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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Favorite Tunes #31: Mario Ending & Staff Roll Themes

Mario games are known for their catchy, quirky musical scores. There isn't a person on this planet that doesn't recognize the classic Ground Theme to Super Mario Bros. But one type of theme that I don't think gets enough credit are the ending/staff roll themes. These are every bit as good as the level themes so I'd like to focus on those in this edition of Favorite Tunes. I'm not just talking about the main Super Mario series. Spin-off and side games have also been included. 

Staff Credits - Luigi's Mansion (GCN)

The GameCube marked the first time a Nintendo console launched without a Mario title at it's side. This was cause for alarm for many a gamer, or at least the gaming press as they were quick to point this out. Instead, Luigi took center stage in the place of his brother. So while it was a game set in the Mario universe, it wasn't the game many were hoping or even expecting. It may have been brief, but Luigi's Mansion was a solid ghost busting game that made excellent use of the at the time, new GameCube Controller. The game's brevity gave it some great replay value since you were scored on how much money and treasure you found in the mansion. Luigi's Mansion has a soundtrack unlike that of any Mario game. The bulk of the music is of the horror variety, but there's also instances of the usual cheerful Mario tunes and even some funk.

Having finished New Super Mario Bros. 2, I can honestly say that I really like the game. It may be shorter than the previous NSMBs, but Coin Rush keeps me coming back for more. One of the biggest complaints I have against the game is the reused, or very slightly altered music. Some extra "Wahs" here and there seems kinda lazy. The game's staff roll theme is an arranged version of the one found in NSMB Wii and it easily outclasses the original and considering how much I love that staff roll theme, that says a lot. 

After Mario saves Peach, she and the Toads go inside the castle to bake Mario the cake he was promised. As they go, one of the greatest Staff Roll themes in gaming starts up. This theme plays as the game takes you through the various courses throughout your adventure. We get one last look at Koopa the Quick, Bob-omb King and that dreadful Tick-Tock Clock course. Despite the fact the game shows some of the areas that make me shudder because they were so difficult, it's hard not to smile when hearing this theme.

Finishing Super Mario Bros. 3 as a kid was no small feat for me. Ice Land, Pipe Land and then Dark Land? There were times where I felt like I could curl up into s fetal position and rock back and forth in a corner. But when I finally beat Bowser, a huge feeling of relief came over me. I'd finally done it. I'd saved the princess! So when I go in to greet her, she gives the classic Toad line, "Thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle." I didn't utter any words, but my eyes in disbelief said "WHAT?!" Then she says "Jut kidding." I let out a sigh of relief. Good thing she was only yanking my chain. Otherwise, the Mushroom Kingdom would have been without a ruler. Oddly enough, this version of the ending is only in the American NES version. In the Super Mario All-Stars ports it's returned to the Japanese version's "Peace returns!" 

Finish the special or Lightning cups on any racing class and you'll see the game's end credits. If you're a frequent reader of Favorite Tunes, then you may be aware of how much a love a good bass guitar. Well there's some nice bass work here but it's overshadowed by some spectacular piano and saxophone instruments. This sounds like it was made for a jazz club. Love it. 

Baby Mario did a lot and I mean, A LOT of crying through Yoshi's Island but when you rescue Luigi and this beautiful ending theme plays, you can't help but feel that it was all worth it. If you've never played Yoshi's Island, you're missing out on one of gaming's best platfomers. 

Developed by Intelligent Systems, the first game in the Mario & Luigi RPG series isn't just good for a handheld RPG. It's a solid RPG all around. It packs lots of Wooslyeism inspired dialogue and a deep combat system that ensures you won't sleep through through battles. And of course, there's a charming soundtrack from Yoko Shimomura. *Sigh* I really need to play through this game again. 

Mario is no stranger to the vastness of space. Space Zone in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins marked the first time the plumber had been that far from home. But Super Mario Galaxy handled space in an entirely different manner. Numerous plants that Mario romped on had their own independent field of gravity. This simple, yet involving gameplay mechanic made for a truly unique Mario experience. Music was also a whole new beast. Super Mario Galaxy was the first game in the series to have an entirely orchestrated soundtrack. There were some familiar themes here and there like an arrangement of the classic Underground theme and Super Mario Bros. 3's Athletic music, but there was plenty of original music, too. The touching ending theme strings together arrangements from a few of the game's new music pieces such as Gusty Garden. 

Ending - Super Mario World (SNES, GBA)

Featuring 9 worlds with 96 level exits, Super Mario World is arguably the greatest Mario game of all-time. It's certainly one of my favorite Marios. You can try to reach every level exit or find the quickest rout to Bowser. A fantastic platformer no matter how you choose to play it. Super Mario World's ending may seem pretty stale by today's standards, but no matter how many times I finish this game, I always sit through the entire ending. Watching Mario/Luigi, Peach, Yoshi and the Eggs go back to Yoshi's home and watching the baby Yoshi's hatch. Those sprites of Mario, Luigi and Peach at the very end are still quite impressive. To me, anyway.

End Credits - New Super Mario Bros. (DS)

New Super Mario Bros. was the first in the NSMB line and marked the first time Mario had stared in a 2D platformer in over ten years. It brought back many classic power-ups like the Fire Flower while introducing new ones such as the Mega Mushroom. Being developed by a new team, NSMB plays like classic 2D Marios but still feels like a new game. Both Nintendo and fans have taken quite a liking to the NSMB series. Just over a month ago, the third game in the series, NSMB2 was released and on Nov. 18th, NSMBU will be a launch title for the Wii U.

1 comment:

Chris Clash said...

My favourite is definitely the ending theme of Super Mario Bros 2 (USA).