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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Favorite Tunes #66: Hail to the Koopa King

He may not have been the first antagonist that Mario's gone up against (that would be Donkey Kong) but he's unquestionably the most famous. Bowser, the king of Koopas has been Mario's arch nemesis for nearly thirty years. His castles are among some of the most cunningly designed stages in gaming and he's got some sick musicians serving up background tunes. Bowser, you may never defeat Mario, but you'll always win out as far as audio is concerned.

The Evil King Bowser (Super Mario World) - Fortune Street (Wii)

A modern take on a classic boss theme. Koji Kondo's original tune carried a heavy rock and roll vibe to it that was evident even on the SNES hardware and it made for a great final showdown track. In Fortune Street, this track gets arranged, taking advantage of the Wii's superior audio capabilities. It's a sick arrangement that I'd love to see in the new Super Smash Bros.

Bowser Castle - Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (DS)

Who could forget that never wrecking castle music every time you went through a fortress in the original Super Mario Bros. It was a simple, repetitive tune, but it made you feel so uneasy as you ran under those Fire Bars and made those painfully trick jumps to make your way to what usually turned out to be not Bowser. Never imagined I'd shoot hoops to this song but it sounds even better with an electric guitar and an organ.

Bowser's Castle (New Super Mario Bros.) - Fortune Street (Wii)

Wallpaper by Mariovspeach

New Super Mario Bros. on the DS has my favorite main castle them out of all of the NSMB titles. Fortune Street does a great job on the remixes of Mario themes. So Fortune Street music + NSMB castle music = so much win.

Rookie and Popple - Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA)

That Yoko Shimomura. She really is one of the video game music greats. While she's most recognized for her work in Kingdom Hearts these days, she's also the one behind the scores in the wonderful Mario & Luigi RPG series. This frantic, yet upbeat song plays when you fight an amnesiac Bowser going under the name Rookie.

Demon King koopa - Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

No axe or switch to hit to send Bowser to a fiery demise. Fireballs? They won't work here. If you want to beat Bowser, you have to use his own massive weight to create a pit for him to jump in each time he tries to crush you. Those bongo drums from Super Mario Bros. 2 are glorious.  Fun fact: this song was remixed for Mario and Bowser's fight in the beginning of Super Mario RPG.

Bowser's Lava Lair - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

In case I haven't made it clear with the numerous times I've mentioned the game in Favorite Tunes, I LOVE Super Mario 64's soundtrack. I was delighted to hear a remix of Koopa's Road each time I prepared to face off with Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy. The Mario Galaxy Orchestra knocked one out of the park a second time with an another arrangement of the theme for Super Mario Galaxy 2. Some fans like to debate that the original Koopa's Road theme from Super Mario 64 is better, but I love them all.

Koopa Castle (Second Time) - Super Mario RPG (SNES)

Don't you just hate it when you're minding your own business, fighting your arch enemy for the zillionth time when all of a sudden, a huge sword smashes through your fortress, kicking you out and forcing you to team up with said arch enemy? Super Mario RPG would mark the first time Mario and Bowser were forced to work together to defeat a mutual threat. The Koopa King made for quite the powerful ally. One of his attacks, if you got the item, involved throwing Mario at the bad guys!

Bowser's Castle - Mario Sports Mix (Wii)

A sequel of sorts to the 2006 DS game Mario Hoops 3-on-3, there was far more than basketball to play this time around. Tough most have negative things to say about Mario Sports Mix, just like Mario Hoops, the music in Sports Mix was one of the better things about it.

Bowser's Galaxy Reactor - Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

As much as I enjoyed hearing that Koopa's Road arrangement for the first two Bowser levels, I'm glad the Mario Galaxy Orchestra gave us a new piece leading up to the final battle. And what a piece it is. I can still clearly see all the crazy things this level threw at me every time I hear this tune. The shifting gravity, the bullet bills, trying to keep from being burned by all the lava. It was a grand final level, leading up to a climatic confrontation and one of my favorite endings to any Mario game.

Koopa's Theme - Super Mario 64 (N64, DS)

Now here's a theme that needs to be remixed. Slider was arranged, Koopa's Road was arranged and the Main Theme from this game was arranged. Why is this tune getting no love? Oh well. I can always listen to this over and over until someone at Nintendo decides to give this gem some appreciation.

Favorite Tunes Database


Chris Clash said...

Awesome selection. I once found a great Megaman-style remix of the SMB3 Koopa theme, lost it and can't find it back anywhere. Bummer.

Voltech said...

Heh heh. I like how one of the top comments for the SMB64 theme video is "A wild mother-in-law appears!"

In any case, this is quite a collection. Playing as Bowser in Smash Bros. (and to a similar extent, Bowser's Inside Story) has given me a new perspective on the big bruiser, so it's good to see that if Nintendo won't give him any respect, you certainly will.