Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mega Man Music -- MM10

Hey y'all.  It's about time I actually got to this game, isn't it?  Well, in any case, I was watching RoahmMythril's blind run of MM10, so I think I'll go ahead and comment while it's on my mind.

First of all, the game.  It's really pretty obvious that Capcom went all out on this game.  The graphics, while retro, are very nice, and it's still fun to look at everything through an 8 bit lens.  The music is mostly great, and the gameplay forces the player to be unique -- none of this overpowered robot master stuff that went on in MM9.  Yes, the game producers worked overtime on this game...other than on the plot.

The plot was mostly okay, I guess.  It's just that one of the things I hated about the MMX series is that it makes reploids act like humans, and in this game, it does the same thing.  Namely, by making it so that robots can get a virus.  This virus isn't treated like a computer virus,. but they actually call it a fever in-game and the robots actually sneeze.  "Sounds like a personal problem to me" you might say.  "Meh!"  I reply.

So the plot goes that all the robots around the world are getting this roboenza virus, and after a while it causes the robots to go nuts and attack everybody.  And of course, the humans are helpless without their robots -- another plot point I roll my eyes at.  Roll has contracted this virus too (but sadly, she doesn't turn evil, that would've been hilarious!) and so Mega Man has to go and find the cure...but how?

Dr. Wily's blue capsule is about to crash.  Mega Man catches it, and Wily explains that he was trying to cure the virus, but his medicine making machine was stolen.  He now needs Mega Man to go and attack the eight robot masters that have the pieces of his machine so that he and Dr. Light can put the machine back together and cure everybody.  This part also weirds me out a bit, because how can a physical pill cure a robot?  Wouldn't it be a data chip?  Whatever.  But hey, look!  There's Proto Man!  He's going to help us out too!

I guess my overall problem with the plot is that it seems to be the beginnings of a lead-up to the X series.  One, as a fanfiction writer, I don't want Capcom to fill the gap.  I like it left to the imagination.  Two, as a Mega Man fan, I want more Classic.  Filling up the gap means there can't really be any more MM Classic games.  Wah.

Of course, to be fair the ending of this game is pretty open-ended.  The character you play as defeats Wily, but oh no!  Wily is sick!  Wily is taken to the hospital.  When he gets better, he escapes, but not without first leaving a bunch of roboenza medicine in the hospital room.  Huh, must be going a little soft in his old age.

Bass is the downloadable character for this game, and his plot is the biggest problem.  Now, as a Wily robot, why is he going after the robot masters?  I mean sure, you can say that Bass was trying to act like he didn't know Wily was behind it all, but then why does he go on to the castle?  Has he betrayed Wily?  Is he mad because he got roboenza himself?  Wait, that doesn't work.  He catches it when he's in the castle, not before. It sort of bothers me that they never explain what Bass' deal was. Personally, I sort of consider Bass' appearance in this game as non-canon because he's only downloadable, sort of like how I didn't consider Proto Man canon in MM9.

Honestly, Bass should have been a baddie in this game.  Maybe Wily 2 ending baddie or mid baddie or something.  During Mega Man's playthrough, Bass could be an enemy but gets roboenza at the tail end of the fight and so Mega Man takes pity on him and leaves.  During Bass' playthrough, we could have him fight Mega Man, but then Proto Man gets roboenza and Mega Man leaves to help him.  Proto Man fight the regular boss in his playthrough.  And maybe they could show a little graphic of him sneezing.  Cute!

Anyway, the game itself is still very good.  The levels are creative and fun and the robot masters are interesting.  None of the negatives of this game outweigh the positives.  Though, admittedly, the robot master weapons, particularly Sheep Man's, can be unwieldly.  That's my main gameplay complaint.

As for the music, I do like it, but on some levels it feels like the composers were trying too hard.  It didn't feel natural like in the earlier games.  It feels sort of like they forgot the fun quirkiness that is true Mega Man music.  But there are still good songs in here, so let's go over them!

First of all, there's the intro.  Um, pretty lackluster, compared to the others.  It's sort of happy and dorky, which is pretty weird because this is the part where Roll is discovered to be sick.  Of course, it perks up a little bit to explain that other robots are sick and going crazy.  Still, not particularly great, but it's something.  The music doesn't pick up until Proto Man volunteers to help, and that's when things start feeling like a Mega Man game.  Yay!

The title music is great also.  It sounds like a real intro song, and it's sort of a pity this couldn't have been first on the game.  Really, MM10, you can make a better first impression.  And also, you can really at least try to cut back a little on the amount of music in the intro.  Simple is good.  Look at the intro for MM4.  The menu music for adjusting settings and such is pretty good.  Very nice and background, what a menu song should be.  It makes you unconsciously bob your head while you select stuff.

Ah, the stage select music.  Wonderful!  This is what a stage select song should be: not really noticable until you're thinking about it later, because as you're playing the game it just makes you want to choose.  Good stuff!

Now for the robot master themes.  I'm now going to organize them in ascending order, according to the quality of song, not my personal favorites.  Not even necessarily popular ones, but that is sort of a consideration.  Anyway, here we go!

#8: Blade Man's song is sort of okay.  It's very intense, and it does make you think of a swordfight where you have to concentrate as much as possible on your opponent.  Sort of reminds me of samurai.  That being said, I don't really enjoy it too much.   Good, but it's just sort of there.  Probably not the song you're going to be humming to yourself after you play.

#7: I realize that Sheep Man's music is supposed to be reminiscent of that quote about electric sheep sleeping and whatnot.  That must be why it makes me want to fall asleep.  It's nice, cute and plunky, but sort of like an electric lullaby.  Huh...sort of a nice cruising song.  Still, it's a tad sleep inducing.  I'm not going to be replaying Sheep Man's level just to hear this.

#6: Chill Man's song definitely reminds me of a blizzard.  Very good music, but not the most inspiring to go and kick robot master but.  Still perfectly wonderful though.  I have a feeling that this part would be better in an actual orchestra.  Hm...is it legal to download video game music?  I just want to listen to this next time it snows.  It feels cold just listening to this.

#5: Ah, now Pump Man's music is perfect.  It very much reminds me of polluted pumps and water in general.  Very smooth and jazzy, and when you close your eyes you can definitely see water and sewer.  Very Mega Man of it.

#4: Strike Man's song is really fun.  It has a very "video game" feel to it, at first, and is probably going to be one of the first songs you think of when you think about this game.  The second part is a tad too cheesy, but entirely appropriate for a baseball robot master.  Overall, this is a fun track, very baseball, and finally brings the game some real drive and excitement.  Huh, Roahm's got part of his video on this level in fast-forward "squeaky mode", and it even sounds awesome that way.

#3: I love Solar Man's level song.  It's so much fun.  It's very rollicking and fun.  A rock or metal version of this song would kill at parties.  It would rank higher on this list, but at one point it sounds a bit too close to the Trodgor song from Homestar Runner.  Of course, that doesn't really curb my enjoyment of it.  Great song!  Party down!

#2: This is how you know I'm not being biased.  Commando Man, who has my favorite theme of the game, is not number 1.  It is, however, number two.  It's extremely dramatic, definitely bringing to mind Afganistan or Iraq, and I love the beginning very, very much.  This is like the part of a movie where the real baddie comes out.  I can listen to this madness all day.  It feels like an evil monsters is emerging from a sandstorm to come and destroy you.

#1: When I first heard Nitro Man's theme and noticed that it seemed to be a fan favorite, at first I was skeptical.  And then I listened to it.  Again and again.  Then I realized why it's a favorite.  It's not as much of an instant rush as some of the others, this song has a great amount of fun and depth.  So much so, that I actually wrote lyrics to this song.  An entire mini-story, in fact.  I'll post that story later.   For now, I'll just say that this is the best written song in the game, and is extremely memorable.

As for the fight music, it's good.  I like how it's mellow and keeps its intensity without feeling like it has to pulse and throb like crazy.  The "get a weapon" music is okay.  Nothing particularly special.   The doom music where we find out Mega Man is infected is pretty good.

Now perhaps the best song in this entire game is when Roll, who has stashed away her prototype medicine, gives it to Rock.  It's one of the saddest songs in Classic, along with Proto Man's theme in MM3 or the ending music of MM4.  It's so sad.

Wily stage 1 actually has three songs in it.  Wow.  The first is a rain song which sounds pretty perfect if you listen to it right after Roll's theme.  The next song begins as you enter the fortress.  Wily has built new machines that carry the data of old robot masters, so now you hear the battle music when you fight them.  It's definitely a highlight of the game.  Wily 1's main theme is one that plays between robot master battle rooms.  It's a very nice theme, that gets just the right amount of intense.

Wily 2's theme is actually quite nice.  I like it.  It's a fun, rollicking sort of song that has a really great, intimidating intro.  Very adventuresome.  Wily 3 is pretty fun, but isn't really attention-grabbing.  Just sort of there.  It makes you just want to go forward.  I dunno...listening to it now, it seems to blend in with Wily 2.  I actually like the Wily 4 stage music the best.  It's intense, and it sounds like you're descending through a maze of dark tunnels.

The first form of fighting Wily has a theme that's good, and yet...something feels a bit missing.  It's not like the MM4-5-6 chain that is utterly amazing.  As for the outer space stage that's next, that really brings the original. In my opinion, it's a bit too mellow for a Wily stage.  It's pretty weird and good, though, and pretty unique compared to the rest of the soundtrack.

Ah, finally the good stuff!  Wily's final battle song kicks up the epic, really bringing an exciting blast to your fight with him.  Epic!  Clearly a great final battle song.  It feels very sci-fi.

Thanks for all the medicine, Dr. Wily!  Okay, now on to the ending theme.  Pretty relaxing and fun, and it definitely feels like more of an ending theme than MM9's.  Sort of sad, in a way.  More than any other song in this game, it brings me back to the good ol' days of 1-5.  It feels like more of the "Mega Man" genre.  I especially  like the ending visual, which is where an asteroid goes by over the profile of the earth.

So, overall, I like this game.  It's Mega Man.  Am I not going to?  But overall, this one does feel like more of a cash cow than any of the other games. 1-5 at least tried to be serious, 6 was some good and necessary experimentation for the series, 7-8 tried to bring Mega Man out of the NES era, and 9 was nostalgic and funny.  This one...well, doesn't seem entirely necessary.  If they tried to do something more innovative, like make Roll a baddie or try a newer stage gimmick or something, it would be one thing.  This is like the MM4 of the second half of the games: the game designers pretty much have everything figured out, and future success depends on experimentation.

I sincerely hope the next game has better graphics.  Now, I like 8 bit, but I'd like to see Mega Man Classic actually prosper on a different format.

Okay, so the soundtrack overall was...but wait, what's this?  I'm missing some music!  Let's go!

First of all, each character in the game gets his own shop theme.  Mega Man's is...holy moly, now that's the cheese.  Actually, I like that.  It sort of reminds me of the music from MM7, where the shop first appeared.  It also makes me think that both Mega Man and Dr. Light have very...um...interesting tastes in music.  Proto Man's is much better as a track, and definitely still fits the character.  Very cool, very jazzy, and just very all around Blues.  It stands out, just the way Proto Man does.  Still, my favorite is Bass'.  As much as I'm sad we didn't get to hear his theme 8 bit, this song is very good.  Very Bass, and yet they pulled back a little to create a nice and almost sinister theme for our favorite fin-head.

Maybe I should have put the Mega Man killers' themes in with the robot masters and rated them, but eh, I don't feel like it.  I'd rather just have that be a competition between robot masters.  Anyway, Enker's is pretty dang awesome.  Whoo-hoo!  Fight them bad guys!  Honestly, the happy adventureness of this theme is really what MM10 needed to liven itself up.

Punk's is pretty good too.  It sounds almost like Punk is laughing at you with this theme.  Wow, I'm really surprised how much I enjoy this.  It's not even fair to include this with the robot master themes.

Ballade's theme of course can't be as fast-paced as the others.  They have to switch gears on us sometime.  In any case, this is actually a very sweet theme.  Sounds like it could be an end-game theme.  Crap, this song rocks.  Seriously, the Mega Man killer themes are too great.

The endless level challenge music is much better than MM9's, mainly because it's not too intense and you can listen to it for a long period of time while you're playing and not get too sick of it.  There's also a nice little challenge mode ditty that plays, but it sort of annoys me.  I'm not sure why.

Bah, is that all of it?  Alright.  Okay, so part of me feels a little disappointed by the music in this game.  It's like they tried a little too hard to make the music...eh, "realistic".  I like my Mega Man tracks more fun.  Not necessarily "happy" (I very much like MM4's music), but romantic in the adventuresome sense.  But like I said about MM7, if it only lasts one game, it's then just the game's specific style choice for music.  Also, while there were many "eh" tracks, there were several that just rocked.

Okay, so if there was a movie based on this soundtrack, it'd be a movie called "Biker Babe", a highly stylized movie concerning the bitter biker wars the title babe must fight.  She has a pretty good life in the first half, where she gets to show off all the motorcycle stunts she knows.  Then her good friend dies, and she has to go through several trials to find the murderer and bring peace to her biker world.  It'd be one of those movies with lots of stunts and digital artsy-fartness going on.  Heh, this soundtrack might not be my favorite, but at least it really inspired me.  I need to write that movie.

Soundtrack link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anQAYGOGZZ4

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