Mega Man 2 The Power Fighters
Mega Man 2 The Power Fighters
September 21, 1996
Buy Used Copy
A funny story about the Mega Man 2 The Power Fighters soundtrack: Back in mid-1998, there was an online store called “The Place” (now out of business). Having just discovered the wonderful world of game music CDs and having been a Mega Man / Mega Man music nut long before then, I wasted no time in ordering this CD. There didn’t seem to be too many other Mega Man CDs and I definitely wanted to make sure I secured the soundtrack to the original Mega Man 2 that I had spent so much time on when I was younger. As the package was on its way, I came across a site that some information on this very CD and (more importantly) a sample of “Bubbleman’s Theme”. I downloaded the sample, expecting to hear the classic NES synth of the original. As it turns out, what hit my ears was the classic melody, except it was now being played out on synthesizers that were like candy to the ears, backed up by strong drum samples and a clearly distinct harmony (two things NES synth isn’t particularly effective at). When my heart settled down and I returned from my euphoric, Mega Man-fanboy state, I read that this was actually the soundtrack to an arcade game that had only been released in Japan, featuring Mega Man and the members of the original series (Blues/Protoman, Forte/Bass, Roll and of course, Dr. Wily). Even better, this game featured upgraded music from the classic series! Needless to say, this made my wait for the soundtrack that was on the way even more difficult.
The music to the classic Mega Man games have always been synonymous with the term “game music” to me. The melodies, while not overly complex, manage to fit the games they’re for, while standing out on their own as being some of the most easily memorable and hummable rock/techno pieces around. The only downside to this has been that the synth for the music itself has been limited to the NES soundchip. Well, for the themes featured here, this limitation has been completely removed, giving these classic themes a chance to shine the way they were meant to sound. While nowhere near sounding “live” (this is still arcade synth), the samples are pleasant enough, especially the occasional electric guitar and piano samples. Basically, if you can tolerate electronic music of any kind, the sound quality of this disc will not be an issue.
The selection is quite an interesting one. At least three robot themes were picked from Mega Man 1 through Mega Man 7, except for Mega Man 3 (which only has two) and Mega Man 6 (which has no representations on this disc, except for the ‘robot select’ screen music). On top of that, despite the high number of tracks, everything loops, which ensures that the music stays on long enough to enjoy it. As a side note, if you have heard the arrangements of the Mega Man themes on the Megaman Anniversary Collection, many of them are the ones found on this disc. Also, Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters is included as well on the compilation. So tally it up:
Classic Mega Man Music + Improved Sound Quality + Long Playing Time = No Brainer Purchase
So did the rest of the disc fare quite as well as the masterful “Bubbleman” arrangement? Yup. Odds are, if you’re familiar with any of the pieces in the tracklist, you’ll want to hear their upgraded versions. For example, the classic theme for Dr. Wily’s area in Mega Man 2 returns, only with an awesome sampled guitar in place of the trusty NES synth. Classics such as Cutman’s theme, Shademan’s theme and Shadowman’s theme make triumphant returns, only sounding much more improved than their original versions. Diveman’s theme retains the same feeling of surfing music. Finally, you have the arranged endings, which should make any Mega Man fan wet themselves. You have the classic main theme of Mega Man that shows up often inside the games, the evil-rhythm-driven theme of Bass from Mega Man 7, and Protoman’s theme (which is an arrangement of the flute-driven Mega Man 3 ending theme), plus the jazzy ending themes for Duo, which I believe are new.
In some cases, some new touches were added that really make these versions stand out. The hard rocking nature of Pharaohman’s old theme has been kicked up a notch with some killer guitar samples and drums, along with the emergence of an egyptian-style flute. Gutsman’s theme, where the original runs about 20 seconds before it loops, has an entirely new section added on, which features an awesome keyboard solo. The tempo has been picked up considerably in Elecman’s theme, giving a rather upbeat take on this usually laid-back piece. The only change that I wasn’t real crazy about was the new version of Geminiman’s theme, which lessens the “spacey” sound of the original by putting in more normal samples and a noodling saxophone. It’s not bad, but I don’t think it compares with the original.
One odd thing about the two Mega Man arcade games is that the robot masters don’t always carry their original themes from their original games. Therefore, the tracklisting can actually be a bit misleading (but still correct, since it’s how they’re listed). Track 5, which says Plantman’s theme, is actually Crashman’s theme from Mega Man 2. Track 9, which says Centaurman’s theme, is actually Junkman’s theme from Mega Man 7. Finally, track 26, which says Quickman’s theme, is actually the boss battle music from Mega Man 2 (it took me a while to figure this one out). Still, this was much better than Mega Man The Power Battle, since almost none of the original themes matched with their original robot.
One other reason Mega Man fanboys should want this is for the liner notes. Inside are pictures of everyone from the game, including ones for the robot masters, the supporting cast (Roll, Rush, Treble/Gospel, Beat, Eddie and Dr. Light), and, of course, the four main heroes. The cool thing is that it’s all done in the beautiful anime style of the Japanese originals and not the cheesy American “superhero” artstyle that cluttered the US originals (remember the art for the US version of Megaman 1 and 2? Ugh?).
Well, that should be all the information you need. I think I’ve given fellow Mega Man nuts enough reason to jump over their own mothers to find this CD. For those who aren’t in this group of fans, you would still do well to find a copy if you enjoy mindlessly hummable game melodies and superb synth quality. This was one of the first three game music CD’s I’ve had the chance to own and it’s still one of the cornerstones of my collection. After more than six years, it sounds as great as it ever did. It can be somewhat difficult to find, as it is long out of print, but keep searching eBay until you turn up a copy. It’s worth every cent you’ll pay for it.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Andy Byus. Last modified on August 1, 2012.