There are game releases that we as players could not have dreamed to ask for; those titles that bring together beloved series, creators, and companies to make a product that is greater than the sum of its parts. For me, that game is Super Mario RPG.
On paper (or on screen, in this case), Super Mario RPG’s pedigree is mind-blowing. A Squaresoft developed role-playing game, featuring Nintendo characters, written by Kensuke Tanabe (scenario writer of A Link to the Past and director of Super Mario Bros. 2), and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto. As the delicious cherry on top of this fantastic digital sundae, the soundtrack was composed by the amazing Yoko Shimomura.
Super Mario RPG falls between Shimomura’s work at Capcom, where she wrote music for Final Fight and Street Fighter II, and her work at Square Enix, where she would create the soundtracks for games like Parasite Eve, Legend of Mana, and Kingdom Hearts.
For Super Mario RPG, Shimomura incorporated arrangements of beloved themes by Koji Kondo and Nobuo Uematsu, and wrote a variety of original music across 73 tracks. For the dungeons of this game, Shimomura crafted a particularly ominous theme called The Dungeon is Full of Monsters.
Somewhere between a Super Mario Ghost House and a Final Fantasy cavern, the influence of Koji Kondo and Nobuo Uematsu can definitely be heard in this track. Shimomura composed several other haunting tracks for Super Mario RPG, which enhance the moods of locations like the Sunken Ship and Bowser’s Castle.