Welcome back! When we left off I had just discovered the return of Megaman music, and the SNES delivered again:
THE BLUE BOMBER IS BACK!
Knowing what I had come to expect from Megaman titles I was not surprised when Megaman X hit the shelves and I prepared for the musical storm of awesome that was to follow. The stages were good, but Storm Eagle was far and away the best cut. All in all I thought the presentation was fair but not up to the classic Megaman standards:
This is pretty much the most iconic villain in all Megaman lore, and his stage music was fantastic.
Just when I thought the return of Megaman music was overall a tad underwhelming I made it to the first stage of the end boss, Sigma. Just listen to how ominous this theme starts out:
In the first SECONDS of this theme the gravity of where I was in the game and the importance of my goal to defeat Sigma was dropped on me like a fucking anvil. Never before had video game music driven home what to expect so effectively… Here I was in the final stages of the game and the training wheels were off, I instantly knew I better bring my A-game if I wanted to make it to the end.
And boy were they ever, this guy was near impossible to defeat.
By the time I finished Megaman X I found the music was fair but overall un-memorable. I had about decided that video game music was taking a back seat to the rise in graphics. And then this happened:
The greatest story ever told with a controller.
A while back I wrote a small post about the influence this game had on me as a kid. The music though, oh God the music!
Just let it wash over you.
And it didn’t stop there. EVERY SINGLE TRACK in this game is fantastic and highly memorable, from the Overworld Music to the Battle Music, to the Flight of Baron’s Red Wings, right down to the Final Boss Music. Just listen to that overworld music, to this day I am still incredibly emotionally affected by how peaceful it is.
I would leave the screen on and let the music repeat endlessly in the background while I did other stuff.
I was left in a video game music daze, each and every track carried so much depth to it, and effectively drove the story (which btw was epic enough on its own), keeping me glued to the screen for hours and hours wanting to see and especially hear more. I was certain no music would ever engage me as much as the music from FF2, and while it remains my favorite game of all time…boy was I wrong:
WHA?! OH-MY-GO—THI…THIS IS AMAZING!
Chrono Trigger is the last entry in this list and it is the gold standard of video game music. Much like Final Fantasy IV, every – single – track is pure unbridled win. Frog’s theme is by far the most epic theme ever and when he cuts open the Magic Cave with it in the background I found myself timing the dialog so that the spikes in the theme would coincide with the action on screen.
Greatest moment in any video game ever made…ever.
It doesn’t end there, every track is breathtaking: From the A.D. 600 Overworld Theme, to the Downfall Theme, to the enchantment that is the Kingdom of Zeal, to Schala’s Theme, to the eerie Black Omen Theme, and on and on. Every track was incredible, if you need more proof, watch the original intro to the game with what would eventually be Chorno’s Theme playing over it…I DARE you to not get excited while listening:
Still gives me chills.
And to top it all off, for the first time that I could notice a game factored the roll music plays in telling the story. Remember how I mentioned above that I would time dialog to make the action sync up with the climax points of the music? Chrono Trigger actually does this itself when you finally face the evil sorcerer Magus. Skip ahead to 00:37 to see what I’m talking about:
I noticed this the first time I played and felt like a kid at Christmas.
Notice how he moves as the music changes and delivers his epic challenge to you right as the music starts to get going. The dialog from the 00:40 mark on is timed so that Magus seems as cool as fucking possible when the battle begins…and mother-of-God, did it ever work.
Seriously, I love this game so much.
So there you have it. Music is so monumentally important to pacing, action, storytelling and excitement. Video games in the NES and SNES days were aimed at children, and now because of that there are a lot of 90’s kids turned adults who find these 8 and 16 bit tracks of the past not only compelling and exciting but also…simply put: good music.
With that I leave you with a fantastic rock compilation of some of the best music from undoubtedly the best game ever made as done by the very awesome group Powerglove: