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Monday, July 2, 2012

Favorite Tunes #15: Mario Themes

I recently did a Favorite Tunes featuring Sonic music, so it only feels right to do one about Mr. Video Game, Mario. While primarily known for his platform exploits, Mario can do plenty of other stuff such as play Tennis, race go carts, and even practice in medicine. Enjoy a selection of Mario themes from the plumber's rich history.

Overworld - Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

Nintendo of America initially passed on bringing the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (The Lost Levels) to the USA and Europe. After playing that agonizing game, I honestly think it was one of the smartest decisions the company ever made. The Super Mario series would be a lot poorer without Doki Doki Panic infused with Mario and company. Super Mario Bros. 2's Overworld theme is just so darned catchy! There really do need to be more arrangements of this track.

Fever - Dr. Mario (NES)

By the time 1990 had rolled around, Mario had already been a carpenter (his original occupation) a plumber and a few other things that escape me. Nintendo figured it was time to add doctor to his ever expanding resume. Enter Dr. Mario, the one doctor you'll never be afraid to visit. He's the only man working in the field that makes the word "Fever" sound like some kind of party.

BGM 5 - Mario's Picross (GB) 

Think every Mario game has sold like hot cakes? Not so. While Picross seems to be all the rage these days, in 1995 gamers clearly weren't up for it, even if it did have the most recognized face in gaming stamped on the box art. Mario's Picross sold so poorly that it's Game Boy sequel, Picross 2 and SNES sequel, Mario's Super Picross stayed in Japan. But if you live in Europe, you can download Mario's Super Picross on the Virtual Console. Mario's Picross is also available for download on the 3DS eShop. You can select from five different music tracks in the original Mario's Picross and for my money, BGM 5 is the best one. If you want to hear some happy, puzzle solving music, this is it.

Koopa - Yoshi's Island (SNES)

The fully title of this game is Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. But most gamers just say it by the game's subtitle. Hailed as one of the greatest platformers of all-time, you play most of the game as Yoshi while Mario rides on the green dino's back as an infant. The theme Koopa plays after Yoshi trounces Baby Bowser for mistaking him as a donkey. Baby Bowser gets a magic enhancement from Kamek and grows to Super Metroid Kraid levels of huge. The ensuing final battle is thrilling to say the least.

Weapons Factory - Super Mario RPG (SNES)

I was gonna be predictable and put Beware the Forest's Mushrooms here (an amazingly good track, mind you) but I decided to cop out, be different and put the much darker Weapons Factory track up instead. The final area you explore in Super Mario RPG, Smithy's home base is a treacherous place to be. Many of the foes you encounter could qualify as mini bosses. There's also a huge lack of color to the place, making it feel void and lifeless. The complexity of this track astounds me to this day.

Rainbow Road - Mario Kart DS (DS)

The second portable entry in the Mario Kart series, Mario Kart DS has some of the best karts, tracks and music of the series. I was originally going to list the SNES version of Rainbow Road (a splendid track) but then I remembered how much better the DS version was, so here we are. I never played online so "snaking" never ruined the game for me. It remains one of my favorite Mario titles to this day.

Creative Exercise - Mario Paint (SNES)

Even the most basic of art programs today make Mario Paint obsolete, but dang it, I could not get enough of this game in 1992! Coloring premade pictures, making your own works of art and for many, this game's biggest feature was the music maker. Just google Mario Paint Composer if you don't believe me. You can spend hours searching YouTube for songs people made using this program. But the original music made in Mario Paint is still classic. Hearing Creative Exercise one time is enough to lock the song in your head for eternity.

Overworld (Versus Mode) - New Super Mario Bros. (DS)

I love Mario's 3D adventures but I was still giddy like a school girl when I found out Mario would return in a brand new 2D adventure in New Super Mario Bros. on the DS. While it isn't perfect, this game is still a terrific outing and a wonderful throwback to Mario's 2D roots. The Versus Mode version of the Overworld theme is an overwhelmingly joyful tune, one most gamers probably never got to hear.

Speed Golf - Mario Golf (N64)

Golf can be a fun sport that can be hampered by it's incredibly slow pace. One of my favorite modes in Mario Golf throws the sluggish speed of the sport out the window. Here you're forced to make even less mistakes while still playing a good golf game in order to get the best time. And how can you not love the theme that plays? With each note, the audio is telling you to go faster.

Retro Mario - Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)

Well, I had to put a rendition of this theme somewhere didn't I? Because I didn't get to hear this track as often as others, I savored every time Retro Mario played. For all two of you that don't know, this is an arranged version of the classic Ground Theme, AKA, the Super Mario Bros. theme from the original Super Mario Bros. This one turned out pretty well considering Koji Kondo didn't arrange it. I think he'd be proud.


dste said...

Slightly off-topic but Happy Birthday. :-)

Reggie White Jr. said...

Hey, thanks!

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