Posts Tagged ‘Rockman’

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Mega Man XTreme – “Spark Mandrill” (Toshio Kajino, Saori Maeda)

September 13, 2010

Game developers are well known for porting their best franchises over to portable consoles. Mega Man had been no stranger to this, finding five ports of the original series and two of the X series. All had good conversions of the game audio, the original Mega Man porting better thanks to the 8-bit sound. However, Mega Man XTreme (2001), the rendition of the X series, also did a good job of converting SNES tunes over to chip.

Mega Man XTreme – “Spark Mandrill” (Toshio Kajio, Saori Maeda)

“Spark Mandrill” is one of the best tracks from the original, and XTreme is no exemption. Even with the Game Boy Color’s four sound channels, composers Toshio Kajio(Mega Man X5, X6, Mega Man Legends) and Saori Maeda (Resident Evil 3: Nemesis) manage to pull off the rocking beat of the original with its hopping drum beat and the amazing melody, which is instantly hummable and easily memorable. If there’s one thing that the Mega Man series doesn’t lack, it’s excellent music!

The original version is actually a bit more awesome, but it doesn’t dismiss the excellent job the sound team did converting it. A bold guitar with brilliant notes shines through with intense melody that just surfs across the electric wires with the bounding waves of a pounding drum beat that captures the pounding energy of the electric station in which Spark Mandrill has made his base. The track has some nice support from strings, and you gotta love the drums at 0:50.

The original soundtrack was composed by a whole crew: Makoto Tomozawa (Mega Man Legends, Dino Crisis 2), Yuki Iwai (Street Fighter III, R-Type Final), Yuko Takehara (Breath of Fire 2, Mega Man 7, 10), and Toshihiko Horiyama (Mega Man 7, Onimusha 2). Klub Konchadunga (Contra 4: Rocked ‘n’ Loaded) promises to have a rock album of the entire Mega Man X soundtrack out by December!

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Rockman 10 – “Solar Inferno” (Yasuaki “Bunbun” Fujita)

August 30, 2010

Mega Man 10 (aka Rockman 10: The Threat from Outer Space!) was a unique collaboration by staff of the previous 9 Mega Man games. The whole crew is here, though unfortunately the music doesn’t have quite the impact it did in the original games. I am a big fan of Manami Matsumae’s work in this album as well as that of Yasuaki “Bunbun” Fujita and Minae “Ojalin” Fujii. III’s renditions of the Dr. Wily stages are also excellent.

Rockman 10 – “Solar Inferno” (Yasuaki “Bunbun” Fujita)

“Solar Inferno” is by far the most intense piece on the album. Composed by Mega Man 3‘s Yasuaki Fujita, the track is some serious jazz/funk with a wickedly intense, driving drumline. Divided into four sections, the track is also one of the most complex tracks from the game – and one of the more complex from the 2A03. The piece opens with an inferno of drumwork before switching over to a buzzing melody that makes the square waves sound like a chiptunized hoedown that admittedly takes a little getting used to. Next we have more serious drumwork that transitions into a quick beat with C64-style oscillation – a rarity on the NES. This virtuostic piece really shows off not only NES chiptunes but also Bunbun’s tremendous composition abilities. Crazy awesome!

My other favorite tracks from the album include the upbeat “Nitro Rider” and  “Abandoned Memory (Dr. Wily Stage 1)”. “Nitro Rider” opens with classic Capcom synths and a simple, upbeat but catchy melody that sounds like it’s straight out of a late 80s Mega Man. At the same time, the track has a sense of longing. It’s really an excellent addition from Manami Matsumae, the woman who composed the first two Mega Man games.

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Mega Man 7 – “Shademan” (Yuko Takehara, Toshihiko Horiyama, Makoto Tomozawa)

August 29, 2010

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.

Mega Man 7 – “Shademan” (Yuko Takehara, Toshihiko Horiyama, Makoto Tomozawa)

“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).

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Rockman 9 Arrange – “Hornet Dance” (III)

August 28, 2010

Rockman 9/Mega Man 9 had a really cool soundtrack. The entire game was 8-bit, and they went with some fantastic 8-bit music composed by a new group of Capcom’s finest. Unfortunately, the arrange album was very lacking, opting to change the fantastic jazz and blues pieces for crazy funk and new age. The album was arranged by a band the unit III of Inti Creates (Remastered Tracks Rockman Zero series). So while Rockman 9 Arrange Soundtrack is experimental, and while I think it’s kind of interesting, it didn’t sit well with fans who were expecting something a bit more traditional. Even so, the album has a few pieces I enjoy, particularly “Hornet Dance”.

Rockman 9 Arrange – “Hornet Dance” (III)

“Hornet Dance” was originally composed by Hiroki Isogai, who also worked on Rockman 10. The arrange version has some funky honey-soaked guitar that’s sticky and bee-like, buzzing all over the scale. There’s some great rock guitar and trumpet support, making this a kind of big band arrange, and the drums are also glorious. The melody has a nice build, too, starting off with funk and growing to some well-developed trumpet sections that have a taste of the urban and social harmony. I keep thinking we’ll see Bee Mario show up somewhere, as this is a lot more interesting than the Super Mario Galaxy theme. It’s really a great opening track for the stage themes, but it’s too bad the remainder of the album doesn’t hold up as well.

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Mega Man 4 – “Game Start” (Capcom)

August 27, 2010

Ok, here’s a classic. The classic Mega Man “Game Start” theme originally appeared in Mega Man 2 (composed by Takashi Tateishi). However, the original version had slightly different final notes, so the version from Mega Man 4 is the best. The other Mega Man games had different stage start themes (of which Mega Man 3 has the second-most interesting). Anyway, this theme is great because it has the perfect build of suspense. When this music plays, the robot master of the stage poses in front of a starfield background, taunting the player with his simple animations. The song is short, but the buildup is incredible, making it one of the best intro jingles ever. The jingle has since appeared in many other Mega Man games, but I happen to like the sound of the NES version of the best, perhaps because I have such good memories playing Mega Man 2.

Mega Man 4 – “Game Start” (Capcom)

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Mega Man 6 – “Wind Swoop” (arr. Vurez)

August 26, 2010

Here’s another Mega Man piece for you guys by Vurez from his arrange album Intercontinental Contenders (2006). Each of the robot master themes from Mega Man 6 has its own unique ethnic flavor to reflect the country where it came from. Wind Man hails from China where he works in agriculture, but instead of having an Asian theme (which was reserved for Yamato Man), Vurez granted him a much more interesting symphony of lazy gusts of warm wind.

Intercontinental Contenders – “Wind Swoop” (Vurez)

While Wind Man can fire bursts of wind up to 200mph, “Wind Swoop” is a much calmer interpretation, more like a summer’s day in the park, flying a kite – or maybe to be more precise if there was a theme park based on wind. Vurez describes the piece as ‘light rock’ and he uses a wide range of instruments from two kinds of flute, strings, his trademark acoustic guitar, and that sexy saxophone to create a very warm, gusty sound that flows effortlessly from section to section. Vurez combines these instruments together for a glorious aural smörgåsbord, such as the end of the loop at 1:05 where the warm, hearty sound of the sax sax is married with high notes of the flute. This is an incredible song, probably Vurez’s masterpiece in the album, which is not surprising as it was his final entry in the set.

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8-Bit Mondays: Mega Man 2 – “Flashman Stage” (Takashi Tateishi)

May 3, 2010

It’s always hard to do a classic tune like “Flash Man” justice. Mega Man 2 (Rockman 2: The Mystery of Dr. Wiley in Japan) is one of the top – if not the best soundtrack in the series, and one of the best on the NES. If you haven’t checked out the soundtrack yet, you’d better get on it! Anyway, Flash Man’s stage is a real beast, with bursts of insta-kill light energy you must dodge with all the haste of a master breakdancer. Super-slick!

EDIT: Nope, that description was of Quick Man’s stage (you gotta be quick to get through it, and Flash Man’s Flash Stopper is what helps you get through the stage). Flash Man’s stage was a giant maze of weird disco ice blocks. Honestly, all these stages start to blend together after you’ve played about three Mega Man games… AAANYWAY, here’s a couple new mixes to try and make up for that error – First, Chom-Studio’s rendition from Rockman Iwao-Ni Side B (2004), and second The Advantage’s awesome rock arrange – definitely two of the best arrange groups out there, and these are two of the best arranges.

Mega Man 2 – “Flashman Stage” (Takashi Tateishi)

Flash Man opens like Disco Man from hell, with a slick hand-clapping beat and a flurry of dance notes in an oddly long intro section that repeats for times. This is a great build for the main portion, which steps smoothly into the pentatonic scale for some nice action after a burst of exploding drums at 0:25. The second half of “Flash Man” has an excellent beat with dull thumps and bright bursts of the high hats creating a solid drumline, complete with Mega Man‘s trademark bubbling pops. The meat of the song is this two-part segment, the first low and mellow, the second high and wavy, but both smooth and slick, with long whole notes that leave dance steps in the mind. Each section repeats twice, making the entire track loop at 0:51 and every 26 seconds thereafter – that’s it!  This is classic Rockman through and through. Flash Man has stepped out of time to show us how it’s done. He’s the dancin’ king.

Takashi Tateishi doesn’t seem to have composed anything other than Mega Man II. Which is a shame, considering how the soundtrack is the best in the series Read the rest of this entry ?