Lightning Reviews: Mega Man Soundtracks

While I’m not trying to tie up this website’s articles with Mega Man, I’ve been pining to write another Lightning Review about the music of this legendary franchise. I do, however, promise this will be the last mention of Mega Man on Leviathyn for some time. Why you ask? BECAUSE CAPCOM LIKES TO BREAK MY HEART! I kid, I kid. I am a bit upset over Legends 3’s cancellation but I will never lose sight of my time with the Blue Bomber and his franchise.

That being said, the music in Mega Man is some of the best work in every generation these games have graced. If you are like me and enjoy good video game music, then let’s run through every soundtrack in the world of Mega Man. I have several playlists dedicated to music from these games both full soundtracks and highlights from series. Let’s start with the Original series.


The Original Series

Quick Look: The original series featured some of the best 8-bit and higher work. This section of games covers the old Nintendo, Super Nintendo, PlayStation 1, Saturn, and some handheld consoles. I hope you Mega Man Soccer fans don’t hate me for skipping it.

Mega Man: The original. MM1’s music is very basic and you can hear some of the production noises mixed in with the songs.
– Score: 3.5/5
– Highlights: Cutman, Elecman.

 Mega Man 2: The Crown Jewel of the Original series. Mega Man 2 was head over heels better than the original and so was the music. The tracks in MM2 were expertly crafted and really helped put forth the feeling of the scenery that each stage had.

– Score: 5/5
– Highlights: Metal Man, Bubble Man,  Heat Man, Flash Man.

Mega Man 3: MM3 improved the gameplay of the first two entries while trying to keep up with how great 2 was. The music is in MM3 introduced a lot more sounds and made some of the tunes sound busy. While the magic of MM2’s soundtrack wasn’t exactly upheld in MM3, the tracks here still provided some good atmosphere.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights: Magnet Man, Hard Man, Snake Man, Spark Man.

Mega Man 4: MM4 signaled the beginning of the end of the original series for me. I wasn’t a huge fan of 4, 5, and 6 but this article is about the music. MM4’s music wasn’t as busy sounding as 3’s which greatly improved the enjoyment of the tracks.
– Score 3.5/5
– Highlights: Bright Man, Toad Man, Pharaoh Man.

Mega Man 5: Part one of my two most hated original series games. Capcom seemed to focus on difficulty with the leg of the NES Mega Man entries instead of what made the first three (arguably four) all-around great. The music in MM5 wasn’t bad overall but it is mostly forgetful.
– Score: 2.5/5
– Highlights:  Star Man, Crystal Man.

Mega Man 6: The last numbered entry on the NES. The music is much better than 5 here yet still largely forgetful. MM6 as a closure for a system for the series was disappointing but at least it had some decent tracks here and there.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights:  Yamato Man, Blizzard Man, Knight Man.

Mega Man 7: The arrival on the SNES. Mega Man 7 was a fantastic game. My only gripe was how long it took me to accept the stiff jumping and some of the art for the sprites. The music in MM7 is superb albeit not without its sour grapes. Freeze Man’s stage is a great tune but it is hampered by weird production and sound effects strung into the song.
-Score: 4/5
-Highlights: Spring Man, Junk Man, Shade Man, Burst Man.

Mega Man 8: The 32-bit era begins! MM8 is the culmination of everything the original series could be. The stage design and gameplay were top notch and the music isn’t half bad, either. The tracks in MM8 lost their impact that the MM7 soundtrack had, however, the jump to a new platform allowed the devs to really give these songs some depth and atmosphere.
– Score: 4/5
– Highlights: Search Man, Aqua Man, Astro Man, Tengu Man (PS1).

Mega Man & Bass: MM&B was MM9 before it was cool. While not a numbered entry, MM&B was a great game that utilized most of what MM8 brought to the table and transferred it to many platforms. The original Super Famicon release has the much superior soundtrack thanks to the GBA version containing weird, sharp sounds.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights: Pirate Man, Astro Man, Tengu Man.

Mega Man 9: Back to the future?! Capcom went nostalgic on us for awhile, releasing both MM9 and 10 on the current generation of consoles while retaining the old 8-bit format from the NES days. Given that technology has substantially upgrade since then, the devs were able to add a lot to the 8-bit tracks while not hampering them down and making them sound too busy like MM3.
– Score: 4/5
– Highlights: Concrete Man, Splash Woman (c-c-c-combo breaker),  Jewel Man, Magma Man, Galaxy Man.

Mega Man 10: Another nostalgic release with another great soundtrack. MM10 improved what MM9 did with gameplay, stage design, and even soundtrack.
– Score: 4/5
– Highlights: Nitro Man, Solar Man, Blade Man, Sheep Man.

– Original Series’ Non-Boss Tracks to Listen to: MM2 (Wily Stage 1), MM9 ( We’re The Robots), MM10 (Heart of Enker).

-Overall Series Grade: 3.5/5 – With a lot of great and memorable tracks, there are just too many forgetful and passable tracks in every game. Next series!



The X Series

Quick Look: The X series started out on the SNES and went all the way to the PlayStation 2. The series houses some of the best tunes in all of Mega Man and is my favorite series. X brought a grown-up sense of gameplay, style, and story to any gamer who was enthralled by the original series. The music is a lot more deeper and atmospheric than the past series and really helps the games play out.

Mega Man X: The beginning of X’s story. With the introduction of X, Zero, and Sigma in hindsight this game needed to be marvelous for the series to continue. Capcom took a whole different direction with this game and it paid off wonderfully. The soundtrack is perhaps the best in any Mega Man game and from what I’ve read from other fans is generally seen as the benchmark for music in the franchise.
– Score: 5/5
– Highlights: All 8 of them. Every boss has a fantastic track. If I really had to pick just one, it would probably be Storm Eagle.

Mega Man X2: The search for Zero. A great addition to the story of the X series and once again comes with an excellent soundtrack. X2’s music may not beat X1’s but it comes very close.
– Score: 4.5/5
– Highlights: Morph Moth, Overdrive Ostrich, Wheel Gator.

Mega Man X3: A downgrade from the first two games but not by much. I know I called this a passable game in my last article but to be honest with you, X3 is a great game. My gripe with X3 is basically that it lost some of the magic that X1 and 2 had. Capcom seemed to focus a lot on flashy graphics this time around. Overall, X3 is a worthy addition to the series and just like its music lies somewhere between good and just not quite right. Oh and please forget that awful PS1/Saturn version soundtrack. Please.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights: Gravity Beetle, Crush Crawfish, Acid Seahorse.

Mega Man X4: One of the highlights of the series for me. X4 was a bombshell when it exploded onto the PS1. A great culmination of the first three games and in my mind, the best the X series ever was in terms of story and gameplay. The music, while still not as good as X1, rivals X2 in every aspect as number two in the series.
– Score: 4.5/5
– Highlights: Magma Dragoon, Jet Stingray, Slash Beast, Web Spider.

Mega Man X5: Oh, X5, how I wish I could hold you in high regard. This game is just so lackluster it hurts. The story was trivial and honestly it was just an excuse to end the story as Inafune wanted to move on. This was where it was to end. It should have. Starting with X5, the X series began to spiral downwards in every category including music. X5’s soundtrack is largely forgettable with a couple gems.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights: Volt Kraken, Shining Horatunicus, Spiral Pegacion. Sorry I refuse to call the bosses by their stupid Guns N Roses inspired US names. Blah.

Mega Man X6: An improvement over X5 in some aspects but overall rushed. This was an answer to fans clamoring for another X game. Why!? WHY!? Anywho, the music fared better this time around but was still forgetful.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights: Blaze Heatnix, Blizzard Wolfgang.

Mega Man X7: The black sheep of the X series. This game is awful. Pure awful. I don’t even know what else to say about it. Some of the music was alright but to tell you the truth, anything associated with this game besides Our Blood Boils wasn’t very good.
– Score: 2/5
– Highlights: Vanishing Gungaroo (Tunnel Base).

Mega Man X8: Capcom tried with this one and overall, it wasn’t too shabby. Thankfully they abandoned the full 3D format of X7 and went with a hybrid experiment. X8 was pretty fun and the music is actually not bad. While remaining pretty forgetful there are a couple gems hidden in the soundtrack.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights: Optic Sunflower (Troia Base), Bamboo Pandamonium (Booster Forest), Burn Rooster (Inferno).

X Series’ Non-Boss Tracks to Listen to: X1 (Intro Stage, Sigma Fortress 1, Sigma Battle 1), X2 (Intro Stage, X-Hunter’s Stage 1, Fight Against Zero), X3 (Intro Stage, Doppler Stage 1), X4 (X and Zero’s Intro Stages, Spaceport, Final Weapon Stage 1, Battle with Iris, Battle with Double, Sigma Battles 1 and 2), X6 (Intro Stage, Gate’s Laboratory), X7 (Our Blood Boils, Palace Road), X8 (Intro Stage).

Overal Series Grade: 4/5 – The X Series has some fantastic tracks and can give you a few playlists to listen to. The overall grade gets hampered with games like X5, X7, and some of X8 where the tracks are just blah. Thankfully X1, X2, X3, and X4 brought so much that you just have to love the music from this series.



The Zero Series

Quick Look: For many fans one of the first words that pops in their heads when they think of the MMZ series is difficult. Zero’s series is a very good set of games for the GBA and Capcom really knew when to end the series. Zero 4 was, for me, the worst of the series and I was very glad to see it ended with that. Overall, the series kept a good taste in my mouth while giving my ears a great set of tunes in an otherwise generic soundtrack. I can’t express a love for this series’ music but there are a few tracks that hurdle over the others.

Note: The Zero series tries a new way of stage design by linking together most of the stages in a continuous map. For this reason, I’m going to list every song from each game (boss stage or not) that I recommend.

Mega Man Zero: Zero awakens! The story in the Zero series is pretty cool. Nothing too complex but it does the job. The music over the course of the series doesn’t really transcend past what MMZ1 give us. Given that, MMZ1 has some pretty good tracks and the overall soundtrack is pretty good.
– Score: 3.5/5
– Highlights:  Theme of Zero, Deadzone, Scorching Desert, Hell Plant, Neo Arcadia.

Mega Man Zero 2: Zero Returns…again! Oh, Zero, always the dramatic return from a near death crisis (or full death crisis…). The Zero series had a way of introducing new weapons with each game and they normally give so much change that the new entry in the Zero series felt fresh. The music stayed around the same quality, however.
– Score: 3.5/5
– Highlights:  Area of Zero, Ice Brain, Platinum, Power Bomb, Combustion, Melt Down, Cool-Hearted Fellow, Supreme Ruler.


Mega Man Zero 3: The best entry in the entire series. Z3 was really good. Capcom introduced some really cool game mechanics and to be honest the music felt a little better than normal. It was a huge departure from the first two in the series but overall Z3 feels the best in every category, including music.
– Score: 4/5
– Highlights:  Omega Battle, Prismatic, Volcano, Neo Arcadia III, Hell’s Gate Open, Pandemonium, Judgment Day, Return to Zero, Cannon Ball.

Mega Man Zero 4: Generic, rushed, and just so lackluster. Nothing special here from the last entry in the Zero series.
– Score: 2/5
– Highlights: Human Caravan, Red Hot Particle Cannon, Sky Garden, Kampf, Deep Sea, Misjudgment.

Overall Series Grade: 3/5 – Some pretty good tunes here but while making a playlist, you’ll find yourself skipping almost 80% of this series’ music.



The ZX Series

Quick Look: A short lived series and the continuation of the Zero series for the Nintendo DS. What ZX really was is the culmination of everything the Zero series did. Everything about ZX is just Zero Remix. There nothing special about ZX yet it was still pretty fun thanks to practically mastering the Zero gameplay mechanics. The musix, however, is much better than the Zero series. Most of the “Area” tracks for the two ZX games are well done and passable with some gems mixed in.

Note: I just said “Area” tracks. The ZX series takes what Zero 1 did and puts every stage in the game into a continuous map. Just like the Zero series, I won’t be mentioning boss names. The following Highlight tracks are what I recommend from this series.

Mega Man ZX: Very good game with a flawed map system. The while continuous map thing was really cool but the game got confusing thanks to an improper map. The music is great here and better than ZX Advent. Some of the tracks here I can listen to over and over again.
– Score: 4/5
– Highlights: Area A, Area C, Area X, Area F, Area H,  Area J, Area L, Omega Zero Battle, Final Area.

Mega Man ZX Advent: So a game that focuses on Axel? Ehhh, risky.  Advent was cool but was only better than ZX in the map department. Capcom fixed the map but did no better on the music.
– Score: 2.5/5
– Highlights: Through the Lightning, Overloaded, In the Wind, Path to the Truth.


Overall Series Grade: 3/5 – Nothing too special here but the first game’s soundtrack was overall really good. Advent’s repetitive sounds didn’t help the series at all.



The Legends Series


Quick Look: I hate you Capcom. I hate you so much. Legends is a really good series and a huge departure from the other games in the franchise. Legends brought a very intriguing story, rpg gameplay, and some really good music to the table. Oh, and by the way, I HATE YOU CAPCOM.

Mega Man Legends: So good. Soooo good. Music here is really positive sounding and gives the scenery in the game some life. Capcom did a fantastic job with Legends.
– Score: 5/5
– Highlights:  Juno – Final Battle Form, Guynie Toren!, In a Place That Nobody Knows, Theodor Bruno!, The Main Gate, Focke-Wulf!, The Flutter, Trapped Balkon Gerat, Balkon Gerat, Maulwurf!, Ferdinand!, We’re the Bone Siblings Three, Feeling of Love?

Mega Man Legends 2: A very good continuation of the story although I severely missed the original voice actor for Mega Man Trigger. The latter half of this game was very intense and very addicting to play. I couldn’t stop playing, trying to get the Z-Saber, and oh yeah, listening to some great music. Legends 2’s soundtrack is better than Legends 1 which says a lot.
– Score: 5/5
– Highlights:  The Sulphur Bottom, The Flutter, Calinca Yosyonke, Forbidden Island – Theme, Manda – Ruins Theme, Nino – Klaymoor Battle, Saul Kada – Ruins Theme, Calinca – Train Battle Glyde, Battle with Geetz, Elysium – Defense Zone.

Overall Series Grade: 5/5 – Some of the best music in the franchise coupled with great soundtracks from start to finish. Amazing.



The Battle Network/EXE Series

Quick Look: I had an extremely great time playing this series. The EXE (Rockman.EXE was the Japanese name for this series) series was really fun especially if you had a group of friends who played. While EXE1 was very forgettable on all fronts (hell, most people skipped it and went to EXE2), the rest of the series was highly entertaining. I had about three friends who played EXE2 and EXE3 just as much as I did so the whole collecting aspect and link battles added a lot of longevity to this series for me. The music was very cool, as well. Nothing groundbreaking but some tracks get you very hype for what you were doing in the game and made for some great playlists.

Mega Man Battle Network: Lan and Mega Man.EXE’s quest begins! This was the entry title and with how fast EXE2 came out, Capcom really saw a lot of potential in this series. However, because of the rushed sequel, EXE1 had a very short shelf life and is usually skipped due to limited game mechanics. The music wasn’t half bad but ramped up after this initial game.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights: Electrical Crisis, VS. Dream Virus.


Mega Man Battle Network 2: This is where the EXE series starting to impress. Capcom introduced a lot of gameplay mechanics that kept the game fun and interesting to play even after you beat it. The music also saw an improvement  and gave the game some life whereas EXE1 made it feel a little slow and stale.
– Score: 4/5
– Highlights:  Smoky Field, You Can’t Go Back, Internet World, And You Will Know the Truth, Battle Spirit, VS. Gospel.

Mega Man Battle Network 3: In my opinion, the best in the series. EXE3 was an amazing game with a great story, awesome side quests, and the challenges after you beat the game were too fun (Serenade!). Music was also the best of the series in this entry.
– Score: 4.5/5
– Highlights:  Scientific Forefront, N1 Grand Prix!, Wily Research Lab, Blind Mode, Save A Life, Final Transmission, Network is Spreading, Dangerous Black, Shine in the Dark, Boss Battle!, VS. Proto, Great Battlers.

Mega Man Battle Network 4: With the introduction of the Soul Change, EXE4 looked to be a big change in the series but it felt like a flop. The story wasn’t half bad but the gameplay felt stale at this point. Souls were cool but didn’t add enough to keep me interested. The music was pretty good, though.
– Score: 4/5
– Highlights:  Cyber Battle, Battle Pressure, Fighting Oneself, Hell’s Parade, Save Our Planet, VS. Duo.

Mega Man Battle Network 5: Big improvement for the series. The EXE series needed a shake up and the Liberate missions along with the ability to play as other Navis such as Protoman and the total badass Colonel made EXE5 a blast. The music for EXE5 wasn’t half bad but it was lagging before EXE4 which doesn’t say much about it.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights:  Seek a Cord, Drill Crash!, Liberate Mission, Powerful Enemy, Quest in the Water, You’re Not Alone!, VS. Nebula Grey.

Mega Man Battle Network 6: A letdown of a conclusion. Just like Zero 4, the game isn’t a complete disaster like X7 was but as a conclusion to a series, not good enough.
– Score: 3/5
– Highlights:  Surge of Power!, Digital Strider, Danger Zone!, The Count, Decisive Battle – Cyber Beasts!

Overall Series Grade: 4/5 – If you don’t count the last two games, the music for the EXE series is fantastic. For the GBA, the music really pushed how good soundtracks could be for the portable.


Conclusion: Even though we didn’t go over every single Mega Man game, we hit the most important titles. I won’t be touching on the Star Force games as there aren’t really any recommendable songs from them. The Star Force games tried to evolve the EXE series but didn’t do so well at it. The soundtracks are very generic and don’t have much in the way of eye-openers. As a big gamer and someone who can enjoy music from a game, it is hard to pass up some Mega Man tunes. There is so much opportunity for multiple playlists and hours of listening. There are some sour eggs in there but the majority of tracks across each series make for a great franchise of music. Thanks for reading!