It’s probably been at least four years since I last played Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars at this point, and yet I can hum just about any track from it almost effortlessly. Earlier this week, The Duck of Indeed made a post talking about how having a lack of nostalgia for Super Mario RPG may have hampered their experience with the game, and that got me thinking. I grew up with this game, and yet I never really thought about what it was that kept me coming back to it. The battles are fun and the world is interesting, but not in any way that I’d say is particularly special. My conclusion then was that it was the game’s music that made it a timeless favorite, and “Fight Against Kajidoh” especially.
Like the rest of Super Mario RPG, “Fight Against Kajidoh” is the product of a unique blend between the Mario series and the likes of Final Fantasy. It has a dark and driven edge to it, but still has a light-hearted bounce that one would expect from anything having to do with Mario. It’s not overtly dark, nor is it solemn, or even all that threatening; as one would expect from the people who made games like Final Fantasy VI Instead it’s grand, it’s exciting, and carries a “clash for the ages” kind of vibe about it. I feel like it also characterizes Smithy a bit as well. It doesn’t really elevate him above the ol’ “standard-villain-that-wants-to-take-over-the-world-just-because” kind of character, but I think we do get some insight into what type of…thing he is. The song has a slow and deliberate base to it, a consistent series of notes punctuated by regular popping sounds (kind of like the strike of a hammer). It gives the impression of a character who’s both precise and resolute when it comes to achieving their goals. He even continues making weapons as a part of the battle, as if to say that production and progress take priority over everything, even combating those who’ve been actively working against him. The pipe organ over the song’s base also lends him a regal air; as if he’s done this many times before and is in fact the ruler of many conquered worlds. Combine that with his dismissive treatment of your party and you’ve got yourself a character who sees themselves as being above all others. Beyond all that though, it’s an exceptionally exciting theme that uses catchiness to make an admittedly-average boss fight in to something that feels like it’s on a scale similar to the encounter with Kefka at the end of Final Fantasy VI. Smithy is definitely no Kefka, but this song does manage to bring him a step closer.
“Fight Against Kajidoh” is the kind of song that makes a great last impression. It’s exciting, it gets you thinking a bit about the main antagonist, and is so catchy that it’ll likely stick around your noggin for at least a couple of days after you put the game back on the shelf. It leaves an impression, and its memory is the sort that’ll get you jazzed up to play the game all over again!
What would you say are the best boss themes you’ve ever heard? What do you think makes them special?
Image from Flickr User: Daniel Zilioto