Game Music

Review: Mega Man 9 Original Soundtrack Rocks, Should Rename Series “Rock Man”

September 23, 2008 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Review: Mega Man 9 Original Soundtrack Rocks, Should Rename Series “Rock Man”on Twitter

After drooling and raving about Mega Man 9 at E3 and Comic Con this year, like many of you, I finally got my hands on the full version of the game yesterday and am completely impressed by the difficulty of the game and of course the music. It provides an interesting blend of old and new sounds, giving Mega Man 9 its own distinct flavor.

While Capcom kept a lid on who was handling the game’s music, it turns out that members of Inti Create’s sound team (called “III”) were responsible, including group leader Ippo Yamada with Ryo Kawakami, Yu Shimoda, and Hiroki Isogai, all of whom are listed as arrangers and computer programmers, which is a play on the techniques that composers had to use when creating music on the NES back in the day.

So, does the Mega Man 9 soundtrack live up to the hype? Read our impressions after the jump.

The album kicks off with the three opening pieces, starting with the sweet and serene “Opening 1” that really captures the Mega Man spirit before moving into the funky “Opening 2,” which yields a contemplative mood that suggests something is amiss. Following the opening tracks, “Title” is a piece that we’ve discussed in the past, and is completely amazing and powerful; I just wish it was longer than 23 seconds long.

Getting to the robot master themes, “Conrete Jungle (Concrete Man Stage)” strikes first, mixing some great rhythmic percussion with an epic ascending melody. The chorus sports some fast paced arpeggios, and it truly is one of the best tracks on the album. “Thunder Tornado (Tornado Man Stage)” comes next, sounding great with a shifting backup melody and bassline, giving the sensation of constant movement. This piece was used in some Mega Man 9 trailers though, so I can’t shake the feeling that this is trailer music.

Next up is the beautiful “Splash Blue (Splash Woman Stage),” which features a sort of sassy charm that one would expect from this unbelievably hot (I kid) robot master. The reverb used here effectively creates an image of being under water. Another favorite of mine is “Hornet Dance (Hornet Man Stage)” which starts with a bass-heavy melody before moving into the upbeat chorus that almost sounds out of place.  The catchy nature of the chorus section will definitely be stuck in your head after hearing it. “Galaxy Fantasy (Galaxy Man Stage)” is a fun piece on speed, as one of the fastest-paced tracks on the album.

The Wily stages are actually somewhat of a let down after some of the amazing robot master tracks. “Flash in the Dark” tries to take on the first Wily stage from Mega Man 2 with a similar tempo and feel, but the melody is simply not as memorable. That’s not to say it’s not good, because it is, and I’m intimately familiar with it after dying constantly on that stage. Next, “We’re the Robots” is somewhat of an oddity, taking on a slower tempo with these weird triplicates that make the piece sound like an Asian-influenced track out of Double Dragon. “Strange World” is an interesting piece with a sharp melody and a lead instrument that sounds somewhat out of tune, heightening the feeling of uncertainty. A bonus stage track titled “Maze of Death (Endless Stage)” is another standout piece with a dark and repetitive bassline along with descending synth lines that echo off into the distance. It sounds like traditional electronic music, but the minimalistic approach creates a really unique atmosphere.

“Boss” provides another shock, taking an almost mad scientist sound with a slower pace, a constantly moving bassline, and a strange synth line that moves up and down a scale while a wailing synth sounds in the background from time to time. You definitely have to hear it to get it. Similarly, “Wily Machine” gives listeners something different with an almost classical approach, sounding almost like something out of Castlevania. Finally, “Staff Roll” is everything that you would expect with a sticky-sweet melody and a groovin’ bassline.

So there you have it. The album itself features a cool pixilated Mega Man on the cover, and the booklet sports some nice looking artwork and profiles of some of the artists and composers (unfortunately all in Japanese). The disc tray even features the ridiculous Mega Man 9 box art that has been floating around the ‘Net. While I’d say everything here isn’t your standard Mega Man fare (although there are a lot of throwbacks), I think Mega Man 9 offers its own distinct sound, and I greatly appreciate Capcom making this game and album possible. I recommend heading over to VGM World to pick this one up as soon as you can, as the first printing also comes with some nifty Mega Man pins, and it’s likely to sell out fast.  And watch out for the arranged album next month!

What do you think of the music in Mega Man 9? Is it what you were expecting?

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