Jeremy enjoys gaming when not helping manage the college he graduated from.
What Is Mega Man Battle Network?
Blue bomber Mega Man stars in several separate video game titles and even anime series; one of the most unique iterations was his GBA (Game Boy Advance) Battle Network form. Battle Network was a series of video games set in the near future chronicling the adventures of Mega Man as a NetNavi, a cybernetic warrior who defends the internet from evil Navis and viruses. Sound strange? It was, but the games offered unique action role-playing experiences and the most awesome Bass yet.
Mega Man encountered many powerful Navis in his journeys, some friends, and some foes. Today, we'll count down the 10 most powerful NetNavis of all time! Be warned, spoilers ahead.
Operators and Navis
Most Navis have an "Operator," a human who helps them in battle by sending them collectable programs called Battle Chips that offer a variety of different attacks. Mega Man's operator is a boy named Lan Hikari.
All NetNavis have .EXE as part of their official name, but are commonly referred to without the suffix to save time.
Operator: The mercenary Dusk
One of the most feared NetNavis, ShadowMan works as an assassin to kill (or, as the game gently calls it, "delete") many NetNavis. His illusions and speed allow him to confuse opponents and win fights with minimal effort. When facing the rare foe who can challenge him, ShadowMan wields the powerful cursed sword, Muramasa, which deals more damage the closer ShadowMan is to death.
ShadowMan appeared as a secret boss in the first Battle Network, and reappeared in 2 and 5, the latter of which where he could be recruited to one's team. Shadowman's awesome design and swordssmanship help make up for the lack of Mega Man Zero in Battle Network.
Operator: Doesn't need one
ShadeMan's design obviously draws from vampires. Like his blood-sucking inspiration, ShadeMan proves a fearsome foe. Mega Man battles him twice without any of his attacks being able to touch ShadeMan, forcing a stalemate. Mega Man eventually defeats him by giving in to temptation and using the forbidden power of a Dark Chip.
Even then, ShadeMan is only temporarily downed. A side quest involving a cameo and teamup with Boktai protagonist Django unleashes the incredibly strong "Pile Driver" Program Advance on Shademan. That's gotta finish him, right? Nope. Even then, he reappears in the following game, though it's implied the Pile Driver has drastically weakened his powers.
In short, even if you somehow knock ShadeMan down, he'll inevitably just get back up again.
Operator: Doesn't require one
Shadow, Shade, and DarkMan? I'm sensing a theme here. Anyway, DarkMan is a secret boss in Battle Network 3, and he is encountered in an area so hidden it's literally called "Secret Area." DarkMan must be defeated before JapanMan and Serenade can be fought. He's the first of the Secret Boss trio, but he's by no means weak. Before facing Mega Man, DarkMan notes he's defeated 9,642 Navis in a row; when he reaches 10,000, Serenade will duel him.
DarkMan proves a very challenging opponent, and battles using fire, ice, and electricity in addition to dark attacks.
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Operator: Doesn't utilize one
Seventh place goes to the boss encountered after DarkMan in the Secret Area of Battle Network 3, JapanMan. He's a very talented spear fighter, assaulting Mega Man with a variety of fearsome techniques. He can also deflect Mega's techniques by spinning his spear.
JapanMan is theorized to be the Navi who gave the immeasurably powerful Navi Bass his scar. Scarring Bass is not an easy task to accomplish, nor is serving as Serenade's right-hand Navi, proving JapanMan's power. The Japanese versions of the game call him YamatoMan, which admittedly sounds much less silly.
Operator: Doesn't have one
An unusual Navi who used cutting edge technology to travel between the human and electronic world. Iris doesn't look like a fighter, and she tends to avoid conflict. However, she and Colonel team up to take down an incredibly powerful Cybeast by fusing together to achieve their perfect form. Her methods of fighting aren't shown, but she's clearly a surprisingly fearsome battler with powers rivaling Colonel's. Speaking of which...
A mysterious Navi with shifting allegiances, Colonel is both a reliable ally and a dangerous enemy to Mega Man. Colonel's powers are evident throughout the series, especially when he and Iris are able to bring down a giant Cybeast by themselves in the final game, Battle Network 6. The two can also fuse together to further increase their strength.
Colonel fights with his trusty sword and "Screen Divide" ranged attack. He can also summon small soldiers to fire at opponents, and place large cubes to act as shields.
Operator: Eugene Chaud
The "rival" of the series, ProtoMan and Mega Man tend to disagree on methods but both fight for the sake of mankind. Mega relies mostly on guns, while Proto uses swords to slice foes to bits. Another contrast is that while Mega Man was born with natural talent, ProtoMan and his operator Chaud achieve their power by training for 10 hours every day. That's some serious dedication.
ProtoMan's had to bail out Mega Man from tight spots more than once, and is shown to fight superbly even when blinded. He's both fast and powerful, and many characters in-universe regard him as the strongest Navi. He can also block strikes using a shield and warp into his foe's area, making him one of the harder bosses to face, and his ultimate technique (and eventual Giga chip) Delta Ray Edge shreds enemies with three powerful slashes.
3. Mega Man.EXE
Operator: Lan Hikari
The main character of the Battle Network series, and the Navi you'll be playing as. Mega Man is a versatile warrior with the ability to borrow the attacks of allies he's made, and he's defeated hundreds of opponents throughout the series. He even took down a Cybeast by himself, something it took a combination of Colonel and Iris to achieve.
At his best, Mega Man may just be the strongest Navi in the series. However, his powers seem to fluctuate from far below Bass to slightly above him. Additionally, Mega Man is heavily reliant on receiving Battle Chips from operator Lan, preventing him from taking top spot.
Operator: Really doesn't need one
A Navi with the ability to absorb power from defeated foes, Bass (pronounced "base," like baseball) serves as a secret boss in almost every Battle Network game; he's also the final secret boss of the last game. And he is hard. Throughout his appearances, Bass's techniques include a regenerating aura, rapid gunfire, giant energy spheres, dark swords, energy wheels that home in on their target, and more.
In the story, Bass was betrayed by mankind, and it took an entire team of elite Navis to take him down (Japanman was theorized to be a part of this group, inflicting a scar on the emblem under Bass's cloak. Bass barely clung to life, and swore vengeance. Him and Mega Man have clashed throughout the series, with various outcomes. On one notable occasion, he completely outclassed Mega, fighting him in a battle that you, the player, are forced to lose. Who could be stronger than a Navi like that...?
Operator: Really, really doesn't need one
Serenade, a Navi so powerful and terror-inducing that those who speak her (his?) name only refer to her as "S." Serenade was designed as the perfect Navi with a genderless appearance; fans like to debate the sex of this character. She is the last of the Secret Area boss trio in Battle Network 3; reaching her is hard and beating her is harder. But for all the fear Serenade seems to inspire, she's a surprisingly kind entity, stating her love and respect for her opponent as the source of her powers; perhaps others are simply scared of what would happen if they made an enemy of her.
Serenade once battled Bass in a fight that lasted days, eventually emerging the victor. This makes her the one and only Navi, besides you playing as Mega Man, to have defeated him in single combat. Before battling Serenade, Mega Man even states "this Navi isn't like anything I've ever faced before!," implying he views her as more powerful than Bass.
All in all, don't mess with Serenade.
How Good Are the Battle Network Games?
Hopefully you've enjoyed examining the strongest warriors of this bizarre but memorable Mega Man series! Battle Network offered a unique action-RPG blend with an addictive battle system you won't find elsewhere. One of the GBA's most underrated titles, I recommend it to anyone searching for a classic action-roleplaying (and battle chip collecting, almost like a trading card game) adventure.
The series was followed by the direct sequels of Mega Man Star Force for the Nintendo DS, but those games never quite offered the charm of Battle Network. Still, no matter which Mega Man iteration you prefer, vote for you favorite Navi and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: What is the strongest Mega Man Battle Network form?
Answer: Hard to say, since his abilities change from game to game. He used to have "style changes" that altered his element and charged buster shot, but later gained "double souls" that drew powers from fellow Navis.
Still, in BN6, he attained crosses (basically superior double souls) that could be combined with also-new beast forms, offering his strongest abilities yet. I remember especially favoring the Erase cross combined with the Gregar beast, which offered an incredibly fast row-wide charge shot. So I'll tentatively say Mega's Erase Gregar form, although anything, where he had the wood element, was useful for healing in grass stages, while electric's ability to stun foes (without granting invincibility frames) was also fierce.
© 2016 Jeremy Gill
Nick on August 08, 2017:
I would put Kingman at like 10 because frankly, I love chess, so a character with that niche is pretty great.
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on June 12, 2017:
Hi Bx! I can tell you know a lot about this series, and you make some great points that honestly have me considering things. Here's more food for thought:
MegaMan and Bass both scale as the series progresses, true. Thus, is it fair to say that, had Serenade continued to appear, she probably would have been upgraded as well?
Iris never fights, you're right. As such, it's hard top accurately judge her capabilities, but the fact that her fusion with Colonel greatly strengthens him leads me to believe she possesses some impressive strength.
Shadowman's status as a secret boss in the first game, and the fact that he deleted Protoman in the second, boost him just above Searchman in my mind.
Yamato vs. Planetman is a fair contest we could consider all day haha. My love for Battle Network 3 gives Yam the edge, but it's definitely debatable.
Shademan may not have been the head honcho, but his invincibility without Dark Chips and his ability to continuously resurrect make me thing he's stronger. He's also great at corrupting Navis, like he did to Gutsman/Aquaman in BN4.
The Windman point is very interesting. In the games, Windman plays a negligible role and isn't particularly tough, but that description sure builds him up. He might be a good pick to put in Iris's spot.
BxSouljah on June 12, 2017:
As a long time fan of the MMBN series, I really enjoy your article, however here are some changes I would have made:
- By the end of BN6 I think it's more than safe to say that both Megaman and Bass outclass Serenade due to all the experience, abilities, and techniques each navi come to posses. I might even go so far as to say that Protoman and Colonel are stronger than Serenade by the series end.
- Iris isn't really a fighting netnavi, you never see her battle and you never really hear what combat abilities she possess if any. I think you could have just included her in Colonel's spot.
- I like the addition of Shadowman, but if you're going to include him, why not a seasoned military veteran like Searchman? His ability actually counters Shadowman's (doing double damage) and therefore would deserved to be placed above him.
- I think I may have swapped Yamatoman for Planetman in your list; if only because he does become the temporary leader of WWW in BN2 and is the last story character you fight in that secret area. Lastly both navis only appear in one mainline game.
- I see why you included Shademan on your list; however I think it would make morel logical sense if he was replaced with either Laserman or Cosmoman. Simply because both of those navis I just mentioned, were at one point or another, leaders of Nebula. And I feel that the strenght and power of these navis is the reason they are so high up on the totem pole.
- The only glaring omission I see here besides Searchman would most likely be Windman and here's why, "He is considered a god on his homeland, Scissor Island, because of his tremendous power which is sealed away most of the time by Lilly's GrasFlut. Once unleashed he is uncontrollable." - mmkb wiki
-Some of my honorable mentions would include: Kingman, TomahawkMan, Eraseman, Mistman, and Bowlman.
Excellent article my guy!