Video game music has taken on a life of its own. It’s no longer just a nice compliment to the action of a game, instead video game music has become a new genre with a cult following. For this reason, I will periodically highlight one game that has particularly great music in my Video Game Music Spotlight. Here is the first recipient of the honor.
Mega Man 2
Is it just me or is it especially impressive when a game with an 8-bit sound has fantastic music? And this game has more memorable tracks than just about any other game I can think of. It starts off with a soft intro that gradually builds to the badass main theme when you get to the title screen:
Once you move on from there, you will notice that even the level select screen and the password screen music is quickly recognizable. Not to mention the short little riffs that play every time you choose a level or beat a boss. But the cream of the crop comes within some of the levels. To be honest, it has been a struggle to narrow it down to just the five best songs so that it doesn’t take you an hour to read this.
5. Wood Man – Often one of the first levels that people choose to play, Wood Man’s has music that is better than the actual reward you get for beating it (the Leaf Shield). It starts off with some heavy drums (can you call them drums?) then dives right in to the hook and a high tempo theme that mirrors the fast-paced action of the level. The music in this level sets the tone for the rest of the game, making Wood Man an ideal choice as the first foe to square off against.
4. Air Man – Again, another great song that mirrors the feel of the level as a whole. Can’t you just imagine hearing this music play as you jump from airborne platform to airborne platform, fighting robotic birds in the clouds? If you can picture that, it’s probably because you’ve played the game several times. If you can’t, just listen to the damn music.
3. Flash Man – This track is a little bit on the darker side compared to the previous two, and that’s not a bad thing. The beginning of the song serves as a nice intro, as it then builds to what I believe is the best part of any of the songs in this game (starting at 0:37). The rest of the song is good, but that part is what gives it the edge to jump to the number three spot.
2. Dr. Wily Stage 1 and 2 – Just awesome. Name one other 8-bit song that gets you this pumped up. That’s right, you can’t. I mean, doesn’t it seem like this music could be used in a big-budget Hollywood chase scene or something? No? Whatever, I guess it’s just me. Either way, this track does a great job of establishing a sense of urgency as you near the end of the game. It creates the feeling that you are chasing down Dr. Wily in a race against time.
1. Crash Man – Good God, this is catchy. The moment this song starts, you’re hooked. Can’t you just hear this song being covered by a barbershop quartet or something? There are three distinct parts of the song and each one is equally good. This track is just so much fun, it serves as a good reminder of why we play video games. You can’t get mad when playing this this level, no matter how many times Telly knocks you off your moving platform, because the music is too good. Listen to this a couple of times and then I challenge you to get it out of your head.
So there you have it, a few of the songs that help make Mega Man 2 such a classic game. Honorable mention goes to the boss music.
If you have any suggestions for the game we should cover in the next VGM Spotlight, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org