Saturday, September 20, 2014

Soundtrack September: Mega Man 2

Game: Mega Man 2 / Rockman 2: Dr. Wily no Nazo (1988)
Platform: NES / Famicom
Composers: Matsumae Manami, Tateishi Takashi

Once again, we have a monumental Capcom soundtrack co-written by a female composer.

With Mega Man games commonly following the "defeat about eight bosses before going after the main bad guy" pattern, and each of those bosses having a unique stage and theme song, there is no shortage of music in this series. In fact, the series tally of boss robots in Mega Man games is more than 130. Mega Man 2, however, is special for a number of reasons. It's the best-selling title in the series to date. It was one of the first two NES games I ever managed to finish (the other being Super Mario Bros. 2). And it's music is the music that people think of when they hear the phrase "Mega Man music."

To put it another way: Mega Man 2's soundtrack has become so iconic of the Mega Man series that Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (2014), which features Mega Man as a playable character, has opted to use music from Mega Man 2 rather than from the original in its soundtrack.

The Dr. Wily Stage 1 theme is probably the most popular piece from this work, with the title theme placing a close second. The latter is reprised in triumphant fashion after a strikingly melancholy ending cinematic in which the title character walks a lonesome road through autumn, winter, spring, tsuyu and summer before abandoning his helmet atop a pastoral hill.

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