In Japan, Megaman is known as Rockman. He wasn’t named after rocks you would find on the ground. He was named after rock music. Other characters in the series have rock music inspired names, such as Roll (get it? Rock and Roll?), Bass and his sidekick dog, Treble.
At the time, the developers of Megaman 2 wanted to make a rocking soudtrack. Unfortunately, the technology wasn’t around in the early 1980s to put the sounds of real instruments. Instead, they composed one of the most rocking video game soundtracks ever using 8-bit sounds. As a youngster, I had no idea that was the creative vision behind the music. I just thought it was awesome.
Not much needs to be said about the quality of Mega Man 2. It stands as one of my all-time favourite games. The reason I write about it in terms of music was because this was the first game that really made me think about music in video games. Sure, there were iconic game soundtracks before Mega Man 2, but this soundtrack was the first to make me say, “Wow! This music is awesome!”
From the first time I heard the opening theme all the way to the eerie lack of sound leading up to the final battle, my ears were perked up to hear the adrenaline pumping music. Up until I heard the Minibosses perform their rendition of the Mega Man 2 theme though, I would have never seen the rock influence that made that soundtrack so great. After I heard their medley though, it all made sense.
It’s so cool to me to hear the realization of the composer’s work come to life. What I find even cooler than that is that the composers were able to create great rock music with 8-bit tools. Maybe the coolest thing of all is that even after hearing a live band realize the creative vision behind the music, the 8-bit originals will forever be timeless video game music classics.
Bubble Man Theme