretty nice to touch. If you collect the chips, you can use them to perform special powers. Of course, no game is perfect, nor is Rockman EXE. I haven't finished the whole game, but the levels seem a bit on the short side. However, the biggest problem is a control flaw: Rockman can't shoot up nor crouch and shoot at the same time. This does make the game a lot more difficult that it had to be and sometimes it's even a little frustrating.
But those points of criticism are just minor: the bright colorful graphics, the adequate sound and the fun gameplay still makes Rockman EXE WS are WonderSwan Color game that is highly recommended. I believe the exact same game has also been released on the B&W WonderSwan, but I didn't bother about that: why play a black & white game when you have color to your disposal? As I said in the beginning, the WonderSwan Color needed more games like this one. If you're one of those unlucky bastards who acquired one of Bandai's handhelds, at least be sure to check this game out.