Hello and welcome to P-Vock's Music Box. From your FFXVI's to your Last of Uses to your Spider-verses, there has been a lot of media recently that has come out with gargantuan expectations. Media that seems to already have a ton of people loving or hating it simply and ready to judge it because of a legacy franchise name or iconic group of creators helming its creation.
Whether or not they succeed in their respective goals is always an interesting conversation to me and it's got me thinking about media from long past that may have had a lot of pressure on it for whatever reason.
In the early 90s, Capcom released a new Mega Man game that was familiar enough to the Blue Bomber's classic 80s outings to be recognizable, while still doing its own thing.
Did it succeed in capturing the acclaim and love of its previous games though?
Yes. In X-tremely glorious fashion, it delivered and then some.
While not the most iconic franchise in all of media, Mega Man has garnered more than a little bit of love over the past four decades. Bringing it to a new audience while still respecting the old fans was a tough task, to say the least. Despite this, Capcom rose to the challenge and delivered what is just one of the best video games of all time in Mega Man X.
Faster and smoother gameplay. A more detailed and interesting story. More enjoyable characters with memorable voice-acting performances (Mega Man X4'd English dub is a gift). More Mega X Busting action. Mega Man X had it all and absolutely brought its storied series in the future at a record pace.
While all of those things are great, the music is its shining achievement.
I'm surprised more homes didn't burn down in the 90s from Super Nintendos bursting into flames as a result of this stupidly hot beat that plays during your intro level to Mega Man X.
It's just so kinetic. It's frantic. It has a tempo that never slows down. It's just so Mega Man. That aggressive baseline calls to memory classic themes like Dr Wily's Castle, while the overlaying melody is so much more advanced than anything the NES could have given us. Your fingers are jumping and shooting, your toes are tapping, your head is bobbing, and your ears are igniting with this absolute masterpiece.
Luckily for you, the soundtrack only gets better.
Take everything I said about Central Highway, and just give it an even better melody. Storm Eagle's stage (my favourite in the game thanks in large part to the music) just hits you right in the face with a tune that is equal parts energetic and confident. Depending on your route, this could be the last stage you play in the game, and I think that confident tone really fits one of the final treks in this journey. You've died a lot but kept getting better and learning patterns of enemies and boss fights. You've collected your share of heart containers and sub-tanks. You're getting stronger and better and the enemies are starting to stand no chance.
That's what this track tells me every time I hear it, and I'm almost tempted to die a few times and keep listening to it whenever I play this damn game.
One of my favourite tracks in the series and something I can't help but come back to.
But, not quite my actual favourite. Remember when I said the story in X is a little more intense and interesting?
You're not getting a damn Pesona story in Mega Man X, but it's clear that the team at Capcom wanted it to matter more than it ever had before, and I think having a track like this for one of the final segments of the game really delivers a sense of urgency. It has a recognizable baseline and energetic melody, but a slight key change and slower tempo really make this composition significantly more dramatic and intense than anything you've heard previously in the game.
90s platformers aren't exactly known for environmental storytelling, but I think the first Sigma Stage from Mega Man X is one of the best examples of it and is my favourite track in the game, even my favourite in the entire series depending on the day.
I'm sure your weekend won't consist of saving the world from evil computer viruses. However, if it does, please play this music as you save us all for added effect.
Mega Man X is a game of simple fun that I can't help but get excited to play. It knows exactly what it wants to be: a slightly more serious take on a classic concept that is still sheer fun and high-octane robot nonsense. If the music is any indication, I think this soundtrack absolutely captures such a feeling.
So, much like one of these games (minus X7), I'mma dip before I overstay my welcome.
Thank you, as always, for checking out my content and I hope to catch you back here next time with another suggestion from my Music Box!
PS. I can't not give you a dope cover of Storm Eagle.