Monday, April 18, 2011

Underrated Mega Man Songs

The same songs are always mentioned when the question of “What are the best Mega Man songs?” comes up. I thought it might be fun to point out a few songs you never hear about.

5. Mega Man and Bass (GBA) – Pirate Man - “Marine Wreck”

This one has a really fresh feel to it. It’s a calm, subdued sort of tune, which is few and far between in the world of Mega Man. It has a beat to it, and keeps a pretty strong pace throughout the song, but the whispered tones of the notes hold on to that relaxed vibe.

Oddly enough it’s a water stage tune. I don’t know what it is about video game soundtracks and using soft, melodic tunes for their water-themed stages, but I love it.

This one in particular is incredibly relaxing. When you listen to it away from the game, you can hardly believe that it would fit into a Mega Man game. Go ahead, give it a listen.

4. Rock Man Battle and Chase (PS) – Wily’s Course - “Duel”

This song opens with a really cheesy, over-the-top introduction that makes you feel like you’re listening to some kind of 80s movie soundtrack featuring hair metal bands or something.

I assure you the song completely changes tone within a few seconds. 16 to 17 seconds, to be exact.

It still holds on to some kind of weird hair metal band feel to it, but in that awesome Japanese way. It switches between this heavy, high-powered riff to a softer and much more melodic touch (with dual guitars and synths!) which just sounds awesome.

This is an awesome song to get you pumped up and completely suits this game, which features Mega Man characters in a sort of Mario Kart rip-off. I say rip-off, but the reality is that all the video game companies have done this sort of thing. Namco even had a Pac-Man racing game.

Anyway, tangent aside, this is an awesome tune. Go, enjoy.

3. Mega Man II (GB) – “Air Man's Theme”

That’s right, there’s another Air Man theme! I know what you’re thinking. It can’t possibly be better than the theme from the NES title, and it’s not. That doesn’t take away from the fact that this tune is also really awesome.

I actually really like Mega Man II – aka Rockman World 2 in Japan – for the Game Boy. In the past I’ve often given up on Game Boy games because of the simple, monochrome graphics. That is a regret of mine, but one game I totally gave a chance and loved was Mega Man II.

I snagged a copy of it when I got my Game Boy Advance, many moons ago, and I couldn’t put it down. Here I was amidst all kinds of great handheld titles like Golden Sun and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and I still found the time to hammer out this old Game Boy game.

One of my favourite parts – which surprised me totally – was the music, and the song that stuck out for me the most was Air Man’s stage.

It is very Mega Man – if that can be a description – but I think you get what I’m laying down. It feels like an old 8-bit Mega Man theme song from stem to stern. It’s just really solid. You can sort of feel the limitations of the hardware, but the song is still there. Give it a listen.

2. Mega Man IV (GB) – “Title Theme”

I love this song, but, in my opinion, it does not fit a title screen. It always shocks me that they decided not use this in a stage of the game.

The song has a very interesting vibe and hook to it. It just gives you that amped up feel only a Mega Man tune can. To me, this is a song you find in a Wily Stage, while you’re winding down the game.

It is a little more placid than, say, one of the final Wily Stages, but it totally suits a Wily Stage 1 or something along those lines.

It has the epic touches you’d expect to excite you for the final parts of the game. It should have at least made its way into one of the robot master’s stages, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. It is still a great song, and you can enjoy it here.

1. Mega Man 7 (SNES) - "Wily Stage 1"

Now here is a Wily Stage 1 theme! I might be totally making this up in my head, but I find that there is a distinct feel to a Wily Stage 1 theme in the Mega Man games. Heck, not just a Wily Stage 1, but the first of the final stages in general. Compare this song to, I don’t know, Sigma Stage 1 from Mega Man X and you’ll hear what I mean.

It’s what I alluded to in the second entry of this list. They have a sort of specific feel and air to them that makes them a Wily Stage 1 theme. They exhilarate you for what is coming up, but at the same time not so much as music you’ll often find in the very last stage.

This song certainly fits that archetype. It has a slick atmosphere to it. Much like a few of the other songs on this list, it’s very cool and soft. It however builds well, helping to push the player on as he/she enters the final stretch of a Mega Man game.

Say what you will about Mega Man 7, but if you listen to this song, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.