Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U -A Smashing Soundtrack-

Album Title:
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U -A Smashing Soundtrack-
Record Label:
Nintendo of America
Catalog No.:
83690A (JP Edition); NTDT-17294/5 (NA Edition)
Release Date:
March 1, 2015
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

Fans of Nintendo and the Super Smash Bros series who purchased both the Wii U and 3DS version of the newest Super Smash Bros game, and also registered their codes with the Club Nintendo program, recently received the complete soundtrack for both versions of the game. The soundtrack, aptly named A Smashing Soundtrack, contains music from nearly every Nintendo series so far. Fans will feel a burst of nostalgia upon listening to original Smash Bros music as well as familiar tunes from their favorite game series such as Zelda, Pokemon, Kirby, Mario and that’s just to name a few. The amount of content on the soundtrack, let alone in the game, is incredible and nearly impossible to cover in one review.

The Super Smash Bros series has been filled with reimagined tunes from favorite Nintendo games since Super Smash Bros for the Nintendo 64. Fans of Nintendo’s music will appreciate the added instrumentation, embellished melodies and harmonies and incredible musicianship that helps bring the Super Smash Bros series to the current generation of gaming. But does the revamped music hold true to the integrity of the original versions of the songs? Does the revamped music of titles like Pac-Man and Tetris compromise the integrity of the Nintendo fan favorites?

Body

This is the first time a Smash game has appeared on a Nintendo handheld console, and it is a welcome addition to the series. The Red side of the soundtrack, disc 1, contains music from the 3DS version of the game, while the Blue side of the soundtrack, disc 2, contains music from the Wii U version of the game, but also features music from handheld titles such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Mario Kart 7, and a handful of Pokemon games. Arrangements of tracks from these games, along with many others, set the mood for epic and fast paced battles between an incredibly diverse selection of Nintendo characters.

If you haven’t had enough Pokemon battle tracks, there are a few found on this soundtrack. “Battle! (Team Flare)” stays true to the original version in X and Y while also serving as an excellent Smash track to battle it out with your favorite Nintendo fighters. Minako Adachi is accredited with the composition while Motoi Sakuraba, who has contributed a great deal to game music from the Star Ocean series to the Tales of series to Dark Souls I and II, has gotten the chance to provide arrangement assistance. The melody is left intact while the rhythm section offers slightly different electronic instrumentation. The beat still pulses and adds percussion accents that help syncopate the rhythm and melody adding energy and forward motion. “Battle! (Team Flare)” was hopefully a great musical experience for composer and arrangement supervisor Sakuraba; as it is a real treat for fans and listeners alike.

Music from handheld games is not exclusive to just the Red side of the soundtrack, as tracks from console games such as Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Xenoblade Chronicles and Star Fox 64 are present in the mix. Xenoblade Chronicles is a game I have yet to explore, but the “Xenoblade Chronicles Medley”, composition by ACE+ (TOMOri Kudo, CHiCO, Kenji Hiramatsu) and arranged by ACE (TOMOri Kudo, CHiCO) not only makes me want to purchase this coveted game but also get out my guitar and start learning those tricky metal licks. The quick changes from lick to lick keep the energy flowing and offer a great deal of action to fighting scenes. Complete with guitar dive-bombs, double bass drums, and uplifting riffs, this music will inspire even the most devote heavy metal fans.

Another medley Nintendo fans might enjoy is “Super Mario Bros. Medley (Super Mario Bros.)”. Listeners will recognize music from the opening level of the game, as well as the underground area after travelling through the iconic green pipe, as well as the ominous introduction warning the listener of the threat Bowser imposes. The classic Nintendo vibe is ever present and features acoustic style guitar and fun synthesizer sounds that help bring the familiar melodies to life. The metallic pitched percussion sounds in the background offer a shimmering atmosphere while the electronic and hand percussion instruments lay down a solid groove.

Other medleys such as “Duck Hunt Medley” and “Mario Paint Medley” offer an eclectic mix of Nintendo music for fans and new comers to discover. With over 72 tracks, fans of Nintendo music are bound to find their favorite themes on this soundtrack. I found the “Tortimer Island Medley”, with arrangement supervision by Shohei Tsuchiya (ZUNTATA), to be particularly entertaining. This track features an upbeat compilation of Animal Crossing island music that will add to the fun of beating up on your favorite Nintendo characters.

This game is by nature a fighting game, and even the most docile characters are pulled into the fight this time around. The seemingly peaceful villager from Animal Crossing joins the fight with intense music to go along with action. “Kapp’n’s Song” with arrangement supervision by Masafumi Takada, is an upbeat, ska style interpretation of the original heard in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Electric guitar and drumset are driving forces behind this normally peaceful song.

Electric guitar plays a prominent role throughout this soundtrack, which, along with intense drumset beats, keeps the fighting spirit alive. “Mute City Ver. 3” from the F-Zero racing game makes me feel like I am traveling at super speeds, especially when listening to the complicated, syncopated blast beats at about 49 seconds into the track. This track is a power house of metal inspiration, originally composed by Yumiko Kanki with arrangement supervision by Kenji Ito, who worked on the soon to be released Devil Survivor 2 Break Record: Original Sound Track. “Mute City Ver. 3” makes me want to discover the wonders of F-Zero, yet another Nintendo game I have not had the chance to play in my many years of gaming. That is not to say that each track on this soundtrack is inspired by heavy metal, synths and overdriven guitar riffs.

“Kongo Jungle” from the popular Super Nintendo title, Donkey Kong Country, has a classic Nintendo sound. 8-bit sounding horns and percussion will bring Nintendo veterans back to the golden age of gaming. Arranger Hirokazu Ando has not changed David Wise’s music very much, which keeps the wonder of this music in tact. This track adds a sense of discovery and wonder to break up the quick-tempo beats and in your face synth riffs. “Stickerbush Symphony”, also composed by David Wise with arrangement supervision by Michiko Naruke brings yet another Donkey Kong track that is filled with feelings of a vast world to be explored. The guitar and violin solos trade off smoothly while the percussion boils underneath. The shimmering glockenspiel notes add a charm to the music that is sure to inspire listeners to revisit, or discover, classic Donkey Kong music. The acoustic sounds provide balance to the soundtrack and will cater to many different musical tastes so no fan is left unsatisfied.

A proper review of a Super Smash game, or soundtrack, cannot be complete without mentioning a few of the Kirby titles, which is most likely project director Masahiro Sakurai’s favorite Nintendo game. “Green Greens” is a popular Kirby song that personifies the cute, fun and likeable creature that is Kirby. “Green Greens Ver 2.”, composed by Jun Ishikawa with arrangement supervision from Masashi Hamauzu, can be found on the Red side of the soundtrack. This version of “Green Greens” is an orchestral interpretation of what started out as an 8-bit phenomenon on the Game Boy. The track can be heard on titles spanning from Kirby’s Dreamland for the Game Boy to Kirby Triple Deluxe for the 3DS and even on the previous Super Smash Bros Brawl for the Nintendo Wii. The bombastic sound and energetic percussion rhythm are countered beautifully by the lighter woodwind sections. The metallic percussion sounds make the piece sparkle and shine as if newly polished. The xylophone runs underneath the brass tones at about 1:23 give a strong character and display excellent arrangement skills by Hamauzu.

The Super Smash Bros integrity is maintained through the entire soundtrack, even with music not composed by the Nintendo community. “Tetris: Type A” and the collection of Pac-Man tracks are titles outside of the Nintendo community, but still add to the overall Smash vibe and feel. “Tetris: Type A” is a Russian folk song, originally titled Korobeiniki, that some gamers can whistle at the drop of a hat. Yoko Shimomura does an excellent job arranging this march-style piece of music to blend in the mix of reimagined game music. The music portrays a sense of tension and movement, perfect for epic battles, and a handheld device. The scraps of electronic percussion add a dense layer behind the piano and violin solos while the brass and battery section maintain a steady pulse.

The orchestral march used for Tetris provides a smooth transition into the original Smash piece “Trophy Rush”, “Multi-Man Smash”, “Credits” and “Online Practice Stage”. Soaring string melodies harken back to previous titles and will spark nostalgia in players all over again. I particularly enjoy the blend of electronic sounds and orchestral nuances in “Multi-Man Smash”. The horns cut through the synth sounds and the drumset has a pop influence and puts me in the mood to take on a challenge.

Fans of the Super Smash Bros series will be pleased with the new and improved “Menu” track, with compositional supervision by Keiki Kobayashi and arrangement supervision by Junichi Nakatsuru. The instrumentation is layered with brass, percussion, electric guitar and piano to give the music a rich, full sound. Menu 2 (Melee) composed by Shogo Sakai is mixed with an expert touch and all instruments can be heard, including the pop and slap style electric bass. Not much, if anything was changed from the original Super Smash Bros. Melee, which is an indication of how ahead of its time Super Smash Bros music has always been. As an added bonus for fans, “Match Results (Super Smash Bros)” from the original Nintendo 64 version, composed by Hirokazu Ando with arrangement supervision from Hiroyuki Kawada, is included at the very end of disc 2. This is a great way to finish off the soundtrack as players will fondly remember many a time spent listening to this music while reviewing post-game stats and scores. This track features bright brass accents and a groovy percussion section to keep listeners’ spirits up.

Summary

Sadly, Kazumi Totaka’s easter egg melody is nowhere to be heard on this soundtrack, although a medley from the Mario Paint soundtrack is present on the Blue side of the album which he composed alongside Hirokazu Tanaka and Yumiko Kameya. Could Totaka’s song be found in one of the stages of the game while idly sitting around for a few minutes?

Sonic The Hedgehog fans may be disappointed that there are no tracks from the games, even though he makes a return appearance in this newest Smash game. No Mega-Man music is present on this soundtrack either, even if it is his first time appearing in a Smash game, which is another disappointment. Regardless of the music that did not make it to the soundtrack, the number of experienced musicians, composers and arrangers that put countless hours into this soundtrack is staggering. There is almost too much content to mention in one review, which is why the soundtrack is sure to be an iconic and must have addition to any game music fan’s collection. Since this was a limited time offer, and one to those who were fortunate enough to purchase both versions of the game, this is a treasure that should be kept close to one’s heart.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U -A Smashing Soundtrack- Marc Chait

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

4.5


Posted on March 26, 2015 by Marc Chait. Last modified on March 27, 2015.

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