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A Night at the Symphonii

Music of Galactic Proportions

by Andrew Brown - December 20, 2012, 5:02 pm EST

Mario enters a universe of orchestrated musical epic.

First and foremost on the list is, of course, Mario. No list of great Nintendo anything would be complete without mention of the heroic little guy in red, and likewise, when asked about video game music, the Super Mario Bros. theme is likely the first thing that would come to anyone's mind. The series has always been known for catchy little ditties that liven up the gameplay and have you hopping along in time. Mario's Wii generation was no different.

For the first time ever, a Mario game had a fully orchestrated soundtrack, and the grand scale of the music blew gamers away. Interestingly, during development the game was intended to have a soundtrack comprising of Latin percussion instrumentals, and composer Mahito Yokota had completed 28 separate tracks for use in the game. Koji Kondo disapproved of the music and it went back to the drawing board. One thing led to another and we eventually ended up with the incredible 50-piece orchestral score we have today. You can listen to some samples below. Is that not the coolest Bowser battle music the series has ever seen—or, heard?

Super Mario Galaxy Ending
Gusty Garden Galaxy
Good Egg Galaxy
Battle With Bowser

Super Mario Galaxy 2 continued what the first game started, and brought us more epic musical magic. To my delight, there were plenty of old remixed themes from Super Mario World, including the Ghost House music, which I particularly liked back in my pre-teen SNES-gaming days. Other tracks in the Wii sequel took music from the first Super Mario Galaxy and added more instrumentals or slight remixes.

Two of those can be heard below—a revved-up version of the beehive level theme from the Honeybloom Galaxy, and Bowser's Lava Lair, which was once a castle level theme from Super Mario 64, updated in Galaxy 1, and then further remixed with vocals added in Galaxy 2! I also particularly like the Yoshi Star Galaxy theme—the instruments are reminiscent of the music heard back in Yoshi's Island on the SNES. Enjoy!

Yoshi Star Galaxy
Honeybloom Galaxy
Space Storm Galaxy
Bowser's Lava Lair


FreudianLemurDecember 20, 2012

You must have, at some point in this list, the soundtrack from FF Chrystal Chronicles (only the first one, on the GC).

Disco StuDecember 20, 2012

Oh man, the Puzzle Plank Galaxy music from SMG2 is the perfect, quintessential Mario music to me.

joshnickersonDecember 20, 2012

I'd love to hear the original Galaxy soundtrack someday, if only just to hear what could have been.

RazorkidDecember 20, 2012

I absolutely feel the same way about videogame music. It's a huge detriment to me if the music doesn't pop or add significantly to the experience. I haven't gone through your list Andrew, but I look forward to it. I'm always super curious about the tastes of other fellow videogame music lovers and whether mine overlaps at all.

Pixelated PixiesDecember 20, 2012

Some of my stand out soundtracks on Wii are Xenoblade (so good it hurts), the Galaxy games, Epic Yarn, Twilight Princess, House of the Dead: Overkill, the No More Heroes games, Metroid Prime 3, Muramasa, and of course Beat the Beat (Rhythm Heaven Fever).

On the digital front there's also the Bit.Trip games, Light Trax, the Lost Winds games, World of Goo, Cave Story, Mega Man 9 & 10, and Max & the Magic Marker (way underrated as a soundtrack).

I have to share this again. It's just too good. Too good I say!


Evan_BDecember 21, 2012

Hey, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: the Crystal Bearers has fantastic music, too. The game is the Skyward Sword before Skyward Sword and jam-packed with minigames, but the themes hit just the right balance of that laid-back adventuresome idea and more classy, jazzy material.

joshnickersonDecember 21, 2012

All these articles are doing in making me wish Nintendo would make these soundtracks available to us in the states in one form or another! Y'know, instead of making me track down some rather shady online sources... :-X

I had no problem with Fi; I actually found her quite amusing, once I noticed similarities between her and Vulcans (constantly talking about percentages and logic). I was actually rather touched with her final scene towards the end of the game.

(I did think she looked a tad goofy singing, though ;) )

FreudianLemurDecember 24, 2012

When I listened to the Xenoblade title music, suddenly all my feelings of awe and wonder for the game came rushing back, and I realised how long it is since I last played it. I've not even finished it! Why do I do this with great games? I play a decent way in, and then for some reason I won't play it for ages, to the point where I almost forget about it. *facepalm*

azekeDecember 26, 2012

Judging from the list author hasn't played Rhythm Heaven Fever.

Because it would be #1 if he did.

LittleIrvesDecember 28, 2012

Great stuff, Andrew! Love the sepia-toned logos, too....  I'd add Kirby'd Epic Yarn to the list, and my own personal take on "Ode to Joy" from Wii Music, but I understand how you might have missed that one, ha.


I totally forgot to add Other M's Ridley theme in the Honorables too. Oh well, next time :D

EasyCureJanuary 04, 2013

I can't get the DKCR sound track on my mp3 player :( stupid formats...

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