Board 8 > Para ranks every classic Mega Man stage theme

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Paratroopa1
04/17/21 6:13:12 AM
#151:


It's time to do another intermission since I have a lot of side lists to be done! I don't want to do title, ending, or boss themes yet, so what else can I do... sure, why not this?

BONUS RANKING: STAGE START THEMES

I dunno, what do you call them? Stage Start? Boss Selected? It's the theme that plays after you pick a boss and you see their little intro. Most games use that one common riff that started in MM1 - you know the one, I will refer to it from hereon out as the Stock Riff - so for this list, I'm actually going to include EVERY game that has one of these separately, even when they're the same theme. So, some stuff is gonna get ranked here that doesn't normally! This list is not going to be that interesting, but hey, it's interesting to look at how this theme has evolved and which games had the best take on it.

26. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (MM3)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDvjzw1M5NU

(Non-stock riff) Oh god, how could you do MM3 dirty like this? I haven't talked about the Wily Wars ports of the first three games, and there's a good reason why - they all suck. Not a single one of the Genesis versions of the first three games' tracks is better than the NES version, and none of them are even doing their own thing, since they're basically 1:1 ports, so there's just absolutely nothing to SAY about them - that's why I've left them out of this ranking entirely. Strangely enough, the unique Wily Wars themes themselves actually aren't so bad, maybe because they were written for the Genesis itself, but this one's extra Genesis-y and it really sucks. Boy, it sure does bang the hell out of those toms.

25. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (MM2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hD5z5--o9o

(Stock riff) Somehow the worst version of the stock riff on this list, which is incredible given some of the DUBIOUS entrants to this list. This one just ends so strangely - why the three notes at the end? It just has the sound of someone who forgot what notes to play and kind of winged it.

24. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (MM1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPFoCHSTYpc

(Stock riff) Barely the least offensive of the Wily Wars port-trio on this list but that's not saying much, they all sound roughly equally ugly and I hate this one the least. It's kind of funny that the MM1 and MM2 ones do sound different even though they're only barely based on their originals as it is.

23. Mega Man: The Power Battle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayV9RFxyuqk

(Stock riff) Mega Man: The Power Battle is another game that isn't going to get talked about on this list much either, and for good reason - it's almost entirely reused music from the first 7 games and it's only debatably a step better than the Wily Wars sound. Slightly more unique takes all around, but still not very much to talk about, especially since the game itself is completely worth skipping compared to its vastly better sequel, The Power Fighters. Anyway, this take on MM7's version of the stock riff is BARELY better than Wily Wars, but it doesn't sound good.

22. Rockman & Forte: Challenger From The Future
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBp7FfbCUDk

(Stock riff) You know what? I'm feeling nice today! Rockman & Forte 2, welcome to not-the-cellar-of-the-list for a change! I mean, don't get me wrong, this isn't GOOD, in fact it's pretty much horseshit, but it's not quite as horrible a mistake as most of the other tracks in the game. It follows R&F's peppy version of the stock riff just barely well enough to sound slightly more likeable than everything else on the list so far.

21. Mega Man IV (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYFLfir2-FU

(Non-stock riff) It might seem kinda mean to have MMIV this low but keep in mind there's a huge gap between the bottom 5 here and everything else, which is all pretty good. I actually don't like this one much? I mean, the actual melodic part of it is pretty cool, but I think the four seconds of that drum loop at the start make this one seem kind of silly and not exciting. I would have just cut it and had the second, cool part, but as it is the flow of it is just kinda ruined.

20. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEktKSElC2k

(Non-stock riff) Oh. That's it? Well, it's fine.

19. Mega Man Soccer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyuLI58kJ7Y

(Non-stock riff) As usual, Mega Man Soccer decides to go its own fucking way in deciding which soundtrack to copy, taking MM5's stage select theme for some reason instead of the standard one. And hey, it's a damn good game to take your theme from! I'm not really a big fan of the brass samples used in this one though, it's just... a lot.

18. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Wily Tower)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_6MogagVH0

(Non-stock riff) Unlike the other Wily Wars stage start themes, this one doesn't suck! It's pretty good. Not even half as grating on the ears, really.

17. Mega Man II (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytXOKCEk_A4

(Non-stock riff) Come on, you know I'm going to do this to you every single time! This sucks but it sucks in a way that's hilarious and makes me love it for no reason, which is how you know it's from MMII GB. Every single note sounds so goddamn out of tune and wrong here and it makes for seven seconds of some seriously fascinating examination. No, really! I have no fucking idea what happened here and it's INTERESTING. And like usual, I do think that what was attempted here was pretty cool - it's a very dramatic little stage start theme even though it's a hot mess.

16. Mega Man V (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJu5vULqdkQ

(Non-stock riff) Pretty cool. I like that sinister little chromatic-step buildup it does at the start, which is very characteristic of MMV's soundtrack as a whole - it loves those sneaky little chromatic steps. I tried to decide whether or not I liked it more than the long run of stock riff rankings we have coming up, and I decided the answer was no, but it's pretty close!

15. Mega Man 7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t072_mGWUc4

(Stock riff) The stage start theme, and also the theme for Mega Man putting on a helmet. Out of all the non-bullshit takes on the stock riff, this one's probably the weakest, it's kinda in the screechy register and the SNES soundchip just isn't doing a lot for me here, but it's not BAD or anything. I like the flair at the end.

14. Mega Man III (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPNVeEQcxK0

(Stock riff) Interestingly enough, MMIII GB is the only GB game that uses the stock riff instead of its own thing, which is weird. It's probably the most forgettable take on the stock riff although by no means bad, just very very standard. Percussion's a little washed out.

13. Mega Man 11
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO4aiOGuGd4

(Stock riff) R&F and MM&B have been separated from the hip, for the first time! No reason to keep them together since I'm doing every variant, after all. I like this one a lot! It's a little faster paced than most other takes on the stock riff and I think that's to its benefit, it makes it more exciting.

9. Mega Man & Bass (GBA)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiYUrP5fvys

(Stock riff) As usual, I prefer the GBA version to the SFC version just slightly, because mmmm, gotta love those punchy snares.

8. Mega Man 4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETFNi_gPWXE

(Stock riff) This wasn't the first game to use the stock riff - MM1 and MM2 both used it, after all - but I think this is the game where the stock riff really BECAME the Stock Riff, standardized and ready to be used in nearly every future (except 5 and 6 would ignore it anyway). It's just about the platonic ideal of the Stock Riff and I can appreciate that.

7. Mega Man 2/Mega Man 9
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4nsRIH9KUw

(Stock riff) Hard to get more iconic than this take on the stock riff, but - hot take! - it isn't my favorite. I mean, it's good! I feel hella nostalgic when I hear it, and I can't lie and tell you that's not a big reason why it ranks this high. But there's more exciting versions of this theme. Which is exactly why Mega Man 9 copied it wholesale, I guess.

6. Mega Man 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgwvD2-TYCc

(Stock riff) Yeah that's right - smoking hot take! - I like the MM1 version more than the MM2 version! If you're not paying attention, you might almost not notice that this is indeed the origin of the stock riff, being in a lower octave and having a slightly different cadence, but it is indeed it. And I like the lower octave and the slightly different cadence! But what I really like is that little flute-like trill at the end. MM2's has it too but MM1's just nails it.

5. Mega Man: Powered Up
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRsNfIb1mdQ

(Stock riff) SURPRISE! I just know you forgot that this game was still a thing that I had to rank on this list, but here it is! I actually REALLY LIKE this take on MM1's version of the stock riff? It's clever and playful and suits the style of the rest of this game - there's that subtle little shift into the major key at the end that really tickles the ear just right, and I like that they got the MM1 trill in there at the end too.

4. Mega Man 5
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI9CenBiHKY

(Non-stock riff) Yeah, I kept all the best unique stage start themes for the end. In my head I was thinking "did I really have the Mega Man Soccer version of this track so much lower?" but yeah, there's no comparison, this one's just way better. Mega Man 5's just so fucking cool. The top 4 of this list is really tight - I could go in almost any order here.

3. Mega Man 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bjn-arPNZyY

(Non-stock riff) As usual, MM3 bucks the trend and goes and does its own thing and just fucking nails it because it's so awesome. Thinking on it, I think that Mega Man 3 doesn't reuse a single track from a previous Mega Man game in it, and I think the only other games that share this feature (aside from the first game obviously, don't be a pedant) are MMII GB and MMV GB, which are both... very much marching to the beat of their own drums in different ways. Mega Man 3, though, just went original on everything because it's too cool to be told what to do.

2. Mega Man 10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozCayUzbvxY

(Stock riff) The definitive version of the stock riff, in my opinion. Are you paying attention, Mega Man 9? THIS is how you pay homage to the game you're trying to be - you don't just copy it, you take it and you add your own ornamentation to it. The way that Mega Man 10 is really obviously using the stock riff as per Mega Man 2, but that it makes it FANCY, just really does it for me, especially with the game sort of being a celebration and swan song of the series as a whole. This one actually inspired me to write my own take on the Stock Riff as one of my first-ever Famitracker projects, and I liked how it came out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbSptO7XKqk

I don't think it's melodically as good (it doesn't have the MM1 trill! I'm ASHAMED) but I think the stuff I did with the percussion is kind of cool, so I felt like sharing it.

1. Mega Man 6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdwMivFn9Ag

(Non-stock riff) The most fun thing for me about these side lists, I think, is seeing which game gets to notch a 'win' on its belt, and hey, why not have a little bit of a dark horse winner here! I think Mega Man 6 deserves to win something, don't you? This theme's very similar to Mega Man 5's but even cooler, somehow - it kinda has a similar little chromatic-step intro like in MMV GB but it just flows so much better and damn, it's just so fucking cool. Gotta love the intro screen in Mega Man 6 too - hell yes, I want to know EXACTLY how much each robot weighs and what their power source is, thank you for telling me while making it sound so fucking cool, Mega Man 6.

1. Mega Man 6
2. Mega Man 10
3. Mega Man 3
4. Mega Man 5
5. Mega Man: Powered Up
6. Mega Man 1
7. Mega Man 2
8. Mega Man 4
9. Mega Man & Bass (GBA)
10. Rockman & Forte (SFC)
11. Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters
12. Mega Man 8
13. Mega Man 11
14. Mega Man III (GB)
15. Mega Man 7
16. Mega Man V (GB)
17. Mega Man II (GB)
18. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Wily Tower)
19. Mega Man Soccer
20. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge
21. Mega Man IV (GB)
22. Rockman & Forte: Challenger From The Future
23. Mega Man: The Power Battle
24. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (MM1)
25. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (MM2)
26. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (MM3)

Well? Was it interesting to read that many words about the fucking stage start jingles in the Mega Man franchise? You can tell me it wasn't, I won't be offended.
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Anagaram
04/17/21 3:15:07 PM
#153:


I never even realized there were non-stock riff ones

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pjbasis
04/17/21 3:35:34 PM
#154:


Wood Man's theme is top tier for the first 20-25 seconds but it doesn't follow up that well.

I always liked MM3 songs for being a bit longer.

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TheKnightOfNee
04/17/21 3:44:42 PM
#155:


tag so I can read and catch up

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Brayze_II
04/17/21 4:13:51 PM
#156:


I can't believe I listened to all of those

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Metal_DK
04/17/21 4:15:25 PM
#157:


I remember in one of the mega man ranking topics fairly recently somebody really hated centaur mans theme. Seemed really random how much hatred the guy had for it. Glad to see its not shit on here

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Paratroopa1
04/21/21 3:10:23 AM
#158:


75. Dr. Wily 2 (Mega Man 4)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1Txs_rI0bk

Normal Mega Man 4 songs don't exist, so the weird twist to this one is that Minae Fujii envisioned a percussionist who was playing the drums in a cave about a mile away and doesn't even know what song they're playing drums for so they're just kind of flailing around and probably getting attacked by bats. Anyway, I really like this one, they took the 'drama' knob up to 11 and I think it's an appropriately exciting build up for refights that are mostly just waiting for invincibility periods to end and a final boss that they forgot to draw. I just hope they remember to save the guy stranded in the cave he sounds like he's having a LOT of trouble

74. Dr. Wily (Mega Man IV)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DACqY11nnGw

It kind of hurts my heart to be knocking off these GB themes one after the other, because I do think they deserve some love and highlighting some of these more obscure themes is why I decided to expand the list as far as I did. I don't know who did the MMIV soundtrack (or really any of the GB soundtracks aside from II) but you can tell they were like, I've got just one chance to write an original stage theme for this game, and hell yeah, I'm going to just give it the most badass riff you ever fuckin' heard. The good shit is the bridge section from :30 on though, some real interesting progressions in there

73. Wood Man (Mega Man Soccer)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0oUpPZvBTE

Kind of like I said about Mars in relation to Mega Man V, the weirdest thing about this track is that there's nothing weird about it as all. In a soundtrack full of like psychotic blues/funk clown orgy music, Wood Man's theme is completely normal and almost totally interchangeable with its MM2 counterpart. I actually like this theme more! I don't even know if that really stands as a hot take, because I'm pretty sure this is the theme that people will most remember from this game - I'm pretty sure I've heard people use it in youtube videos and shit before. This is about as buttoned up and serious as Mega Man Soccer is going to get, and honestly, this isn't even a bad use of this game's particular patchset - the flutes and brass both sound totally fine and none of the accompaniment sounds out of place (bass is a little weak though). Like, did they get someone totally different to write this one? The fact that there's this one totally normal track in Soccer only increases Soccer's strangeness.

Dumb fun fact: Wood Man is one of three robot masters to have three different unique stage themes! The other two are Needle Man and Tengu Man. It's really weird that Wood Man and Needle Man both share the distinction of having stage themes in both MMII and MMS.

72. Elec Man (Mega Man Soccer)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN8KvaI4mKI

AGHGHGHG WHAT the first five seconds of this theme are like a sudden panic attack and the rest doesn't really give me time to recover because it was written like someone was composing off of a post-it note that just said "I heard a Stevie Ray Vaughn song on the radio once like ten years ago." The utter absurdity of this track speaks for itself, it kind of shreds surprisingly hard, and I am absolutely here for Mega Man Soccer's utterly deranged SNES-chic blues rock, as soon as I stop seizuring on the floor in terror. This one's difficult to process, but I've always liked a challenge.

71. Dr. Wily 1 (Mega Man 8)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tvCfyOoAII

I've always been low-key obsessed with whatever the hell is going on in this theme. It kind of rules, and I'm not even going to hold the fact that this is the theme of JUMP JUMP SLIDE SLIDE against it because this is kind of the only good thing about the level. Every single instrument that was chosen here is weird - that almost grumpy-sounding lead synth, the mechanical percussion noises that sound like a broken animatronic, that little triangle that chimes in once every 10 seconds or so, "Hi, I'm the triangle in this song for some reason!" The weirdest and most wonderful part about it is that it all just grooves so much harder than it has any right to. I think I gave Mega Man 8 a little bit of a hard time on this list for not conforming to my idea of what a Mega Man theme ought to be, and to be fair its competition on this list is fierce, but consider this something of an apology - this is everything BUT what you would typically expect from a Wily 1 theme and I think it's brilliant and it plays to the soundtrack's strengths wonderfully, whatever the hell those strengths are.
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Earthshaker
04/21/21 3:46:17 AM
#159:


I think most of my grievances with your 8 picks come because I'm used to the instrumentation from Saturn. Wily 1, I remember the balance being a bit... different, without the "broken animatronic" noise. This sounds weird to my ear in comparison.

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Paratroopa1
04/21/21 3:52:14 AM
#160:


BONUS RANKING: WILY MAP THEMES

We've come this far, why not rank just about fucking everything there is to rank at this point? The little map screen that shows Mega Man's path through Wily's fortress is one of those iconic little Mega Man things that they include in nearly every game, and I kind of love them, so, why not? This isn't a super interesting ranking so I'll slam through 'em quick. Most of them are original, so I'll just mention the derivitives in their corresponding writeups. (Quick side note: As far as I could tell MMV did not have a corresponding theme here but it's possible that I forgot or missed something.)

18. Mega Man II (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_4pBERL1nk

Yeah, not this time Mega Man II, I've covered for you enough. Is this even where this theme belongs? It could have been a stage theme (it plays in a capsule room), it could have been a boss theme (it plays when you fight Quint), but it's really just too lame to be either of them, so I'm relegating it to a "Wily Map" theme since it basically plays for a full loop there anyway. Whatever it is, it's weak and I am only acknowledging it in the lowliest way possible.

17. Mega Man 8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EstZUFF8aVs

Honestly just kind of sounds silly - doesn't really have the intimidation factor at all. The horns are just kind of goofy! And it's just too quiet. I am not afraid of this Wily castle whatsoever, which is ironic because it immediately starts off with JUMP JUMP SLIDE SLIDE, making it the most fearsome of all.

16. Mega Man & Bass
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqMQ7g5JkZ0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpV9KsLdvFk

Just a few ascending notes, that's all you got? Kind of an afterthought of a theme, it doesn't even have a proper map, just a sliding door like on a gameshow telling you what stupid King-stage prize you've won. Lame.

15. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xzZzWh11jk

They're all good from here on out! This one mostly gets knocked down because of the whole Genesis-y sound of the whole thing really but it's kind of an interesting take.

14. Mega Man 6 (Wily)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVh8KBgcWcU

The most boring and forgettable of the NES ones, if you can even really tell them apart that is. It's really trying to lay on the gravitas for the final battle against Wily but it's just average.

13. Mega Man 4 (Wily)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPQ-7LI37Mw

Pretty similar to the last one, slightly more memorable. I told you this ranking was boring.

12. Mega Man IV (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEreHoL5TCc

Good start, slightly anticlimactic end, doesn't have that nice finish that I'm looking for.

11. Mega Man 5 (Proto Man)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_mS8Wc4id0

You really have to admire how committed Wily was to the whole evil Proto Man bit - he built a whole fucking castle with Proto Man's helmet as the motif, all in service of tricking Mega Man into thinking Proto Man was a bad guy for about five seconds. Anyway, I can never remember this one for some reason but I do like it.

10. Mega Man 6 (Mr. X)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGFNl9QdO5I

You really have to admire how committed Wily was to the whole Mr. X bit - he built a whole fucking castle with a giant X as the motif, all in service of tricking Mega Man into thinking there was an evil guy named Mr. X for no fucking reason for about five seconds. You also have to admire Wily's commitment to being in character as Mr. X by having an ESPECIALLY FANCY map theme. It's so refined!

9. Mega Man 5 (Wily)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HngVdMY4dM

Most of the 4-6 themes kind of blur together since they each have two castle themes apiece, but I do like this one - the discordant beginning is real neato.

8. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcrIZc6MxGU

It's such a simple, short theme, but I like it for some reason? Unlike some of these others, I never fail to remember it - it just sticks.

7. Mega Man III (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPh9TJ8p4EE

As usual, Mega Man III here just quietly delivering the goods when it has to. I really like the echoing sense of space in this one, makes real nice use of what the GB has to offer.

6. Mega Man 11
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2CEiwM1STA

As usual, MM11 does alright for itself in this department - I like that it fits in with the established Wily motif in this game.

5. Mega Man 7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmh9PRNq0wg

I dunno, something about this one just really clicks - I like the triumphant ending to it, it just sounds like a Wily map theme ought to. They repeated this one for the two arcade games but I'm not gonna bother listing them.

4. Mega Man 4 (Cossack)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLElDGwlfGA

For some reason, whenever I TRY to remember any of the castle themes from MM4-6, this is the one that actually pops into my head - it's super memorable and I don't know why! I really like it.

3. Mega Man 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra5VxSbQszg

I'll never stop finding it funny that they wrote this really long, elaborate Wily map theme just for the event programmer to absolutely not give a shit about this and cut it off midway. Ever get the sense that Mega Man 3 might have been just a bit rushed? Nontheless, I actually think even with it being cut off it works really well in sounding intimidating and foreboding - it was almost a better choice!

2. Mega Man 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW5zkp-75rI

Hard to beat the classic. Why even try? Mega Man 9 didn't try, it just copied the theme again. So did Mega Man Soccer, because why not rip off the best?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DMht02M5dY

It's a goddamn classic. Sometimes I wonder whose idea it was to have the cutscene of Dr. Wily flying to his castle and seeing it there and having the map light up with this cool theme. It was a
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Paratroopa1
04/21/21 3:53:38 AM
#161:


Earthshaker posted...
I think most of my grievances with your 8 picks come because I'm used to the instrumentation from Saturn. Wily 1, I remember the balance being a bit... different, without the "broken animatronic" noise. This sounds weird to my ear in comparison.
The version I linked IS the Saturn version, as far as I'm aware!
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Dels
04/21/21 4:00:56 AM
#162:


Paratroopa1 posted...
18. Mega Man II (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_4pBERL1nk

Yeah, not this time Mega Man II, I've covered for you enough. Is this even where this theme belongs? It could have been a stage theme (it plays in a capsule room), it could have been a boss theme (it plays when you fight Quint), but it's really just too lame to be either of them, so I'm relegating it to a "Wily Map" theme since it basically plays for a full loop there anyway. Whatever it is, it's weak and I am only acknowledging it in the lowliest way possible.

man this is like the best and most respectable track from MMII so far!
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Earthshaker
04/21/21 4:13:38 AM
#163:


Paratroopa1 posted...
The version I linked IS the Saturn version, as far as I'm aware!

It could just be the vax fever messing with my perception and yes I intend to milk that all day.

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Janus5k
04/21/21 4:17:36 AM
#164:


MMIV Wily Stage RULES wow

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Brayze_II
04/21/21 7:43:47 AM
#165:


MM8 Dr, Wily 1 is the theme of Mega Man secretly buying robot abortion pills from a sketchy man in the sewers

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WarThaNemesis2
04/21/21 2:53:57 PM
#166:


I should be unhappy about multiple, MULTIPLE Mega Man Soccer songs going out...but at least the best one is still in?

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Dels
04/21/21 4:23:03 PM
#167:


Brayze_II posted...
MM8 Dr, Wily 1 is the theme of Mega Man secretly buying robot abortion pills from a sketchy man in the sewers

how dare you

but also

valid
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TheKnightOfNee
04/21/21 8:48:52 PM
#168:


I'm still catching up (not to the top 100 yet), but I want to weigh in on something.

Mega Man II GB has some absolutely awful sound balance/quality/whatever, but those songs have some very strong melodies. It's interesting to see someone else have a soft spot for that music. Maybe playing this a bunch as a kid gives me the nostalgia for it, but there's some stuff from that game I still enjoy listening too, even with the loud hissing and screeches..

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Paratroopa1
04/23/21 11:45:55 PM
#169:


70. Star Man (Mega Man 5)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCJss_gW2Qw

Alas! The last untouched game falls - I really wanted to put every MM5 in the top 50 but I couldn't quite justify it with the competition. Even my least favorite track in this game is still a gem, but there are other tracks in this series that do the odd, playful space vibe even better. I've always wondered what it is about the various themes that are meant to evoke the feeling of 'space' that they all have these bouncy rhythms and weird sharp notes that are meant to imply a sort of 'alien' quality - I've never been sure what the origin of that is. Anyway, it's fun and compositionally sound. I like the C section. I don't have a ton to say about it, it's good.

69. Pharaoh Man (Mega Man Soccer)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2uY_PQdNQo

Oh shit guys, looks like we've got a real badass on our hands! Much like Elec Man, this whole thing reads like some kind of absurd parody of American rock (which is weird considering that Pharaoh Man is presumably Egyptian in origin) and it's both hilarious and kind of awesome. That guitar riff is trying its damndest to be as funky as possible - I can't hear it without imagining Pharaoh Man wearing cool sunglasses and walking with a pimp cane or some shit. I love that this song goes from this to an uptempo swing beat and it works somehow, and then it finishes off with a showdown at high noon for some reason with a real spaghetti western vibe that kind of comes out of nowhere. Mega Man Soccer never ceases to amaze.

68. Dynamo Man (Mega Man & Bass)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GBxTUyfWO0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMgZgCjVqBY

I like both versions of this theme a lot - the SNES instruments work pretty well here and I think the bass sounds slightly nicer on it, but I still kinda prefer the GBA version if just for the drums alone - that punchy snare shows up again and just really drives the rhythm of this song. Really fun little tune that kind of sounds like it's taking its cues from a spy movie theme or something. One thing that's really important to me in a Mega Man theme is that the loop - the moment that the song returns back to the beginning - really 'lands' and keeps the momentum of the theme going as it comes back to the start, and this one's got a good one - that transition at :48 - :51 just really sticks the landing imo. (Yeah that's not actually where the song loops but it doesn't matter.) This song actually continues until 2:23 for some reason, making it the new longest theme on this list.

This does have a Rockman & Forte: Challenger From The Future version, of course:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19kQXJdbwng

This one plays on Dangan Man's stage, who is just a giant bullet with arms and legs. Anyway, it's pretty bad, but it's tolerable just by virtue of the source material being good - they can't even fuck up that cool loop transition that badly. I would commend them on doing something different with the rhythm but I don't think they even did that on purpose.

67. Dr. Wily 2 (Mega Man: The Wily Wars)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYWhsgNxBzw

Oh my god, why do I like this DUMBASS song so much? It's been stuck in my head for like the last two weeks and it WON'T LEAVE. Honestly, I respect the goddamn balls this theme has to be irrepressibly cheerful in a part of the game normally reserved for the edgy and badass themes - this isn't just in a major key, it sounds like the goddamn credits theme to Sonic or something and it kind of OWNS? I get sort of legitimately excited to hear it and I don't know why. It's absolutely bizarre that this song, Vampire Killer, and Tunnel Rhino all somehow share a composer. Anyway, RIP Wily Wars, your soundtrack isn't that good but it does have a few kind of awesome ideas here and there that are hampered by the Genesis's weird FM synth - FM synth is powerful in the right hands but it takes a lot of work to get it to sound good and it doesn't particularly, here, although I know there's a lot of people who have a certain nostalgia for it. I will say this for Wily Wars - its original content is a lot better than the butchering it does of MM1-3's themes.

Final Wily Wars ranking:

1. Dr. Wily 2
2. Mega Water S
3. Dr. Wily 4
4. Dr. Wily 3
5. Hyper Storm H
6. Buster Rod G
7. Dr. Wily 1

66. Slash Man (Mega Man 7)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F6oBVSPULA

An unusually good application of MM7's patchset, the sound quality in this one is actually really damn good and it's kind of startingly apparent, at least to me, how much better this sounds than a lot of tracks in MM7. That lead 'flute' synth sounds really nice! Drums are lowkey pretty good in this one too. I think pretty much every decision made here in the melody is really good - love that call-and-response outro section. Good track that makes me totally forget MM7's overall awkwardness for a second.
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NBIceman
04/23/21 11:53:26 PM
#170:


Star Man did have the best song in Network Transmission, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bylo5iC6kkY

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Spurs - Yankees - Eagles - Golden Knights
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Paratroopa1
04/23/21 11:54:19 PM
#171:


I never did beat Network Transmission.
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Zigzagoon
04/24/21 1:42:15 AM
#172:


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NBIceman
04/24/21 2:05:40 AM
#173:


Paratroopa1 posted...
I never did beat Network Transmission.
I enjoy it for what it is, but there's definitely a good amount of bloat in there, so I don't blame you one bit.

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TomNook
04/24/21 7:01:19 AM
#174:


Paratroopa1 posted...
I never did beat Network Transmission.
I had a ton of fun with it. But it was during an era where there weren't any real Mega Man games. So that helped. I bet it still holds up. But I won't play it again probably hehe.

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Bells, bells, bells!
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Toxtricity
04/24/21 8:54:13 AM
#175:


Paratroopa1 posted...
Alas! The last untouched game falls - I really wanted to put every MM5 in the top 50 but I couldn't quite justify it with the competition. Even my least favorite track in this game is still a gem, but there are other tracks in this series that do the odd, playful space vibe even better. I've always wondered what it is about the various themes that are meant to evoke the feeling of 'space' that they all have these bouncy rhythms and weird sharp notes that are meant to imply a sort of 'alien' quality - I've never been sure what the origin of that is. Anyway, it's fun and compositionally sound. I like the C section. I don't have a ton to say about it, it's good.

every megaman 5 song should be in the top 5 that is why it is called "mega man 5"

anyways a thing i have to say about this, whenever I question the "why does space music sound like this" thing, i go back to something that always stuck out to me about a certain gradius interview. Miki Higashino was basically asked "why did you make this ost so atonal and weird" and she said something like "well...it takes place in space---and when i think of space, i think of computers! and when i think of computers i think of irregular rhythms and quartals and angular chord changes and [etc]", which was basically a list of traits of the ost to tron (1982) too. it's a very "inside the computer" sound

i think these sorts of ideas obviously would fit with "computer man" but computers didn't exist yet so they had to put those in the space themes instead
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Paratroopa1
04/27/21 5:33:49 AM
#176:


I was gonna do a new batch of writeups but then I played some games with a friend and it got late so I'll work on this tomorrow. Instead I'll just post this tonight

BONUS RANKING: SHOP THEMES

There's actually a surprising number of these. They're all silly. This list is a pure shitpost, and there was no reason to do it, but I did it.

11. Mega Man 7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiJx-vOWxkc

Hearing this theme makes me feel slightly more at peace with knowing that I'm going to die someday. I will embrace death as I would an old friend.

10. Mega Man IV
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMOvCk7zkqg

It's very... bright. It's not quite as excessive as MM7 - nothing is - but it's still pretty hard to listen to, though I think it'd be a decent tune otherwise.

9. Mega Man V
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhv1WIozjt8

This sounds aggressively like Mega Man V's style, you can tell what game it's from immediately. It's fine, but I already don't remember it.

8. Mega Man 10 (Mega Man)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va0XG4mX1Tc

Proto Man and Bass: Awesome cool themes that suit their characters
Mega Man: derp

7. Mega Man 8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAaI5cp15sA

Thankfully, they did not continue the stylistic direction established by Mega Man 7. Instead they made something very pleasant and chill. This was a superior choice.

6. Mega Man & Bass (CD Database)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n56d-mEK5Do https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMKeoiKMKRk

Is this a shop theme? Did I need to include it on this list? I don't know, but it didn't seem like it was gonna belong anywhere else, so I did. I was trying to think of what this reminded me of, and then it hit me that it reminds me of Pikmin. Which is a good thing. I like Pikmin. This doesn't sound like any other track in any other game in the entire franchise.

5. Mega Man & Bass
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY-LjmFkwjk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I6nSPmtNqs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPUuODdZoPc

Fun little jam. As usual, the GBA's punchy snares make it the best version, in my opinion. And as usual, there is a Rockman & Forte: CFTF version, and it is the worst one.

4. Mega Man 11
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwJMrfUzZCk

You could have replaced this with Bounce Man's theme and I don't know if I would have noticed the difference, which is pretty damning on Mega Man 11's part, but the fact that this had about as much love put into it as a stage theme is impressive. Fun little tune with a lot of love put into it for a shop theme.

3. Mega Man 9
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8pwHmluELk

since there was nothing that Ippo Yamada could copy from Mega Man 2, he had to actually write a new theme for a change, so 9 doesn't get omitted for once! I actually really like this one. I'm trying to think of what it reminds me of - Pokemon TCG? It kinda reminds me of the menu theme from that, but I think there's something even more reminiscent that's rattling around in my brain. Alas, can't think of it right now, but something about this tune puts me in a happy place. This is, somehow, the highest ranked shop theme that can be visited by Mega Man.

2. Mega Man 10 (Proto Man)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz3avjPgjhs

Proto Man has a very appropriately Proto Man-ish theme and it's pretty slick and that's all I have to say about it, it's just self-evidently cool.

1. Mega Man 10 (Bass)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U36BuxtnkbU

HEEEEEY IT'S YA BOI REGGAE AGAIN! Damn, everyone but Mega Man gets all the cool tunes. This one's practically cheating since it gets to use Bass's theme but it takes it and makes a really sick track out of it. Could put this or Proto Man's at the top but either way Mega Man 10 wins again.

1. Mega Man 10 (Bass)
2. Mega Man 10 (Proto Man)
3. Mega Man 9
4. Mega Man 11
5. Mega Man & Bass
6. Mega Man & Bass (CD Database)
7. Mega Man 8
8. Mega Man 10 (Mega Man)
9. Mega Man V
10. Mega Man IV
11. Mega Man 7
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Paratroopa1
04/29/21 7:26:09 AM
#177:


I didn't forget about this yet!

65. Wind Man (Mega Man 6)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u-LyAzviN4

A strange sort of miracle occurred when ranking these songs that really goes to show just how much of a mockery my own attempts to corral my own opinions are. I'm just driving home one day, right - this was like a month ago, probably - and bam, this song just kind of appears in my brain. Hey, it's Wind Man's theme, I think. I ranked you like, what, #130 on my list? Seriously, it was something like that. I didn't really have much thoughts on the track in particular - one of the weaker tracks in MM6, I thought, not that memorable - and suddenly the melody is on my lips and I'm like, damn, that's hummable as fuck, and I'm actually jamming to it? And some kinda fuckin' switch in my brain, the one that's labeled "Liking Wind Man's theme" just gets switched on and just like that now it's #65 on the list. I dunno, it's just kinda really good and I didn't notice for like 26 years? Turns out it just sorta burrowed into the back of my brain and stuck around for a while. It's a very MM6-y track - I think those first 10 seconds really exemplify the MM6 'sound' better than any other track, with the slow attack on the lead that kind of gives it a violin-like sound and the harmonic character that I can best describe as 'kind of a royal fanfare vibe' and while the track isn't particularly unique I think the melody is pretty well considered overall. Really like the interplay between the two lines in the B section at :30. Lotta nice little touches here. To think I almost wrote it off! This is why you should always call me out on my bullshit when I rank stuff, things I ranked low were probably actually awesome and my brain is too dumb to realize it yet. (It's ok, you guys are the same way with Mega Man II GB, give it time)

64. Jewel Man (Mega Man 9)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCEb5PuqfGg

A certified banger of a track, pretty uncontroversially, I think. It's short-ish, but it hops right into the meat of the track and it's good. I've spent like the last 10 minutes trying to recreate that reverb effect on the lead in Famitracker and I can't figure out how to make it happen so it's either cheating or some kind of magic I can't figure out, but it's a cool effect. (I wish there was like a music equivalent of imgur where I could just upload a two-second clip to demonstrate what I'm talking about.) I wanted to recreate this one because I'm not really a huge fan of that 'nasally' lead being used again, but after having tried plugging different instruments in there, I came away thinking that it was probably the best choice after all. Anyway, it's the little things that make this one really stand out for me - especially those little staccato (quick and short) notes in the C section, they please me.

63. Dr. Wily 1 (Mega Man 9)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k28-zcBVE30

Straight out of Dr. Wily stage central casting, it's "Flash in the Dark" from Mega Man 9! There something that's almost pandering about this theme - its intentions to try to recapture MM2 Wily 1's lightning in a bottle are so transparent that this stage literally features flashes of lightning in the background, and it really does come across as being written as though it wants to be the platonic ideal of a Wily stage theme. It's got all the hallmarks - set the key to D minor, so cliche that I literally sometimes refer to it as "the Wily key" (I guess technically it's D aeolian since ain't nobody using the harmonic or melodic minor form in a video game piece), turn the BPM up to about 160, and harmonize everything with nearly weeping sincerity until the drama is up to 11. And hey, it just kinda works. It's transparently exactly what I expect to see out of a Wily 1 theme, but it comes together really nicely regardless - it's a crowd pleaser, it sets a blistering energy level for its stage, and given that MM9 is a game intentionally meant to invoke nostalgia, it does exactly what it sets out to do on that front.

62. Plant Man (Mega Man 6)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN_7Wy0RT00

Really neat little tune that often time slips my notice but never fully exits my memory - I kind of forget it's there a lot of the time but whenever I hear it I go, oh yeah, this is actually pretty sick. There's just a lot of activity in this theme, everything's always moving but it never gets overwhelming, everything's placed and shaped really nicely. I continue to like the slow-attack lead that MM6 uses a lot - listen for how the notes kind of 'fade in' smoothly instead of popping in, giving it a sound that (charitably) sounds like a string instrument. I think MM6 is sort of making vague gestures at the idea of world music and as such is sort of trying to approximate more natural instrumentation, as well as the NES can anyway. I'm not really sure if this theme is trying to suggest the idea of Latin American music in any way - if it is it's lost on me - but it's a cool theme regardless that uses the NES's assets well.

61. Dr. Cossack 1 (Mega Man 4)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUCLT7cj4FU

Yeah, this is my preferred Cossack stage theme. I have no idea why this theme is so damn iconic but it really gets me energized whenever I get to the Cossack stages. I'm not sure if I'm just imagining the idea of it somehow having some connection to Russian folk music, or at least a sort of vague suggestion in that direction ala MM6, or if I'm just kind of making that up wholesale because of all the snow and the St Basil's Cathedral-esque architecture and the general Soviet Russia vibes (it's weird how this game was one of the last artistic works to depict the Soviet Union during the era of the Soviet Union), but either way this song has kind of a unique character to it, and it just bangs, what can I say? It's a pretty short loop, and the bassline sort of leaves its post for the second half and forgets to provide any low end, but I'm just here for that sick part at :13 where the arpeggios come in. The short loop means we can get back to that part as soon as possible!
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Naye745
04/29/21 1:07:59 PM
#178:


i'm still following this one, but wanted to pop up and say i really love mm4 wily 2 and wind man mm6!
i think mm4 wily 2 is used in stages where you basically do nothing other than go to some boss fights, so it loses some charm for not being particularly relevant. great tune though

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Naye745
04/29/21 1:14:13 PM
#179:


mm9 wily 1 is a fine enough theme, but a great stage. sometimes i feel like that earns these tunes some extra brownie points, whether that's right or not
and plant man mm6 seems like it could absolutely be a late-stage wily theme, which is interesting - mm6 music is better than i remember - maybe i'm once again conflating the game (fine, forgettable) with the music there

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Anagram
04/29/21 1:15:23 PM
#180:


Are there any Mega Man games where the villain isn't somehow Wily?

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Not changing this sig until I decide to change this sig.
Started: July 6, 2005
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Paratroopa1
05/01/21 1:35:30 AM
#181:


60. Astro Man (Mega Man & Bass)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM1OYD4VmZI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTfaTObWA4Y

Believe me, I'm aware that this is a DEEP cut and I sort of expect my tastes to be slightly inexplicable on this one. It's all about that bass. It's low key, but it totally slaps. As per the usual, the GBA version is the one that really makes this theme for me, I just kinda dig the instrument choices here, and it adds those deliciously punchy snares that really make that riff groove. The atonal 'spacey' melody in the second half, I could really take it or leave it - I just kind of consider it a distraction from the main course that is that dope bassline. I don't really have that much more to say about it, this theme isn't that exciting aside from that, but a funky as hell bass riff goes a long way for me. Anyway, let's see how Rockman & Forte: Mirai Kara no Chosensha fucks this up!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzRX_7Qz-xQ

Holy shit, I think this is the worst conversion yet. The groove is totally lost, there's no beat to speak of whatsoever, and all of the sounds just sound mushy. It's a mess. I can't believe they made this.

59. Bubble Man (Mega Man 2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQjgTJabV6k

I care not for your sacred cows! I shall see them slaughtered before me! Bubble Man is a great theme but it doesn't enter the upper echelon of great themes for me, mainly because that really high-pitched lead kind of overstays its welcome for me after a while. But yeah, it's classic Mega Man 2, otherwise. I love how everything here just SOUNDS like Mega Man 2 - the toms and snares particularly are really on brand for MM2. I think it captures an underwater theme pretty well for the first entirely underwater stage in the series (let's forget about MM1 Wily 3) and it's got a properly infectious energy. But, as far as tracks from 2 go, it's not a standout for me.

58. Hard Man (Mega Man 3)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzzJwrIN6Mc

And now an elimination from 3, too? I'm really running out of tracks from other games to get rid of here, folks. Hard Man is almost certainly the most oft-forgotten of the eight robot master tracks in this game, and for good reason, it is in fact the worst one! And yet I still think it's really good. Much like Bubble Man just sounds like MM2 in every facet, Hard Man really has that MM3 sound to it. Maybe it's just because I always started this game playing his stage (I don't really know why, it was just the tradition in our family) but this one carries a certain sort of nostalgia to it. Lotta little things I like here - those snares in the A section that have a nice 'kick' to them, the distinctly MM3-style bridge section at :26, those atonal chords at the end that loop back to the start. Everything here sounds really pleasant and there's an ear for mixing in MM3 that isn't always present in the other games where the aural space is really tidy and instruments aren't stepping on others and nothing is ever gratingly loud - 3 is very easy on the ears.

57. Flame Man (Mega Man 6)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKHVUupbqx0

A great track that it feels like Yuko Takehara just had a lot of fun writing. I really dig that slow, moody intro that leads into the upbeat main body of the song, and I like the combination of a vaguely arabic character (it's subtle, but it's present in the trills and the occasionally 'middle eastern' tonality) with just straight up bringing the damn funk all of the time. The bass has some interesting ideas, although it kind of leaves its home at the bottom of the range again, which leaves this theme with kind of a hollow low end, but I can forgive that since there's enough going on in this theme for me to not really notice.

56. Chill Man (Mega Man 10)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoleEdOSRFw

And the 'most improved' award goes toooo... Mega Man 8's Shusaku Uchiyama, for his work on Chill Man! I'm actually really fascinated by this track, because of how much it does sound at its core like it belongs in MM8; it has the telltale elements of being less melody-centric and more focused on building a sound world, focusing on sound design and percussion over delivering a core melodic idea. But the switch here to an NES soundchip totally transforms what those ideas even mean and I think Uchiyama handles the transition wonderfully here! The character of a desolate tundra is captured really well here and it doesn't sound like any other NES track at all - it's sparse, atonal, and it cares more about texture than melody, and maybe I haven't given MM8 a fair enough shake for doing these exact things but I just think it works really well on the NES. This is what I find really fun about Mega Man 10's soundtrack - the different ideas of the various composers are well represented and it kinda makes every track sound different from each other, and it's really cool to see someone like Uchiyama, who as far as I now has no prior experience working on NES style stuff, bring their own style to that and create something that sounds like NES outsider art.
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Paratroopa1
05/01/21 1:36:40 AM
#182:


Anagram posted...
Are there any Mega Man games where the villain isn't somehow Wily?
The only two notable Mega Man games where Wily isn't the main villain are Mega Man V GB (where he is the penultimate boss but not the final boss) and Rockman & Forte: Challenger From The Future (where he does not appear at all!). There's also Super Adventure Rockman but who gives a shit about that. He's the final boss in every other Mega Man game that I have discussed here.
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Paratroopa1
05/01/21 1:39:01 AM
#183:


Naye745 posted...
i'm still following this one, but wanted to pop up and say i really love mm4 wily 2 and wind man mm6!
i think mm4 wily 2 is used in stages where you basically do nothing other than go to some boss fights, so it loses some charm for not being particularly relevant. great tune though
There's some content to Wily 3 before the capsule room, and then really just a couple of hallways before the boss fight. I can never understand why the later Wily stages in MM games always seem so sparse - they create a lot of nice looking tilesets and nice sounding music but in the service of nothing. How hard can it be to create a few more rooms and place a few more enemies? I can't think of a Mega Man game that doesn't have at least one level that is weirdly short and empty.
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Paratroopa1
05/01/21 4:38:45 AM
#184:


Oh no I feel like this next batch of eliminations will make people mad

55. Pirate Man (Mega Man & Bass)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p4m1xPx3kc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g03ZRIsB-I

GBA version wins again and it's not even close for me, this time - the mysterious Chihiro Arisaka's conversion (assuming that is the right person, thanks to Mycro for pointing this one out) just breathes new life into this one for me. The R&F version of the track has a really jamming percussion line but the instruments themselves are just too quiet to really bring that jam to the forefront - but mmm, those GBA snares! So much punch! I think the aggressiveness of the percussion serves as a really fun counterpoint to the relaxed vibe of the rest of the instruments, where I think the GBA does pretty well for itself - again, not particularly high quality, but I think the string lead works well, and the synth for that sweeping arpeggio is beautiful. I feel like the bassline could have been a little bit more interesting, but it's a minor complaint since the percussion in this one is already doing a lot of work.

54. Dr. Wily 2 (Mega Man 9)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGh8CT4283g

Another day, another extremely popular Wily stage getting cut down early enough to confuse and upset people. I mean, look, we're deep into "I really love this theme" territory, and We're The Robots' love is well-deserved, it's a good theme! I appreciate any stage theme that's nice and long, and this one has well over a minute of content so that alone scores some points. Lots of different melodic ideas here that all flow into each other really well, lots of cool little instrumental choices that you don't hear out of NES MM stuff a lot (not to mention triplets! Those are a pain in the ass to do!), all adds up to an iconic middle Wily stage. I really like that groovy outro section - really caps the loop off nicely for the track to one to get one last word in after 1:10 has already passed. Also, We're The Robots is a hilarious name.

53. Fuse Man (Mega Man 11)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1PKs-Qgwt0

FINALLY. Ugh, do you know how begrudging my ranking of this theme was, knowing that 11 wouldn't be officially eliminated until now? I know that's a weird thing to say about a theme I really like, but my disappointment in MM11 is so great that there was part of me that wanted to revenge-hate this theme. It's a little hard not to, given that it has pretty much the exact same style as every other MM11 track that I dislike, so by all rights I should dislike it, but... it's good, right? It's really good. Okay, so I can't say that I like the B section that much - the dramatic slowing of the pacing feels unearned after only 23 seconds - and this track kind of has one or two really good ideas that it sort of runs into the ground. But it executes them really well and creates a really exciting theme and that's all I'm hear for. It's easy to see why they used this music for the trailers - the opening hook has that instantly memorable sound to it that the rest of the game is so desperately lacking, and it's immediately grabbing. My favorite thing about this track though is that the percussion here is *really* well done. All the drum fills in this are really exciting, and that 'thunderclap' sound at :12 is a great touch. I love that reversed sound that opens the track, too. MM11 has a lot of great sound design, I just wish it were more frequently used in the pursuit of more interesting music.

Final Mega Man 11 rankings:

1. Fuse Man (53)
2. Dr. Light's Trial (110)
3. Dr. Wily (125)
4. Bounce Man (133)
5. Tundra Man (145)
6. Acid Man (152)
7. Impact Man (185)
8. Blast Man (186)
9. Torch Man (187)
10. Block Man (188)

Thoughts: I think Marika Suzuki is a composer who has a lot of promise - Mega Man 11's production quality is a strong suit and I think she could make good stuff in the future. If MM11 is your jam I don't wanna take that away from you! But it really isn't my style, and it was a disappointing evolution of the series' music for me. Too many generic, airy synths and too many corny writing choices. Fuse Man is a one-hit wonder - the rest ranges from ok to just not something I'm excited to hear. Mega Man is a franchise where the games' music keeps me coming back, and the most damning thing I can say about MM11's soundtrack is that it doesn't make me want to play the game again.

Regrets?: Not really. Could put Tundra Man a little higher since I do kind of like that track. I was really harsh about the bottom 4 tracks here, but I am sitting here and honestly still cannot remember them at all and haven't thought about them once, and that's just damning in a series full of earworms.

52. Nitro Man (Mega Man 10)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsfjSBeKJRE

As I mentioned in Pump Man's writeup, that theme and this theme were the only two I got wrong when trying to play composer guessing game - I thought that Pump Man's theme was more indicative of Manami Matsumae's slower and thematically-centric style while Nitro Man had Yuko Takehara's brisk pacing and MM6's telltale harmonic stylings. They tricked me! But it does kind of make sense, in a way, that Matsumae would write what is de facto the opening hit single on the album that is MM10, as Mega Man music royalty. There's something that's kind of exciting about this track as an evolution of Matsumae's style - it's been a hot couple of decades between MM1 and this game and there's really nothing in MM1 that sounds anything like this. It's crisp, high-octane, and never boring for even a second. The bassline doesn't do a lot (although it has a couple of good moments) and the second square wave doesn't do much except harmonize with the first and yet I still find that there's a lot to listen to here. Every harmonization choice is pretty interesting and serves as a pretty good style guide for the series as a whole. The whole outro section from :45 on is pure class. Great track, hurts to keep it out of the top 50.

51. Tornado Man (Mega Man 9)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyEnAZZWL-4

Okay, I swear I didn't do this on purpose, but I just eliminated the trailer music for 9, 10, and 11 all in a row. I guess it makes sense, given that all three tracks have a very similar sort of style - they're fast and exciting and they're kind of designed to make you want to play the game, which is a hallmark of a good Mega Man theme! Tornado Man is one that I'm of two minds about, because I think all of the content here is really good and totally rocks but god, that lead goes into some seriously high dog-whistle registers and it kind of wears out my love for this track after a while. But if the purpose of a Mega Man theme is to generate excitement, then yeah, this does that in spades! I think the hype value of this theme is pretty self-explanatory.
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Paratroopa1
05/01/21 4:44:09 AM
#185:


The Top 50!

  • A full half of the list (25 out of 50) is now comprised of MM2, MM3, and MM5 themes. The variety on this list from here on is going to take a pretty severe nosedive.
  • MM4 and MM10 sending a significant delegation, with five tracks each.
  • MM7 somehow has more tracks left than 1, 9, or Bass, and has as many as 6 and V. Nobody is more surprised by this than me.
  • 1, 8, 9, and Bass still clinging to life! How much longer can they last?
  • MEGA MAN SOCCER IS STILL ALIVE
  • We bid farewell to Mega Man 11 and Mega Man: The Wily Wars on this list, as well as what original stage themes there were from I, III, and IV for the GB.


Mega Man 1
---
Bomb Man
Fire Man

Mega Man 2
---
Air Man
Crash Man
Flash Man
Heat Man
Metal Man
Quick Man
Dr. Wily 1
Dr. Wily 2

Mega Man 3
---
Gemini Man
Magnet Man
Needle Man
Shadow Man
Snake Man
Spark Man
Top Man
Dr. Wily 1

Mega Man 4
---
Bright Man
Dive Man
Drill Man
Pharaoh Man
Toad Man

Mega Man 5
---
Charge Man
Crystal Man
Gravity Man
Gyro Man
Napalm Man
Stone Man
Wave Man
Dark Man
Dr. Wily

Mega Man 6
---
Blizzard Man
Centaur Man
Yamato Man

Mega Man 7
---
Burst Man
Dr. Wily 1
Dr. Wily 2

Mega Man 8
---
Astro Man

Mega Man 9
---
Galaxy Man

Mega Man 10
---
Sheep Man
Solar Man
Dr. Wily 2
Dr. Wily 3
Ballade

Mega Man & Bass
---
Cold Man

Mega Man V (GB)
---
Venus
Uranus
Dr. Wily 2

Mega Man Soccer
---
Dr. Wily
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Toxtricity
05/01/21 8:13:25 AM
#186:


Oh man two of my top 10 dropped in one post!
Astro Man (Mega Man & Bass) / Chill Man (Mega Man 10)

astro man is just...so fucking cool and weird chord-wise. very transpose-y with some weird trippy tonal center changes; and i love this sort of funky dungeon music style. very much my kind of tonality/atonality, i love pretty much everything about it.

and chill man is even more cool and weird chord-wise; but somehow implying all these bizarre harmonies with intense polyphony limits. despite totally different instrumentation you can TELL it's "megaman 8 composer" and that's wonderful, your writeup says it all.

.

Still having 5 of my top 10 in your top 50 is pretty good (and 7 in your top 60!). definitely not what i expected from losing some stuff i loved so early. glad it hung on this long.

of the remaining favorites for me. all 3 mm5 examples are still alive, and one's from mm7 and another from mm10. Which tracks are those?!?!?!?! (honestly it is probably not that hard for someone who knows my tastes adequately enough, even based on what i've said in this topic, to guess)
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Whiskey_Nick
05/01/21 8:51:27 AM
#187:


Bubble Man and Tornado Man way too low

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Brayze_II
05/01/21 10:40:32 AM
#188:


I would have had fuse man and nitro man much lower, I just don't see what's remarkable about them at all - although I like the end of the loop in nitro man.

Chill man, flame man, and astro man much higher for me. Flame man might be a top 10 for me! I like that he has a turban and a little robostache like he's a mughal or something. I was going to make a comment about all the turbans in his stage, but it turns out that my memory of hard hat macs with turbans is something I invented. Also fat robots with a turban and they light their turbans on fire, is that a real thing or am I remembering awesome things that don't exist again

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NBIceman
05/01/21 2:20:36 PM
#189:


Yeowch. We're the Robots and Tornado Man going down in the same set.

There's some days that I think the former may be my favorite piece of VGM ever - there's just something so fun about it. That one definitely hurts.

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RaidenGarai
05/01/21 6:17:06 PM
#190:


I love Tornado Man and Wily 1 from MM9, disappointed to see them out before the top 50, but still loving the list! There's so much awesome music in this series.

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TheKnightOfNee
05/02/21 9:20:26 PM
#191:


"this batch of eliminations will make people mad" para says after eliminating Bubble Man and Chill Man in the previous post.

Granted, Nitro Man far away the top MM10 song to me, so that one's a bummer to see out. But like you said, everything's so good, there are going to be top songs too low all over.

I'm with Naye in that MM4 Wily 2 is actually pretty darn cool. I feel like I've always enjoyed it more than most people. Oh, and Bubble Man would likely be my number 1 for the series, so I was kiiiind of hoping to see that higher. ah well, I look forward to Mega Man Soccer in top ten

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Naye745
05/03/21 2:22:55 PM
#192:


tornado man and we're the robots are both good but don't seem out of place around 50ish

i'm with nee - losing bubble man this early is a crime lol

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Earthshaker
05/04/21 2:23:55 AM
#193:


Bummer to see most of my favorites from the later ones gone, but at least my top tracks from 1-5 and 7 are still there.

Kinda surprised Centaur Man ISN'T gone yet because it feels like it fell out of a Konami game, not a Capcom one

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Metal_DK
05/04/21 3:14:52 AM
#194:


centaur man isnt that bad of a theme. Kinda slow if i recall, i dont know why people hate it so much

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Paratroopa1
05/05/21 6:49:05 AM
#195:


I'm not quite ready to move on with the list yet so time for another dumb shitpost of a list! Since I'm about to really kick this into high gear with the top 50, it seems like a good time for title themes!

BONUS RANKING: OPENING/TITLE THEMES

Okay, so I struggled with this one a little bit because I wasn't sure what to do with these. Some games have some kind of opening cutscene, some don't. Almost every game has a title screen theme, but some of them are short and not very notable. What to do? Combine them all into one thing? Separate them? At the end of the day, I decided to combine them. It's a little weird, since every game is kind of doing its own thing - some games are just a lengthly title theme, some games don't have much of a title theme but have a long opening scene, some games have a full on cutscene at the beginning, etc. But to be honest, most of the title screen themes are actually really boring - they probably figured people wouldn't be sticking around on those, so it's usually not the games' best work.

Because of the awkwardness of how differently each game handles it opening, I'm gonna do something slightly different here - I'm actually ranking these based not just on music, but also on just how cool I think the opening is in general. I'll mostly focus on the music, but that turned out to be sort of a boring exercise, so I'm just ranking the whole thing. Why the fuck not! This is a stupid as hell list.

Mega Man 1 has no title theme at all, so it's not here. Duh.

27. Mega Man Anniversary Collection
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jk12F-DaxQ

Oh sorry, did you forget that I was ranking EVERY Mega Man game? Did you think I was fucking around? This is the ONLY theme in this game, and it's getting fucking ranked, right here, right now. And it's getting ranked at the bottom! Because I think it sucks. It's just kind of a lame remix of MM2/MM3 with a little drum loop underneath it. Plus, there's no real title screen here at all, you just get dumped into a menu. No sense of style at all!

26. Wily & Light's Rockboard: That's Paradise!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iGiY981fiU

I'm sorry, did you think I was FUCKING AROUND when I said EVERY GAME? Well, okay, all of the ones that I could like, actually find video of... and not Super Adventure Rockman because I didn't know what the fuck to do with that at all. Okay, so, a word on Wily & Light's Rockbard: That's Paradise!!. I sort of realized that I fucked up and probably should have included this game in my main list? Aside from MM1-6, this is the only other NES Mega Man game in existence, and even though it's some kind of weird Monopoly-like board game, it DOES have a few themes that one could consider stage themes, and although I've never played this game and never heard the soundtrack, I could have ranked them. I'm not sure what to do with these in the future - I'll consider going back and retroactively ranking them. Anyway, there haven't been any other songs to include from this game until now - here's the title theme, it kind of sounds more like it belongs in Adventure Island or something. It's cute, but it's not substantial.

25. Mega Man Legacy Collection
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSHW2noP0FE

EVERY GAME, MOTHERFUCKERS. Like Anniversary Collection, this is Legacy Collection's one and only time to show up on this list, so, here it is! It's just the MM3 theme, which, yeah, and it's not a great remix either, although it is better than AC's. Not much of a title screen to speak of here either so I just linked to the song.

(By the way, no Legacy Collection 2 here, because it just uses Mega Man 8's intro stage, and that's boring. I'm not including Rockman Complete Works because... there was some reason. I think it was just a reused stage theme or something? I don't remember, too lazy to check)

24. Mega Man: Powered Up
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kimZQ832Kk4

Oh man, Powered Up, I am disappointed in you. All you could do was a little bit of demo footage over Cut Man's theme? Followed by a title theme that isn't all that great. I'm only giving points for the Mega Mans building the Capcom logo, that's pretty cute, but otherwise Powered Up's title screen game is weeeeeak.

23. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyNvQuHJdFs

This one is strange as hell and I don't know what to make of it. We get Dr. Light like, barely animated talking to us with no dialog for a while... was he supposed to have dialog at some point? I have no idea, but it's super awkward, and then the lights go out, and we get this gag with a bunch of eyes in the darkness that goes on for way too long, and then suddenly a shot of a bunch of robot masters all piling on top of Mega Man that disappears way too quickly to even look at it! The pacing is super awkward. The title theme sounds like Sonic the Hedgehog's beach vacation. This kind of sucks.

22. Mega Man & Bass
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvBrSw_bd7k
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROYUh-VRStI

I expected better out of you, Mega Man & Bass. Just a menu getting shot up and then a short title theme? Weak! I couldn't find video of the GBA opening but it doesn't really matter. The GBA theme is better, though, as usual. And then there's Rockman & Forte: Challenger From The Future... wait... where is it? Where did it go??? oh god. oh NO

21. Mega Man Soccer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wj1xk4QQO8

Mega Man Soccer! Did you see where R&F2 went? You know, the one for WonderSwan? You say you think Dr. Wily's Revenge knows where it went? Okay thanks

20. Mega Man: Dr Wily's Revenge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGW6MUY7nSQ

Hey Dr. Wily's Revenge! Did you see R&F2? Whoa holy shit, your title theme goes on HOW long, I've never heard it before, anyway did you see it? It passed by here HOW long ago? Ah FUCK

19. Mega Man Battle & Chase
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm-IbJSjK5s (just 0:54 - 1:58)

Hey Battle & Chase, did you... wait, what the fuck are you even doing here? Who invited you? Nevermind, has R&F2 been this way? It just passed by that way, you say? Okay hang on, I'll be right back, we need to catch up

18. Rockman & Forte: Challenger From The Future
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMlKjyDNxw8 (Just until 1:50)

Oh thank FUCK, do you know how worried I was? I take my eyes off of you for ONE MINUTE and... what the hell are you wearing, is that Burner Man's theme? Okay, just, stay right there, I need to go back and talk to Battle & Chase for a second. Then we'll deal with you, mister.
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Paratroopa1
05/05/21 6:49:43 AM
#196:


19. Mega Man Battle & Chase
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm-IbJSjK5s (just 0:54 - 1:58)

WHOOOOOA IT'S SO RADICAL. I mean, it's just demo footage, which is kind of lame, and there's no title screen theme here at all, but I do have to admit that opening theme kind of shreds just a little? Much like Wily & Light's Rockboard, this is actually a game that I... probably should have included in my list, given that it does have levels, and those levels have distinct themes. The main reason I didn't include it was laziness - I don't recognize any of this game's music at all, and it would require me to do some research to even figure out what there is here that needs to be ranked. Again, I might consider doing a retrospective on it at some point but we'll see. It would really only be for completion's sake. (Wow this game sure does take a long time to load.)

18. Rockman & Forte: Challenger From The Future
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMlKjyDNxw8 (Just until 1:50)

This is, in all likelihood, probably the nicest I will ever be to this shitty game, at least until I ironically rank the ending cutscene really high later. Okay, look, the music here is terrible, and if it were ranked on that alone it wouldn't be this high. I mean, they used the most cheerful theme in MM&B for the villain's introduction, which is truly the most hilarious thing they could have done and doesn't sound right at all. But the title screen and the opening cutscene graphics are actually kinda cool? Well, if you don't stare into Bass's dumb face too much. MM&B didn't bother with an opening cutscene, though, and this game did, so I'm giving it points for effort. This is one of the few places that this game at least sort of tried!

17. Mega Man: The Power Battle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOev1Bd8Hkw

I love a good arcade game attract mode. Something about it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy looking at it. Look at Mega Man and Proto Man and Bass zip by. Look at all that demo footage. Look at those high scores. Mmmmm.

16. Mega Man II (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QhHBvBgzUw

Hey wait, you can't do that! That's cheating! That's just the final stage theme from later in your game! I shouldn't be ranking you like this! Awww, damnit, but your theme's really cool. Okay fine.

15. Mega Man III (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jiNBFG4ykA

Dunno what to do with this one. It's just a title theme, no opening cutscene here, but it is a pretty dope title theme. (I actually didn't give Dr. Wily's Revenge due credit earlier, it has kind of a cool title theme too.)

14. Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV42zxPmOzI

Another attract mode, but this one has slightly better music and visuals overall. I do like the homage to MM2, as well as the password theme being used on the high score list. This is also the only game to so prominently feature Duo, as well as Centaur Man for some reason. Neat! Look at Duo's arm go. He sure can flex his fingers.

13. Mega Man 8 (International)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKpDara_eXw

BOOOOOOO. WHERE'S MY ANIME THEME. YOU COWARDS.

12. Mega Man V (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfMTJjcdlVg

Kind of a long-winded and slow-paced cutscene to open this game - the text takes a really, really long time to go by and it takes far too long to introduce the plot of "Terra kicks Mega Man's ass and Mega Man gets a rocket arm". That said, it IS a cutscene, and it's pretty cool overall! Neat graphics and a cool introduction to a brand new villain. I like when Mega Man holds his arm out and Roll just kind of hurriedly shuffles away. Get out of there, Roll!

11. Mega Man 11
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY7KiAf5-RY

Look, the only important thing here really is that we learn that Dr. Wily sleeps in skull pajamas in a bed that's adorned with skulls in a room that has a skull window, and that alone does justify this ranking. Other than that, I like seeing the designs for young Wily and young Light, but other than that the cutscene is sort of boring and it doesn't have the pixel art charm to it. Title screen sounds like it could have been a scrapped stage theme, and not in a good way.
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Paratroopa1
05/05/21 6:50:43 AM
#197:


10. Mega Man 7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqfjake0dtE

I like seeing the ending of Mega Man 6 in SNES graphics, I like the spooky shot of the interior of the lab as the robots awaken, and I really like the even spookier shot of the burning city with the giant steamroller robot - it's rad. Interesting to note by the way, that this game has a title theme at the end of the opening cutscene, but doesn't actually have a title theme at all on the title screen itself. Cool opening, but we all know what the most important is: DR. WILLY

9. Mega Man 10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2mnpQMc7Oc

I really like the neo-NES game style of having a lengthy opening cutscene complete with all these cute pictures - I don't really remember the music in this one at all but I think the storyline is a lot of fun, even if it does hit a little bit too close to home about ten years later.

8. Mega Man IV (GB)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6ZZaXiqOGs

Whereas the first three Rockman World games really feel like they were just kind of farted out in a few weeks, it feels like they actually took some degree of pride in the fourth installment - not only is the game itself a huge improvement, but they actually gave it an opening cutscene! I think they're really overselling the intimdation factor of Toad Man and Bright Man, but that's cool. Wily looks really awesome here, I like that shot of Mega Man and Ballade, and the theme's pretty sick too.

7. Mega Man 9
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay632fqEOeY

Again, I don't remember the music too well, but lol, this one's just great. Dr. Wily going all fake news and grifting people to send money to his bank account on live TV is wonderful, and so is Eddie with the phone ringing and Chun Li cameoing as a news anchor. This cutscene finds a way to joke about how this is the first Mega Man game in a long time, too. The humor really makes this one.

6. Mega Man 6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7tbsEej-r4

Oh man, this Mr. X guy really seems like he'll be Mega Man's toughest challenge yet! For a change, I am actually ranking this based on the music, since I do think the opening cutscene music is pretty rad, in addition to all the shots of the robot masters and of Mr. X being pretty cool in general. The title screen music sounds EXTREMELY MM6.

5. Mega Man 4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFWx6VOKJx4

Hey, it's Mega Man's origin story! I've always kind of wondered if they meant to do this in Mega Man 3 but ran out of time, since Mega Man 3 focuses on Proto Man and has all of the MM1 robot masters at the end. Anyway, the cutscene does run a bit long and the momentum gets broken up a bit (Rock, having... having what?!) but I love the music in it, and the shot of Mega Man with the music at the end is really memorable. Very memorable opening cutscene, just not the most memorable.

4. Mega Man 5
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXcAKBW32lg

Really love this one. Whereas some of these opening cutscenes get a little too high concept and go on for 2-3 minutes long, this one's simple and to the point - cool shots of Proto Man and his robots blowing up the city (cities sure do get exploded a lot in these openings) and a really cool song to go with it. It all builds up to the title theme really perfectly and never slows down or loses momentum, it's just really well done.

3. Mega Man 8 (Japan)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev1RsHQcrcI

OH HELL YEAH THERE'S MY ANIME THEME. Honestly, this anime OP theme is a bit... well, it's a bit much, it's kind of aggressively corny, but it's still kind of awesome, alright? I appreciate that they put a little bit of budget into making this game have a way cooler opening than the rest of the game. Love all the nods to past Mega Man games here and all of the classic anime-opening cliches. It just kind of kicks ass and Capcom are COWARDS for not giving us this theme as-is. You idiots, we fucking LOVE anime now.

2. Mega Man 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJsn_C9rvIQ

It's really a shame that this game had to cut some corners to get rushed (no pun intended, truly) out to market, like them obviously just straight up not having enough time to put in an opening cutscene here. It doesn't matter, though - this title screen absolutely kicks my fucking ass every time. Every time I'd play this game as a kid, I would leave it on the title screen for like five minutes and just jam the fuck out. Kinda like the weapon get ranking, this ranking of title themes didn't end up being as cool as I expected, and part of the reason was that I didn't realize that MM3 is one of the only games that has a really badass theme.

By the way, have you guys ever seen Mega Man 3 Improvement?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkiUqlqbdmY

Aside from fixing lag and some other various issues in the game (including some other music timing things later...), they created a brand new intro cutscene for the game to actually explain the game's story, and it's really cool! There's kind of an awkward break in between the two halves of the title theme, but I still appreciate what they were going for.

1. Mega Man 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT9DST_M_g8

Oh come on, like it could have possibly been anything else, I'm not that much of a contrarian. This gives me chills every time I boot up the game. One of the coolest, most iconic things in video game history and nothing else needs to be said.

1. Mega Man 2
2. Mega Man 3
3. Mega Man 8 (Japan)
4. Mega Man 5
5. Mega Man 4
6. Mega Man 6
7. Mega Man 9
8. Mega Man IV (GB)
9. Mega Man 10
10. Mega Man 7
11. Mega Man 11
12. Mega Man V (GB)
13. Mega Man 8 (International)
14. Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters
15. Mega Man III (GB)
16. Mega Man II (GB)
17. Mega Man: The Power Battle
18. Rockman & Forte: Challenger From The Future
19. Mega Man Battle & Chase
20. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge
21. Mega Man Soccer
22. Mega Man & Bass
23. Mega Man: The Wily Wars
24. Mega Man: Powered Up
25. Mega Man Legacy Collection
26. Wily & Light's Rockboard: That's Paradise!!
27. Mega Man Anniversary Collection
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Toxtricity
05/05/21 9:16:42 AM
#198:


mm5 title is so good i am glad it was high in this rank (not surprising given what you've been alluding to throughout the topic, but still)
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Anagram
05/05/21 12:22:18 PM
#199:


I really enjoy how some of these openings have an FBI logo saying "WINNERS DON'T USE DRUGS" underneath.

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WarThaNemesis2
05/05/21 12:28:33 PM
#200:


dammit Para, now you've finally made me mad

I COULD HAVE BEEN EXCITED ABOUT ROCKBOARD SONGS TOO?

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