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Messages - Dudeman

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1
Off-Topic / Re: The NSM Ultimate Ranking Topic
« on: October 01, 2019, 01:03:30 AM »
This is Part 2 because I wrote so much! Part 1 is above!

Mega Man Battle Network/Star Force
Featuring 10 titles (Battle Network - Battle Network 6, Network Transmission, Star Force - Star Force 3)
Full disclosure: of these 10 titles, I have only played/become familiar with 4 of them, and I’d only count 3 of those as fairly recent. My rankings here are pretty much solely based on the music itself, which could potentially be a hindrance since a lot of VGM gains more meaning when paired with the situation in which it is played. Take these with a grain of salt, and be aware that these games are pretty similar in the music department…with one glaring exception (you’ll see).
Spoiler
#10
Mega Man Star Force 2: Zerker X Saurian/Zerker X Ninja
Release Year: 2007 (NDS)
Composers: Yoshino Aoki, Marika Suzuki


The Battle Network/Star Force section of this list is similar to the Zero/ZX section in that you’ll be seeing a lot of one specific composer, and that the one specific composer tends to make the soundtrack worse when working independently. Such is the case with Yoshino Aoki’s work in the franchise. Where Ippo Yamada can make good backings but isn’t the greatest at coming up with melodies, Aoki creates complex chord progressions and then writes melodies that either clash with them entirely or meander aimlessly without establishing a core identity. They also tend to be short. This is probably the best example of melodies clashing with chords. Most of the soundtrack is actively hard to listen to at times without either being annoyed or being disinterested. There’s a few diamonds in the rough, but it’s not worth poring through the whole soundtrack to find them.

Standout Tracks
- Home Town
- Loch Mess
- Sky Wave
- Melody of Isolation
- Atmosphere of Unrest
- Sentimental
- Road to Victory
Top Pick
Wave Battle
This is actually one of my favorite boss themes in the entire Mega Man franchise, and it bugs me that it comes from one of the most flawed soundtracks. If only it could all be this good.
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#9
Mega Man Battle Network 2
Release Year: 2001 (GBA)
Composer: Yoshino Aoki


This is probably the best example of Aoki’s tendency towards short compositions. The soundtrack to Battle Network 2 is serviceable, but ultimately it doesn’t stick around for long and make much of a statement with the time it has. That being said, this soundtrack also has five or six tracks that are really phenomenal, and even though I’m not a big fan of Aoki’s work, it does surprise me how she always manages to have a few really really good tracks, and I wonder why there’s such a big disparity between the quality of her good compositions and everything else.

Standout Tracks
- At Okuden
- Busy Street of a Foreign Country
- Alley
- Determination in the Heart
- Smoky Field
- Internet World
- Vs. Gospel
Top Pick
Battle Spirit
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#8
Mega Man Star Force 3: Black Ace/Red Joker
Release Year: 2008 (NDS)
Composers: Yoshino Aoki, Akari Kaida


Star Force 3 is somehow similar to Mega Man 3 in my brain (and not because they’re both #3), in that I think highly of their soundtracks until I actually go listen, at which point I am confusedly underwhelmed. With Kaida’s assistance, SF3 has a lot of really strong tracks to go off of, but after listening through everything again, I just wasn’t blown away like I was expecting to be. I guess a lot of the overall good feel comes from the standout tracks in the soundtrack, which are absolutely amazing. It’s just not the whole thing.

Standout Tracks
- Shooting Star (Ver. SF3)
- The Radio World
- Wave Station
- Diamond Ice Stage
- Club Strong Stage
- Wave Battle
- Black Hole Server
Top Pick
Staff Roll
Yup, it’s the credits theme. It’s a little hard to explain why I love this piece so much, but I love it to bits.
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#7
Mega Man Star Force: Leo/Pegasus/Dragon
Release Year: 2006 (NDS)
Composer: Yoshino Aoki (feat. Mitsuhiko Takano)


Instrumentation can make or break a soundtrack. The first Star Force title suffers a little from the new sound direction taken with the jump to the DS, in that a number of the new synths are either suffering from clipping, or are…wobbly, for lack of a better term. It improves with time, and I honestly think this outing is better than the two that came after it on composition alone, but the instrumentation keeps it from being truly great.

Standout Tracks
- Shooting Star (If the SF soundtracks did anything right, it’s the soaring, triumphant melody that serves as the main theme of the franchise. It perfectly captures the feeling of heroism. Heck, it was put into Smash Ultimate without any changes made to it!)
- Science
- ROCKET SHOOTER
- Now Study! (This is definitely one of my favorite stage themes in the whole Mega Man franchise. It’s also one of only two tracks in the soundtrack that Mitsuhiko Takano worked on, and it shows.)
- Final Battleground
- Wave Battle
- The Place You Must Return
Top Pick
Agonizing Wish
Geo Stelar is unique among Mega Man protagonists in that he doesn’t rush bravely into danger out of an inherent sense of justice. His dad is presumed dead in space, he’s afraid of making friends to the point of staying in his room every day of his life, and the only reason he becomes a super fighting robot is that a renegade criminal alien basically forces him to defend himself against the other aliens that are after him. Through the games, he learns how to trust others and form bonds, giving him a dynamic arc completely absent from other Mega Men. I bring all this up because Agonizing Wish is the theme of Geo watching the stars, missing his dad, and I’m happy this level of emotional intensity is present in a franchise that treads lightly in the dynamic protagonist department.
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#6
Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun/Blue Moon
Release Year: 2003 (GBA)
Composer: Toshihiko Horiyama


Battle Network 4 holds a special place in my heart, being the BN game I played the most and the latest into my childhood, but I’ve known for a while that the soundtrack really isn’t the greatest. It’s got some catchy melodies and some great ideas, but it lacks some sort of depth, making it sound empty and half-finished. It also has some of the wobbliness present in SF1, which drags it down a little further. I really wish this soundtrack had been done with just a slightly different soundfont; I think it would have improved the final product immensely.
It also might’ve helped if the aggravating Incident Occurrence theme didn’t play endlessly once you reached the endgame/postgame. I GET IT, THERE’S A METEOR COMING, CAN’T I LISTEN TO MY OVERWORLD THEMES AGAIN??

Standout Tracks
- Electric Town
- Invisible Wing
- Cyber Battle
- Battle Pressure
- Global Network
- Journey of Determination
- Save Our Planet
Top Pick
VS. Duo
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#5
Mega Man Battle Network 3: White/Blue
Release Year: 2002 (GBA)
Composer: Yoshino Aoki


Despite Aoki being at the helm, here’s where things really start to get good. To my knowledge, 3 is generally regarded as one of the best in the series, and thankfully the soundtrack complements that. Featuring battle themes that are all spectacular, catchy area themes, and an Incident Occurrence theme that doesn’t make me want to kill myself, it’s really just the mediocre stage themes that hold this back. At least Aoki made a few finished products that were more than okay.

Standout Tracks
- Home Town (Every game does the theme of ACDC town a little differently. 3 went for a calypso vibe, and it really works.)
- Sea Breeze Town
- N1 Grand Prix!
- Network is Spreading
- Shine in the Dark
- Shooting Enemy
- Navi Customizer
Top Pick
Boss Battle!
Ohhhhohoho, man, this theme kicks SO much ass.
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#4
Mega Man Battle Network 5: Team ProtoMan/Team Colonel
Release Year: 2004 (GBA)
Composer: Akari Kaida


Battle Network 5 is pretty dark, and the music appropriately has a bit of an edge to it. Not really in a gritty, grungy sense, but the music in serious situations tends to favor unresolved or complex chords that really make it feel like something’s not quite right in the best of ways. A fantastic example of this is in the recurring Hometown theme: while previous games put the piece in a major key, with the melody starting on the tonic and resolving with the chords, BN5 places the piece in E minor while starting the melody on a D. In fact, it barely uses the D Major chord that you expect it to resolve to based on the sound of the other games. I love reharmonization like this, and the soundtrack has lots of instances of unresolved and complex chord progressions that hammer the point home. Also, it's just damn well composed.

Standout Tracks
- Hometown (for reasons mentioned above)
- Seek a Cord
- Battle Start!
- Quest in the Water
- Depth
- VS. Nebula Gray
- Chain of Wish
Top Pick
Liberate Mission
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#3
Mega Man Battle Network
Release Year: 2001 (GBA)
Composer: Akari Kaida


Akari Kaida really did a fantastic job at establishing the musical sound of the Battle Network games right from the start, as well as giving it some really good tunes to match the sound. Emphasizing the natively-generated square waves just as much as the sampled synths provided through the GBA’s improved sound capabilities gave Battle Network that electronic early-2000’s cyber-crazy vibe that "Mega Man on the Internet" would just be incomplete without. The selection of tracks here isn’t huge, actually the smallest in the series, but virtually heh everything here is of the utmost quality.

Standout Tracks
- Home Town
- School
- Fire Field
- Running Through the Cyber World
- Boundless Network
- Cold & Silent
- Red or Blue
Top Pick
Operation!
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#2
Mega Man Battle Network 6: Cybeast Gregar/Cybeast Falzar
Release Year: 2005 (GBA)
Composer: Yoshino Aoki


So, remember how I said that instrumentation can make or break a soundtrack? It’s especially important here, because somehow Yoshino Aoki managed to create what sounds to me like the best soundtrack in the Battle Network series, and it’s got a whole lot to do with the incredibly bassy, gritty samples plugged straight into this baby. It takes the cyberpunk chiptune I’ve come to love and infuses it with hints of electric guitar and sawtoothed waveforms. You can really feel the depth this soundtrack has above its predecessors. And on top of that, the compositions on display here are still fantastic, which is more than I’ve been able to say about Aoki’s work up until this point. I say it’s more than appropriate that the final installment of the Battle Network series has the most blood-pumping, intense, and overall best soundtrack of the whole main series.
Wait, isn’t there still another spot left…?

Standout Tracks
- Theme of Mega Man Battle Network 6
- Central Town
- Aquarium Question
- Battle Field
- Tree of Judgement
- Navi Customizer
- Two of Braves
Top Pick
Surge of Power!
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#1
Mega Man Network Transmission
Release Year: 2003 (GCN)
Composers: Shinji Hosoe, Yousuke Yasui, Ayako Saso


So, remember how I said that these games are pretty similar in the music department, with one glaring exception? Well, here’s the glaring exception. Honestly it’s really not fair to throw this one in with the other titles because it’s just a billion times better than the others in the series, but hey, that makes it a fun surprise! I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said I saved the best for last. For this whole list, I mean. Network Transmission was a 2D platformer spinoff for the Gamecube with some…really ugly graphics, actually. And lots of subtitled Japanese voice acting. But the music? Holy f***. If you’ve never heard anything from this before (and chances are you haven’t), you’re in for a treat. Take everything great about the synths in the PSX Mega Man X titles and the chiptune/cybernetic sampling and mixing of the Battle Network franchise, throw it in a blender with some CD-level sound quality, and BAM, one of the best soundtracks in Mega Man history. There’s just so much depth, nuance, complexity, and layering to this soundtrack, I don’t even know where to begin. If there’s any soundtrack in this entire endeavor I would actively encourage you to listen to from beginning to end, it’s this one. It’s just so, so, so unexpectedly good. And it also gets Dudeman brownie points for throwing in some references to Classic stage themes, which is always great.

Standout Tracks
I really couldn’t limit this one to seven, guys, I just couldn’t. Since it’s the end of this whole big mistake of a list, I’m gonna splurge and list all of my favorites. It’s not the whole soundtrack, I swear.
- Relaxation
- Internet Area - Basic Stage
- Blazing Internet - FireMan Stage
- Water Service Bureau - IceMan Stage
- Game Center - ColorMan Stage
- Old Generation Area - SwordMan Stage (This one is suuuuuper quirky and a little discordant-sounding towards the beginning, but those drums, man)
- Abnormal Gravity Area - GravityMan Stage
- Zero Gravity Area - StarMan Stage
- Navi Battle
- Demolished WWW Area - ShadowMan Stage
- The Undernet - Final Stage
- Firewall Battle
- Epilogue - Zero Reforms
Top Pick
VS. Zero
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Welp, that’s about the size of it. If anyone actually took the time to just read through this, let alone listen to any of the tracks or set aside a soundtrack to listen to later, really truly, thank you so much. And even more so if you’ve never been interested in Mega Man or are only familiar with Wily Stage 1 from MM2 like everyone else in the world. I’ve had a weird passion to make some sort of ranking of all the Mega Man soundtracks I’ve heard for a while now so it felt really good to get this all out there and try to put into writing how I feel about each and every game’s musical selection. I’m sure this will get buried before long, but I hope someone finds something interesting in here. And hey, if you disagree about something, I’d love to hear it, and if there’s a spinoff I missed that has a fantastic soundtrack, let me know; I’d love to add it to my lineup of tracks. Also if anyone can direct me to a good, complete soundtrack for both Legends games, that would be awesome. The bits I’ve heard here and there seem to be pretty okay.

I guess that’s all, then.

2
Off-Topic / Re: The NSM Ultimate Ranking Topic
« on: October 01, 2019, 01:03:02 AM »
What’s a more pointless list of rankings than 42 soundtracks from a single franchise that has very few active fans on NSM being ranked in 5 separate parts across two posts due to the character limit because I’m bored?

Actually I’m sure there’s several, but this one still feels pretty pointless. LESZGO!!

I’m…pretty obsessed with the Mega Man franchise, to say the least. I actually totally forgot I was super into it as a kid until something caused me to rediscover it not long after joining NSM (I must’ve been 14 or 15?). That was a hell of a nostalgia trip, lemme tell ya, and I can attribute a big chunk of the nostalgia rush to the music. Ever since then I’ve only become more obsessed with the franchise and its music, and now my iTunes playlist has 42 Mega Man soundtracks in it and virtually every song has been listened to at least, uh…on average probably 2 times, but that’s very unevenly spread. And then I bought the Legacy Collection pack on Switch and then Mega Man 11 came out and then Capcom decided to make Legacy Collections for the X and Zero/ZX serieses I thought, hey, this franchise is pretty underrated past the mid-90’s, so why not shed some light on some of the absolute musical gems throughout the whole series? So here we are.
A couple of notes:
- I haven’t touched the Legends series at all, so that’s 2 (and a half? Does Tron Bonne’s solo adventure count?) soundtracks completely missing that I have no experience with at all. Truth be told, I’m not sure where to find a good, complete, and clearly-titled playlist for either game.
- Most spinoffs are missing as well. The ones I have included are just there because I happen to have them on hand. If there are any spinoff soundtracks you highly recommend, I’d love to know! (I’ll quickly mention Rockman.EXE 4.5 because I love that it remixes the Classic stage themes for its NetNavi themes, but it’s a pretty underwhelming OST regardless.)
- This is pretty much 5 separate lists, because 1 top 40 is much harder than 5 top 8’s (approximately). I’ve separated the soundtracks into: Classic, Gameboy, X, Zero & ZX, and Battle Network & Star Force. ZX and Star Force don’t have enough individual titles to justify individual lists, and they’re very closely tied to Zero and Battle Network respectively in both gameplay and composition (they both share composers with their previous series).
- For each soundtrack, I’ve listed up to 7 standout tracks, bolding ones that are especially good. At the end of each game I’ll pick my absolute favorite to embed a YouTube video for. If by some crazy chance you actually decide to go through this and want an idea of a soundtrack, the one YouTube vid should be an easy way to get an idea.
- Okay really this is just me geeking out. #SorryNotSorry.

…okay, time to do the stupid.

Dudeman’s Pointless Mega Man OST Rankings of Pointlessness

Mega Man Classic
Featuring 12 titles (1 - 11, Mega Man & Bass)
Spoiler
#12
Mega Man
Release Year: 1987 (NES)
Composer: Manami Matsumae


I mean, we all have to start somewhere, right? Even without being terribly familiar with the franchise, you could probably guess that the very first outing on NES wouldn’t be hitting the top of the charts. Now, lemme preface this chunk of the list by saying that there really aren’t any bad Classic soundtracks, and honestly everything past, oh, number 8 could be swapped around a bit depending on my mood on any given day. But the original Mega Man game is the closest to the "yeah this isn’t that great" line and almost strays over it. The music has this vaguely warbly sound to it and the compositions are simple, repetitive, and sometimes just kinda boring. It’s not worth ignoring, though!

Standout Tracks
- Fire Man Stage
- Elec Man Stage
- Ending
Top Pick
Cut Man Stage
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#11
Mega Man 4
Release Year: 1991 (NES)
Composer: Minae Fujii


I really don’t know what it is about Mega Man 4, but it’s just never really grabbed me in any way. The boss lineup and stage design are pretty meh imo, and the music somehow got infected with that too. It’s never struck me as particularly memorable, and some tracks are suspiciously derivative of earlier Mega Man tracks (notable example: the opening measure to Bright Man Stage is virtually identical to Fire Man Stage from MM1). Also the boss theme is so bad. Also also kudos to Mega Man 4 for having a password theme that scared me when I was young. (The freaking password theme made me scared of the completely harmless password screen. How do you do that?!) That said, this one has some diamonds in the rough, and this is definitely the last "iffy" soundtrack in this Classic list.

Standout Tracks
- Pharaoh Man Stage
- Skull Man Stage
- Dr. Cossack Stage 1
- Dr. Wily Stage 2
Top Pick
Dr. Cossack Stage 2
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#10
Mega Man 8
Release Year: 1996 (PSX), 1997 (Saturn)
Composer: Shuusaku Uchiyama


Mega Man 8 is an oddball, to say the least. It’s the only Classic title to not appear on a Nintendo console during its initial release, being released simultaneously on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. It’s also got voice acting and full-motion video, which you’ve probably experienced if you’ve spent any amount of time in the YTP section of the internet (Dr. Light’s infamous Elmer Fudd voice is quite popular, culminating in the even more infamous "Dogtah Wahwee" that if you haven’t seen, please go watch). The soundtrack is strangely synth-y and experimental, and pretty far removed from the rest of the Mega Man genre. I was tempted to put this at the bottom, but compositionally this soundtrack really isn't that bad. It’s just…different. Notably, Tengu Man’s stage theme is completely different between the PlayStation and Saturn versions, while everything else just has minor instrument adjustments between consoles.

Standout Tracks
- Opening (the overseas version, though I’ve heard good things about ELECTRICAL COMMUNICATION)
- Stage Select
- Grenade Man Stage
- Astro Man Stage
- Aqua Man Stage
- Wily Stage 1
- Ending
Top Pick
Intro Stage
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#9
Mega Man & Bass
Release Year: 1998 (SFC), 2002 (GBA)
Composers: Akari Kaida, Toshihiko Horiyama, Naoshi Mizuta


Originally released exclusively in Japan on the Super Famicom as Rockman & Forte and released overseas much later on the GBA, your opinion of Mega Man & Bass’s soundtrack may vary greatly depending on if you’re listening to the original, crisp, chill SFC soundtrack or the gritty, edgy, slightly-bitcrushed GBA rerelease. I personally have the most nostalgia and familiarity with the GBA version, but objectively I’d say the SFC is a better listen, even if it won’t hit you as hard. Also, keep an eye out for Kaida and Horiyama; you might be seeing them again in higher spots.

Standout Tracks
- The Robot Museum (Opening Stage)
- Dynamo Man Stage
- Ground Man Stage
- Boss Battle
- Game Over (I remember this track making me feel especially remorseful when I played MM&B as a kid.)
- CD Database
- King Stages
Top Pick
Cold Man Stage
This is the GBA version; you can look up the SFC version yourself.
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#8
Mega Man 10
Release Year: 2010 (WiiWare/PSN/XBLA)
Composers: Ryo Kawakami, Ippo Yamada (feat. almost every other Classic composer)


All right, this is the point where everything from here out is in a lot of flux. Generally these next five are interchangeable. Mega Man 10, aside from continuing the NES aesthetic that Mega Man 9 returned to, is notable for featuring a track from every Classic composer up to this point (excluding Takashi Tateishi, MM2’s composer), each of whom contributed one of the 8 main stage themes. That includes Mr. Uchiyama, MM8’s composer, and without telling you anything I’m 90% sure you could guess which one was his just by listening. On the whole, MM10’s soundtrack is quite good, but it does suffer from a slight lack of cohesion thanks to this musical fanservice and I don’t find it as memorable as the later entries in the list. Also, you’ll be seeing Yamada’s name quite a bit, much much later.

Standout Tracks
- Cybersheep’s Dream
- Solar Inferno
- Boss
- All three shop themes (Mega Man, Proto Man, and Bass)
- For You -BaneRoll’s Theme-
- No Turning Back
- Farewell to Ballade
Top Pick
Heart of Enker
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#7
Mega Man 9
Release Year: 2008 (WiiWare/PSN/XBLA)
Composers: Yu Shimoda, Ryo Kawakami, Hiroki Isogai


Mega Man 9 returned to the 8-bit style of the first six games and brought an 8-bit soundtrack right along with it. Strangely, the triangle wave (that is, the bass music channel) was mixed very low in the final soundtrack, making MM9 attack the ears more than its original hardware counterparts. The compositions at work here, however, are masterful, though I still get a few mixed up.

Standout Tracks
- Stage Select
- Concrete Jungle
- Splash Blue
- Galaxy Fantasy
- Flash in the Dark
- Wily Machine
- Overdrive Scramble
Top Pick
We’re the Robots
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#6
Mega Man 11
Release Year: 2018 (Switch/PS4/XB1/PC)
Composer: Marika Suzuki


Behold, the latest and pretty-goodest entry to the beloved Classic franchise! I remember booting up the demo with Block Man’s stage in it, and the music immediately hooked me. Going through the whole thing now, it’s not quite as sensational as I’d really like it to be. The sound as a whole is really phenominal; I love the really bassy and wub-wubby feel to the synths that gives them kind of a rounder, fuller sound to complement the absolutely gorgeous visuals. Unfortunately, I don’t really find many of the tunes hummable. They sound great, but they definitely stay more in the background than sing into the foreground. Marika Suzuki did a wonderful job nonetheless, and this isn’t her first Mega Man rodeo! You’ll see her name again much later.

Standout Tracks
- Title
- Stage Select
- Acid Man Stage
- Impact Man Stage
- Fuse Man Stage
- Dr. Wily Stage
- Dr. Wily Machine
Top Pick
Block Man Stage
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#5
Mega Man 3
Release Year: 1990 (NES)
Composer: Yasuaki Fujita


Strangely, every time I think of Mega Man 3’s soundtrack, I think very highly of it, but then when I go back and listen to it, I find myself underwhelmed. It’s odd; all the pieces are very good and there’s a hefty amount of iconic stuff in here. It’s hard for me to put my finger on what exactly keeps me from being gripped by these; if anything, I suppose a lot of the tracks on display here don’t seem to go anywhere after a strong start, which is always a hype-killer for me. But the good bits here? Extremely good.

Standout Tracks
- Title
- Pass Word
- Magnet Man Stage
- Gemini Man Stage
- Shadow Man Stage
- Dr. Wily Stage 1
- Ending (Mega Man really tends to know how to do its ending themes. Strange trend.)
Top Pick
Dr. Wily Stage 2
Easily one of the best final stage themes, period.
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#4
Mega Man 2
Release Year: 1988 (NES)
Composer: Takashi Tateishi


Part of me feels filthy for putting Mega Man 2’s famous, iconic, well-beloved soundtrack at number 4, but there’s a reason that 8-Bit Music Theory did a video entitled "How To Write A Song From The Mega Man 2 Soundtrack": it’s pretty formulaic. Functional and iconic? Yes. Hummable? Damn straight. Predictable? Unless it’s Crash Man Stage, yup. Catch me some other day and I’d probably put it higher. But it’s still amazing and good and I probably don’t even need to show you these tracks, you’ve probably heard most of them already.

Standout Tracks
- Opening & Title
- Pass Word
- Stage Select
- Air Man Stage
- Crash Man Stage
- Flash Man Stage
- nice. >:]
Top Pick
you already know what it is
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#3
Mega Man 7
Release Year: 1995 (SNES)
Composers: Toshihiko Horiyama, Makoto Tomozawa


"Blasphemy!" I hear you cry. "Mega Man 7 above 2?? What is this bullcrap?!" Well, hear me out: with the jump to 8 sound channels with custom soundfonts on the SNES, MM7’s compositions have a depth, nuance, and layering to them completely unrivaled by the NES before it. So why #3? I don’t think its melodies quite live up to the next two for pure awesomeness. But damn, MM7 is an underrated gem. It’s my favorite of the Classic titles, by the way, and that’s coming off of just finishing all of them within a couple weeks of each other.
Oh yeah, also? If you hold B while entering Shade Man’s stage, the music turns into an original arrangement of Ghosts ’N Goblins. And it’s badass.

Standout Tracks
- Iceberg Area
- Medical Science Lab
- Horror Fortress
- Turtle’s Realm
- Walk the Invisible
- Wily Machine #7 Battle
- A Hero Returns
Top Pick
Forgotten Factory
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#2
Mega Man 6
Release Year: 1993 (NES)
Composer: Yuko Takehara


So, Mega Man 6 has a special place in my heart. When I was young (9 or 10, probably?) I was first introduced to the concept of emulation by way of a little website called vnes.com, a browser-based NES emulator. Something compelled me to check out the six Mega Man titles available, and don’t ask me why, but I stuck to 6 specifically, and it’s always been a little piece of nostalgia for me. Heck, one of the first things I ever arranged here on NSM was the entirety of MM6’s soundtrack (minus what had already been done). Going back these days, the game is actually pretty easy and the soundtrack has lost a tad bit of its charm, but I’ve always loved the melodies, the variety, and the driving force at the core of MM6’s soundtrack.

Standout Tracks
- Opening
- Flame Man Stage
- Knight Man Stage
- Tomahawk Man Stage
- Mr. X Stage
- Dr. Wily Stage
- Last Boss
Top Pick
Blizzard Man Stage
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#1
Mega Man 5
Release Year: 1992 (NES)
Composer: Mari Yamaguchi


Aw yeah baybee, Mega Man 5’s soundtrack is lit, fam.
Excuse me, let me try that again.
I am just in love with this soundtrack. Soaring melodies, driving basslines, counterpoint, harmony, modulation, such complexity in such primitive hardware. Mari Yamaguchi absolutely killed this one, I just love it to pieces. Virtually every piece in the soundtrack I could listen to on repeat and never get tired of (except Star Man. You know what you did). If you wanna hear some good Classic Mega Man musical action, I will point you here first.
And bonus points: Mari Yamaguchi composed my favorite main stage theme in MM10: Cybersheep’s Dream.

Standout Tracks
- Opening & Title
- Gravity Man Stage
- Wave Man Stage
- Charge Man Stage
- Dark Man Stage
- Dr. Wily Stage
- Ending
Top Pick
If you recognize my avatar you know exactly what this is
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Mega Man Gameboy
Featuring 5 titles (Dr. Wily’s Revenge, II - V)
This boi gets his own section because the Gameboy games are, uh…unique. And it felt a little unfair to throw them into the Classic section. (This one’s for you, Levi, I guess.)
Spoiler
#5
Mega Man II
Release Year: 1991 (GB)
Composer: Kenji Yamazaki


In a top 42, this one is number 43. It’s bad. Please do not listen. Everything is an octave too high and the boss theme is oh god please make the bad man stop. It’s a shame, too, because there are a few interesting melodic ideas here, buried beneath dog-whistle frequencies and conflicting square channels. This pick is a formality; do yourself a favor and move on.

Standout Tracks
NONE OF THEM. >:(
Top Pick
Air Man Stage
I could have put something more…representative of the whole soundtrack here. Be thankful I didn’t.
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#4
Mega Man V
Release Year: 1994 (GB)
Composer: Kouji Murata


Mega Man V’s soundtrack is functionally fine, but…it doesn’t matter how many times I listen to it, I can’t distinguish between the main stage themes. They’re all the same tempo and hardly do anything interesting melodically to distinguish themselves from each other (except Uranus and Venus, those are the only two I can identify). But there’s nothing wrong with the compositions themselves, and I still enjoy the soundtrack; I’m only disappointed that most of the tracks fail to establish a unique presence from each other.

Standout Tracks
- Prologue Part 2 - Theme of Terra
- Stage Select
- Uranus Stage
- Space Rush Shooting Stage
- Final Stage - Wily Star
Top Pick
Ultimate Weapon: Sunstar
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#3
Mega Man III
Release Year: 1992 (GB)
Composer: Kouji Murata


Mega Man III and Mega Man IV’s soundtracks both feature robot master stage themes and boss themes ripped right out of the games those robots are sourced from, so for all intents and purposes, III and IV’s tracklists have 9 or 10 less tracks than advertised. What Mega Man III has is actually really good; the problem is that after that cut (and fanfares, and also stage select themes), it only leaves about 7 tracks total. Funnily enough, I get more enjoyment out of those 7 tracks than the multitude more that V has, so it ends up higher.

Standout Tracks
- Title Theme
- Got Weapon
- Password
- Ending Theme - Justice March
Top Pick
Final Stage - Wily Marine Fortress
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#2
Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge
Release Year: 1991 (GB)
Composer: Makoto Tomozawa


Unlike its younger brothers, Dr. Wily’s Revenge actually features remixes of its stage themes instead of just re-transcribing them note-for-note from the original NES. And when those stage themes are from the original Mega Man title, that’s an immediate improvement. And the original music it adds on top of that is pretty dang good too.

Standout Tracks
- Title Theme
- Fire Man Stage
- Elec Man Stage
- Wily Castle Stage
- Ending Theme
Top Pick
Password
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#1
Mega Man IV
Release Year: 1993 (GB)
Composer: Kouji Murata


The original music featured in IV is oddly foreboding and just a tad dark. It’s got a real nice feel to it with the Gameboy’s signature jagged flavor of 8-bit music and I love the work that went into the harmonies and voicing. This is easily the best of the Gameboy bunch and could rank up there alongside the other Classic titles too, honestly.

Standout Tracks
- Title Theme
- Dr. Light’s Lab 1 - Instructions
- Stage Select 1 (and 2, by extension, as it’s just a key change)
- Final Stage - Wily Station
- Ending Theme
Top Pick
Wily Battle
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Mega Man X
Featuring 9 titles (X - X8, Command Mission)
Spoiler
#9
Mega Man X2
Release Year: 1994 (SNES)
Composer: Yuki Iwai


X2 as a game is very good, on par with the first if not a smidge better. X2’s soundtrack is…not so great. I wouldn’t call it bad, but it feels empty, like it’s missing a layer. The synths and guitars on display here are also notably whiny, which detracts from my overall enjoyment of the soundtrack. Not that bad melodically, though; I think this soundtrack would flourish if given a different soundfont.

Standout Tracks
- Opening Stage (RIP Green Biker Dude; gone, but not forgotten)
- Flame Stag Stage
- Overdrive Ostrich Stage
- Bubble Crab Stage
- X-Hunter Stage 1
- Ending
Top Pick
Crystal Snail Stage
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#8
Mega Man X3
Release Year: 1995 (SNES), 1996 (PSX/Saturn)
Composer: Kinuyo Tamashita


Ahh, the classic X3 guitars. If you’ve heard any sort of "Mega Man X remix" of a piece, you’ve probably heard these harmonizing guitars throughout. I’m honestly not sure if they’re the same soundfont as the guitars used in X2 but you’d instantly recognize them. Unfortunately, the quality of synths being used here kind of has the opposite problem that X2 has and makes a lot of the OST sound muddy, in a way, with a lot of growling frequencies in the background. X3 is notable for also being released on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn a few months later, July 1996, with a completely rearranged soundtrack featuring high-quality samples. It’s certainly a unique take on the music, but the original SNES soundtrack is what I’m sticking to today, and even with the better instruments, the raw compositions of X3 just don’t stand out that much.

Standout Tracks
- Opening Stage
- Zero
- Blast Hornet Stage (I really love the background brass line that the PSX/Saturn version added, but the original is badass too.)
- Blizzard Buffalo Stage
- Neon Tiger Stage
- Doppler Stage 1
- Cast Roll
Top Pick
Gravity Beetle Stage
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#7
Mega Man X: Command Mission
Release Year: 2004 (PS2/GCN)
Composer: Shinya Okada


You probably aren’t familiar with this title; it was a turn-based RPG spinoff released on the GameCube and PS2 between the releases of X7 and X8, but set after X8, but before anyone knew anything about X8’s plot. And also it’s in an alternate timeline. Confusing, sure. It’s got a pretty solid soundtrack, though! It doesn’t do a lot melodically, but for setting a background to the areas you explore and the story beats, it does its job beyond admirably. The boss battle themes are all superb to boot.

Standout Tracks
- Theme of Mega Man X Command Mission
- Standby - Zero
- Central Tower
- Thick Forest of Secret Treasures
- Energy of the Unknown
- Ice River Secret Maneuvers
- Redips 1st Movement (And then the epicly scaled-up Redips 2nd Movement)
Top Pick
Final Battle
Don’t be fooled by the title, this is the standard boss battle theme.
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#6
Mega Man X8
Release Year: 2004 (PS2), 2005 (PC)
Composers: Yuko Komiyama, Naoto Tanaka


Mega Man X8’s soundtrack asks you one question and one question alone: DO U LIEK GUITARZ?!? If you like guitars, you will like this soundtrack. If you don’t, uh…you’ve got slim pickin’s here. Fortunately I happen to like guitars, and beyond that, the actual compositions behind them are stellar and blood-pumping. The one amazing exception to that is Gateway, the theme for the boss rematch stage: slow, acoustic guitar with a soft synth choir in the background. It’s a sudden bit of breathing room between the frantic electronic slashing of the rest of the soundtrack.

Standout Tracks
- VS Maverick (It’s the intro boss theme, and when it starts off this good you know it only gets better)
- Inferno ~ Descending
- Booster Forest ~ CYCLOPS Ride Armor
- Jakob (Okay, this basically shares the Top Pick spot with my actual Top Pick, so here's a link to a vid for this one.)
- Gateway
- VS Lumine ~ The Second Form
- Intermission
Top Pick
VS Vile
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#5
Mega Man X4
Release Year: 1997 (PSX/Saturn)
Composer: Toshihiko Horiyama


Here’s Horiyama at his best. With the jump to PlayStation (and Saturn), X4 jumped hard into soaring, clean synths after the heavy SNES-crushed rock ’n roll of the first three X titles, and goddamn, it gives me the good chills. Deep, heavy drum hits, choir backings, harmony, layers and layers of goodness…and this is just the fifth best in my opinion. Honestly I think electric guitar is a big part of the X feel, so having a soundtrack lacking a lot of obvious electric guitar is probably what knocks this down a few pegs (though having a lot of obvious electric guitar can also be…well, X8. Which is still good).

Standout Tracks
- Web Spider Stage
- Cyber Peacock Stage
- Slash Beast Stage
- Boss
- Final Weapon Stage 2
- Iris
- Staff Roll
Top Pick
Opening Stage X
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#4
Mega Man X
Release Year: 1993 (SNES)
Composer: Setsuo Yamamoto


It’s the classic boi! The original Mega Man X defined the sound of the series, and the music it brought with it is some of the most recognizable in gaming history. The guitar is so clean and everything fits together just right and gaaaah. I love it. And it only gets better!
I’ll also briefly mention that the remixed soundtrack from the PSP remake, Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, is even more superb, but I’ll just leave that there for now.

Standout Tracks
- Opening Stage
- Chill Penguin Stage
- Flame Mammoth Stage
- Spark Mandrill Stage
- Storm Eagle Stage
- Sigma Stage 2
- Staff Roll (Ya like jazz?)
Top Pick
Armored Armadillo Stage, because how the f*** could I not
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#3
Mega Man X6
Release Year: 2001 (PSX)
Composer: Naoto Tanaka


So, here come the real reasons I wanted to make this list. Well, the Zero and Battle Network sections are too, but these top three games are probably completely overlooked in terms of music because, well…they’re all pretty bad games. X6 is pretty bad. The level design is all over the place, the enemy placement is nightmarish Anyone? Anyone? and Blaze Heatnix’s donuts of doom can screw right off, but the music? Amazing. Just amazing. After X4, the series adopted a more synth-rock style that brought back the guitars and X6 has some masterful compositions to complement that. I think it actually has the smallest soundtrack out of the X franchise, and this much quality packed in there is really freaking impressive.

Standout Tracks
- Opening Stage (The Western versions of the game featured an exclusive version of this track. The only difference? Two extra guitar licks thrown in that weren’t there before. I don’t know why this is a thing but those two guitar breaks just complete the song. Thanks, Capcom.)
- Commander Yammark Stage
- Rainy Turtloid Stage
- Shield Sheldon Stage
- Blaze Heatnix Stage (DIE DONUTS DIE)
- Boss
- Gate
Top Pick
Infinity Mijinion Stage
This is my original composition, The Binal Bountdown. Do not steal.
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#2
Mega Man X7
Release Year: 2003 (PS2)
Composers: Yuko Komiyama, Shinya Okada (feat. 6 other one- or two-off composers)


X7 is a bad game. X7 is not fun. X7 is infamous for being one of the worst 2D to 3D conversion examples in video game history. And yet, somehow, some way, X7 manages to have one of the best soundtracks in series history, featuring 8 composers total, with 2 dominating the project and 6 others contributing 1 to 3 tracks each, most of whom either composed for an X game before or went on to compose in Command Mission or X8. (My favorite exception to this is Noriyuki Iwadare, who only contributed a single track to this game. You may recognize him as the arranger behind Brawl’s remixes of Meta Knight’s Revenge and With Mila’s Divine Protection, as well as the composer for Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations.) X7 dives deep into the synth pool with a couple of guitars and emerges with a blend of rock, synth-pop, and electronica that’s just a sound all its own. I have no idea how this turned out so well. It shouldn’t have. But it did, and I’m glad it did.

Standout Tracks
- Underground ~ Vanishing Gungaroo Stage
- Cyber Geometry ~ Snipe Anteator Stage
- Soul Asylum ~ Crimson Palace Stage 2 (I bring this one up not because it’s all that amazing, but because…this is one of the most unexpectedly unsettling pieces of VGM I’ve heard. It’s like River Twygz Bed had a baby with something from Silent Hill. And this is just for the boss rematch stage.)
- Our Blood Boils ~ Vs. Sigma 1st
- Stage Select 2
- Revealing (This cutscene theme was later rearranged a little and used in Command Mission as an area theme, which is cool.)
- Fate ~ Theme of Sigma
Top Pick
Conflict ~ Escape Stage
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#1
Mega Man X5
Release Year: 2000 (PSX)
Composers: Naoya Kamisaka, Naoto Tanaka, Takuya Miyawaki


As the intended conclusion to the Mega Man X franchise, it seems only fitting that X5 has, in my opinion, the best soundtrack out of the series. The game itself is…questionable at times. Nowhere near as bad as X6 or X7, but certainly rough around the edges with RNG poking its nose where it shouldn’t and some irritating difficulty spikes. But when I sit back and just listen to the music, it’s like none of that exists. I love the synth rock throughout, I love the emotional weight this soundtrack manages to convey at times, I love the few little callbacks here and there to other classic melodies, and I love virtually every individual piece in the soundtrack. It’s just a great, hype, amazing time.
Oh, and if you watch anything from the Hidden Block network on YouTube, their logo jingle is the stage clear theme from this game. Blew my mind the first time I heard it in-game.

Standout Tracks
- Opening Stage Zero
- Volt Kraken Stage
- Shining Firefly Stage
- Dynamo
- X vs. Zero
- Sigma 2nd
- Ending (One of the most remorseful, painful, loss-filled themes in the entire Mega Man franchise. I get chills just from quickly passing over it in a playlist. It’s powerful.)
Top Pick
Zero Stage 1
Nothing quite compares to the emotional weight of this piece. Mystery, sorrow, wonder, and determination all wrapped up in a haunting, echoing soundscape that seems to have no boundaries. God damn, I love this piece.
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Mega Man Zero/ZX
Featuring 6 titles (Zero - Zero 4, ZX, ZX Advent)
I should note that every one of these soundtracks has a remastered CD version with better instruments, compression-free sound quality, and extended melodies, so if any of these soundtracks pique your interest in their compressed states, I highly recommend you check out the albums.
Spoiler
#6
Mega Man Zero
Release Year: 2002 (GBA)
Composer: Ippo Yamada


In actuality, this section is less the Zero and ZX section and more the Ippo Yamada section. He’s responsible for a majority of the tracks in all 6 games, starting with his solo outing here in the first game. I find his compositions have strong backing tracks and chord progressions, but his melodies tend to be lacking in comparison. You’ll notice that as I go up the list, he has less and less free reign over the soundtrack, and I think that’s no coincidence. As far as the first Zero game is concerned, that’s really the best way I can describe it: a lot of strong backing tracks with not-so-wonderful melodies. Also, the instrumentation in this first game is pretty rough and I’m not a huge fan of the samples being used. But it lays a strong groundwork for the style of the music going forward in the series.

Standout Tracks
- The Ruins of Lab
- Intermission
- Resistance
- Crash (The regular boss theme. This track was given a new remix for each subsequent game and used as the miniboss theme. It’s neat to hear how it changes as the series goes on.)
- Neo Arcadia
- X, The Legend
- Area of ZERO
Top Pick
EXPRESS UG
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#5
Mega Man Zero 2
Release Year: 2003 (GBA)
Composers: Ippo Yamada, Luna Umegaki, Masaki Suzuki


While certainly a step up from the preceding entry, Zero 2 suffers from many of the same problems as the original. The instrumentation quality is definitely an improvement, but it doesn’t leave much of an impact and, again, feels like a series of good chord progressions and backings without good melodies to tie them together. It does manage to distinguish itself tonally from the first in spite of this, and in a good way.

Standout Tracks
- Departure
- Ice Brain
- Sand Triangle
- Power Bom (no, I did not misspell that)
- Combustion
- Passionate
- Supreme Ruler
Top Pick
Silver Wolf -Yggdrasil-
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#4
Mega Man ZX Advent
Release Year: 2007 (NDS)
Composers: Ippo Yamada, Ryo Kawakami, Masaki Suzuki


We interrupt the Zero series to bring you its undersold Metroidvania cousin! The thing these two games have in common musically is wonderful DS sound quality combined with a reliably hit-and-miss lineup of tunes. It was quite difficult to place either of these games because the sum total of their tracks is, honestly…just okay. The highs are ohhhhh so good, but the lows are disappointing. In the end I found that ZX Advent missed more often than it hit, and didn’t hit as well as its prequel, so I put it first. Er, fourth. But when it does hit, oh man.

Standout Tracks
- Destiny
- Slam Down
- Twisted Vine
- Bullet Drive
- Overloaded
- Determined Eyes
- Path to the Truth
Top Pick
Soul Ablaze
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#3
Mega Man ZX
Release Year: 2006 (NDS)
Composers: Ippo Yamada, Ryo Kawakami, Masaki Suzuki


And of course, ZX immediately follows, because the sum of its parts is also just okay, putting the ZX duology smack dab in the middle of this section. I don’t really have much to say that I didn’t already, other than don’t let my "okayness" rating of these soundtracks dissuade you; that's just on the whole. The individual good tracks are fan-freaking-tastic, perhaps even better than some of what comes later, and I highly recommend that you give them a listen.

Standout Tracks
- Green Grass Gradation
- Industrialism
- Trap Factory (A f***ing badass boss theme for a recurring pair of minibosses; this had a remix in ZXA which I didn’t list there because I knew I had to list the original here.)
- High-press Energy
- Gauntlet
- Snake Eyes
- Dream Weaver
Top Pick
Sky High - Grand Nuage -
This pick surprised me as well; in a mix of wonderful stage and boss themes, a character/group theme gave me the most hype. I just love the soaring, triumphant tone that this piece exudes.
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#2
Mega Man Zero 3
Release Year: 2004 (GBA)
Composers: Ippo Yamada, Masaki Suzuki


Zero 3 defies my generalization that Yamada’s only good at backings and intros, because he did 90% of the soundtrack himself, and it’s actually really good. There’s still some stuff in here that strikes the ehhhh chord inside me, but Zero 3 is responsible for some of the best-loved themes in the series and it isn’t hard to see why. It’s kinda like an improved version of the ZX soundtracks: really good highs, with merely some negligible lows.

Standout Tracks
- Prismatic
- Volcano
- Old Life Space
- Sand Triangle II
- Hell’s Gate Open
- Return to Zero
- I, 0 - Your Fellow
Top Pick
Cannon Ball
THE de-facto Mega Man 1v1 final boss theme. An even more epic remix was used in ZX for the tough-as-nails secret boss.
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#1
Mega Man Zero 4
Release Year: 2005 (GBA)
Composers: Ippo Yamada, Masaki Suzuki, Luna Umegaki


Story time, kids! When I was much younger, maybe 8 or 9, long before I’d call myself a Mega Man fan, I had a copy of Zero 4 for the GBA, and I loved it to pieces. I loved the boss design, I loved the customization options, I loved the gameplay, and maybe just a bit above everything else, I adored the music. Fast-forward several years later, and imagine the nostalgia bomb when I’m looking through the Mega Man wiki and stumble across Zero 4. I nearly lost my mind. I didn’t even associate Mega Man with the blonde red guy I had played as years ago (I believe I even thought he was a girl?), and when I went to browse the music, holy shit. Needless to say, I might be a tad bit biased when it comes to positioning this game, but stepping back from my childhood memories, I still think this soundtrack is head-and-shoulders above the competition within the series. The guitar is grungier than ever, the melodies are on point, and the tone is apocalyptic, desperate, and truly emotional. I seriously hope it’s not nostalgia goggles blinding me; I honestly think it’s that good.

Standout Tracks
- The entire soundtrack
- Caravan - Hope for Freedom -
- Holy Land
- Queen of the Hurt (Blueflower999 once said this is probably the most badass theme for a female character ever, and I’m inclined to agree.)
- Straight Ahead (One of the best final stage themes in the entire franchise.)
- Nothing Beats (This and Crash from Zero 1 are honestly the only good regular boss themes in the Zero series.)
- Falling Down
- Promise - Next New World -
Top Pick
Esperanto
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I wrote so much that there's a Part 2! Below!

3
9/17/19 Casinomancy (n.)- divination by the mode of dice and cards

4
Off-Topic / Re: The Post Your Thoughts of the Moment Thread 2
« on: September 12, 2019, 03:46:55 AM »
It's statements like that that make Toasty upset! You just wanna leave toasty out of your life? Out of your heart?? Have you no decency? No compassion?

5
Off-Topic / Re: The Post Your Thoughts of the Moment Thread 2
« on: September 10, 2019, 05:00:05 AM »
Your toaster

6
8/28/19 Arachnophagus (adj.)- a sarcophagus with eight legs, for mobile mummies

alternatively, a sarcophagus made of spiders, which is probably worse

7
8/27/19 Hirsute (adj.)- like, scoobs! her suit is totally off-the-wall hairy! it's...like, shaggy, scoobs! we're both shaggy!

ruh-huh, raggy! greheheheh!

8
8/12/19 Aeiou (n.)- John Madden John Madden John Madden John Madden football
wow man I was literally thinking about this today


Here comes another Chinese Earthquake,

ebrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrb

9
8/6/19 Concavity (n.)- a tricky man's tooth injury

10
7/13/19 WAAAAAAHnklepickers (n., pl.)- shoes with a sharp-pointed toe (you'll never guess who made these popular)

11
Request / Re: [3DS] Pokémon X/Y "Coumarine City"
« on: July 09, 2019, 06:41:21 PM »
Ahhhhh, this is just gorgeous! Absolutely fantastic job, Andy!

12
7/1/19 Hydrofight (n.)- Good luck, but water will kick your ass any day.

13
6/30/19 Herbicide (n.)- deliberate distortion or destruction of the taste of a plant (as in boiling)

14
Site News / Re: Staff changes! (And happy solstice)
« on: June 22, 2019, 03:02:43 AM »
It's been fun and it's been a pleasure, but it's time I took some time off from NSM. Don't take this to mean I'm leaving for good! You guys are practically my family. I've spent over a third of my life as a member of this site, and I hope to spend many more years hanging out and seeing where NinSheetMusic goes next.
Welcome aboard to my replacements the new mods! May you wield the mighty hammer with fairness, temperance, and...moderation. I believe in every single one of you that you will do a fine job.
And to anyone I've made hate me over the years, I apologize for my inappropriate outbursts and misplaced sarcasm. I have a strong sense of "right and wrong", and sometimes I forgot I was talking to real people in the process. Hopefully stepping down will make some of you happy. You're free to fill my PM's with hate mail now! I promise I won't tell!
This has been a valuable and educational experience for me. I'll always treasure my time helping NSM become a bigger and better place, in whatever small way I could. Thanks for everything, fam. It's been lit. I'll be seein' ya.

- Daniel

p.s. yes im gonna respond to the critiques on turnabout sisters i havent had the time yet but soon i promise ok thx bai

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Supuratūn - it is now

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