Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version
Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version
March 25, 1996
Buy Used Copy
Super Mario RPG was created while Yoko Shimomura was still part of its sound team. when Yoko Shimomura was still part of Square. In fact, the whole game was developed by Square on behalf of Nintendo and therefore there are some very interesting musical clashes here. The Super Mario RPG soundtrack is basically what the game was — a clash between Square and Nintendo. I don’t think Yoko Shimomura was on as solid ground with this being the first game of its kind, but nonetheless there’s some great/classic music on this disc.
If there is one track on the album that always seems to stand out to me, it is “Beware of the Forest’s Mushrooms”. It sticks with the medieval feel of the game, but it is also very quirky. I think it’s just the odd melody that makes it so memorable for so many fans, but I’d definitely call it a classic track. I have some personal favorites like “The Road is Full of Dangers” and “Welcome! Yo’ster Island!!”. I like the latter probably because I just love anything that sounds remotely Yoshi-inspired. The former is more of a definitive faavourite as essentially the first overworld theme. Yoko Shimomura captures that charming adventure feel perfectly. Lots of other themes did too, but a lot just weren’t as memorable albeit still enjoyable.
The normal battle theme “Fight Against Monsters” certainly stands out as one of the most Mario-esque tunes. I personally like it due to my bias towards happy melodies and fun music in general, but I can see why some would find it annoying fast. It’s extremely repetitive and it’s sad to see one of the most iconic tunes be the most shortly crafted. But hey, try not to get it stuck in your head! There are some better tracks such as the progressively more epic “Fight Against a Somewhat Stronger Monster” and “Fight Against An Armed Boss”, or the transitory “Where Am I Going”. In general, the action themes later on in the soundtrack seem to aspire more to the sound that Shimomura perfected in the Mario & Luigi series.
As I said earlier, a lot of the game has a Final Fantasy influence to it and the same is true for the music. A lot of the tracks have a more medieval sound to it, inspired by Square’s big hit at the time, Final Fantasy IV. For example, “Margarie Margarita” and “Hello, Happy Kingdom” have a very traditional feel that suits the scenery of the towns themselves. The latter is more of an upbeat march, complete with admirably synthesized brass and percussion, while the former brings in more of Uematsu’s influence with its harpsichord samples and ominous laughing. But while this influence is endearing, I think the Mario and Luigi series really found its ground by moving away from Final Fantasy a bit, along with the music.
There are of course various remixes of Mario classics throughout the soundtrack as well. Whether the truncated appearance of the underground theme on “Super Pipe House”, the rocking reprise of Super Mario Bros. 3‘s final battle theme in “Fight with Bowser”, or even the version of “Invincible Star”, they’re all charming and nostalgic despite their simplicity. I think these tracks are more enjoyable because of Koji Kondo’s original melodies, rather than Shimomura’s arrangements, but they never really grow old. There are also a few Final Fantasy IV remixes in “Fight Agaisnt Culex” and “Victory Over Culex”. There are hilarious unexpected versions of the Final Fantasy battle and victory themes, albeit ones that stick very closely to the originals.
There are some darker themes during the soundtrack that embellish the adventurous feel. For example, “Weapons Factory” nicely sets the tone for the final battle with its percussive influences, much like Final Fantasy VI‘s “Devil’s Lab”. The final battle themes such as the organ-based “Fight Against Kajidoh” and beat-heavy “Fight Against Kajidoh, Who Likes Transforming” are great climaxes at the end of the adventure. The Super Mario RPG soundtrack ends with the classic parade credits theme. It remixes all of the tunes throughout the game, but it’s definitely something that needs to be seen with visuals. Why listen to a parade with out seeing the cool floats that each phrase corresponds to? It’s very fun and I’m glad they kept this as a tradition in a few of the more recent games. It really sets it apart form the normal credits remixes out there.
Overall, this soundtrack is a delightful blend of Mario influences, Final Fantasy influences, and a dash of Yoko Shimomura’s flair. Ignoring those tunes that fall flat, listeners will find a soundtrack with much more elaboration and depth than normal Mario soundtracks, yet also much more inspired and fun than the earliest Final Fantasy soundtracks. It is what it is, and for such an odd venture for the time, it was really great and stands the test of time. While I think the Mario & Luigi RPG soundtracks were more consistent and demonstrated Shimomura’s unique voice more, this precursor is very worthy too.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Charles Szczygiel. Last modified on August 1, 2012.