MegaMan Battle Network 2 is on the Virtual Console. I almost forgot, but was reminded when USGamer put up a review of the game.
Battle Network 2’s re-emergence prompted me to look into a couple of things, including whether or not it still has an “E for Everyone” rating from the ESRB. Verdict: Yes it does. But it probably shouldn’t.
By now we all know the ESRB reviews game content in an indirect manner. It certainly doesn’t sit down and pick over every bit of potentially offensive content, then rate its study accordingly. But there’s a lot of weird stuff going on in Battle Network 2 that probably should’ve been, well, noted.
First off, there’s a sequence where Lan wins a rap battle for some whiskey.
This scene is absolutely magical and it’s cruel to make me pick out the best part. Do I highlight the borderline offensive “thug speech?” Should I remind the audience that the rapper tells Lan to go “suck on [his] momma’s milk?”
Or why don’t we talk about the fact the rapper just goes ahead and gives an underage boy his mickey? Eff the po-po, the kid can throw down.
Okay, so the whole sequence is certainly politically incorrect, but it’s harmless fun, right? Sure. Just Comic Mischief. But we should probably address Snakeman.EXE’s operator, Miss Millions, who has an orgasm while Netbattling an 11-year-old boy.
Lan’s probably like “Help, I need an adult. All the adults.”
There are a lot of smaller offenses peppering this game. The Gospel Net Mafia has no qualms about killing, and low-grade swearing is everywhere. It’s all of the “We’ll live like damn hell ass kings!” variety, but it’s not subtle.
There’s also a bit wherein Lan sees Yai naked (and Yai’s pretty titillated about it), but it’s illegal for a shonen game or anime to exist without at least one (1) embarrassing nude scene, so I’ll give it a pass.
It’s all pretty crude stuff for a game in a series that was specifically engineered for younger players; I don’t think there’s another game in the Mega Man series that teeters on the edge of an “E” (or the more modern “E10+”) rating, excepting Mega Man X4 for its bizarrely bloody anime cutscenes.
Either way, MegaMan Battle Network certainly toned things down after Battle Network 2’s bender. Presumably Capcom rounded up its localization team with the aid of a rabies pole and told them “This is a series about a boy and his dead baby brother. Have some respect for Christ’s sake.”