Sunday, March 12, 2023

How Those Obscure Mobile Rockman Games Play: A First-Hand Account

Guest post by RockmanCosmo

During the early 2000s, feature phone gaming gained popularity in Japan, with some of the first cell phones connecting to mobile internet providers like DoCoMo's i-mode and KDDI's EZweb. Each provider had its own storefront for downloading and purchasing video games, many of which were designed specifically for on-the-go gaming. The Rockman franchise was no exception to this trend. 

Today, I'll be observing some of these obscure Rockman games with insights from NAO, who owns the hardware for many of these old titles. Although his phone is currently out of commission, he recorded some great gameplay, embedded below. 

(Huge thanks to dada7864 for helping me with translation.) Let’s get started!

Rockman GP

You may be familiar with Mega Man Battle and Chase, but did you know there was another racing game featuring the Blue Bomber? Rockman GP was released in 2004 for i-mode internet services, as well as for EZweb and Vodafone Live. However, according to NAO, it differed significantly from Battle and Chase

NAO remarked, "While the PSX version [Battle and Chase] felt like Mario Kart, this game felt more like Outrun or a good NES racing game. You have to compete with other racers, but hitting checkpoints is also essential to avoid getting a time-out. It was a little different from the PSX version due to the time limit game-over aspect." The game featured three playable characters: Mega Man, Roll, and Bass, each with a unique vehicle handling style. Additionally, the background music comprised "nice rearrangements of the PSX version," suggesting that some of the tracks were adapted from Battle and Chase.

Rockman Tennis
Moving on to another sports game, let's talk about Rockman Tennis. It was first released in 2007 for i-mode internet service and later in 2010 for the EZweb. NAO pointed out that there were unlockable characters by meeting certain conditions because there weren't many characters to choose from initially. 

For instance, X could be unlocked after completing a specific tournament. As for the soundtrack, NAO mentioned that "the background music changes depending on the character you pick, such as Roll having the 'Kaze Yo Tsutaete' theme. The tracks were very well arranged despite being just for mobile phones." You can hear one of the arrangements in NAO's gameplay recording. Presumably, other characters' themes were also rearranged versions of their respective stage themes, judging from Cut Man's theme in the same video recording. NAO found the game to be more challenging than expected and was unable to beat it.

Rockman: The Puzzle Battle
Rockman: The Puzzle Battle was released in 2011 for i-mode, EZweb, and Yahoo! Keitai (rebranded Vodafone Live). As its name suggests, it is a puzzle game. I asked NAO if it was unique compared to other puzzle games of the time. He said: 

“When you look at it from today's perspective, it almost looks like today's Puzzle & Dragons game. It's a game where you clear stones by collecting ones of the same type together. You can reduce the boss's health in accordance with the amount of stones you erase. If you wait for too long, your stones will pile up and it becomes harder to know which ones to erase, so it's a game that requires quick thinking and reflexes. However, as you erase more stones, there's a meter that fills up and eventually lets you use a special killer technique that matches your character, with which you can turn the tables.” 

NAO also mentioned that it was “a little difficult,” but fun to play regardless. 

Rockman DASH Golf
Rockman DASH Golf was released in 2003 for DoCoMo’s i-mode internet service through the Capcom Party storefront. Interestingly, there seems to be no video footage of this game online. I have only been able to salvage screenshots. Due to this lack of footage, I asked NAO about the gameplay. He said that “it was a top-down view of a course similar to what you'd see on an NES, and you could set a meter to adjust the speed of the ball.” From the best of his memory, DASH Golf didn’t have a story, and the three playable characters were MegaMan Volnutt, Tron Bonne, and a Servbot. It seems to be a straightforward golf game, just with a Mega Man Legends twist! Also, I asked NAO if he could describe DASH Golf’s soundtrack. He said, “The background music was quite nice because it consisted of rearrangements of the DASH music, such as the Apple Market at the start of the game.” 

That does it for this showcase of four Rockman feature phone games! As a side note, NAO said his favorite Rockman feature phone games were Rockman GP, Rockman Fire Panic and Rockman Space Rescue, due to their graphics and soundtrack. 

If you’d like to see the full transcript of NAO’s answers to my questions, you can read it here. Once again, big thanks to NAO for answering my questions. You can check out his YouTube channel here. I also owe a great deal of gratitude to dada7864 for serving as my translator. You can follow him here.

I hope you were able to learn something new about these pieces of lost Mega Man history!


  1. Some of those games seem interesting. I wouldn't have minded if they were ever released in the West during the boom of Java games!

  2. Not to keep showing my age, but I remember when these game out. I was particularly interested in The Puzzle Fighter because of its remixed soundtrack! It's nice to know that these games hold up despite being for very old cell phone hardware.

    Also, Rockman GP always felt like a Sonic Drift-alike, to me. Very similar art style and interface… Makes me wonder why no one's tried to turn Sonic Drift into a Rockman GP ROM hack! (Aside from it being obscure.)

    1. I don't know why I keep thinking it's "Fighter". The game is "The Puzzle Battle". Guh.

    2. Well there is a game called Puzzle Fighter Turbo, and it's also from Capcom. that's why i sometime get them mixed up personally

    3. As for showing your age, I remember when certain NES games were coming out and being hyped for MM6 in 1993 and seeing X mentioned in a Nintendo power magazine that came out not long after. Of course a friend of the family rented what I would later discover was MM1 that I played probably around 5 years old (maybe 1988), but the first MM game I owned was MM4 probably around 1992. I then went back and played 1-3 in order and then noticed the 1st one game was familiar since that friend of the family rented it before, then after that played and beat both 2 and 3 for the first time.

      MM1 was hard with Ice Man and Elec Man, as was the stages at the time. It was odd that you could go fight the bosses again vs empty room, and at the time, I did not notice nor comprehend the dimmer appearance of defeated bosses on the stage select and felt like it wasn't progressing since they came back when replaying the stage.

      Of course to be honest, I don't recall these mobile games since I didn't pay attention to these ones in 2000. I was into N64, PSX, and the GB and PS2 in the 1st half of the 2000s. So it was MM Legends and Legends 2 with Misadventures of Tron Bonne in 2000 for me, then X5, X6, X7, X8, and the Zero series for me in the years after, then ZX games.

    4. I meant GC (gamecube), not GB, but I did use a Game Cube DVD to play GBA Zero games on my TV called GB player, just as I had Super Game Boy to let me play GB games on the TV through the SNES and in color, like this:

  3. No…way…

    Footage of Rockman GP exists? Even when I did searches online for it using the katakana spelling, it never displayed NAO's channel among the search results, and the video he uploaded is from 2018. Good grief. Well, better now than never. I had always wished Rockman GP could have been released for smartphones, but I'm just glad actual gameplay footage exists. Thank you for linking this!

  4. Idk why but I vibe with the Megaman in that picture so hard.


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