Though it came from humble beginnings, in its later iterations, the Super Smash Bros series would become noteworthy not only for its growing cast of characters, but the accompanying musical tracks that would play alongside them.
In Smash Bros Ultimate, there was an utter embarrassment of auditory delights to sample, clocking in at a staggering 1,068 pieces. That’s longer than my combined Spotify playlists, even the one that is inflated by those three Rick Astley songs that all sound the same.
Despite this, with such an extensive backlog as Nintendo’s, you’re bound to have some leftovers that are yet to see/hear their day in the sun. Throw in the countless third party offerings to the list, and it’s a tantalising tapestry of talented tastes that simply must be tapped into!
Here are just a few I would be stoked to find in the next Smash Bros edition, whenever that may be. Play it loud!
1. Garam (BattleClash)
Shigeru Miyamoto once opined that the first thirty minutes of a video game were the most important, as that was when many players would decide whether or not they’d put the controller down and walk away for good.
That being said, the primary stage of Super Scope title BattleClash had absolutely no business to go this fucking hard. Its opening notes build the suspense of two enormous robots pelting each other in a hellfire of bullets, adding a layer of percussion as the duelling beasts of metallic malcontent reach their full speed and commence tearing each other limb from limb.
It’s hard to prevent your head from bobbing to its beat, coming across as equally futuristic and bleak. It’s even better when you throw in the moans and plasma blasts of the Standing Tanks, so it stands to reason it would be as equally as appropriate an accoutrement to smash attacks and POYO’s.
2. Skyscraper Phase (Gumshoe)
NES music, for the most part, was hit or miss. Sometimes you get a discordant mess of plinks and plonks that become grating after only a minute or two. Other times, you’re Sunsoft and you nail the brief with fucking aplomb.
This piece from mid-80s light gun shooter Gumshoe treads close to the former here and there, but otherwise I cannot help but enjoy its soulful little jingle. In its present form, it may be simplistic, however with a bit of fleshing out courtesy of a full symphonic orchestra, there’s potential for something truly wonderful.
A woodwind section here, a bit of brass there… Whatever the fuck a timpani is, make sure you throw that in, too! Yes, I’m blowing the budget on assembling a symphonic orchestra for the skyscraper level from Gumshoe. You’ll thank me when you hear the final product, then act as a reference on my CV after I get fired.
3. Flying Battery Zone, Act 1 (Sonic & Knuckles)
Scanning through the Sonic music selected for Smash Bros, you’ll note a rather telling lack of variation. We’re predominantly limited to tracks from the games’ first stages, or the title theme of the later entries.
This is a darn shame, as this is a franchise known for carrying some slappers, with none quite as notorious as this one right here. It’s a little hard to put into words exactly what is going on with Flying Battery Zone, it’s like a hectic murder mystery that pits a twanging guitar against a mean ass bass-line, with the two eventually putting aside their differences to work in tandem.
In hindsight, I don’t even particularly like this zone on a gameplay front, but I am always ready to tackle it solely because of the accompanying track. That’s a pretty strong endorsement of how much this rocks.
4. Flight of the Zinger (Donkey Kong Country 2)
You could pluck pretty much any sample of the Donkey Kong Country soundtracks and end up with a winner. So jam packed with bangers these games are, some of them end up being criminally under-appreciated.
Case in point: the gripping epic that is Flight of the Zinger.
Something about its resonance makes you want to hurry, as if you’re deep in enemy territory and one false move could be your last. Though it was fully realised in the dripping catacombs of a beehive in its original iteration, it would be equally as suited to a fiery volcano or close quarter combat between two hated rivals.
In the sense of the latter, it’s almost like a primordial predecessor to Duel of the Fates, and now I desperately want to see Donkey Kong wielding a lightsaber. Watch the tie, dude, those monograms are expensive!
5. Dusk Falls (Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest)
Though I was tempted to go with one of the heavier pieces from the later stages of Fates, a la A Dark Fall, this jaunty track from the Nohrian campaign is just too unique to pass up.
Should you elect to play Birthright before Conquest, you’ll have grown accustomed to the stunning Japanese-inspired instruments of Hoshido. Transitioning to the European-styled elements on offer here gives a totally different vibe, and Dusk Falls is the clear standout.
It evokes feelings of a cheeky troupe of Irish marauders, banding together to explore the rolling fields of green. Then, the combat version kicks in, adding a layer of depth that ups the ante. Of all the tunes I’ve chosen for this article, this is the one that most makes me want to go back and play the game that it comes from.
And yes, I’m always choosing Arthur. Such heroism!
6. Club Master Duel (Pokemon Trading Card Game)
For a franchise as significant as Pokemon, there are a few entries that have unfortunately been neglected for the most part. Case in point: the excellent adaptation of the trading card game for the Game Boy, the sequel of which never left Japan.
When you enter battle with one of the Club Masters (this world’s equivalent of Gym Leaders), this track fires up and you cannot help but feel pumped. It squeezes every drip out of the handheld’s limited sound chip, presenting a grand, sprawling piece with a snare drum that gets your toes a-tappin’.
Then you realise that you are playing a fucking trading card game right now, and somehow, this juxtaposition of a daunting threat within a sedentary activity makes it even better.
7. Blaze Stage (Panel de Pon/Tetris Attack)
Poor old Panel de Pon is an overlooked gem in the Nintendo library. Constantly given a facelift to better suit western trends, the puzzler initially reached our shores as the Yoshi’s Island-themed Tetris Attack, before morphing into pocket monster form for Pokemon Puzzle League and Pokemon Puzzle Challenge on the N64 and GBC, respectively.
They have seen fit to implement one musical track (Lip’s Theme) for Smash Bros and to introduce the protagonist’s trademark flower as an offensive weapon, but to me, that’s simply Lip service. What we really need is the finest electric guitar the Super Nintendo’s soundchip could muster.
The Blaze Stage, shared by Flare and the Gargantuan Blargg, sounds playful and inviting at first, perhaps just a little steamy but not necessarily scorching just yet. Once its melody loops a few times, however, something wild happens: we transition to a rock piece that is just begging for a full remaster.
Seriously, could I at least get a Family Jules cover to tide me over for now?
8. Club Beat (Photo Dojo)
Sometimes I forget about this goofy little downloadable title for the DSi, and the moment I recall it, it makes me smile. It’s quite basic and quite dumb, but endearing all the same.
Taking the role of… you, effectively, you fend off hordes of assailants using your aggression and good looks. You can select the musical piece that will herald this skirmish, with this particular one being surprisingly tense. To my ear, some of the segments give vague Streets of Rage vibes.
It’s even got a menacing organ thrown in for good measure, though I am quite uncertain of any clubs that would house that particular instrument. Not only do I want to find this club, I also want to fight all 100 of the patrons attending.
9. The Phantom of the Bwahpera (Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle)
The most recent track on this list is balls to the walls insane and, quite frankly, should be present in any video game. Smash Bros. Animal Crossing. Life is Strange. I don’t care, just fucking do it.
It is played when you encounter the titular Phantom of the Bwahpera, who sees fit to regale you with an operatic piece of slam poetry. He talks shit about Mario’s moustache and his driving ability, even fat shaming him just to really lay the spurs in.
Sakurai and his team have shown no hesitancy in adding lyric-heavy tracks in the past, so surely this slovenly soprano has got a sporting chance. Honestly, even if it’s just a direct rip from Mario + Rabbids, I’d be pretty stoked.
10. Staff Roll (Teleroboxer)
As if I wasn’t going to end this list on a high. Whether I’m implying the quality of this particular song or that I am in a drug-impaired state, is up to you.
Among the Virtual Boy’s miserable library of 22(!) games, Teleroboxer is a clear standout. It uses the ballyhooed 3D feature to the best of its ability, squaring you up against a gallery of menacing cybernetic pugilists. Keep your dukes up, kid, or they’ll have you seeing red in no time.
Indeed, it is the only Virtual Boy entry to be represented in Smash Bros Ultimate (its protagonist, Harry, appears as a spirit), and more importantly, its final boss is a giant kitty mech. Obviously, the mid-battle tunes make for the most obvious candidates, but there’s something undeniably charming about this games’s credits sequence. It even carries similarities to Smash Bros, allowing you to sock the devs right in the chops for subjecting you to its content.
The hook is undeniably catchy — semi-intended punching reference there — and it’s just generally longer and more developed than the other tracks in-game. As such, it gets the nod for fictional inclusion in this trivial list.
But what of you, humble internet peruser? Are there any musical pieces, characters or references you’d like to see in the next Smash Bros? Feel free to comment down below! That’s what that section is for, though the only one who ever uses it is a spambot who keeps trying to undermine the size of my penis.