Beyond Beeps: Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix
February 02, 2010
Plenty of people laughed when Nintendo and Konami announced plans to release a Dance Dance Revolution title for the GameCube back in 2005 featuring music from the Super Mario series, and even though the end product is such a bizarre mashup of two franchises that really don't belong anywhere near each other, the game's remixed Mario music is so ridiculously peppy and infectiously joyful that it's impossible not to like. Plenty of people missed out on this one, so it's only right that in this installment of Beyond Beeps we explore some of the better, more familiar musical selections to come out of Mario Mix (but we'll skip the compositions based on public domain songs such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Old Folks at Home" because they're just soundtrack filler and come nowhere near reaching the fun heights of the Mario-based tracks).
Spanning from the original Donkey Kong arcade game through Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Mario Mix draws on over twenty years of Mushroom Kingdom music spanning a variety of titles and genres, but the song list would be shamefully incomplete without a version of the original Overworld theme from Super Mario Bros. This take on the tune, "Here We Go", relies on the original Nintendo Entertainment System beeps and bleeps to form the melody.
"Here We Go" (Overworld theme, Super Mario Bros.)
This rendition of the Overworld 2 theme from Super Mario Bros. 3 starts out with an original segment that largely does its own thing, but soon turns into the familiar beats that bring to mind precision leaps from one donut block to the next. It's one of the more intense selections in the Mario Mix collection, and rightfully so.
"Jump, Jump, Jump!" (Overworld 2 theme, Super Mario Bros. 3)
Speaking of Overworld themes, Super Mario World's take on block hopping has the honor of becoming "Pirate Dance", an intensely frantic leg-bending rush that emphasizes a speedy guitar performance.
"Pirate Dance" (Overworld theme, Super Mario World)
Reworking the Bonus theme from Super Mario World, "Step By Step" flows in a more steady, rhythmic pattern with emphasis on piano riffs. It really takes off into familiar territory at the 0:57 mark and is one of the highlights of the soundtrack.
"Step By Step" (Bonus theme, Super Mario World)
The original Super Mario Bros. soundtrack is heavily represented in Mario Mix, particularly when it comes to using the original 8-bit tones as part of the music. The Underwater theme is reinvented here as the mellow "Blooper Bop" which combines the familiar theme with a little new material to balance things out.
"Blooper Bop" (Underwater theme, Super Mario Bros.)
Back on the active side of things, the Overworld 1 theme from Super Mario Bros. 3 turns up in a fast-stepping, foot-bopping jam with some light background vocals. Despite the "Yee-ha!" elements, it's actually pretty faithful to the original song's intent.
"Hammer Dance" (Overworld 1 theme, Super Mario Bros. 3)
My personal favorite Mario Mix song, "Boo Boogie", originated as the Overworld theme from Super Mario Bros. 2 and is another tune to feature the original NES tones as part of the melody. It's quick, jaunty, and doesn't overstay its musical welcome. Never mind that the original SMB2 game did not include Boos, of course, but it's worth the inconsistency to see the dancing ghosts pop into existence with the beat.
"Boo Boogie" (Overworld theme, Super Mario Bros. 2)
This one's a little different. The original arcade version of Donkey Kong didn't exactly have a soundtrack to remix, so instead some of the game's sound effects fill in as melody and backing elements in "Moustache, Barrel, and Gorilla" before transitioning into a selection from 1994's Donkey Kong Country.
"Moustache, Barrel, and Gorilla" (Elements from Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Country)
Leave it to Wario to crash the party in this song based on the opening world from his GameCube solo debut, Wario World. Heavy on low tones and featuring a beat that corresponds to in-game left-foot-right-foot tromping, it's difficult not to see the inspiration here.
"Staring Wario!" ("Greenhorn Forest", Wario World)
Coming from Mario's medical puzzler, the "Fever" theme gets a tempo upgrade and some extra percussion for an end result that will have even Normal skill mode players falling off of the Action Pad while trying to perfectly nail every DDR arrow. Take it from one who knows.
"Deep Freeze" ("Fever", Dr. Mario)
Mario himself adds the backing vocals to this Super Mario World selection that strays from the source material. One of Mario Mix's secret unlockable songs, "Hop, Mario!"'s mix of old and new material tips in favor of the latter, yet still sounds recognizable as the game's title screen theme.
"Hop, Mario!" (Opening theme, Super Mario World)
Rounding things out here is a reworked version of the Underworld theme from Super Mario Bros., another remix that uses familiar 8-bit tones in the melody. The last, most difficult hidden song to unlock, adding this one to the library of available levels requires patience and fleet feet.
"Where's The Exit?" (Underworld, Super Mario Bros.)
That's the end of another edition of Beyond Beeps. You're a fantastic reader! You should read one more time!