More than a decade after its last numbered predecessor, “Mega Man 9” was ushered into the gaming world on a sea of applause and fanboyish glee — and maybe more than a little fanboyish drool. Released for multiple platforms in 2008, MM9 was a loving callback to the 8-bit platformers adored by many a nerd back in the far-off time of the 1980s. The same could certainly be said for its soundtrack, which manages to create an unusual, but no less unique blend of bleeps and bloops old and new that were tailor-made for nostalgia.
The game opens, appropriately enough, with the track “Opening 1,” a soft, almost sweet melody that serves as a peaceful callback to the Mega Man of yesteryear. This immediately (and seamlessly) moves into “Opening 2,” an oddly reflective piece with a funky beat.
Of course, it’s not Mega Man without some memorable robot master themes. Of particular note is “Splash Blue,” a hypnotic accompaniment to the equally hypnotic Splash Woman. The heavy reverb, reminiscent of a surging tide, immediately calls to mind the beauty of the ocean blue. Galaxy Man’s theme, “Galaxy Fantasy,” is among the fastest-paced tracks in the game and always a blast to listen to.
But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be “We are the Robots”, which is the title for the Dr. Wily Stage 2 theme in this game. It has the absolute feeling of a doomy heavy metal track, performed with 8-bit machines. I tried to capture it’s vibe and make the most out of this beautiful composition over here.
“Mega Man 9’s” soundtrack manages to package the nostalgic charm of the NES classics with the hyper-polished presentation of modern triple-A platformers, maintaining its own identity even with sounds lovingly appropriated from another time in gaming history.