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Beyond Beeps: The Top Five Songs Of Super Mario 3D World

Cat MarioNintendo's Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U boasts an impressive and downright catchy soundtrack that will burrow into your brain and make a comfortable home.  So much of the music that Mario and friends bop around to during their adventure is spectacularly fun, and since many people are missing out on the Wii U experience, I consider it a public service to bring my five favorite selections from the score to your attention for some listening pleasure.  Take a seat, turn up the volume, and grab your favorite catsuit (that last part is optional and you can keep it to yourself if you choose to indulge).  This soundtrack was performed by the Mario 3D World Big Band and composed by Mahito Yokota, Toru Minegishi, Yasuaki Iwata, and Koji Kondo.  The Club Nintendo loyalty program has made a two-disc CD set of this music available in Japan and Australia and I highly recommend picking it up should you have access to it. The music is just that good.

One of the first songs heard when diving into the game is this main theme that makes up much of the soundtrack; different arrangements of it turn up from time to time performed with different instruments, at different tempos, and with different thematic relevance.  This is the primary arrangement with its smooth saxophone and general swinging feel.  It's perfect for climbing a wall or stomping a Goomba.

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Beyond Beeps: Luigi's Mansion

Luigi's MansionOf all of the characters in Nintendo's stable to send into battle against a house full of angry ghosts in order to rescue the famous (and missing!) Mario, it seems that Luigi would be the least capable choice, but somehow it all works in 2001's Luigi's Mansion for the GameCube. In honor of the sequel, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS, launching this week, it's only appropriate to look back at the original game and its fun soundtrack composed by Kazumi Totaka. Far from frightening, the music of Luigi's Mansion accompanies the green-capped plumber in his journey with some familiar tunes and a memorable, hummable recurring melody that appears in several forms from traditional instrumental theme to frightened whistle by the unlikely hero himself.

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Beyond Beeps: New Ghostbusters II

New Ghostbusters IIUp until 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game from Atari and Terminal Reality, a solid Ghostbusters game was hard to find.  Sure, the original Activision title for the Commodore 64 and related systems had some interesting ideas for its time, but other licensed titles fell flat.  Activision's 1989 follow-up adaptation to the second film for the Nintendo Entertainment System was a disappointment all around with simplistic visuals, frustrating level design, and screechy music.  However, HAL Laboratories created their own take on Ghostbusters II that faired much better.  Their effort, New Ghostbusters II, was released for the NES in 1990 across Japan and Europe, while the United States would only see a watered-down Game Boy version.  The NES version sports some peppy music composed in the typical HAL style of the era, but more importantly also contains a few chiptune renditions of songs from the film's soundtrack which we'll explore in this installment of Beyond Beeps.  Yes, the familiar Ray Parker Jr. title theme is included, but so are songs from Bobby Brown and Glenn Frey.  Since I know most of you aren't familiar with the Ghostbusters II film soundtrack (and shame on you if you're not; I still own the CD that I purchased in 1989 from Costco), be sure to check out the original songs in addition to the 8-bit renditions embedded below.

One cannot have a Ghostbusters video game without including some version of the famous theme song from the original 1984 film.  HAL's version is one of the best 8-bit incarnations from the era and includes most of the song's key sections.  The first level's theme includes elements of this song as well.


Stage 1

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Play That Beepy Music Over At Kombo

Diddy and Dixie jam If you've ever read any of my Beyond Beeps articles then you know how much I love quality video game music, so when the opportunity was presented to write a long feature article over at Kombo about favorite gaming soundtracks, fellow Kombonaut Eric Frederiksen and I jumped at it.  We've put the finishing touches on our look at more than twenty game soundtracks and included audio samples of our absolute favorites covering both modern and retro music along with a little commentary.  You'll find the usual suspects like Super Mario Galaxy and Mega Man 2 as well as more obscure selections from titles like Sonic Heroes, Maniac Mansion, and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.  Sit back, open your ears, and enjoy.  We're also giving away BioShock 2 and its soundtrack at the end of the article, so check that out, too.

Beyond Beeps: Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix

Dance Dance Revolution: Mario MixPlenty 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).

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Beyond Beeps: Plok

Plok Once Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog made it big, video game developers and publishers everywhere seized on the idea of creating their own radical animal mascot character to star in colorful platforming games.  Software Creations and Tradewest were no different, but instead of coming up with an animal with attitude, they went with a collection of animated clothes with a somewhat mild outlook on life for the 1993 Super NES adventure entitled Plok.  Say hello to the eponymous Plok, the seemingly sole resident of Akrillic who spends his days relaxing at home and admiring his many flags.  When one of his flags is stolen from the nearby Cotton Island, Plok sets out to retrieve it only to be duped by his nemeses, the fleas, who steal every last flag while our hero is preoccupied.  Furious, Plok vows to hunt down and destroy all fleas in order to recover each and every flag.  Today's installment of Beyond Beeps explores the world of Plok and its soundtrack composed by Geoff and Tim Follin starting with the title screen jam.  Hit it!

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Beyond Beeps: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker

Moonwalker The online gaming community has zeroed in on Michael Jackson's gaming career in the past day as fans of the King of Pop remember his musical legacy when it comes to video games.  The 1990 Sega Genesis title Michael Jackson's Moonwalker has been name-checked quite a bit during these discussions, but nobody seems to mention the game's soundtrack.  It's loaded with some of Jackson's most memorable songs of the era converted into 16-bit chiptune equivalents.  I can't let this event pass without highlighting the game's surprisingly memorable soundtrack, so let us dive right into this special edition of Beyond Beeps and explore the music of Moonwalker.  You probably know all of the songs featured, but have you heard them rendered by a Z80 processor and YM2612 FM processor before?

"Another Part of Me"

"Billie Jean"

"Beat It"

"Smooth Criminal"


But wait a minute!  What about "Thriller"?  Surely "Thriller" has to be in the game, right?  Well, some versions of the game include it as a secret song, while others do not.  This YouTube video attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Beyond Beeps: Uncle Fester's Quest

Uncle Fester's QuestThey may be creepy and kooky, but they're also a bit out of place as the peculiar Addams Family sends Uncle Fester out to stop the alien invasion in the 1989 Nintendo Entertainment System adventure Uncle Fester's Quest. Here we have a game produced by Sunsoft about two years too soon, as the game is based on the 1960s Addams Family television show's portrayal of Fester by Jackie Coogan and predates the 1991 revival of the property that cast Raul Julia as Gomez and Christopher Lloyd as the bald lightbulb-sucker himself. Exactly why this game (and its horrid box art) exists is left to another day. Today we're here to enjoy the quirky music that serves as Fester's companion as he explores both city overworld and sewer underworld in search of the alien mothership. Let's start things off with the most kick-ass, rousing rendition of the classic Addams Family theme that you've ever heard produced by 8-bit beeps and bleeps. Everyone sing along now!

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Beyond Beeps: A Boy And His Blob

A Boy and His BlobToday's installment of Beyond Beeps is from one of the most disappointing yet most intriguing games from the Nintendo Entertainment System library.  Absolute Entertainment unleashed A Boy and His Blob back in 1989 and somehow managed to score heavy coverage in Nintendo Power, leading me to believe it was a fantastic game eventually resulting in my paying $49.95 of my saved allowance for it.  The concept is interesting enough: boy meets blob, boy feeds blob jellybeans, blob turns into useful tools depending on which kind of jellybean he eats, boy uses tools to help overthrow despot on blob's home planet, The End.  The game sports only four pieces of background music and, lucky you, you're about to hear them all.  Oh, and this may be a good time to remind you that game music doesn't necessarily have to be good in order to fit on my list of favorites.  Now then, let's start with the title screen theme.

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Beyond Beeps: Rockin' Kats

Rockin' KatsHere's an amazing-but-true fact for you: not everybody was trying to copy Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. at the close of the Nintendo Entertainment System era.  Some publishers were trying to copy Capcom's Bionic Commando.  That brings us to the next installment of Beyond Beeps in which I guide you through some of my favorite video gaming soundtracks that deserve some time in the spotlight.  Today we'll be listening to clips from Atlus's Rockin' Kats, a fun little NES platformer that took the classic cats versus dogs rivalry and applied a little bionic arm action to the mix.  A little title screen music if you please!

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