Retro Weekends – Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Super Mario RPG (3)

Memorable Music

Listening back to the music of Super Mario RPG, it’s got quite a bit of variety. From jazz, to rock, to quirky and zany, Yoko Shimoura was able to stretch her musical muscle more than she did in Street Fighter II. The future Kingdom Hearts composer noted that her composing of SMRPG was one of the turning points of her career. Some of her earliest examples of her musical techniques can be heard here, like the marching dumbeats in some of the songs she’s composed.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars – Rose Town
Composed by Yoko Shimomura

Of all the town themes, this one’s probably my favorite probably because of how f’ed up ths town was beforehand. Bowyer was hounding the townsfolk here by launching arrows from Forrest Maze and practically headshotting everyone. No one died of course (it’s a Mario game), but it would stun anyone that was hit by one. Everyone would just stay indoors, only going outside for things like groceries (if they were brave enough to try). The whole place was dark and dreary too because of this. But once Bowyer was out of the picture, the town was alive with activity again!

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars – Fight Against An Armed Boss
Composed by Yoko Shimomura

Whenever I heard this song, I knew shit was about to go down (and that I’d be getting a Star soon). While I mentioned them already, it’s worth mentioning them again. Bowyer and the Axem Rangers were probably the most memorable for me with this them. Yaridovich and Exor would follow up here, then Mack would be last. Of course, this also played when Mario and Mallow were chasing down Bowyer as arrows were raining down on them.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars – Goodbye Geno
Composed by Yoko Shimomura

The ending of Super Mario RPG is probably one of the saddest and happiest endings I’ve ever experienced. While I won’t spoil what exactly happens, you can probably guess it in the name of the song. The music probably conveys the emotion of this scene best. The song is in two parts, but second part however is what I love the most. Similar to A Link to the Past’s ending, it has that sort of bravado of a job well done as you see how much you’ve changed the world of the game. It’s also a sort of final goodbye to the world.

The impact of Super Mario RPG for me probably won’t be eclipsed for an even longer time. After playing this game, I was, in a way, formally introduced to RPGs. Final Fantasy IV probably wasn’t the best first choice for me back then as I was getting my ass handed to me constantly (and it was the easy mode we ended up getting). I mean sure I was still getting trounced in this game as well, but something about it just had me coming back to it. Maybe it was the story, the music, or the interaction you had in the battles. After this, I would play more RPGs later in life, like Final Fantasy VIII, Legend of Legaia, Pokemon, Wild ARMs 3, Xenosaga, Final Fantasy Tactics, Persona 3 & 4, and Xenoblade. And it’s all thanks to this game showing me the joy of playing RPGs. And that’s why it’s held my #1 spot for over a decade, dethroning Yoshi’s Island‘s short 1-year reign. Not bad for Mario’s last game on the SNES!

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