20/09/2010

MY TOP 5 OVERLOOKED MEGA MAN MUSIC TRACKS

I think it's fair to say that I'm a fan of the music of the Mega Man series. You know why it's fair to say that? Because I think every Mega Man soundtrack in the original series is a work of genius. For anyone to produce music that good, that catchy and that complex through the NES soundchip... it's a thing of beauty, it really is. Considering they were composed to be throwaway background music, produced decades ago for a long-obsolete console, the fact that people are still listening to them, remixing them and even creating whole albums around them is pretty amazing.
Some of these Mega Man tracks get more attention than others. The soundtrack for Mega Man 2, for example, has had every track remixed, re-mastered and reinterpreted a million different ways. Magnet Man and Spark Man from Mega Man 3 seem to get a lot of love. However, put those famous tracks out of your mind, because this article is about five of my favourite Mega Man tracks that seem to get repeatedly overlooked in the harsh, unforgiving wilderness of the internet.

Hard Man - Mega Man 3


No sniggering in the back, please. He's called Hard Man because he's supposed to be a cement mixer (I think) and cement is hard. I distinctly remember trying to record this music from my television as a child, using the very ineffective method of holding a TalkBoy up to the TV speakers. It didn't work, and I had to wait for the internet to come along before I could listen it during the rare moments when I wasn't actually playing Mega Man 3.



His theme is just some funky and light-seeming, totally at odds with the mountainous theme of the level. Perhaps it is my fault for judging a man based upon the content of his level.

Dive Man, Mega Man 4


Yo ho ho, a submarine boss.



I love the way the NES noise channel sounds like drums and waves at the same time. That's really making the most of the equipment you have available. The little tom fills are excellent, too.

Charge Man, Mega Man 5


Another vehicle-themed boss, Charge Man is a train and he charges into you a lot. He looks like Thomas The Tank Engine's demented brother, and his music sounds like this:



More excellent use of the NES noise channel for the hi-hats at the start. There's an almost nostalgic feel to it, which I guess is supposed to evoke feelings of the long-gone Age of Steam, and possibly to distract you from Dr. Wily's stupidity in building a fighting robot that needs fossil fuels to operate in the far future. It's like taking the engine out of your car and getting a horse to pull it along instead.

Yamato Man, Mega Man 6


Yamato Man is a samurai robot, but his theme doesn't sound nearly as sterotypically Japanese as you might expect.



The chorus effect that comes in at about 0:32 is pretty excellent.

Shade Man, Mega Man 7


He's a robot vampire. That's pretty cool in and of itself, but then he gets this truly excellent theme:



It's like some kind of beautiful bastard child born of nasty musical sex between Mega Man and Castlevania. I think I want this played at my funeral. The section from 0:40 to 1:00 is one of my favourite twenty seconds of music I've ever heard. But that wasn't enough for Capcom. Oh no. Shade Man's stage features an easter egg, and if you hold B while selecting his stage, the regular music is replaced with Stage One music from Super Ghouls n' Ghosts. So he becomes the only Robot Master to get two different (and incredibly awesome) theme songs, thus cementing his status as Best Robot Ever.



So, those are my five favourite overlooked Mega Man tracks. Feel free to disagree with my choices or even simply not care. That's a valid choice too. No doubt someone will now tell me that these tracks aren't overlooked at all, and then direct me to some vast cache of remixes. Actually, that'd be great, please do that.

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