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N.T. Warrior

(Network Transmission)
Advanced P.E.T.
(PErsonal Terminal)
"ProtoMan Version"

Toy Review

By Mark Patraw

Manufacturer Information:
Mattel, Inc.
333 Continental Blvd.
El Segundo, CA 90245

1 (800) 524-TOYS

Capcom's MegaMan NT Warrior Web Site

Mattel's Web Site

This thing comes sealed in a large clamshell (roughly eleven-and-a-half inches wide, by twelve inches tall, by one-and-three-fourths inches deep). Most of the text on the packaging is bilingual (English and French, probably so they can be sold in Canada). While that's not something I'm terribly fond of, due to the double text taking up a lot of real estate that could be used for more photos, etc., I'll live. One of the things that I thought was a neat touch was that the interior insert is printed up to look like a semi-transparent circuit board, which complements the whole MegaMan NT computer/internet theme. While it's colorful and looks nice, the packaging is a good deal larger than it needs to be--there's a LOT of wasted space. Mattel could have easily packaged this into something 1/2-1/3 the size. Maybe Mattel's designers were trying to convey the sense that you are getting more than you actually do (i.e., the old "bigger is better" motto). You'll need something sharp to get the plastic coffin open (I used scissors), and take care not to injure yourself on the cut edges afterwards, as they're often sharp (the discarded package can tear nasty holes in your garbage bags too if you aren't careful). The P.E.T. and the rubberband-clad instructions just fell right out when I opened mine. The three battle chips have an interior plastic tray (taped into place from behind) keeping them secure, and the connecting cable (for versus battles with another P.E.T.) is rolled up inside a plastic bag, which is also taped to the interior of the clamshell.

Advanced P.E.T.:
First things first, a brief introduction to what MegaMan NT Warrior is all about and how the P.E.T. unit ties into it: MegaMan NT (Network Transmission) is a re-imaging of Capcom's classic MegaMan video game character, who first became popular in the 1980s on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Whereas the original MegaMan games were action platformers, the Battle Network games are action/RPG (role playing game) hybrids. In the game world, humans interact with the internet via digital avatars known as "Net Navigators", or "NetNavis" for short--MegaMan and ProtoMan are examples of these virtual buddies. These NetNavis "live" inside portable electronic devices--which, as you can probably guess, are called P.E.T.s (PErsonal Terminals). A P.E.T. has numerous functions: cell-phone, e-mail, internet browser, etc., but, it is primarily used by the game characters to Net-battle malicious viruses and other users' NetNavis. In the game, MegaMan's human user is Lan Hikari and ProtoMan's is Chaud. Naturally, they're rivals, which translates into the MegaMan/ProtoMan versions of this P.E.T. toy. Unfortunately, that's largely cosmetic, as you control MegaMan as your NetNavi regardless of which version of this toy you buy, which is a pretty glaring oversight, or cheap-out, depending on your perspective.

The P.E.T. is mostly red and black plastic, with a few paint operations to accent things. The sculpt is generally smooth with minimal detail, but that's consistent with how it looks in the source material. The Capcom images I've seen of P.E.T.s don't have handles though, so I'm assuming that was added to facilitate the shaking feature--I think it just gets in the way (maybe I'll cut it off at some point). With the cover closed, the unit is roughly one inch thick, four inches tall, and three and a half inches wide (with about an inch of the width coming from the handle). The device is a bit over seven inches tall when the cover is open. It's fairly lightweight too. It runs on a single CR2032 button battery, which also automatically saves your game progress. You can replace this by unscrewing the panel on the back. I'd have preferred AAA or AA batteries as the power source--they're easier to find/cheaper in price, and I think the size of the P.E.T. could have accommodated them (at least, that's my impression, without actually taking it apart and seeing how much empty space there is inside). Pulling down on the bottom red section will make the P.E.T.'s red cover flip up, via a spring mechanism, revealing three gray buttons and a LCD screen. The upper left button is "Cancel", the function of which should be obvious. The large, circular, central button is the "Direction Pad", pushing left/right/down/up on this will move cursors and cycle through menus. The upper right button is "Confirm"; this turns your P.E.T. on (if it's off) and executes selections. A red LED light is situated below the direction pad, this flashes on and off when you've got a message. Notice that your P.E.T. rattles when you move it? No, it's not broken (or, at least I hope it isn't), that's the motion sensor, which you'll be using a LOT when you shake your P.E.T. like a maraca, trying to encounter viruses and regain health in Standby Mode. Inconveniently, there's no "off" switch; the unit shuts itself down automatically after several minutes if you don't push anything.

Okay, there are three things you'll want to do before you start screwing around with your P.E.T.: First, remove the white tab coming out of the battery compartment--that'll supply power to your unit. You should immediately hear a jingle playing, if you don't, your battery is probably dead (man, am I glad this thing didn't have one of those "try me" features, or I'm sure mine would have been DOA). Second, push in the tiny gray button on the back with something small and pointy (toothpick, pen/pencil tip, etc.), this initializes the system (don't do this again, after you've played, unless you want to erase your game and start over from square one). Third, peel off the printed decal over the LCD screen (this is just there for display purposes so people can get an idea what an active screen looks like without the unit being turned on).

So, great, what can you do with your P.E.T.?

  • Check/set the time & turn sound on/off. Certainly not the most exciting aspect, but your P.E.T. can tell you what time it is. There's one catch though, it's set-up for military time (i.e. 7:49 PM would correspond to 19:49) which might take some getting used to for some people. You have to set the time when you first initialize the P.E.T., after that, you can go into the options menu and change it any time you like. The time is always shown at the top of the screen in Standby Mode. I don't know if time has any effect on gameplay, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did. The sound can only be turned off in the Options menu, and I strongly suggest you do so to save your sanity, as well as anyone else's who may be nearby.
  • Check MegaMan's statistics. While in Standby Mode, hit Confirm again to bring up the menu screen (default is MegaMan's Status, pressing left will go to the VS Mode screen, pressing right will go to Options). Now, hit Confirm once more and a screen displaying MegaMan's current Level, Experience Points, and Chip Points will be shown. Press left/right to cycle through more screens depicting Hit Points, Attack Power, Win/Lose Record in VS. Mode, Stages Cleared, and Recovery. Additionally, when you're at the screen showing Level, EXP, and CP, if you hit Confirm again, you'll go to the Password screen (you'll only see a password if you've unlocked it, this is for use in the MegaMan Battle Network 4 Game Boy Advance game, if you don't have said game, it's useless), press Confirm on the Password screen and you'll go to the Item screen where you can use the Full-E or elemental enhancement items, assuming you've acquired any (press left/right to scroll through them and Confirm to use one). Hit Cancel in any of these menus to go back to Standby Mode.
  • Battle viruses. In Standby Mode, assuming your HP haven't been depleted in a previous battle, shake your P.E.T. like mad and eventually an alarm will sound and the red LED light will begin to flash. Flip it open and get ready to lay the smackdown on one of several virus types (you've only got a minute to initiate the battle after the alarm, so don't dilly dally, unless you actually enjoy shaking your P.E.T. vigorously over-and-over again--I sure don't). Battles take place on a turn-by-turn basis, inside a simple 3x3 grid on your LCD screen--basically all you have to do is target the panel the virus occupies and press the confirm button to hit it, but the virus is constantly moving and there's a time limit, so it's not as easy as you might think. Unfortunately, you have no control over dodging your enemy's counter attack on its' turn, whether it hits or misses is simply a matter of luck as far as I can tell. Battles won't last more than five rounds, so if neither you or your opponent can destroy one another before that, the winner will be the one with the most energy remaining (and a draw favors MegaMan as the victor). Inserting battle chips into your P.E.T. at the start of your battle turn will provide you with various beneficial effects such as a multiple-panel target area or more damage per attack, but may also come at a cost such as restrictions on what panels you can hit. You don't have to use battle chips, but it does make things more entertaining/strategic, not to mention frantic, as you only have a small window of time to insert a chip. Winning virus battles nets you experience points (which will eventually lead to higher experience levels and better base statistics for MegaMan's attributes), and, less frequently, items [you can get permanent hit point/chip point/attack increases, a full-energy restore (for when you've lost a battle), and temporary elemental enhancements]. Winning a battle in as few turns as possible will increase your chances of getting items and the amount of experience you receive. I don't know how many different types of viruses there are, but, these are what I've encountered to date: Metar, Shrmp (water-type), Volgear (fire-type), and Bill. Also, on rare occasions, instead of a virus, you will instead receive an e-mail message. This may be a comment from one of Lan's friends or an invitation to a battle tournament against a rival NetNavi.
  • Recover. I hope you don't have to do this too often, because it sucks . . . REAL bad. Whenever you lose a battle, MegaMan loses all of his energy and can't fight again until he recovers it. How do you get it back? Shake, shake, shake your P.E.T. while in Standby Mode. It takes quite a while to accomplish this and is most definitely not fun, the only good thing I can say about it is that torture is a real good incentive not to lose a fight (whomever designed this aspect of the P.E.T. must hate losers, children, or both). You can easily tell when MegaMan is fully healed, in Standby Mode, because his face will become happy again, instead of exhausted. Alternatively, you can check the Recovery bar in the relevant MegaMan Status screens to see how much progress you've made (when the bar is full, he's healed). If you're fortunate enough to have the Full-E item, you can bypass this crap entirely and heal MegaMan instantly by using it. It would have helped if MegaMan would heal on his own, in real time, while the P.E.T. is off (i.e., gain a health bar every half an hour, over night, or something), but no such luck.
  • Battle other P.E.T. owners. Hook up two P.E.T.s with the included cable and battle your friend/rival for supremacy. This is very similar to a virus battle. Unfortunately, lacking another P.E.T., I can't try this out. The system keeps track of your wins/loses and the instructions imply that you might get something special if you rack up a lot of VS wins.

The P.E.T. is kind of an accessory in and of itself, but, even so, you get some additional items to enhance your P.E.T. battles:

- Battle Chips. These are molded in blue plastic, roughly two inches tall by one inch wide, and sport a colored decal. The metal contact points are golden in color. Each also sports a number, which likely correlates to the numerals they have in the actual Game Boy Advance video game. There's a small hole in the top left corner of each, probably so you could put them on a key ring or something. You don't actually need these to fight battles on your P.E.T., but they do add an additional layer of strategy/interactivity. In addition to the three chips you get with this set, every other MegaMan NT toy I've seen in stores comes with at least one battle chip. There are actually two kinds of chips, Attack and Ability; sadly, this set only comes with Attack chips, so I can't comment much on Ability chips other than that you can use both an Ability chip and an Attack chip in one turn and that Ability chips aren't restricted to one use per battle like Attack chips (although you still have to have enough CP--chip points--to use any given chip. Think of CP like magic points, MP, in a RPG). Considering this set comes with three chips to begin with, you'd think they'd give you at least one Ability chip to screw around with. Anyway, the underlying theme of this entire toy line is that you buy a bunch of the figures and collect the chips for use with this P.E.T. device. Having a wide variety of chip types to choose from gives you an edge in battle (i.e., you can use specific chips to take advantage of an enemy's elemental weakness, or even heal yourself, amongst other things). The trio I got consists of:

  • HeatShot (#019)
    CP (Chip Points): 1
    AT (Attack Power): 2
    Attack with fire elemental attributes (does double damage to wood elemental type targets) two panels in a horizontal line across the middle and right columns (can be moved up and down, but not left and right).
  • CyberSword (#048)
    CP: 2
    AT: 3
    Short range melee weapon that can strike one of the three panels in the left-most column (can only be moved up and down). Despite this being a sword, you still get a projectile animation on the screen when you use it--lame.
  • Attack +10 (#149)
    CP: 1
    AT: 4
    It does what it says, adding extra strength to your normal attack, dealing more damage to an enemy if you successfully connect (can be used to target any of the nine panels).
Of the three, I find Attack+10 to be the most useful, as it does the greatest amount of damage and has no restrictions on the panels it can reach. I've won many battles in a single hit with it. Conversely, CyberSword is the worst of the lot, as it only works in the left-most row, so your opponent has to "cooperate" and blindly move onto one of those panels for you to even have the chance to hit with it.

- Connecting Cable. As I don't have another P.E.T. to test this out on, I can't really comment on how well this works, although I will note that the instructions say you can experience some lag time during a fight. It's a black cable, with each end terminating in a metal prong. Tip-to-tip, it measures about 43 inches long. That's not a lot of room, so you'll have to sit pretty close to your buddy/rival when you battle each other (hopefully your opponent doesn't have body odor or bad breath, eh?). Either cable end plugs into the hole in the left side of a P.E.T. unit.

- Instruction Sheets. You get two of these, one in English, and one in French. They're illustrated and provide fairly good guidance for setting up and operating your P.E.T. There's a few things that could be better explained/clearer, but, all-in-all, a vital document (you'd have a hard time figuring out how to operate everything properly if you didn't have any references to work from).

(The following screenshot images are scanned from the instructions sheet.)

Believe it or not, I only paid sixty-nine cents for this, plus tax, and it was mint-in-package! How did I pull that off (and no, I didn't do it on eBay)? Well, I found it at a local thrift store, where it was marked ninety-nine cents, and they were having a 30% off everything sale (because they were moving to another building). I think this is the only time I've ever seen a MIP toy in a thrift store in my life (I frequently visit such establishments, hoping to find old/rare toys for bargain prices, like G1 Transformers).

Final Analysis:

- The price was just ridiculously cheap. Any day that you can get a brand new, fairly complicated electronic toy for sixty-nine cents is a good one.
- The P.E.T. unit has a neat design and the spring loaded cover is a nice touch. It reminds me of a Star Trek communicator, even though it doesn't look like one.
- Clear and relatively detailed LCD graphics. The digital text is large and easy to read.
- Gameplay does a good job of emulating the look/feel of the Game Boy Advance game battles, given the limitations of the system. While relatively basic, combat still has a fair amount of depth and leveling up MegaMan gives you incentive to keep playing.
- Good roleplaying prop, allowing children to make believe they actually have a NetNavi in their P.E.T. and are "jacking-in" to the internet to battle Net viruses.
- The sound effects drive me nuts, but they're just the kind of thing kids love.
- The clock function can be useful if you don't own a watch and carry this around with you.
- While the execution could have been better, I can appreciate that Mattel/Takara/Capcom tried to do something different with this MegaMan NT line, working to tie the toys into the video game, via the interactive P.E.T. device and battle chips. If you're going to buy a lot of MegaMan NT Warrior figures, then this is a pretty essential item to have as the chips are useless without it.

- Shaking the P.E.T. to achieve various effects is mildly amusing at first, but quickly grows irritating/frustrating, and then outright infuriating, especially when it doesn't seem to work all that consistently. I can't remember the last time a toy ticked me off this much. In particular, the length of time you have to shake it to revive MegaMan after losing a battle is enough to make you want to toss your P.E.T. at a wall and/or never play it again.
- While it costs considerably less, this is a poor substitute for a Game Boy Advance and an actual MegaMan Battle Network game cartridge. If you've got the funds, get the real thing--trust me, you'll be a lot happier. Game Boys are pretty small, so you can still pretend it's a P.E.T.
- The LCD animation isn't terribly impressive, not that one expects much on something like this.
- No "Off" button. Considering all the stuff this thing does, it doesn't seem like that much to ask for. You'll waste valuable battery power waiting for the thing to shut off by itself every time you're done using it.
- The sounds this thing makes are loud and obnoxious. I recommend turning them off in the options menus ASAP.
- Granted, I've got big, adult hands, and this is intended for children, but, even so, the P.E.T. isn't the most comfortable thing to hold during gameplay, and I found that both the bottom red piece, that slides out, and the black handle kind of get in the way when you're trying to push buttons.
- This is billed as the "ProtoMan Version", but, that only translates to a different colored P.E.T. as far as I can tell--you still control MegaMan as your NetNavi instead of ProtoMan. Lame.
- The packaging is way too big with lots of wasted space.
- Considering there are two types of battle chips, and this set come with three chips to begin with, you'd think they'd give you at least one Ability chip, instead of three Attack chips (I really could have used a healing chip to help me avoid losing battles, and consequently, irritating shaking sessions).

Where to Buy:
The only store I can recall seeing these in was the local Target, and that was years ago during an after-Christmas-clearance-sale (and if I remember correctly, they were going for $3-4 at that time). I considered buying one at that point, but decided not to and bought an actual MegaMan NT figure instead (CrossFusion MegaMan, who's still hanging on one of my walls, MOC). Unless you experience an extraordinary piece of luck like I did, your best bet at this date is probably eBay [that said, while I haven't seen any P.E.T.s, I have noticed that our local Big Lots! store (Marquette, MI) still has a few MegaMan NT figures (8-9" scale if I remember right), so you might want to check there if you have one nearby, who knows, you might find one]. I'd guess-timate that the original asking price was somewhere in the $15-20 range when these first hit store shelves around 2004. There is a blue "MegaMan Version" P.E.T., in addition to this red "ProtoMan Version"--I don't know if they come with different battle chip assortments or not, nor do I know if one version is any rarer than the other (I would think they'd make more MegaMan than ProtoMan ones, as he's the hero of the franchise, but I could be wrong).

For Parents:
Mattel recommends this toy for ages six and up.

- I'm only speculating here, but it seems possible that repeatedly shaking this thing, over and over, for an extended period of time, might cause some serious strain to one's arm/wrist/hand (it didn't take long for mine to get sore). At the very least, it's immensely irritating/frustrating--I don't think a child would have much more tolerance for it than an adult would.

- As this is an electronic toy, you'll want to avoid getting it, or the battle chips, wet, as it may malfunction or the metal parts could corrode. It's probably a good idea to keep it away from temperature extremes and out of direct sunlight as well. Normally I'd say don't subject it to shock either, but I think that's rather inapplicable in this case as playing with it involves shaking it vigorously on a regular basis.

- It runs on a single CR2032 button battery if you need to buy replacements. Make sure you get the polarity right when you put the new battery in or bad things may happen. To make things even more "fun", you only have 30 seconds to complete the battery switch without losing your child's existing save data. I can just imagine the earsplitting cries of, "Mom/Dad, you erased my game!!!"

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