The Most Unappreciated Mario Soundtracks; Four Mediocre Mario Games with Excellent Music
The Mario series has always had some of the best soundtracks in video game history, with each game making the very most of its respective system’s sound and music capabilities. And usually, the quality of the music is directly related to how well known the Mario game is, the platformers, kart games and RPGs get the best themes, the other spinoffs get the decent ones and the educational games get someone without any knowledge of how to play a piano trying to hammer out the Super Mario Bros theme.
But unfortunately, there some fairly average Mario games which somehow have soundtracks far better than you’d expect them to have. So here are four mediocre Mario games with excellent music…
4. Mario Pinball Land/Super Mario Ball
Failing to catch on in any measurable way, Mario Pinball Land was an obscure Mario spinoff that sunk without a trace back in the Game Boy Advance era. It was a strange hybrid of a 3D Mario platformer and a pinball game, didn’t really work well in either genre and had a lot of faults…
But it did have a pretty darn catchy soundtrack for a title that maybe under half a million people has even heard of. For example, this music even seems to be a remix of the Culex battle theme from Super Mario RPG:
While this one is surprisingly catchy for a piece of music used against one of the more forgettable bosses in Mario history:
Even the final boss themes are pretty catchy given that they’re used in a freaking pinball game. Have a listen to Bowser’s boss music:
It’s a pretty good soundtrack for a game that failed so miserably at retail all those years. Pity the game’s abysmal performance and lack of popularity meant the only examples of the games music come with about two million sound effects ruining the whole mood.
3. Mario and Sonic at the 2008/2010/2012 Olympic Games
As great as the Olympic Games were, you have to admit that a tie in was not the best basis for a Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog tie in. Why waste two of gaming’s biggest name stars on a seasonal collection of mini games like this?
But despite the Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog licenses being wasted on a fairly average collection of mini games that loses relevance two months after it’s released, you have to admit Sega did an absolutely outstanding job on the soundtrack. They remixed music from Super Mario Galaxy…
Super Mario 64 (darn that Bob-omb Battlefield remix is as catchy as all gets):
And even the Mario spinoffs like the Mario Kart series! Who’d expect that someone could remix the likes of the Coconut Mall theme and make it catchy and upbeat?
Not to mention the boss and Bowser themes. Extremely well done for what’s merely a crossover sports series:
It really is an absolute shame all this catchy Mario music is going wasted in what’s really a below average collection of mini games rather than an epic adventure brings both worlds together, isn’t it? Can you imagine how amazing it’d be if Mario had to fight/team up with Sonic the Hedgehog, battle against worlds from Mario 64, Sunshine and Galaxy and fight an evil team consisting of Bowser and Dr Eggman/Robotnik? If only Nintendo and Sega didn’t take the quick and easy way out…
2. Fortune Street/Itadaki Street
But while everyone knows about the Mario and Sonic series, Fortune Street is one of those franchises I didn’t even expect to see localised, let alone have such a nice soundtrack. It’s got impressive remixes of New Super Mario Bros music like the DS game’s castle theme:
That theme was already a favourite back in the DS game, so to hear it remixed in some an impressive way and made to sound almost orchestrated is one of the coolest things ever to be in a Mario title. But if that’s not enough, how about the kickass remix of the final boss theme from Super Mario World?
Or the impressive Good Egg Galaxy remix?
Heck, they even introduced a remix of a theme from Super Mario RPG! That’s certainly nice to see considering that this is merely a Mario spinoff:
Like with Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games though, isn’t it a bit disappointing how Nintendo and Square Enix remixed all this nice Mario music but wasted it on a spinoff that only a few people ever cared about? God, they sure do like coming up with neat music remixes only to squander them on sports and party titles…
1. Wario Master of Disguise
Finally we’ve got Wario Master of Disguise. An absolutely terrible 2D platformer that was released on the DS a few years ago, you’d probably expect a pretty mediocre soundtrack to go with it. After all, if even the best games couldn’t have an amazing soundtrack, what chance did the composers for this title have?
Well, turns out they had in them to compose an absolutely phenomenal soundtrack, since the boss music in the game is some of the best in the Mario series in a while:
But it’s not just the boss music that’s fantastic, the actual level and character theme music is pretty great too. Like Cannoli’s theme, a depressing tune suited to someone whose life has been broken by an outsider taking over his TV show and stealing his property:
Or the fast paced, energetic theme used for Alergia Gardens, a random level later in the game:
To top it all off, the final boss music was seriously impressive in its own right. And what’s more, it wasn’t your standard ‘epic’ boss theme with orchestral instruments blaring, a choir chanting ominous vocals in Latin and an end of the world feel, but a hopeful theme that made you optimistic about your chances of saving the world. A theme to cheer up anyone in a depression, and one that’s perfectly suited to the point in a film or TV episode where a villain’s plan collapses, the heroes come up on top and good is prevailing over evil:
The music in this game is just so impressive for the game that it is. It’s almost like finding out some terrible CGI kids movie has a Lord of the Rings quality soundtrack played by a real orchestra and suited for a film hundreds of times better than the one it was included in.
So that’s Wario Master of Disguise, the best ever example of a terrible game with a fantastic and truly underappreciated soundtrack.