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Medabot Navi

Michael BakerMichael Baker RPGamer StaffRPGamer Staff
I have a new used GameBoy SP (thanks, Paws!) and a copy of Medabot Navi that I got out of my local Book Off a few days before the earthquake closed it indefinitely, so it seems like a good opportunity to see what it's like.


The game opens with a limo pulling up to a perfectly normal Japanese junior high school... that happens to be on the moon. This is the relatively advanced future of the series, where lunar travel is not only common (as it is in Medabots DS), but colonization and tourism are also very well advanced. The famous robattler Shiden Murasame and his little sister are visiting for unknown reasons, but that's not of any importance to our protagonist, Kasumi. He's more excited that he finally has is very own Medabot, nicknamed Far East.

Once he's got it together, he's immediately challenged by two school bullies, Gousetsu and Mizore. The battle against Gousetsu's Bugstink is ridiculously easy, because he apparently forgot to calculate his AP costs for both movement and attack, and now he can barely field his bot's laser attacks. He didn't attack once. Mizore's CutSickle was a different matter, but it wasn't too difficult to keep on the move away from him while using Far East's rifle.

(Should mention here that battles in this game are tactical. Every round, the bots renew their AP. Up, left, and right on the d-pad selects for different part skills, which have an AP cost. When one is selected, you can see the available move range plus the current attack zone for the skill. Any AP left over at the end of the turn gets added into the Medaforce bar.)

Unfortunately, Mizore is a very bad loser, and he steals Kasumi's Medal right after the fight. While he's running around trying to find the bullies, Kasumi hears a voice that calls him into the (normally locked) former school building behind the campus. Shiden sees him, and follows him in. Kasumi falls down a hole and finds a new Medal, just lying there on the ground. Shiden follows soon after, and they discover the source of the weird voice that Kasumi's been hearing: a strange Medabot that calls itself Mistral. For some reason, only Kasumi can hear it speak, though.

Skip forward a bit, and Kasumi is in the newspaper for his amazing discovery. To honor him, the RR Corporation has invited his entire class out to the Cluster, a sort of space station theme park, hotel, and research complex dedicated to the mysteries of the extraterrestrial Medabots. Niwaka, the class president, is rather put out by all the attention Kasumi is getting, and puts the poor boy through hell with a series of increasingly juvenile pranks. The worst one almost traps him in a storage area before the shuttle to the Cluster launches, but Kasumi's friend Hiyori lets him out.

Once they're finally up on the Cluster, Niwaka immediately goes up to the front desk and demands that he, as the class president, should be the first one in. Kasumi just walks through the door, clueless, and the rest of the class follows through, so Niwaka ends up being the last one in. That's one more thing he's going to hold against the protagonist, unfortunately.

Before everyone else arrives, Kasumi is greeted by Navi, the guidance computer for the Cluster. The conversation that follows is a little confused, because Kasumi is projecting a bit and the computer doesn't know squat about human emotions. I'm sure this won't be relevant later on... But then Hiyori arrives, and Kasumi hears Mistral calling him again. It's up in a display case in the Lobby Dome.

Shiden shows up and invites Kasumi into the next dome. He lets slip that he's somehow involved with the RR Corporation, but quickly moves on to the big deal: presenting Kasumi with the star Medabot of the game, Sonic Stag. This is Medabot Navi's version of the Kuwagata bot type. Yay. Then Shiden locks Kasumi in the room and activates the security measures. Uh-oh.

He only wants one thing from Kasumi, and it's not the Kuwagata Medal that got picked up near where they found Mistral. Shiden doesn't even know about that. Instead, he's demanding that Kasumi tell him exactly what Mistral said, because he doesn't believe that Kasumi told him everything already.

This battle is Sonic Stag vs. two Sea Otters, and it's remarkably difficult if you rush straight in to attack the leader. I lost twice before I hit upon what was either a winning strategy, or an exploit on the enemy AI. The two Sea Otters both went straight for these special squares in the corners of the map, so on my third try I just ran for one of the other squares like that and camped out. From then on, the enemy bots would take a turn to boost Medaforce, then rush over to my square, only by the time they got there, they had no AP left to attack. So I'd hit the nearest one with Sonic Stag's hammer attack, and the next turn it would retreat back to its base. Rinse, repeat. It was kind of odd, but at least they weren't hitting me with burning attacks or destroying my best armaments on the first turn, like with the previous attempts.

Shiden wasn't too happy that Kasumi beat the first set of security bots, so he left the poor kid with a bunch more while he returned to the Main Dome to schmooze a bit more. Hiyori is trying to get through the mob of girls to confront him when a loud BANG rocks the Cluster. The Kuwagata Medal in Kasumi's Sonic Stag had just activated its Medaforce transformation for the first time, and busted down a door, but that wasn't the source of the noise. Something - or someone - has deactivated Navi and manually enabled the Cluster's emergency separation protocols. The various Domes have just decoupled from the base station, and are now on their way to Zod knows where. Oh, and all the staff members with clearance to do overrides are currently in the Lobby, which is being left behind at ever increasing speeds. It's just us kids in the Domes.

Yes, the title of the review, when it finally comes, is going to be "Lord of the Beetles", because that's just about how this is looking to shape up. Class president Niwaka immediately tries to take charge, only to be turned down by the cool kids group as they exit. In frustration, he throws his class president's badge at Kasumi and storms out, with a few flunkies in tow. The bullies, Gousetsu and Mizore, leave soon after. Shiden and his little sister are nowhere to be seen, so it's just Kasumi and Hiyori for now.

And that's where I saved for the night. Trapped on a space station, headed into dangerous space, with at least five different groups of kids -- each commanding a My Little Panzer Medabot. This should be an interesting ride.


  • Anna Marie PrivitereAnna Marie Privitere Purr RPGamer Staff
    IIRC this one was developed by a different team than the usual crew at the time. I wonder why it was never localized.
  • Michael BakerMichael Baker RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Maybe because it's a lot harder (at the beginning) than the average Medabots game?

    Though some of the early fights would have been easier if I'd known how to do a Medaform transformation. All you have to do is hit Select to toggle from regular attacks to Medaforce to Medaform (if available). This is never mentioned in the game, so it's probably in the manual (which I do not actually own). Medaforms are only available if all of a bot's parts are still intact, and once it's chosen, there's no going back for the rest of the battle. The new form has a singular HP bar, though, so it's impossible to lose attacks due to getting "disarmed". Sonic Stag's Medaform abilities are Sword (head piece, 4 uses), Anti-Sea, and Anti-Air.


    OK, the first section of the real story plays out roughly the same several times over. Kasumi arrives at a new dome (which is usually just one large area), runs into one or more students, gets in a fight with them, and then the security bots arrive for a second battle. Generally, each dome is a specific terrain type, for testing different Medabot builds.

    Forest Dome: Kasumi and Hiyori get split up. Kasumi fights solo through several battles to get to the control center for the dome, turns off security there.

    Manhattan Dome: Runs into Fubuki, who's apparently a student from another school whose class arrived before Kasumi's. Thinks Kasumi is a spy. Fight. Security fight. Fubuki joins up.

    Manor Dome: The three popular girls in the class have commandeered this area. Fight. Security bots. Girls reluctantly admit that it might be safer going with Kasumi.

    Costa Dome: The sports club kids are hanging out on the island here, practicing their skills. Fight. Soccer girl takes out the first wave of security bots, but then they realize that Fubuki is from a different school, and they run before he can scope out their sweet moves. More security arrives. After it all is over, the sports kids trio joins up.

    Sahara Dome: The school bullies, Gousetsu and Mizore, are hiding here because no one else would let them into a better dome. First fight is them vs. Kasumi and Fubuki. They're so impressed with the new kid that they beg him to be their leader. While they're at it, the security bots swarm in, and Kasumi has to take care of them with Hiyori. Afterwards, they return the East Medal, which they stole from Kasumi at the very beginning.

    Computer Dome: This is the initial goal in the story. Hopefully there's something in there that can either stem the tide of security or help them contact home. While there, they discover that Shiden is using the RR Corporation's links to the Medabot Battle Rankings to insert himself into the top of the list. Kasumi, Hiyori, and the bullies (sans Fubuki, who's off messing with a computer) confront Shiden in the inner chamber of the dome. Shiden's got four MedaBall AI units to help him, but justice sort of prevails. After Shiden runs away in defeat, Kasumi reactivates Navi and makes contact with the MedaProfessor at the Medabot Research Center. The MRC and the RR Corporation have been working together on research at the Cluster, and everyone at the MRC is very concerned right now. Kasumi gets the West Medal, a new Tinpet, and the parts for Shiden's Medabot (after the previous fight).

    Mountain Dome: Here's where things start getting fun. While climbing the mountain in this dome, Kasumi and Hiyori find a strange man hanging from a cliff. His friends soon rush in to rescue him, and try to capture the kids. It's the... SPACE ROBO GANG! ... At least their outfits aren't quite as ridiculous as the Rubber Robos. Maybe. Once they've been beaten back, the kids head to the top to find the two foreign exchange students Hector and Pascal (both girls, despite the names) tied up where the Space-Robos left them.

  • Michael BakerMichael Baker RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Yup, that it is. Battles in Medabot Navi play out on a 9x9 grid, with different terrain types and several new or re-tooled skills that can affect placement and movement. It's also really hard to keep up with as a blog, because each of the twenty-some domes has two or three different scenes to go with it.

    After the part where I left off, I had a string of encounters which introduced the five leaders of the Space Robo Gang. There's Nyuudou the strong man of the Mountain Dome, Sekiran the flirty Venus, Rai-un the choleric press-gang recruiter, Kirika the creepy mystic, and Smog, who's got a really nasty hacking cough. At my current point in the game, pretty close to the end, I've had three set events with each of these guys. If one of the domes gets retaken by the Space Robos (happens pretty soon if you don't station classmates), then you get to fight them again in a secondary scene that can be repeated as many times as they retake that location.

    Right after the first sequence of Robo scenes, I also met Reini, Shiden's little sister who happens to dress up as a nun for some reason. Partly in this scene and partly in the Pyramid Dome scene later on, it's revealed that Fubuki was actually sent by Shiden to spy on Kasumi's party, but Fubuki gives that up as a bad idea and is 100% in Kasumi's camp.

    Speaking of Pyramid Dome, it's the goal for the second stage of the plot. Not long after the fight with Nyuudou, NAVI sends Kasumi an alert that there's a small asteroid on a collision course with the Cluster, and the remote engine controls are not responding. The manual controls are in Pyramid Dome. Also in Pyramid Dome is the DIY group, a trio of very stubborn students who have decided that if they want to get home safely, then they can't trust anyone else to do the job right. They're holed up in one side of the pyramid, because they've figured that it's the safest spot in the entire structure. After a battle, they run off.

    They actually show up again in a later section, the Mine Dome, which they have determined to be the linchpin between the upper and lower stages of the cluster. If they detonate bombs at the right spot, it'll detach the entire lower section, which, lacking engines, will quickly drift back towards the inner solar system. Kasumi has to defeat them, lecture them about how stupid the idea is and what about the other people, huh? and eventually they join the rest of the class.

    Farther up in the Cluster, there are little side domes with almost no decoration, but which can be used to develop new bots. Placing classmates with a good affinity for the dome will increase the speed of development. The first four or so are useful sets for Kasumi's AI Medaball-controlled bots. The little white fox bot is especially cute. The last four (of which I currently have two and am working on the others) are upgrades to Hiyori's, Fubuki's, and the bullies' bots.

    As of now, I am two domes away from the very top of the Cluster.
  • Michael BakerMichael Baker RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    So, the second-to-last dome... What a mess. It's a series of three separate battles, taking most of an hour to complete (IF you complete it), and no means of saving between them.

    The first is against Reini, to get her passkey to the inner part of the dome, because her brother Shiden got kidnapped and dragged inside before he could help us enter. Her bot's got nothing but evasion denial, defense denial, and skill-use denial, while her four Medaball-directed bots like to dish out Hold (decreases Action Points) and Bug (in most games, decreases accuracy; in this one, gives a decent chance that ANY action will fail). Combined with the weird fact that all of my bots suffered from lack of AP halfway through, regardless of if they'd been hit with Hold, and this was a tough one.

    The second battle is against the newest Space Robo commander, who doesn't give his name (though Hiyori has her suspicions). That one's VERY easy. Shiden pulls out his upgraded bot, the Goldrun, before this battle. Apparently he was going to wait till the next big tournament before showing it off, but he figures they might need it here. Everyone else is a bit annoyed.

    The third battle is against Luminous Stag, the upgraded version of the Kuwagata (Rokusho) series, which was made from designs based on the Mistral (the alien bot from the beginning). It's also a bit insane, and attacks anything in sight. This one took me three tries to beat (on top of having to fight the first battle far more than three times). Anyhoo, with it defeated, the main cast of six all have their upgrades handy.

    Kasumi: Luminous Stag. To be honest, this one's not that much of an upgrade. It looks cool, and it's got slightly higher stats (I think), but it's also got the same moveset, about the same HP, and no Medaform ability. I'm keeping it on a Medaball for now.

    Hiyori: Blazer Multi. Better HP than Blazer Mate, with the same good support skillset, and a flying movement type instead. Her new Medaform is a bipedal girl boxer, trading in the healing skills for some mid-ranged melee action.

    Shiden: Goldrun. No Medaform, and it doesn't tend to survive long in the battles I've used it in, but its head skill is DESTROY!, so that's good. I'm not sure yet which conditions need to be met for it to work, though.

    Gousetsu: BugShield. This one has Defend as a head move for both its base form and Medaform, and that's important. In its base form, Defend directs all attacks on allies in a certain range straight to the BugShield's head, which has 140 HP. In Medaform, it's got a combined HP of 350, making it far more durable as a defender. Also, the Medaform's version of Defense has a better range, AND it has napalm attacks instead of lasers. FYI, napalm's got better ranges for hitting stuff, and it cannot normally miss. Lasers have a really difficult range to use (like, halfway across the field or so), miss a ton, and require twice as much AP.

    Fubuki: Toremic. Again, the best part is the Medaform. It makes her more durable by pooling HP and eliminating the worry that she'll lose her weapons to early damage, plus she's got more flexible ranges and lower AP costs in ladybug form.

    Mizore: CutScythe. One of these days, I'll actually use him more. I can tell you he absolutely stinks on cloud terrain, which is most of the last few battles up at the top of the Cluster.
  • Michael BakerMichael Baker RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    So, in the topmost dome of the Cluster, we confront the newest Robo commander, who (as Hiyori suspected) is actually former class president Niwaka. His upgraded RoseBouquet wasn't nearly enough to save him from his classmates.

    However, there's a new problem. We've arrived at the Space Robo asteroid base.

    First zone of the base is easy enough. It's a bunch of mooks with Libra and Aquarius bots. Libras have anti-sea and anti-air, but use the former almost exclusively. Aquarius are more dangerous, but only every other round, because of their Cross-Attack skills. You need the Cross Set skill to activate it, then the next turn you can use the Cross Fire skill for (hopefully) massive damage. I only have one character with this skillset, Pascal the exchange student, and one newly assembled bot that has just Cross Fire, but not Cross Set.

    Second through sixth zones belonged to each of the five Robo commanders in turn. In four of these zones, there were also parts for the Bunny Girl medabot, who's cute but not really useful from what I can see. The five commanders are fielding the exact same bots, so the main challenge came from the new types that their underlings had. Cancers and Sagitarii were the weirdest, because they had changing arm-parts that made it hard to predict what they'll hit with. Also, Nyuudo's Leo and his Cancer buddies are all inordinately accurate with laser attacks >_<

    The eighth zone featured all five commanders together. Since the leader bot (Smog's Capricorn) could medamorph into a flying type, this battle is pretty easy. SonicStag just needed to spam Anti-Air in its own medaform. Kirika's Virgo will try to shield the others from damage, but she only lasts two hits at most.

    The ninth battle is the one that had me tearing my hair out for half the past week. The leader of the Space Robos reveals himself with a flourish, locking his commanders in cryo tanks for their failure before inviting Kasumi and co. up to see him. Professor Kazanbai is tough, and the fact that you can't save before him makes things more annoying. His Ophiucus bot isn't too tough, but he's backed by a pair of Libras and a pair of Aquarii, and those latter two are the real danger. Cross Fire only hits every other round, but a single hit can take out any bot on your side except BugShield in medamorph form while defending. I had to experiment with a lot of different tactics, determining along the way that Cross Fire does NOT set off Shot Traps, before I spammed Cross Fire on my own side and prayed I could take out the Ophiuchus before everyone on my side died. I barely managed on the twelfth try.

    But yay! Obvious final villain has been defeated! Smooth sailing from here on, right?


    After a scene in the Cluster's control room, Navi sends a red alert. Something weird is going on in the Lobby. But the only thing there is... Mistral. The mystery medabot from outer space has grown into a large tree while no one was watching, and it's redirected the Cluster to Jupiter, somehow. The Cluster's drives should not have been able to do that. Of course, that's not nearly as impossible as the space ship that is now forcibly docking with the Cluster in Jovian orbit, or the fact that Mistral has disappeared from its container.

    It takes a LOT of persuading to get Navi to let everyone out, because its programmers put a lot of work into that Third Law section of its programming. The fact that the Cluster only has three days of life support left helped Shiden make the case for a now-or-nothing attempt on the alien ship. The computer's only stipulation is that Kasumi takes along the digital entity's new physical avatar, a relentlessly cute medabot called Naviko.

    Not far into the space ship, we find Nyuudo in stiff battle with a security bot. His Leo gets trashed, and he's trapped on a rock. Kasumi insists on saving him, which isn't too difficult. Nyuudo is reluctantly thankful, and sort of goes along with the group.

    Next zone in, and it's Sekiran who's getting her Scorpio wasted by security. The security bots freeze her in place, but Nyuudo and Kasumi aren't about to let them take her. This time, the leader bot is a swimmer-type, which means SonicStag's Anti-Sea missiles make things so much easier again. After this, Nyuudo and Sekiran officially join the party.
  • Michael BakerMichael Baker RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Anyway, three more battles, three more Robo leaders added to my contingent. Difficulty and strategy varied, but the fifth of the spaceship battles was probably the toughest. The enemy leader had high defense and spent the first five rounds hitting everyone with de-leveling skills. His backups were all pupa-type Beetle and Stag Medabots, who generally spent two or three rounds charging their MF gauge before medamorphing into (more powerful) Beetle and Stag forms.

    Then came the final showdown. Prof. Kazanbai was there, already trapped by the final boss: Mistral, in his true form. Mistral was sent to Earth ages ago to document the development of human/Medabot cooperative technology, and with the data resources of the Cluster he's finally got everything he needed. So Mistral is prepping for the return trip home, and he'd really intended to return everyone to Earth, but... There's the matter of Naviko. Somehow, as shown through her reactions and emotions all through the spaceship battles, the little AI has gained a sort of digital soul, and that is so far outside the expertise of Mistral's homeworld that he is compelled to take Navi and her creators (i.e. us) with him.

    Naviko gets a nice little speech, including the most lines of voiced dialogue to be found in the entire game, and then Mistral links up with her to force the desired data from her memory core. She promptly hacks Mistral back, then commits digital suicide via total self-deletion. Both Naviko and the main Navi core are sacrificed to protect these squishy humans she's come to admire, in the hopes that they can escape.

    So of course the humans decide to fight the weakened Mistral instead. It's not a terribly difficult fight, if things go right, but if they go wrong... Well, from the very start it's possible to put some real damage either on an aquatic type or aerial type enemy with the SonicStag's medaform, but that same aerial type is a parts-changer, and one of the potential weapons on his list is Anti-Air (which will absolutely murder SonicStag's medaform). One of the other follower bots in this battle has a MF skill that hits everyone with confusion, which is entertaining but not conducive to survival. Mistral himself has Repair, Revive, and a medaform that has the same moveset, so parts sniping is of limited use in this battle and the followers tend to be more difficult to take out than they should be. Mistral also has a drain attack that hits hard, so even by himself he can still take down Kasumi's leader bot.

    Anyhoo, humanity prevails, and a penitent Mistral (now reduced to just a sproutling instead of the grand tree he was in battle) not only allows them to return to the Cluster, but then transports the Cluster to Earth orbit in the span of a few seconds. A little later on, Reini (who'd been in the Computer Dome with Navi for the big fight) reveals that she managed to save a backup of Navi inside the MedaWatches of the six main characters (Kasumi, Hiyori, Shiden, Gousetsu, Mizore, Fubuki), and the reconstruction process begins. Everybody's happy, hurray.

    And after all this, there's the post-game. The Cluster is open for business, and there are battle challenges in every dome except the very bottom, which has never had a use, from what I can tell. Finally, there's a good chance to collect a lot of the parts. It only took 33 hours to get to it.

    Review to come sometime this week!
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