Mega Man 7 (known in Japan by the full title Rockman 7: A Fated Confrontation!, 1995) was the series’ first voyage to the (then-) modern world of 16-bit graphics and sound. While the game received a more noticeable visual upgrade, the audio is actually quite similar in composition and style to the 8-bit games. Others used audio that couldn’t really be replicated on the SNES, and “Shademan” is one of these.
“Shademan”, which seems to be one of the most popular themes from the game, uses these interesting “Halloween” piano/bells that I just can’t imagine sounding good on the 2A03. This makes sense because Shademan’s stage is inside a giant graveyard and the boss himself is a vampire (one of the coolest Mega Man bosses). The track is actually quite short with only two sections. The first is comprised of the “Halloween piano” section which uses rising and falling high notes to recall skeletons, ghosts, mist before the moon (the level actually opens with this animation), and falling leaves. The second section uses a sax synth to contribute to the sense of gloom. Another interesting thing about this stage is that you can play the Ghouls ‘n Ghosts theme by pressing and holding B before and while selecting Shademan’s stage (before beating him).
It’s also interesting because some tracks from the Mega Man 7 soundtrack sound like they would play perfectly in 8-bit (particularly “Slashman”, which has both composition and synths that sound like they would fit perfectly on the NES). Others, like Cloudman’s theme, have instruments that sound unique to the SNES. Trenthian puts this to the test with “Bombin’ Shade of Blue”, mixing 8-bit with modern synths. He also integrates several other Mega Man themes into here as well as the Ghouls ‘n Ghosts theme. I’ve got a couple other mixes of this song, but neither is very good.
Yuko Takehara (Marvel vs Capcom, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure), Toshihiko Horiyama (Dino Crisis, Rockman 9), Makoto Tomozawa (Phoenix Wright, Onimusha 2) all composed the soundtrack together. Interesting, they also worked together to create the Rockman X Alph-Lyla jazz fusion album, which is the only official remix album of the original Mega Man X (and actually, of the whole X series).