Friday, January 21, 2011

Mega Man Music -- MM3

Hey y'all.  I'm going to continue to review Mega Man music, and I'm a little frustrated right now because I just wrote out a whole bunch, but one errant keystroke deleted it all.  ARRRGH.

Anyways, Mega Man 3, in my opinion, has the best music out of all of them.  One was wonky, two was story-esque, but three was always about the party.  If these songs weren't in 8 bit tones, they would be the stuff of parties.  Dance the night away!  It's very fun and exciting music, remaining party until the Wily levels.  But we'll get to that later.

First, a comment on the game itself.  Capcom was starting to establish more of the things that would make the Mega Man universe what it would later become, though they hadn't quite got it right.  They did good things, like create the slide (which remained a staple of the games until 9), and turned items 1, 2, and 3 into a dog called Rush. Rush converted into different forms for Mega Man to use, like the coil for extra high jumps, the jet for flying, and the Rush marine for water.

However, there's a bit of a problem for gameplay.  The Rush marine is essentially useless, particularly because there are no water robot masters in this game and little opportunity for water at all.  The Rush jet is the opposite; you can make it go in any direction you want, thus rendering many obstacles worthless.  To make it worse, you only consume its energy when you're riding on the actual jet, so if you constantly jump it lasts longer.

Also, one of the things they do is make you replay harder versions of four of the robot master levels.  I don't mind this, but during each of these levels you have to fight two masters from MM2 again.  Well, technically it's robots with their powers, but still.  Come on, it's the third game in the series.  Ain't it a bit early to be nostalgic?

The plot also makes a change, and it's handled a bit badly.  First of all, there's this thing where Dr. Wily pretends to be a good guy again and ends up building these robot masters with Dr. Light, as well as a peacekeeping robot named Gamma.  However, none of this is in the actual game, and I still remain pretty darn  confused about what the plot was actually supposed to be, mostly because I didn't own the manual as a kid and the wikia page is confusing.  If you play the game without reading anything, for all you know they're all just more Wily robot masters.  That's just lazy...I mean, if this is the plot, it really should have some affect on how you play the game.

Also, this game introduces Proto Man, which is handled much better.  He shows up mysteriously in several levels, and only at the end of the game do we actually find out that he is Mega Man's older brother.  Since this actually appears in the game, it's very relevant and even us kids who bought games from used bookstores could know about it.

But hey, this game rocks out on music, gameplay and plot aside (admittedly, I really dig the graphic design for this one, better than 1 or 2).  You can argue for the other games and say they have better soundtracks, and because none of them suck it's just fine for you to do so.  I'm still gonna say three is the best, though.

Alright, let's go!

Okay, so this starts off with a very classic and fun title screen song, probably the best of the game series.  Holy crap is it fun and catchy.  It really gets you ready to play an exciting game.  The stage select screen is likewise fun, and after the intro, it kicks the mood into "alright, pick your destination!"

How I hate picking the order for these robot master songs!!!  They're all so awesome in this game.  Well, as usual, I'm picking them in order of quality, not my personal favorite.

Needle Man's theme is good and fun, but it's not quite as quirky as the others.  Still, it's fun stuff, and I can't decide if it makes me want to dance or relax.  It feels so dreamy and reminiscent and yet also happy....I just wish I could write decent lyrics for this.

Shadow Man.  To me, Shadow Man's theme suffers a bit in rankings because it becomes a bit cheesy at one point.  That just doesn't seem very ninja-ish to me.  But whatever.  It does have a great intro.  This is such a fun, great theme that you can't help but dance to it.  Party in ninja lava land!!!

Gemini I love your candy rave-colored glowy cave.  Seriously, my favorite level design other than Crystal Man's (in a later game), and it's a close competition.  As for the music, well heck, it's mysterious, wonky, and fun as mess.  I really, really want Gemini Man's to be higher on this list, but dang are the others good!

Spark Man's theme makes me happy.  It's like electric adventure party with just the right amount of intensity and excellent layering.  It matches the glowing of his level with perfection.  For some reason it makes me think of electric cowboys.

Not enough people really give Hard Man's theme the credit it deserves.  This is fun stuff.  It's strange, mechanical good times.  I guess his name throws a lot of people off, and as a robot master he really doesn't stand out in design or weapon.  But this is about music, not the robot master. 

Top Man may be the second lamest robot master in all of the Mega Man series, but his theme is rockin'.  The fast theme really fits in with his spinning nature.  High intensity.  I really wish someone on Dancing with the Stars or some other show on TV would use this song for something.

Magnet Man's music makes me think of innocent romance, like a sweet guy asking a girl to dance with him.  It's not as adventurous as a platformer might normally require, but what the crap ever.  This is just fun, soothing music that you can listen to over and over again as you play the game.

Snake Man's theme is Mega Man.  Period.  It is the thematic representation of what Mega Man classic should be: fun, a little weird, and enjoyable for a long time. can it get better than this?  Some people might feel this song is comparitively overplayed, but at the end of the day it is for a reason.  SNAKE MAN!!!!

The game over theme for this one is finally one that Capcom got right.  It's sad without being depressing.  In fact, it's actually a little funny.  It gets the job done. 

As for the boss battle theme, it's really good.  I'm not sure how it compares to other boss fights, because Capcom is always good at them, but it rocks.  Good times.  It goes without saying that MM3 has the best get a weapon music.  This is an actual song versus a little clip of noise that most of the "get a weapon" bits are.

Okay, now, up until this point the music is very party and fun, and only with Spark Man's theme do things get a little dangerous sounding.  Wily's castle themes start to change that.  The music for levels 1 and 2 start to get a little more suspicious, anticipating danger ahead.  It's not a terribly noticable theme, but it's fun to listen to. 

Levels 3 and 4 really kick it up a notch.  As I listen to this soundtrack, I think of a story where the lead is supposed to save the day, but in the end he goes to a techno party instead (the robot master themes).  This song openly mocks my made up protagonist, and here he fully realizes that by partying to all the techno he has let a bad guy out of his grip and the world will soon be doomed.  It's a weird plot idea in my head....don't ask.  I even made up some silly words to it.

Fighting bad guys
Is what I should have done
Fighting bad guys
Is what I didn't do
Techno party
(It was such a waste)
It will not save the world

Yeah....those need some work.  In any case, levels 5 and 6 further raise the level of absolute dread.  The song isn't as good as the previous, but the horror feel of it is just right.  The Wily boss fight song is great and hyper too, showing off in its coolness.

After a peppy winning bit, you get to hear the most depressing Mega Man song ever (unless you think MM4's ending is more so).  This is Proto Man's theme, and this is the part of the game where you find out that Proto Man is really Mega Man's lost brother (and in my demented little story it's the part where the lead was successful at stopping the baddie, but must reflect on all the things he lost because he didn't stop the baddie fast enough). 

The real gem of this song is that it's not just sad, but also sort of contented.  It's tragic without being emo.  It's very touching, and it's the balance of this sadness with the happier robot master themes that really makes this soundtrack (imo) the best. 

But of course they can't end the game with such a sad song.  They finish the credits with a song that's similar to Proto Man's theme in that it's both sad and content.  With PM, his theme relies more on being sad, while this one is more so content and happy, as if Mega Man is looking forward to a future despite all he's been through.

Listen here:

So yeah, that's MM3, one of the best MM Classic games ever.  It wins the best music award.

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