Watch a full playthrough of the lost-to-time Rockman.EXE: Phantom of Network


Oh mobile gaming

Way back in the day, the Mega Man Battle Network series was a big money maker for Capcom and was easily the most successful Mega Man spinoff to date. A successful RPG series, merchandising, toys, anime. You name it, it had it. Of course, with any successful franchise on portable consoles comes the worst idea: Entries exclusive to mobile phones. Unfortunately, some of those entries are fully lost to time, with only screenshots to prove they existed.

For Rockman.EXE: Phantom of Network, that was also the case — until a full playthrough of the game surfaced, which you can find here.

To give a small history lesson on the game: Phantom of Network came out the same year that Japan received Battle Network 6 on the Game Boy Advance. However, there were a couple of snags to playing the game, as this was two years before the iPhone would be released. The only way to play the game, which was exclusive to Japan, was to own an au branded (yes, ‘au’ is a brand in Japan) mobile phone via the i-mode internet service. The game would require 315 Yen per month in order to be played, and was released as eight chapters over a set schedule. In 2009, the game was re-released for docomo branded phones via the i-mode internet service, however it would have its monthly fee increased to 525 Yen. Even back then, mobile gaming and Capcom were showing their shady nature.

While the game wasn’t necessarily anything special, it did feature its own unique storyline, as well as a couple of characters and battle chips that were not present in the Game Boy Advance entries. It wasn’t the only mobile game however, and had a sequel called Rockman.EXE: Legend of Network, which also had unique mechanics, story, and characters. Characters and storylines from both games would appear in the final seasons of the Battle Network anime, as well the now-shut-down Rockman Xover mobile game.

Phantom of Network eventually suffered the same fate as many of the games distributed via Nintendo’s Satellaview service. Due to outdated hardware, a lack of ways to preserve the game, and no one really thinking about preservation, it was thought to be lost to time. There is no way, as far as it is publicly known, to obtain and play Phantom of Network. Legend of Network also shares the same fate, however it doesn’t even have a full playthrough, only off-screen footage has surfaced for certain boss fights.

Given that someone was able to find Phantom of Network, there is still hope for it to be potentially preserved, as well as hope that some phone out there still has Legend of Network installed. The whole thing really makes you wonder how many other mobile spin-offs there are out there for other franchises that have been lost entirely.

Watch Rockman EXE: Phantom of Network From Start to Finish [Rockman Corner]