Celebrating 10 Years of Mega Man Star Force

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of the original Mega Man Star Force in Japan, where it was known as Ryuusei no Rockman. Or yesterday, if you take time zones into account, but let's not overcomplicate this.

The successor to Mega Man Battle Network, both in terms of production and fictional chronology, Mega Man Star Force was arguably the most underappreciated of the seven Mega Man series. Or at least, it would be were it not for the fact that it had one more game than its Nintendo DS contemporary sidescrolling Mega Man series, Mega Man ZX. Throw in an anime (still waiting for something in Region 1, Viz) and a line of merchandise, and even with only three games, Mega Man Star Force nonetheless left a pretty nice footprint during the short time it was around!

Over on Twitter, ShaolinTurtle (who was kind enough to remind me of the occasion) has been showing off a pretty nice collection of Mega Man Star Force merchandise, while Protodude's Rockman Corner found this piece of art from the series' character designer, Yuji Ishahara, which commemorates the occasion (and might make for good mobile wallpaper, too!).

He also dug up this old video promoting the first game, back when it was curiously known as "Shinsei Rockman ZN":

The series took a bold step past Mega Man Battle Network's duplication of the oft-imitated Pokémon formula of releasing a new title with two versions at once by giving players a selection of three different versions to play. It also brought the concepts of its predecessor into the world of 3D with a redesigned battle mode -- one can only wonder how that would have looked had the games been released on the Nintendo 3DS instead of the Nintendo DS.

It also acted as something of the "Mega Man X" to Battle Network's Classic series by taking place a whopping two centuries into the future of that world. Instead of Lan and MegaMan.EXE, the series borrowed somewhat from their animated adventures by allowing new heroes Geo Stelar (Subaru Hoshikawa in Japan) and Omega-Xis (War Rock) to merge via EM Wave Change into that era's incarnation of MegaMan to fight threats alien and ancient alike.

For my part, I'm sorry to say that I never quite managed to get into the series as much as I would have liked. I wasted little time getting the first game (Dragon version, for those curious -- I still want the Takara action figure of that form), and I thoroughly enjoyed it -- more than most, it would seem. I had a tendency to hit a wall at the final boss of most Battle Network games, but Mega Man Star Force felt just right to me.

Sadly, the sequel didn't quite click as well. I found that too-frequent random encounters combined with trying to find my way around (especially after having to come back to the game later) to be too problematic after a while. As for the third game, I have unfortunately not had a chance to even try it yet.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure the anime ever came to Canada -- it was mostly U.S.-exclusive through Toonami or their online service, Neon Alley. But at least it got to keep its name -- none of that "NT Warrior" rebranding nonsense that Mega Man Battle Network got.

Maybe I'll get to come back to it someday. Honestly, I'd love for Capcom to give me a reason to do so professionally, i.e. some sort of anthology set.

But enough about me; what about you? What memories do you have about Mega Man Star Force? Share your thoughts in the comments below!