Top 30 NES Soundtracks #17: Super Mario Bros. 2
By Bucky Sunday, 14 Jun 2009

#17 – Super Mario Bros. 2 (36 Votes)

#17 SMB2

Developer, Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 1988 (US), 1989

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(EU), 1992 (JP)
AKA: Super Mario USA

Originally released as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic in 1987, this title was re-skinned as a Super Mario Bros. sequel for American and European audiences. While that may explain some of the unique characteristics of SMB2, the game was still scored by Kōji Kondō (credited as Konchan), making it feel as legitimate musically as preceding and following Mario titles.

One thing I’ve always enjoyed about SMB2 was the ability to pause the game and listen to the music with the melodies (pulse waves) disabled. Few NES games did anything other than either stop the music or have it play normally during a pause screen, so this was a nice detail and fun way to interact with the sound.

Just like the previous entry, a prototype of SMB2 has surfaced with an alternate track of music. Sometime during the porting of Doki Doki Panic to the American release, they had apparently intended on changing the underworld theme to a ‘remix’ of the SMB1 theme, which you can listen to here. I can see why they scrapped the idea, even for a work-in-progress it wasn’t sounding very good. However, it is still quite interesting to hear what the music could have been. It would seem to be a botched attempt at making the game feel “more mario” after the conversion.

Doki Doki Panic was released on floppy disk for the Famicom Disk System, making use of that add-on’s extra sound channel for SFX. Unlike SMB2, it did not use any samples. This created some small differences between the soundtracks, like the original underworld theme having no bongo sample. It’s also faster. I think all these variations are neat to hear, especially for those of us who’ve heard the music to the US version so many damn times.

You can listen to a variety of tracks on youtube here.

2 Responses to “Top 30 NES Soundtracks #17: Super Mario Bros. 2”

  1. Zach Patterson Says:

    the underworld theme thing is fascinating. hearing these prototype tracks is pretty interesting because you never expect unfinished ideas and stuff they never want to be released being left out there, but there it is anyway. i actually kinda like the scrapped tune, but it’s probably for the better that it was left out. the one they used was excellent in its own right.

  2. Matt Jones Says:

    I think the greatest sleeping song ever would be the final song on this soundtrack.

    Any weird game made by Nintendo should have the ending where the main character is sleeping and that music is playing. And it was all a dream…

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