Friday, August 17, 2012

Not the Crash Bomb dot com

at 3:37 AM
It really belgians my waffle when kids nowadays talk about how they are huge procrastinators with their papers and problem sets. College kids usually brag about how they did not start their work until the night before it was due. I, however, had found the ultimate form of procrastination--waiting not until the night before, but the morning of a due date. I started going to bed without doing my papers and then I would wake up at absurdly early in the morning o'clock and begin writing. Waking up at 4 am after going to bed at midnight every weeknight for a semester was shockingly not great for my ability to write big research papers. I compensated for this by one, consuming copious amounts of tea, and two, listening to a lot of video game music, which has some magical property that makes me able to compose my thoughts at about twice my usual speed. I would also spend a lot of time thinking about what I was listening to instead of actually writing my paper because I may or not be laziness incarnate. 

One morning while in my self-inflicted cognitively impaired state, I decided to rant about how much Crash Man's theme ruined listening to Megaman 2's soundtrack. I think I was supposed to be writing an essay on Jamaican sugar plantations, but obviously this came first. Enjoy this slightly upgraded version of that short rant:

One of the problems that I have with his stage's music is that like the stage itself it does not really know what its theme is. Crash Man shoots out Crash Bombs or whatever, so his stage should be industrial in my mind, but Metal Man already has that covered. His music has some elements of that with its repetitive looping of segments of the song which make me think of a factory, but it lacks the same rhythm that is present in Metal Man's stage that conveys this theme better. Then the song veers off and tries to incorporate the stage's incohesive theme of climbing and being in space (?) by having the notes climb upwards throughout the course of the song. Matching the stage's theme well is usually a plus, but when the stage's theme is so lacking I do not count it as such. 

I only wish that was the reason I loathe hearing this song and having it tarnish Megaman 2's OST. Much more damning is the composition itself. The song sounds sharp, at times very sharp, and at other times ear piercing. You remember how I was discussing the song's purposeful repetition and climbing notes? Well those themes combine into a perfect storm of making you want to stab yourself in the ear so the song does not have to. After the first section, the song introduces a simple refrain that is repeated slightly higher several times in a row. You wish that every cycle of that refrain would be the last repetition and that the song would stop becoming higher pitched. You wish and you are disappointed. Even when the pitch of the song reaches its climax you cannot help but think that the wave of pain has only briefly receded and that it will come crashing into you again shortly. It is a little to fast paced for its own good, but to be fair I am only probably making that claim because the song going quickly makes me have to listen to the annoying parts more times throughout the course of beating the level. And it is so fucking upbeat about the whole thing, too. When I play Megaman 2, I outright blare the music because of how much I love it, but I have to turn down the television whenever I play Crash Man's stage. Whenever I play his stage, I become really anxious, not just because the music is stressful, but I have worry more about killing those stupid birds and their eggs, because if I die from them that means I have to listen to more of the song. 

Megaman music is supposed to do a couple of fundamental things. It is supposed to articulate the stage's theme and complement the visuals. Crash Man's theme does this, but not in a way that matters. Songs are not meant to distract from the player navigating the levels. Crash Man's theme violates this on several levels: it forces the player to not operate under their usual standards (i.e. not having music at the same volume as other stages), it increases stress through its unparalleled rise of tension in the song, and the player's new condition of Tinnitus can affect present and future playthroughs. Wood Man's theme (most likely the second worst song) may be bland and practically put me to sleep, but it does follow what I consider the two biggest guidelines for Megaman music. Wood Man's theme only makes me feel indifferent about its existence, a huge step up from Crash Man's theme driving me to call for its abolition from video game musical history. Seriously, screw Crash Man and his music.

Ezio Auditory

1 comment:

  1. Ah, you still have much growth to do in the ways of the procrastinator. In my senior year I started calculating how many days of late penalties I could take on a paper and still pass, assuming it was written at 90% quality. Aside: I failed a lot of courses senior year.

    My favorite example of this was an astronomy class where I put off every single assignment until 6AM of the final day of class, at which point I attempted to do the entire semester's worth of work to turn in as one big package. Take note kiddies, this DID NOT WORK. I failed big time. To be totally honest, I may have received a 0 in that course. And after all my hard work.