Mega Man Battle Network -Capcom Special Selection-
Mega Man Battle Network -Capcom Special Selection- (Capcom Special Selection: Rockman EXE)
September 25, 2014
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In the last few years, several Capcom Special Selection packages have been released for popular Capcom series. One of the latest in this product line is dedicated to the Mega Man Battle Network series of Game Boy Advance titles. As with other entries, the selection features an artbook documenting the series’ history and a one-disc soundtrack compiling various musical highlights.
The disc features all of the main themes created for the series’ seven Game Boy Advance titles, including Rockman EXE 4.5: Real Operation. They all follow a similar format, each about a minute long, highlighting an upbeat melody, and rendered with chiptune sound fonts. Highlights include the first game’s theme that set the tone for the rest of the series, as well as the fourth game’s theme with its charismatic melodies and bittersweet undertones reminiscent of 80s rock anthem. The box also exclusively features the version of the Mega Man Battle Network main theme featured in the still-unreleased score for Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star. A brief and straightforward adaptation of the original, it doesn’t bring much to the disc.
The first half of the selection features a sporadic tunes from the first three games of the album. Most of the tracks are solid. For example, the normal and boss battle themes from the original games will prove nostalgic highlights for long-timers of the series, whereas “Virus Busting” and “Shooting Enemy” from subsequent titles showcase what the series’ action tracks can offer. Likewise, “Electrical Crisis” is an example of the series’ pulsating electronic-chiptune fusions, while “N1 Grand Prix” is an example of the series’ upbeat NES-like adventure tracks. However, there are so many notable omissions that this CD doesn’t fully capture the variety of the series, the most notable including “Hometown”, “Fire Field”, “Navi Customiser” and the series’ excellent Internet themes. It’s not helped by the fact the album includes multiple remix of the series’ main theme, including “Running Through the Cyber World”, “Proof of Bravery”, and “And You Will Know the Truth”.
The second half of the special selection is dedicated to the last four titles in the series. The series goes back to basics with the 8-bit chiptunes of “Cyber Battle” and classic rock sounds of “Save Our Planet”. The disc also offers a brief throwback to the classic series with EXE4.5’s “Roll”. However, the focus of these selections is again swayed towards battle tracks and main themes. The selections from the two final games in the series don’t fully capture the quality and variety of the scores. Instead, they almost exclusively focusing on battle tracks such as “Battle Start!”, “Two of Brave” and “Cyber Beast!’, as solid as they are. Also unfortunate is the decision to feature the ending theme for the fifth but not sixth game in the series, as the latter tied together the entire series.
One-disc compilation albums can never do justice for franchises as musically vast and rich as Mega Man. And indeed, just as with similar compilation albums for the Final Fantasy, Silent Hill, and Castlevania franchises, this special selection largely falls flat. It suffers from the absence of numerous fan favourites, a disproportionate focus on battle themes, and an overall failure to capture the scope of the series’ music. While the music featured is all pretty good, I’d recommend skipping this album in favour of the series’ commercial soundtrack releases or box set to get a true taste of what the Mega Man Battle Network series has to offer.
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Posted on July 19, 2016 by Chris Greening. Last modified on July 19, 2016.