For a “Top Ten Mega Man Music” list such as this, I was TRYING to take one song from each game and list them one to ten. Since there’s ten games, it would work perfectly, right?
Then I realized that the music in the earlier games is far superior to the later stuff. So I may be leaving a couple of games out. Whoops.
Mega Man holds a dear place in my heart. It was the first game that ever truly challenged me to the point where I wanted to be challenged. Some games, like Super Mario Bros, would frustrate six-year-old me to the point where I’d just quit and be done with it, but Mega Man 2 was a game that I had to finish. No robot dragon or cheap-ass disappearing block platforms would deter ME, Wily was going DOWN, dammit!
Of course, no matter what my temperament was, I could not deny the musical genius that my ears would feast upon. The classic Mega Man games are filled with memorable melodies, more than I could ever fit into a top ten list. However, there are a few that stand out for me, for nostalgic reasons or otherwise, and those songs will be recognized here. Let’s get started, shall we?
10. Knight Man (Mega Man 6)
For a song to work, it needs to fit not only the stage it’s in, but the Robot Master it represents. Right at the beginning of Knight Man’s theme, can you not picture a knight on horseback, thrusting his sword high and charging into battle? Then, in the middle, the song brings a medieval sound into the mix, accenting this knightly theme quite nicely. Mega Man 6 might not have been the best Mega Man game on the NES, but it sure had some great music.
9. Sheep Man (Mega Man 10)
When I first heard that Mega Man 9 (and 10 soon after) would go back to the original NES feel, the first thought that crossed my mind was the return to chiptune music. I was really looking forward to hearing the sounds of yesteryear again, and Sheep Man’s stage is a perfect example of what I was looking for. I feel like this song should have been in an earlier Mega Man game, but it is one of the newest Mega Man songs around. If only Sheep Man himself was as awesome as his music…
8. Air Man (Mega Man 2)
This will be the first instance of “wow, that’s REALLY low, what the hell are you thinking?”, but as much as I love Air Man’s music, it’s my fourth favorite song from Mega Man 2. Not only that, but there are other song besides the ones from the same game that I enjoy more than ol’ Air Man here. Besides, Air Man’s theme makes me think of those giant red head things with the drills and the mini-heads that would shoot out. Those things are the DEVIL.
7. Hornet Man (Mega Man 9)
Another more recent entry to the list, Hornet Man’s song is the first track I heard when I booted up Mega Man 9 for the first time. All of those musical questions I talked about above were answered the instant I heard this song’s intro. Hornet Man’s theme sounds retro enough to remind us of the NES era, but modern enough to work in this day and age as well. I’m still tapping my toe to it, and the song ended a full minute ago. It’s catchy, for sure.
6. Quick Man (Mega Man 2)
This song…this song represents my worst Mega Man 2 experience. Those damn beams in Quick Man’s stage chewed up more of my extra lives than I’ll ever care to share. However, perhaps because of my increased exposure to the stage, I find myself loving Quick Man’s theme song more and more. I should hate it, since I’ve heard it so many times, but I just can’t force myself to dislike it. It’s too damn catchy.
5. Splash Woman (Mega Man 9)
The last of the new breed of Mega Man music, I find it fitting that my favorite track from Mega Man 9 is that of the only woman Robot Master ever created. She is unique, after all, and so is this song. The intro has a surfer song/underwater vibe to it, which takes care of the “splash” part, and the whistle-like sound in the main melody has a feminine flair to it in comparison to other Mega Man tracks, which covers the “woman” part. What a great track.
4. Elec Man (Mega Man)
The song is cool and all, but the main reason I like it is because it’s a dead ringer for Journey’s “Faithfully.” Watch this video and TELL ME I’M WRONG.
3. Shadow Man (Mega Man 3)
Shadow Man isn’t all that great of a Robot Master. Ooh, a ninja with a shuriken on his head, that’s SO COOL..however, his stage music is INCREDIBLE. It may be the most varied song melodically-speaking of any other Mega Man track. There’s one main melody, which then shifts into another, then a THIRD right before going back to the first one. Each melody seamlessly transitions to the other, creating a nice tapestry of music to shoot robots to. It’s easily Mega Man 3′s best track, even if Shadow himself is kinda silly.
2. Bubble Man (Mega Man 2)
I am all too familiar with Bubble Man’s theme. For the longest time, until I learned the true “order” of the Mega Man 2 bosses, I used to start at Bubble Man. Every time, like clockwork, I’d press start at the intro, press start at the title screen, press new game, up once, left once, Bubble Man. It’s practically muscle memory now. I’ve grown to love this song after all of the times I’ve heard it; it’ll always hold a high place in my gaming heart.
1. Metal Man (Mega Man 2)
The best of the best. The pinnacle of Mega Man, nay, 8-bit music in general is none other than Metal Man!
…ok, that may be a bit of a stretch, but Metal Man’s music is that damn good. While I may have started with Bubble Man as a kid, this song is whatever everyone else regards as the beginning of a Mega Man 2 run-through. Thankfully the song is as brilliant as the game it comes from, making it that much easier to listen to over and over again. I know I’ll have it my head the rest of the night after hearing it while writing this.
(Featured graphic provided by Benjamin Sawyer. To see more of his work, visit benbrush.com or benbrush.deviantart.com)