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Mario & Luigi RPG Sound Selection :: Review by Charles

Mario & Luigi RPG Sound Selection Album Title: Mario & Luigi RPG Sound Selection
Record Label: Club Nintendo
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: September 14, 2009
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Hailing from the charming brotherly RPG series, the Mario & Luigi RPG Sound Selection takes the best from the series and puts it all on one disc for our enjoyment. Don't expect any nostalgic Mario remixes as most of that (along with filler) has been left out in favor of original tunes. This is fine because I don't think I need to hear the Mario theme remixed for the millionth time. Most Mario spin offs rely on our familiarity to the series, so how does Yoko Shimomura's selected music fare when stripped of all that we are familiar with?


Yoko Shimomura really has her role set perfectly for this series. She knows exactly when the music should range from either happy, or tense and her overall sensibility has made for three charming adventures. That's how you can think of a lot of this music. It's adventurous with a dash of Mario. Being an RPG series, it really makes for deeper music than you'd expect out of normal Mario music. It's like Mario music for adults and I swear some of the final boss music kicks music from regular J-RPGs out of the park.

Let's start with the "start screen" music. Each start screen tune marks the start of the next game soundtrack. I love them all from "Preparing for Traveling" to "Hello, Time-Travelers", and especially "To the New Adventure". I like them for the exact same reasons. They set the tone for all of the games perfectly and really make me want to play the game. They all communicate that this isn't just a Mario game, but a Mario STORY. Admittedly, I would have to wait a few seconds every time before starting my game in Partners in Time so I could get a taste of the catchy beat of "Hello, Time-Travelers". "To the New Adventure" is almost melancholy, but I love it especially the wonderful flute melody. Of course, it's all just "start screen" music — you shouldn't be expecting any full symphonies for it.

The setting themes for the selection were also well picked. "Welcome to the Beanbean Kingdom" is a personal favorite of mine. Pan flutes and xylophones were a few of those funny instruments that always sounded great on the Game Boy Advance speakers. Luckily the instruments are very fitting for a catchy Mario overworld theme and back the sound quality sound almost like it's on the DS. "Cavi Cape" is also great piece from the third game with a very interesting beat while "Grasslands All the Way" captures all the emotions that are good about the series. However, there are also those that fall a little flat, like "Dimble Woods". Most end up at least being catchy, and not in a cheap sugary way. I think the most sugary it gets is with the original battle theme.

On that note, the battle themes are the tunes heard over and over again in the RPGs. The contrast of normal battle music to mini boss music to final boss music is astounding. The normal battle tunes all do the same job of keeping that lighthearted battle feel. "Come On" was a great battle tune for the GBA, but is certainly repetitive and sugary. It's very reminiscent of the original Super Mario RPG battle tune in that regard. I personally love it though. "Attack the Enemy" is Partners in Time's battle and I think it's very uninspired. I can't say I cared for the second game much, and this is also true for the music. Everything about that game, including the music, felt about one notch down compared the other two games. It was mostly darker and flatter. Whoever did the track selection for this album did a great job only picking a select few gems from Partners in Time.

Inside Story's "Oki Doki!!" got it just right, though I personally wish they left in the actual "Oki Doki!" sound bit. This is by far one of my favorite RPG battle songs. On top of the wonderful lighthearted melody and energetic feel, the use of accordion makes it all the more special. It's not too repetitive nor too light or too dark. It's a great evolution from the beginning taking the best from both battle themes. "Show Time" is Bowser's battle theme for Inside Story, which I think you will hear the most in the whole game. It's expectedly a little darker. I'm not too much of a fan and I would have liked to hear an incorporation of that twangy lava string instrument used in other Bowser themes through out the years.

The boss battle music ranges from annoyingly hectic to epic. "Come On, Again" is sort of that more annoyingly hectic sound. "In the Final" makes you wonder if you are playing a high quality Square Enix RPG or not. It's almost out of place but the upcoming events in the game definitely make way for it. The super fast synth arpeggios with the overlying epic melody really work for the "end of all game" scenario. I also would give an honorable mention to all three staff roles, though they are pretty much slow recap medleys like what you might expect.


The music from the Mario & Luigi RPG Sound Selection is catchy, adventurous, charming, fun, and even a little epic and moody at times. It manages to also be nostalgic without pulling out the easy Super Mario remixes. I commend Yoko Shimomura for writing such an original yet fitting score for these games. I commend her more for managing to make every score completely original and great within this contrasting series. This is the ultimate Mario and Luigi collection with all filler aside and I'd snag a hard copy while you still can. Nintendo never seems to release the exciting Club Nintendo swag commercially so this will get rare and costly fast.

Overall Score: 9/10