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RELEASE DATE (JP): January 15, 1993 GENRE: Board Game
// review by SoyBomb

When Roll could roll.

Does anyone remember a brisk, rainy Saturday afternoon where there was nothing to do? All of a sudden, someone exclaims, "Hey, wanna play Monopoly?" And everyone else replies with cautious optimism that they'll agree to play. Nobody REALLY loves to play Monopoly, and even fewer people play with the correct rules. Then, fast forward to about two hours later where one person has about seventy billion dollars in cash, swank hotels, and properties while everyone else is dirt poor, burdened with a few measly one dollar bills and trying to weasel their way out of paying their Baltic Avenue rent by offering discount back massages before someone just curses so loudly, local stray cats cover their ears with their paws in appallment, and throws the board and all its related items out the window into a now-wrecked tulip garden below. This is the textbook definition of every Monopoly game ever played. But Capcom wasn't listening because they created a Monopoly-style game with Mega Man characters! But guess what: it's actually not bad at all.

Wily & Right no Rockboard: That's Paradise is a Japan-exclusive game for the Famicom (the Japanese NES for those out of the loop), released in 1993 — rather close to the end of the console's life cycle. This was probably meant to capitalize on the series' popularity at this point. You'll get to pick one out of five characters from the series and play through a series of Monopoly-type boards, either against a friend or against up to three CPU-controlled players. In a surprising move, Mega Man is NOT one of the playable characters. Though not completely absent from the game, it's bizarre not to feature Mega Man prominently in a game from the series. Instead, you have your choice of Dr. Light, Dr. Wily, Roll, and Kalinka and Dr. Cossack from Mega Man 4 (people we DEFINITELY love, oh yes). Why not include Dr. Light's drinking buddy from the Lodge while we're at it?

It's also notable that Wily & Right no Rockboard introduces one new and rather rarely-seen character: Reggae the mechanical bird. Although characters such as Eddie, Auto, and even Duo get additional roles in subsequent games, the poor black bird simply didn't get much public love and affection. He's rarely seen in games outside of Japan, except as the shopkeeper if you play as Bass in Mega Man 10. His face will also appear if you input an incorrect password in Mega Man 7.

All the lakes sure look square. I wonder how Mother Nature did it!

There are four different boards available. You'll start out in the pictoresque greenery of... "Green Town"?! Oh. Next up, you'll head north to the frigid wastelands of "Cold Island", followed by a dusty romp through the desert... er, sorry, it's called "Hot Zone". Hot Zone. Hot. Zone. A zone that is hot. I don't think my eyes could possibly roll far enough into the back of my head. Finally, you'll arrive at the almighty "Megalopolis", which is shaped remarkably like the United States, complete with a small unreachable island at the top left corner to perhaps represent Alaska. Sorry, no blocky Hawaii. Each of these areas feature a path of spaces to land on, occasionally breaking off into multiple routes across the board. Ultimately, your goal is to have more property and funds after a set amount of time.

Whenever your turn arises, you'll get a few choices of action. The first, naturally, is to Roll (get it?), and for whatever reason, you can move up to 8 spaces depending on the result. Landing on a property space gives you the option to buy it or, in a strange twist, build on the land even if you don't own the property. The only drawback here is that having a building on someone else's property lowers the amount of rent you can claw in. Another option you can use is to check out your stats, look at the large-scale map, or use a card, which I'll speak to next.

Monopoly prides itself on its Chance and Community Chest spaces, giving the player a chance at either fortune or misfortune, depending on what card the player flips. Rockboard's a little different. Some spaces will offer you the chance to earn a card to use later. Perhaps it will be a Robot Master card — with the faces of various bosses on them — which is used on the board to various effects. For example, earning a Bubble Man card will cause the prices in all lots to decrease. Other character cards, such as Eddie or Rush, offer immediate bonuses such as extra money. Landing on other spaces

Instead of going to jail, however, Rockboard forces you to play temporarily as Dustman, whose sprite looks a little goofier and who can't purchase properties. He can, however, use his vacuum head to suck money out of spaces, which isn't a bad thing. Oh, and passing Go to collect money is present as well... but it's an E-Tank space! Life up!

Oddly enough, many of the sprites were redrawn for Rockboard, rather than pulled directly from the previous games. Roll now looks an even MORE generic female than before, and I didn't even think that was possible. All players are given brand new portraits to illustrate their emotions after each board event, whether they be in their favour or rather irritating. They're usually nice to look at, although Dr. Light has a bad tendency to make the goofiest faces possible.

Yes! I'm a slumlord!

The soundtrack draws from classic Mega Man tunes past. The Green Town music is a re-arranged version of Wood Man's theme from Mega Man 2, slowed down to actually sound a bit more depressing. Guess that matches the theme of real estate transfers over fighting for justice. Usually you can tell a classic Capcom soundtrack a mile away, and occasionally it's true here, but sadly, this one doesn't have the same atmosphere.

Though not a necessity for your collection, Wily & Light no Rockboard is actually a Mega Man spin-off that is surprisingly amusing, if not technically impressive. On a rainy day, this would be more than enough to entertain a few friends. But, like Monopoly, don't expect to keep those friends for long once you've raked in all of their money, all of their properties, and all of their favourite sequined pants.

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