Mario Music – Music in Games Part 3
HELLO! Back to Part 3 of our discussion on music in video games, Specifically diving in to the many great examples that Nintendo’s Main-Man Mario has been stomping Goomba’s to for as long as most of us can remember. We’ve covered the NES/SNES era, and last time the Nintendo 64 era, so now we jump into the GameCube.
Luigi’s Mansion (2001)
First of all, I love Luigi as a character, any time I play a Nintendo game where you can choose Luigi, I do. That being said, I will count one of Luigi’s few shining moments in this list since Mario is involved. This time though, he is the one kidnapped instead of being the hero. Luigi’s Mansion is a ‘Mario Game’ without platforming… almost seems like an oxymoron since the two are so closely associated. Luigi and all his fears already kicks it off in a spooky vibe with this intro. But i mean seriously, if you aren’t looking at all the cartoony exterior of the art style in this game and just relying on your ears, there truly is a terrifying sense here.
Back to the lab again
You are offered some comic relief upon meeting one of the most underrated side-characters Professor E.Gadd both in his scripts and his soundtrack. But anytime you leave the comfort of E.Gadd’s lab your back in the scary mansion with this in the background! The most common theme that is played throughout the game can be heard here. But I love that even though Luigi is scared, he joins along in humming and whistling the theme as you creep down dark passages. And being in the 2000s Luigi even had a gameboy that the professor could call him on. There are many thing this game does right, and many of them extend beyond music and sounds. Squeaky doors, shrieking ghosts, and much more.
Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)
And because they didn’t get nearly enough of their aggression out, Mario and crew get back together to beat the crap out of each other. And this time with new friends. The music is great, but I won’t waste the time diving into too many details, its largely music borrowed from existing franchises, and you can listen to all the music here. While it is an amazing game, there is not much to say about its music other than it is great borrow music.
Super Mario Sunshine (2002)
This is one of my favorite games of all time. I don’t like making lists, but it is probably top 5. And this is music to my ears Every Shine Sprite meant I just got to do something fun. And your main overworld music for this game holds some of the classic Nintendo vibes and a peppy driving back-tune with simply melody that gets stretched across a few instruments. Bonus fact, like the original super Mario world, the music will add some percussion if you have Yoshi. And the classic music from Super Mario’s underground music gets Pumped up when chasing down Shadow Mario trying to clear your name of Trashing Delfino. Bianco Hills, Ricco Harbor, these are tunes I have heard OVER and OVER. SMSS is a game that I’ve played for so long, because its so rewarding to find each and every Shine Sprite.
Mario Golf: Toadstool tour (2003)
Similar to the first Mario Golf, there was plenty of frustration and satisfaction. Pars feel okay, bogies feel horrible, but an Eagle or better was amazing. I loved the challenge modes like shooting into the rings. Which I think is why people enjoy real golf, but I always feel too out of place on a golf course to enjoy it myself. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Nintendo can make really good island sounding music (intro). And I really appreciate the time to take different music for different situations. Putting for anything better than par you get intense music. Par is a little less intense, and a bit more focused, you need to stay on track. And Bogey or Worse is thumping. You’ve already made mistakes, lets not make any more. I think Nintendo is aware the psychology of different situations and wants to encourage or heighten those emotions.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (2003)
This is probably my second favorite of the Kart series, my favorite being Mario Kart Wii. Even though functionally it wasn’t all that different from the others in the series, the concept of this buddy team with special abilities was awesome. The GameCube era gave this game, and a few I will mention below, identity to each character. They weren’t just a different sprite, but a new way to play the game. But I love the ska-esque intro. I loved the various carts you could use. This automatically makes me think of the baby karts. And once again, with each character their tracks theme seems to capture the vibe, as if that character actually owns and lives in the land that track is located in, like DKs.
Paper Mario: the Thousand year Door (2004)
Part two of the paper thin hero succeeded. Various areas and worlds were done very well, and again the overall aesthetic of paper-everything was so much fun. I remember as each area went by just wanting to not put down the controller because learning a new move or gaining a new party member always felt rewarding. Like the other RPGs there is a ton of music. So here is a full list of the music. But if you are familiar with this game, things like this will take you back to the wonder of defeating the giant dragon in the first boss Or the spookyness of Twilight Town
Mario Power Tennis (2004)
What I loved most about this game, was the unique power ups that each character got. It added a fresh take on the old tennis games, where picking a person not only gave you a stats strategy, but looking at certain peoples special move was fun to plan out who it would be effective for and against. I have no idea what the 80’s were like, but the music made me think that this might be what ESPN would play on their channel in the 80’s. Nothing about it screams tennis, but its not normal tennis, its Mario Tennis, so its a little more extreme than the original.
Mario Superstar Baseball (2005)
Now, I don’t enjoy baseball all that much… in person or in video games. The only baseball games I’ve ever enjoyed is this one, its sequel, and backyard baseball. I really appreciated all the aspects of the game. I loved them bringing in additional playable characters like Monty-Mole, the Piantas, and many more. Characters that have been there for 15-20 years, but finally get to play with the main crew. Like Tennis, I don’t think this song screams baseball for me, but it was fun and upbeat. I will give them kudos for using an organ to shred in this song, as close to take me out to the ballgame as we are probably going to get. But the small little bits of sound like this played when a batter approaches the plate, do remind me of the full authentic baseball experience.
Super Mario Strikers (2006)
This game in hindsight, wasn’t the best game. However, as a long time FIFA player, Mario Soccer game filled a gap that existed for too long. It was so much fun to just attack your opponents. Then charge up your power shot and find the unique way to get your team the win. Its not at all like real soccer, and that is just fine. The music did try to include one of the best things about a live soccer game.. the crowd. for those who know soccer, each stadium has its own chants and that is something the fans live to experience. And while the crowd in the intro may not be as epic as a real soccer club, its trying to make a point.
There were 4 additional Mario Party games in the Gamecube era but I don’t have anything profound to say. We will just summarize it as they are super fun games. In terms of music they are the same as their predecessors and their sequels.
I promise we are getting close, next time we will jump into Wii, Wii U, and Switch. Mario’s presence in recent years did fall a bit in terms of number of games. After that, I hope to take a look at some other beloved franchises. Hoping for more variety, but love to give Mario my attention. He did so much for gaming, and Nintendo did so much to have a tune to our childhoods.
Thanks a bunch,