|Welcome to the music review at RPG
Classics.com! Our goal is help people see the soundtracks they listen
to in a better light as well as well as help the rpg music lovers out
there know what to get and know what crap they should stay the hell away from before they're stuck listening to something
so bad, they'll want to drive ice picks into their ears to relieve the pain. This week in the spolight is the ungodly cheery but surprisingly catchy Super Mario RPG soundtrack!
Sorry folks, no samples this time, Dragon God's having problems with his computer, so he wasn't able to rip anything.
To view our previous reviews, check out the archives
|Sinistral||Hmm...how to start this...The soundtrack, though not as large as say one of the more recent FFs, is very large nonetheless because of how noticeable and distinct each track is (unlike the FFs). The soundtrack itself
stands out from all other game soundtracks because of how unbelievably happy it is. That, unfortunately, is also why some would grow to dislike it: it gets annoying as ^@($*)(^!#)$^()( hell. Nonetheless, even then, when one gets used to it,
its very fun to listen to and it fits right into the game and the holidays 8D. Another thing which makes this soundtrack special is that even though it was made majorly by Yoko Shimomura, a very good musician, Nobuo Uematsu and Koji Kondo make cameo appearances to remix a few of the tracks: the FF4 and Super Mario Bros. related tracks.
Kondo's versions blend in a lot more to the soundtrack than Uematsu's , but they're a lot more integral to the soundtrack itself.Both composers help add a sense of nostalgia to the music and the game that makes it all more enjoyable.
I don't remember the first track from the game. It definetly sounds like a remix of various SM RPG songs and it really sets the tone of the rest of the soundtrack: very cheery. The first few tracks are pretty standard for an introduction and name selection sequence and such. The first on the list which would really strike the listener would be Fight Against Koopa. People who would've played SMB 3 would feel the most affinity to this song
since its so alike the Koopa fight from SMB 3. I wouldn't say it brings back memories of the old days because I'm not sentimental like that, but it definetly does bring a couple of those old warm feelings. If anything though, its a fun battle song which blends well into the rest of the soundtrack, befitting of Bowser's personality.
"The Sword Descends ..." doesn't strike me that much , its more of a filler
song. However, "The Super Pipe House" is one of the best tracks on the entire first CD. There's nothing in the style in which its played which really makes it that, the only way to put it is that its fun to listen to. The beat and the tone make it enjoyable. Older players will have heard this song so much, they'll like it simply for the reason that they're so used to it.
"Where Am I Going" is the overworld music and players of Legend of Mana will recognize Shimomura's style when it comes to overworld music: its pretty relaxed and light. There's not much to the song, but there's enough substance to it to not make it seem lacking. "The Road is Full of Dangers" is one of the trademark songs of SM RPG. Like many other parts of the soundtrack, it has a carribean feel and is so unique to SM RPG and plays through enough of it to really symbolize the mood of the soundtrack.
"Fight Against Monsters" has got to be one of the oddest battle musics that have -ever- been written for any video game.I actually learned html while listening to that at about 2 AM in my spring break almost 3 years ago, when I made my debut on the web. Its a love or hate song. Its surprisingly motivating and very catchy.
"Hello, Happy Kingdom" is another one of those trademark songs. Its yet another fun song to listen to. The use of percussion and cymbals make it seem a bit grandiose but since its not very serious, oofish. It represents the good-hearted but not too bright personality of the mushroooms of the kingdom. The "Explanation" song is an oddity for those who haven't played the game. Throughout the game, Mario or some character will be talking about something in order to clear things up in a rather humourous off-to-the-side way. Its one of those things
which gave the game its heart and made it enjoyable and different from other RPGs.
" Still, The Road Is Full Of Dangers" is another one of the overworld dungeon songs. Its very amusing to listen to with how it speeds up and slows down over and over. Its very catchy, its faced paced and the use of the wooden xylophone that is used throughout the song along with the flute make it light-hearted, but keep it from getting dumb.
"Fight Against A Somewhat Stronger Monster" like the other normal boss song "Fight Against An Armed Boss" aren't that great to listen for the sake of listening to them. They're faced paced and are pretty serious in comparison to the other songs, but they're not in a serious serious kinda serious. They're oofish as well, showing the usual not-too-bright personality of the bosses in the game.
"Here's some weapons!" is the a pretty common boss/captured town theme. The bad guys aren't that bright, like their overlords, so the song ,though dark, has a comical tone to it as well. Its more enjoyable than the boss songs though. The second boss song, "Armed Boss" is an upbeat version of this".
"The Dungeon Is Full Of Monsters" isn't that great of a song. Its a pseudo-ambient filler for dark sewery stuff. "Let's Go Down The Wine River" is one of those ultra happy song that you will either love or hate because of how catchy it is. I can't help but think of hillbillies when I hear it though, probably because of the banjo...It just amazes me to listen to this soundtrack and feel so motivated to write this review 8D.
" Grandpa And The Delightful Tadpoles " ...hmm... I don't feel like repeating myself. *points to Let's Go Down the Wine River*. The Sad Song is a cute song though. Its sad yes, but you just can't help feel bad for Mallow when you hear it while also thinking "WTF?!?" about Grampa admitting to Mallow "You're not a tadpole!". How in bloody hell can one think that he's a tad pole in the first place?! The song simply makes you wanna go "awww....".
"Let's Play Geno" is another one of those SMB remixes by Kondo. Like its predecessors, its very nice listen to and the differences in tone in the different parts of the song because of the tuba and the percussion at differing times makes it entertaining to hear. "Beware The Forest's Mushrooms" is another overworld dungeon, but its not THAT cheery though. Its fast paced and like many other tracks, has a strong beat to it because combined because of the shortness of most musical notes in the song. However different the song may be from the rest, its nice though because it makes the soundtrack less repetitive, unlike other RPGs which remix some tracks to death.
"Rose Town" ... hmm... the town musics in SM RPG all have a distinct
style and personality. This one makes the town seem like its bustling
with activity. It makes you think of shopping. And for once, without
thinking bad things about shopping. It makes New Orleans style use
of instruments with the tuba and whatever that other main instrument
is, though the song itself doesn't necessarily have a Mardi Gras
feel to it per se..
"Welcome! Yo'ster Island!!" and "Let's Race" are both SMRPGish, but like the entire setting of Yo'ster's Island, they just don't seem to fit in the game as much as the rest of the soundtrack...
"Hard Working Moles Are Good Moles" is a return to the traditional SM RPG feel though. The beat of the song give it a feel that people are marching to work, like the moles to their tunnels! Its all because of the way the song builds up and then you have the clapping sounds and the piano sounds followed by a slight descending tone. "Docaty Mountain Railroad "
is another one of the hillbilly thingies. VERY fast paced, though not to the point of annoyance. It fits the mood of having to race a mining cart down the freakin' rails fearing for your life.
"Welcome to Bukki Tower" is a very odd song when you consider the soundtrack. Its too peaceful. It just makes you think that there has to be something else. And there is! "And My Name's Bukki " is Bukki's true personality. Its a very rash song and it doesn't give you the feeling that whoever this is played for thinks things through thouroughly.
"Slope" is an amusing way of ending the first CD... The way it builds up and simply goes faster and faster makes you feel more and more hyper. The way it starts out is quite nice though. I'll have to agree with Merlin on this one, SM RPG has a lot of catchy mini game tunes...
Ah finally Disc 2... Its a much shorter disc than disc 1.. That might be in part because I skip more tracks and there are less tracks on it than on cd 1 too... It also feels more serious than disc 1. "Merry Marry Bells Ring " has ringing bells that pretty much give Marrymore the churchy feel it deserves. There's nothing too special about this song, but its not bad.
"Sunken Ship" is probably the darkest song in the entire game because it doesn't have that comical tone to it that the other dark serious songs have. You can hear the wavey songs and the piraty drums in the background which give the ship the appropriate setting.
"Going Shopping In Ripple Town" like every other town in the game, has a personality of its own. It sounds like Saloon piano music with a touch of Shimomura on it on the end of the loop , its quite nice to listen to. "My Paradise - Monstro Town " , nothing great to it, it sounds like a couple other songs on the soundtrack, mushroom kingdom and something else I can't put my finger on. Its not bad, but not great.
The FF4 remixes by Uematsu really don't fit in the soundtrack. They don't really use much of the instruments from the game. Are they good songs? Yes, but this is more of an extra cameo thingy than anything else. The originals are better songs to listen to.
You And Toadofski Create Exquisite Music . Let's Do The Flooka-Flooka! (Fluff Fluff), Margarie Margarita ,Dodo's Coming! together take up A LOT of time on the soundtrack and the tracks differ a lot in the style in which they are done from the tracks on CD1. They still retain the humour of the game, but they sound different. I'm not too high on these tracks.
The Barrel Volcano song changes the mood of the game to a more REAL serious tone since everything that's beyond it is pretty much the ending of the game.
"Weapons Factory" is an even more drastic change in how things are made. The style goes perfectly with the setting in the game, as most of the music in the game does with each setting, but its very different from everything else. I found the song to be very repetitive and though the metalic clinks add some refreshing sounds from the rest of the game, it
could've been more. "Fight Against Kanjidoh" is probably the better version of the final boss song. The beat is nice , serious and the organ use adds creative drama to the perscussion work of the song. "Who Likes Transforming " just sounds like its on crack...
The last 3 ending songs "Goodbye Geno" , "Happy Parade" and "Delightful Parade" make it a really nice way of ending the soundtrack though. Unlike Merlin, I didn't think the Goodbye Geno song was that sad, it had a tinge of hope in it. Sad is Xenogears' jewel box version of Broken Shards. The change in style, imho , for these 3 songs, especially the festive mood of the fesitval songs are a very welcome addition to the soundtrack.The remixes are very nice and make it one of the best ending themes I've heard.
Overall, this is an excellent soundtrack because of how closely it relates to the game and how much effort was put into keeping it enjoyable. This is a must for people who don't mind its cheeryness. It always helps me get out of my ruts to listen to this soundtrack.
|Merlin||Ok, I don't know if there's a standard procedure for doing these things, but I'll try to review this fun soundtrack my own special way. Let's go…
The soundtrack spans 2 discs and 61 tracks, this is slightly misleading because there are a lot of songs that are very short, but there is still roughly 2 hours of music to cover. I'll probably gloss over most of the shorter tracks and go more in-depth to the longer ones. The problem I find with the soundtrack right off the bat, and maybe it's a minor one to you, but the titles of the songs have some really crazy names that don't help a whole lot, let me see if I can find my player's guide to give a more accurate description of where the songs take place.
*short search later* Nope, sorry, can't find it, oh well. On with the review!
Happy Adventure, Delightful Adventure
This is the track featuring the opening titles of the game. It flows very well, moves pretty quickly, and about a minute and a half in you get the mushroom kingdom theme that plays for most of the rest of the song. I particularly like the bouncy bass line riff of 12 bar blues, it causes the entire song to have a nice happy pulse to it, which will be the case for most of the soundtrack. If you listen to this song for long enough you start tapping your fingers along with it, it's very catchy, not entirely diverse, but fun. The song ends a bit more ominously as the main title appears in the game, and on we go…
Let's Try / In The Flower Garden / Koopa Castle (first time)
The first song features a fresh take on the well-known Super Mario Brothers theme, the vibes (which are a major piece of the entire soundtrack) are a major component of this song, and it's a nice rendition in all. In The Flower Garden is a rather mundane "ominous" set-up song as you learn about Toadstool's capture. Koopa Castle is equally run-of-the-mill, but works very well in the game, it's not bad for castle exploring but is only 30 seconds long so there is no thematic exploration.
Fight Against Koopa / The Sword Descends And The Stars Scatter
This is a very adequate "boss battle" theme as Mario and Bowser try to pummel each other on the chandeliers. Loud percussive beats punctuate the short light drum rhythm. The second song I think is very interesting. Only 40 seconds long, it is much more ominous sounding than In The Flower Garden and is a very nice intro for the main villain in this game, Smithy. It is also is highly reminiscent of the Skull Kid's theme in Zelda: Majora's Mask.
Super Pipe House / Where Am I Going / The Road Is Full Of Dangers
This track is yet another variation on the Super Mario theme, it's not as different sounding as Let's Try was but isn't a bad song at all. The next track is a decent "map overview" song, works well in the game but isn't terribly special all by itself. The next track is a nice exploration song, very catchy and will have you bobbing along as you play the game, it's sort of "tropical" sounding too (a theme that this soundtrack uses a lot).
Fight Against Monsters / Victory!!
The first song is our first regular battle theme. It has the same characteristics as "The Road is Full of Dangers," it's another song that repeats a lot (the theme isn't too long) but works well enough. I remember finding the song slightly irritating though after playing the game for a long time, they should've made the theme a bit more diverse. Victory!! is the winning/level up music, it serves its purpose well enough but doesn't come close to such other victory songs as the Final Fantasy one in terms of quality.
Hello, Happy Kingdom / Explanation! / A New Partner / Still, The Road Is Full Of Dangers
This is the Mushroom Kingdom song. It's very nice to listen to, and has a nice brass bass line that is reminiscent of marches, which help adds to the general "royal" theme of the kingdom. It isn't terribly original, but usually you go to where you need to in the Kingdom quickly enough that you won't notice its one-dimensionality. Explanation! is just the music that plays when your characters act out a summary of events, its very short, featuring the snare drum and triangle. A New Partner is the "add party member" song and is even shorter. The last song is in my opinion a far better tune than The Road Is Full Of Dangers, it reminds me of the Russian Dance from The Nutcracker. It captures the theme of this part of the game (chasing the Croc) very nicely. It's fast-paced, has a sense of urgency to it but still maintains the fun factor of this album. It's dangerously close to making this sequence feel too humorous but borders the line nicely.
Invincible Star / Fight Against A Somewhat Stronger Monster / Here's Some Weapons!
The first song is a nice Jamaican/tropical remix of the Invincible Star song from Mario games past. Fight Against A Stronger Monster is the gem of this trio. It's a great boss theme that I would stack up against the best boss battle themes the FF series has to offer. The sweet drum lead-in helps introduce the main theme which is itself very appealing, the louder percussive sounds help accentuate the song even greater. Here's Some Weapons is the first music to introduce Smithy's cronies; it harks back to Zozo's theme from FF6 and a little bit to Deling City in FF8. Yet, even with this ominous track it preserves the sense of "tongue-in-cheekness" that this entire game exhibits, sure it's a dark scene but nothing in SMRPG can be too dark so neither is the song.
Fight Against An Armed Boss / Got A Star Piece / The Dungeon Is Full Of Monsters
The first song is the tune for when you fight Smithy's first lieutenant. It's typical boss music fare. The second song is the usual "Got A Crystal" theme found in most RPGs, only it's called a star piece. It builds up nicely and I like the harp rhythm, then again I'm always a sucker for harp lines. It introduces the "Star Road" theme that we will get to later, which will become one of the better songs in the game. The last song is a cave/dungeon exploration song featuring the organ (I think), it reminds me a little of the beginning to the Castle Entrance songs in Super Mario World. It fits the mood of that scene in the game well, but it's nothing unique in of itself, too run-of-the-mill for my tastes.
Let's Go Down The Wine River / Grandpa And The Delightful Tadpoles / Shock!
This is a very folksy song; the main components of it will make up most of the mini-game tracks. It has a nice catchy quality to it, but is a little repetitive. The next song begins when you meet up with Frogfucius and company, the whistles in the background were first heard in the opening track and always are present in any future "frog-related" theme. The Jamaican drums serve as a nice backdrop to it. The third song is the "ominous chord" used in the game whenever something shocking is said; it does its job well.
Sad Song / Let's Play Geno / Geno Awakens
I don't particularly like Sad Song. I feel like I'm watching a silent film when this plays, it does its job in the game well-enough but is too one-dimensional for me. The second song though redeems the previous one. It's another Super Mario Brothers rendition (this game couldn't get enough of them it seems, third one by my count). But it also features a very important lead-in, which will be used in later tracks. Geno Awakens could very well be one of the top five or ten tracks in the game. It perfectly fits with the doll's awakening, features his theme (maybe the best in the game), which perfectly ties in with the earlier Star motifs.
Beware The Forest's Mushrooms / Rose Town
The first song is another exploration tune; it has forest-like motifs written into it to help define the setting better. It's an improvement over the Road Is Full of Dangers tune used earlier. It works in the game, not the kind of track you will remember when talking about this RPG, but is still a decent tune. Rose Town is maybe the best RPG song when it comes to communicating pure happiness. The people here were just freed from a curse and you know it, the entire song exhibits a happy, festive air to it. I have always loved this song and wished it got more recognition for the great joyful melody that it is.
From Inside The Earthen Pipe / Welcome! Yo'ster Island!! / Let's Race
This song is a very neat facelift of the Super Mario Brothers underground theme, but it's nothing we haven't heard before, the echoing effect though is a nice touch. The next song is the Yoshi Island music, it has that same tropical quality to it that many other songs do, it doesn't quite do it for me. Let's Race is an improvement. It's a very quick-paced melody that moves well and once again perfectly nails the happy mood that the entire album displays.
Hard Working Moles Are Good Moles / Docaty Mountain Railroad / Welcome to Bukki Tower
The first song is "Moletown's theme" it's good but isn't terribly different sounding from earlier songs in the album, but does have a bit more "underground" quality to it. Works well in the game. The next song is yet another folksy mini-game melody, rather generic in of itself but it's not meant to be listened to for long, it slightly reminds me of songs from Diddy Kong Racing. This next song sounds like and is meant to sound like elevator music. I feel like I'm on hold with a company during this track. It does a nice job though conveying the first parts of Booster's tower.
And My Name's Bukki / MarioRPG / Heart Beating A Little Faster / Slope
This is the main theme for the tower; it's a very nice catchy song to hum along to as you reach the summit. The next song is just an "old school" replaying of the Mario theme for when you "change form" briefly as you climb. The next song is useful for when you're trying to hide from Booster's cronies behind the screens but is rather basic in of itself. What is SMRPG's obsession with folksy mini-game music? This last track on disc one is another of the same, but is fun to listen to and probably the best of the mini-game tracks. The snare drum opening is a nice touch.
Merry Marry Bells Ring / Celebrational Melody / The Starlight's Flower Blossoms On Star Hill
Merry Marry Bells Ring is very wave-like, the melody and the bass line have a nice cyclic nature to them, and the volume even undulates slightly, which increases this wave-like effect. The song is what you'd typically hear in a wedding-themed area, so as far as that's concerned the song is very nice, but overall the song is a little too bland for my tastes. This song is followed on the album by a nice 11 second organ riff. The next song is brilliant, albeit short. The main melody is a take on that "Star Theme" found chiefly in Geno themes. The violins and the chimes punctuate the main Star melody perfectly in the background, truly making this song the special piece it is. The organ bass-line is a nice underlying effect as well. This song is probably the most complicated piece we've yet found in SMRPG.
Sunken Ship / Going Shopping In Ripple Town / My Paradise - Monstro Town
Sunken Ship is well, a sunken ship theme. It has nice ghostly qualities to it, and the rising and falling of a ship heard throughout is a nice touch. This is probably the darkest song on the album and has a slight menacing undertone throughout. We follow this with a somewhat folksy shopping theme, it is cute and fun to listen to, but does not possess a ton of depth. Next is the Monstro Town theme. I've never found this song to be that great myself, but the vibes are very well used here and it has a nice bouncy countryside quality to it, it almost feels like a song that could be used easily in Earthbound.
Fight Against Culex / Victory Over Culex / Conversation With Culex
Ah, the FF trio that snuck its way into SMRPG. I don't think I need to go over these that much, if you don't know how these songs go you're probably not reading this review. Suffice it to say that the battle theme (song 1 in this set) has a nice new keyboard-intensive facelift and the victory theme was remixed to fit into the SMRPG general motif. The third song in this set is a reworking of the familiar FF Prelude, it's nice but does not surpass the various FF versions.
You And Toadofski Create Exquisite Music
I'm making this 30-second song a separate section for two reasons. One, the title is sort of lengthy :P But the other is that I think this song is far superior to the SMRPG victory tune and that possibly this tune should have been used instead. It builds very well and features the organ nicely.
Let's Do The Flooka-Flooka! (Fluff Fluff) / Margarie Margarita / Dodo's Coming!
Don't even try asking me why the first song is entitled the way it is :P It's a nice "cloud melody" but I don't think it's all that great, the echoing motif that crops up about a minute into the song is what redeems it in my eyes. Margarie Margarita is a harpsichord song done in the vein of the entire album, i.e. even this is a little goofy. The harpsichord is very well done, but there is this Kefka-like laugh throughout the entire song that I don't really understand, I guess it must make sense in context of the game, I don't really remember this part of SMRPG too well though. The third song in this set borrowed heavily from Gogo's and Kefka's theme in FF6 and is something I wouldn't have been surprised to find in Banjo-Kazooie. It's a little cute in its own lumbering fashion, but is mainly a track just for a certain segment of the game, not written to stand-alone.
Barrel Volcano / The Axem Rangers Drop In / Koopa Castle (Second Time)
This next song is bass-heavy, so it has already jumped up a few notches in my book. It's not a bad song, a little too repetitive; it sounds like it was borrowed from one of the Donkey Kong Country games for SMRPG. The next song, despite the obvious Power Ranger veiled reference, is actually another retelling of the Super Mario Brothers underground theme. It isn't bad, but I think you can get a good grasp of what the song is from what it's a remix of. The third song happens when you return to Bowser's castle. It's more complex while still maintaining the main themes of the first version found on Disc 1. It's a much better rendition of the Castle's theme.
This song isn't bad, but nothing memorable. The main melody has a nice up-and-down-and-up quality to it; it builds up and down very well. The bass line and drum pieces of the song give it a slightly hard, rock and roll quality to it. The song gets better as it goes on. But there aren't enough interesting pieces to the tune to make it terribly memorable.
Fight Against Kanjidoh
Ah yes, the "final" boss tune. It's lovely. The first six seconds are one of the greatest lead-ins to a battle song I've heard. And the overall song captures the emotion and the concentration one naturally possesses when they're fighting the last enemy. There is even an obligatory organ line throughout to ram home the fact that Smithy is your last foe. Great pulse, great rhythm, and great pace make this song what it is.
Fight Against Kanjidoh, Who Likes Transforming
But wait, like any Square villain worth his salt Smithy isn't quite dead yet, so we need a "final final" boss theme. I think it's rather bland, especially compared to the preceding song, and they probably should have flipped their order in the game. The song itself isn't bad, but it's nothing we haven't heard in countless other games.
This is one of the saddest songs I've heard from a video game in a long time. It starts out with the typical Star Road melody, but strings gradually begin enhancing and speeding up this tune. Then we move into the Geno theme, brilliant all by itself but now it has more of a sense of poignancy rather than childlike qualities because Geno is leaving us. After that short bit it continues to grow and the sadness level increases, but it's not so much sadness but a "happy" sadness as your friend leaves you. The light bells, which play a good deal of the melody, are a particularly nice touch, especially when accentuated by a light piano harmony. The song ends a bit more optimistically as Geno returns to the clouds and ends with a trailing away of the Star theme. In any event, Geno's theme may be the best thing to come out of SMRPG and this song is the best single rendition of it.
Happy Parade, Delightful Parade
The grand finale, probably the best song on the album. It rolls throughout the entire final credits during the giant parade. It possesses its own themes in the beginning and isn't simply a rehashing of earlier motifs in the game, although all of them certainly do find their way in, I hear everything from the Mushroom Kingdom to Smithy's cronies' theme to Geno's, try to find them all. It's the most diverse song too, I can't even begin to catalogue the amount of instruments used. This is a song one can't quite describe, but I do strongly suggest listening to it, it's one of the better end credits songs around. A great way to close out a great game.
The last song is yet another variation of the Super Mario theme, but it combines the Star Road qualities with the traditional theme by being bell-intensive. It's very sweet and a nice way to show the final "The End." It's not the most technically deep song, but very pleasant in its own right.
A very nice album. It's just fun to listen to basically. A few tracks bog things down, but this is rare. The Geno and Star Road themes in particular are excellent, and it's cute to see how the composers (there were 3 on this album) mixed various traditional Mario themes with the general bouncy, happy, tropical mindset of the entire game.
Highs: Many tracks, great overall mood, the songs relate to one another nicely, a few great individual themes.
Lows: Song titles are annoying and vague, a few songs aren't terribly involving, the album can be seen as repetitive at times.
Best Five Tracks:
5. Rose Town
4. The Starlight's Flower Blossoms On Star Hill
3. Happy Adventure, Delightful Adventure
2. Fight Against Kanjidoh
1. Goodbye Geno / Happy Parade, Delightful Parade
A one means that the music is so bad it makes the game almost unplayable, a five is an average video game soundtrack, and a ten means that I would recommend this album over most regular music.
|Shinryuu||Super Mario RPG was the last game we'd get from Squaresoft for the Super NES. It needed to be perfect, giving us a lasting memory of what Squaresoft has done for helping out Nintendo. Since Super Mario RPG was a team effort between Square and Nintendo, the music also got a team effort from both Nintendo and Square's finest composer(s). The call got to the creative Yoko Shimomura, who has created the scores to Live-A-Live and Front Mission, and Nobuo Uematsu, famous for his work in Final Fantasy, the composer of Nintendo was none other than Koji Kondo, known for the Mario and Legend of Zelda scores. The result : a perfect blend of happy and bouncy tunes, and still a touch of excellent battle music, which Shimomura did on her own. Shimomura did at least 80 % of the soundtrack, Koji Kondo remixed the classic Mario tunes while Uematsu remixed 3 famous FF4 tunes. Anyways, onward with the review.
Disk 1 is generally very upbeat and bouncy, and it starts out with the amazing " Happy Adventure, Delightful Adventure ", a nice remix of several tunes from the game, which is played in the intro of the game. " Fight against Koopa " is a very neat remix of the Super Mario Bros. 3 battle theme vs Bowser, this has certainly brought the many memories while playing SMB3 back in my younger years =). The next track which got my attention was " The Sword Descends and the Stars scatter ", the organ is easily recognisable here, which Shimomura used extensively in Live-A-Live, " The Road is Full of Dangers " is a happy bouncy tune, since the area qualifies as a dungeon, it sounds out of place, but since Super Mario RPG is lighthearted, this sets the mood just fine. The first battle theme, " Fight against Monsters " is simply perfect, not too repetitve, neither annoying, unlike some of Uematsu's later battle tracks, like the FF6 Battle. The victory theme is also a nice touch. " Hello, Happy Kingdom ! " is the theme for the Mushroom Kingdom, it's simply full of uh…. happiness 8P, it easily conveys the peaceful life of it's people. " Still, the Road is Full of Dangers is bit more epic dungeon theme than the first, it was first played in the Theive's Pass where Mario and Mallow chase down Croco…. Then comes the standard boss theme " Fight Against a Somewhat Stronger Monster ", it's simply a great upbeat track, and gives a hint of danger as you fight the normal bosses. " Invincible Star " is that little music which plays when you get a Starman, which renders Mario Invincible, and here we get a nice little remix of it, Kondo never fails to amaze me =). Let us move on to the major boss theme, " Fight Against An Armed Boss ", it's another winner battle track, and sounds more epic like the Fiends battle from FF4, which is reserved especially for Smithy's Gang Members. " The Dungeon is full of Monsters " is simply perfect, the organ gives out a feeling of hostility and is just plain creepy. " Let's play Geno " is a remix of the first variation of level music in Super Mario World, I just love this arrangement. Ahhh… the Maze Forest, I'll always renember that place, the music for it, " Beware of the Forest's Mushrooms " is one of the things that really got me hooked on the game, I simply found that theme so beautiful. " From inside the Earthen Pipe " is actually a remix of the underground music in Super Mario Bros. ( Anyone renembers that, right ? ), and what a remix it is, I just love the echo added to it. Another track which really got my attention is " Welcome to Booster's Tower ", it's easily one of the best tracks on the CD and gives the feeling of the party struggling through the tower to save Toadstool from the somewhat retarded Booster. Here's another little gem, " Long, Long ago.. " is simply the ol stage music from Super Mario Bros., boy does it ever bring back those memories 8D. That's pretty much it for Disk 1, on to Disk 2.
The beginning of Disk 2 isn't too impressive, until we get to track 5, " Sunken Ship ", it's a great ambient track which serves as the theme for the sunken ship all too well, plus it has those crackings now and then which makes it sound even more realistic. The the last town theme in the game, " My Paradise ~ Monstro Town ", just fits the surroundings of Monstro Town perfectly with it's smooth melody. Then comes three special tracks from Nobuo Uematsu : " Fight against Culex " is simply a marvelous remix of the FF4 " Fight 2 " battle track and gives off a dramatic feel while fighting the mighty Culex and his Crystals. If you should win vs Culex, you'll get another treat, a remix of the good ol FF Victory theme which appears in " Victory over Culex ", then the Prelude , also from FF, makes an brief appearance in " Conversation with Culex ". Then we move on to " Let's do the Fooka-Fooka ", which is the theme for Nimbus Land, Mallow's hometown, it's a nice catchy (not to mention boucy) melody that simply latches on to you and dosen't let go ^^; Then " Margarie Margarita ", which I believe is Queen Valentina's Theme, is simply…. weird, those " laughs " in the background gives off the weird feel, nothing more comes to mind about this track. The next track " Dodo's coming " is a winner in most hilarious track, it easy to see how DUMB Dodo is by listening to this track ^_^, it simply screams " D'uuuuuhhhhhh !!! " 8P
Another old remix is " The Axem Rangers Drop In ", ( yes, a MMPR rip-off 8D ), anyways it's another remix of the SMB1 Underground theme, it's only more fast paced than the other one. Now we come to the final dungeon, the " Weapons Factory " sounds a lot like it was influenced by Devil's Lab ( Magitek Factory from FF6 ), as it sounds mechanical, and of course is just right for the type of area the party is venturing into in search of Smithy. When they find him, it's a decisive battle indeed. The Final Boss themes starts with " Fight Against Smithy ". It starts with an errie organ, followed by drums folowed by more organ and the the main theme builds up, making it a very memorable as well as appropriate way to end the Super Mario RPG adventure, once the first form bites the dust, Smithy reveals his true form…. " Fight againsts Smithy…. Who likes transforming " simply brings a more interesting beat and it keeps your attention while struggling against Smithy for the final time. After that, it's the ending themes of course. " Happy Parade, Delightful Parade " is crafted the same way " Live For Live " was in Live-A-Live, it starts out peacefully and happy, then it incorporates several themes from the game, making it an all enjoyable ending theme. Well… now that the review is over, I must break your heart by telling you terrible news : the Super Mario RPG soundtrack has fallen out of print for some time and it is very difficult to find. I'd say Ebay is the only place to even bother searching for it, even if you end up shelling over 100 $ for this Double Disc Set, I assure you that it will be worth it as this priceless gem is something you'll want to keep for years to come.