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Friday, March 16, 2012

Mega Man X: Maverick Rising

When most people think Mega Man, the classic series is undoubtedly what comes to mind. But he's not the only incarnation of the Blue Bomber. The first in a line of spin-offs, the Mega Man X series is probably the second most popular of the Mega Man games. It stuck close to the formula of what made the classic series a huge success while adding new elements such as the inclusion or armor upgrades to make X stronger. The classic series has what is without question some of the most endearing music you'll ever hear in a video game. Keeping the tradition from the original boy in blue, the X series is no slacker in the music department either. Though the music in the X games is quite different from the classic series, being more rock based, many are of the mind that it's still superb tunage. The crew over at OverClocked remix must certainly agree because the long awaited Mega Man X: Maverick Rising, the site's 33rd release, is not only one of the best fan tributes to Mega Man music, it's one of the finest Mega Man albums.

First of all, props to the OCR gang for doing an album on the X series. While immensely popular, when it comes to Mega Man remix projects, most fans focus on the classic series. You can count the number of fan remixes for the X series on one hand. 

Maverick Rising is quite the large album. It clocks in at five discs. Rest assured, though, that this is a beautiful mix of quality as well as quantity. With five discs, and over 60 songs, that gives you more than four hours of Mega Man music to listen to. It's enough to rock your ears off. 

There's a truckload of talent behind Maverick Rising. Washudoll, Level 99, Sixto Sounds, Vurez, Avaris, Joshua Morse, audio fidelity, and a plethora of others. If I were to list each contributing member to this album I'd be here all day. Suffice to say, the amount of X lovers that worked on this album is staggering. Unless I miss my guess, it looks like this album brings some new challengers as well. BONKERS is a name that is totally new to me, as is melody and others, but they've made a lasting impression on me. There are names on Maverick Rising that I won't be forgetting anytime soon.

So what games got covered? The entire console X series. That's Mega Man X1-X8. Maverick Hunter X and Mega Man Zero 2 and 4 also received some love. Man fan favorites were arranged, including what some may consider minor tunes when compared to the stage themes, like Mega Man X's Title theme and Password theme. In case you couldn't already tell how I feel by now, the music on Maverick Rising is excellent (pun very much intended.) Do you like rock? It's here. Hard rock? Got you covered? Death metal? There's some of that too. You say you like techno and trance music? Step right up. Chiptune? Present. I doubt I've covered all the genres this album hits. I know I've said it when talking about other OCR albums before, but there's something for everyone to love here. Mega Man X fans especially will eat this album up.

It's really hard to list all my favorite tracks from this album because there are so many. Mega Man X6 was a crappy, crappy game, but I will always stick up for it's soundtrack, which saw some of the greatest tunes to come out of the X series. halc did an amazing remix of Commander Yammark Stage with Insecta Robotcia, which is heavy on the chiptune. STING, a medley track that combines Opening Stage, Blast Hornet Stage, Neon Tiger Stage and Password from Mega Man X3 is remixed by Joshua Morse, man that has won my respect many times over through the years. Level 99 and Hemophiliac bring us The Leidenfrost Effect, a soothing acoustic guitar version of Blizzard Buffalo Stage. Crawfish Crackdown, remixed by Devastus, is a sick hard rock remix of Crush Crawfish Stage. For the full track list on this mammoth-sized album, go here.

I especially like way the went about labeling the discs. Disc 1 is the X disc. Disc 2 is Zero. Disc 3 is Vile. Disc 4 is Sigma. Disc 5, acting as a bonus disc is Dr. Light. There's also some spiffy art work to go along with this album. Isn't that album cover awesome? The individual disc art is also pretty sweet. All of the album art was done by Dominic Ninmark, who also arranged some music for the album. How's that for being gifted? I would so buy a physical release of this baby just to hold the art in my hands.

Mega Man: The Robot Museum, 25YEARLEGEND, NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming, Unsung Heroes and now Mega Man X: Maverick Rising. OverClocked Remix just continues to wow me. This is their largest album to date, trumping the previous champion, Wild Arms: ARMed and DANGerous, which was four discs and 58 tracks long (and one I still need to download and listen to.) Maverick Rising makes for an incredible early Mega Man 25th anniversary present. Kinda makes you wonder OCR has anything planned for the Blue Bomber's big birthday later this year. I certainly hope so. Until then, I'll be listening to Maverick Rising again and again.

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