You fight enemies on a battle field that is a grid of 3x5 squares. MegaMan is restricted to moving on his row of the battle field. (Your row is visible as the first row on the very bottom of the screen. This is the row MegaMan is standing on even though it looks like it is in front of him; they had to make the row really wide so that you could see it.) That means you can move only left and right. The enemies get the rest of the space. Most enemies are found in the 9 squares of the 3x3 area on the far end of the field; however, they can enter the remaining row that is right in front of you, though mostly they do this only to attack.
Most of the time you view the field straight forward, over MegaMan’s shoulder. But at certain times, the camera will shift around. (You can turn this off during battle by pausing, then turning the camera off on the resulting menu.)
To attack, fire your buster or use special items called Battle Cards. You can select to use up to six cards per “round” (when the bar on the right of the screen fills up, you can open your “Custom Screen” to choose new cards); however you are restricted in what sort of cards you can use at a time as explained below.
Cards that you pick up throughout your adventures are stored in your Card Box. Cards that you have prepared to use during battle are in a “Folder.” However, during battle you can’t pick just any card from your Folder; when a battle starts, you are given a choice of six cards picked randomly. When you choose to use one or more of the cards, in the next round the ones you used will be replaced with other random picks.
Each card can only be used once per battle, and you must use the cards in the order you selected them. You can see which card is up next and also how many you have left to use based on the icons at the bottom of the top screen.
MegaMan is restricted to moving on the three panels on his row of the battle field. That means you can move only left and right. When enemies use attacks, the tiles that will be affected will flash briefly, so this helps you to know which way to dodge.
MegaMan’s buster charges automatically whenever you are not using it. Hold down the button to blast enemies with a rapid-fire stream of shots. When the buster is fully charged, press the button to fire off the super-shot. You lose your charge if you take a hit, use your shield, or (in some games) use a Battle Card.
Your shield can be used to defend yourself. It lasts a couple of seconds, though sometimes you can cancel it early. The shield will block most shots, but note that some attacks are “piercing,” which means they will go through your shield. Also, you cannot guard against enemies that hit you with direct bodily contact. You must learn through experience which attacks to block and which to dodge.
When you open your Custom Screen, you will have six cards to choose from. Normally, you can pick any two cards as long as they line up in a column. You can also select multiple copies of the same card, no matter where they are located. (Certain things that you get throughout the course of your adventure may alter these rules.) Furthermore, white Battle Cards (the ones with the gray-white border) can be paired with any other card regardless of position.
When you are editing your Folder, you select six “Favorite” cards. These cards are treated as white cards when they come up in the random draw (so don’t bother selecting white cards as favorites).
Press on the control pad to initiate your lock-on. (You don’t have to hold the down button. Just press it.) You can only lock-on in certain directions; arrows point in these directions to indicate this. Once an enemy is lined up in your sights, a target cursor will appear on him, and that’s when you use a Battle Card! This will cause MegaMan to warp forward and then attack.
You can use this to hit enemies that are far away using short-ranged attacks like swords. However, this works for almost any card, except those that dim the screen. Note, though, that when MegaMan jumps forward, he’s not invulnerable. You might end up warping yourself straight into an enemy attack, so use this wisely.
When you hit an enemy with a Battle Card during a specific part of its attack sequence (usually, this is when the enemy is starting its own attack), you will trigger a Counter Hit. When this happens, you are given a random card from your equipped Folder, and you can now use this Bonus Card as if you’d selected it from the Custom Screen yourself.
You cannot get Bonus Cards by countering enemies using a Bonus Card.
When you are using a Star Force form or certain other transformations, any Bonus Card you receive becomes a “Star Force Big Bang” card (or the equivalent for the transformation in question) for as long as you hold the form.
A BrotherBand is a way of linking up your game with someone else’s. There are two main forms of BrotherBands: in-game (e.g. plot-related), and real-life BrotherBands.
The plot-based BrotherBands allow you to form BrotherBands with characters in the game itself and generally this happens automatically based on the plot. The real-life BrotherBands allow you to Brother up with a real-life friend who also owns the game. These are generally kept separate, though you have a maximum limit on the number of Brothers you can have in either case.
Forming a BrotherBand with a friend can allow you to send messages to that friend, and also allows you to sometimes use each other’s cards during battle. Using BrotherBands can also allow you to access features from another verison of the game, if you form a BrotherBand with someone who owns a different version of the game than you.
Once you have a title menu star, you can do things and then save again without losing the icon on the title screen. The Star Force games are generally designed to avoid “lost forevers,” so by the time you reach the end of the game, you should be allowed to revisit any area and finish any quests or other things that you missed along the way.
Having a title menu star will allow you to access areas and do other things that you could not do before you beat the game for the first time. These areas are usually filled with high-level viruses (more powerful than what you encountered just in the normal course of the game), and frequently require you to fulfill certain requirements in order to continue (such as defeating EX or SP versions of bosses, or collecting all of the Battle Cards, or something along those lines).
In most games it’s possible to gather a collection of title menu stars, each one granted for fulfilling a particular condition. These conditions are usually things like filling out your Battle Card Library and beating certain hidden bosses.