It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
Mega Man II
[ Company: Capcom | Year: 1989 | Console: NES ]
Why does Mega Man fight? Some say it's because he was built that way. Others agree, because, well, he's a robot and he was built that way. He was designed to fight Dr. Wily's robot army, each more dangerous than the last. But Mega Man doesn't seem too concerned, because he has a plan. But first he's going to stand on the roof of a very tall building for dramatic effect. Does he do it because he's built that way? No. He stands there because he likes how he looks when the wind catches his hair. Vain bastard.
You really get your money's worth with this Mega Man II theme. It all starts with a slow melody, the type of thing your girlfriend might call a love theme. Dr. Wily has been defeated, the world is safe and Mega Man is free to do whatever robots do in their off time. But just as we start to worry that this is secretly a robot dating simulator, the tempo picks up and the beat starts moving. And then, without warning, the most kick-ass video game rock song of all time blows our socks off. At its core, this is a song about anticipation. It starts off slow and builds, knowing how good the payoff is. But you don't know that going in; you have to trust Capcom's composers. The result is not only a memorable 8-bit theme, but also an incredible song.
Capcom has gone a little progressive on us with Mega Man II's theme; starting with a soft, peaceful section as they tell us about Mega Man's creation and his original defeat of Dr. Wily. It then builds and slowly raises in tempo as it tells us Wily is back with eight more evil robots. The music then stops for a moment save for one quick slide down, which gives me the feeling that a bomb has dropped. Immediately we jump into a much heavier section, with a galloping bass line and similarly syncopated disco beat on the drums while the lead guitar takes over. This theme does a great job of getting you excited for the task at hand. There's no way Wily can succeed when you're this pumped up! If he'd known this theme would be so invigorating, maybe he wouldn't have come back!
Back in the day, this game was spreading disease all across the land. Also, he was designed to make you very hungry for pizza. I ain't afraid of no ghosts.