I know you’re not a fan of the N64 Mario games, but hear me out. Mario Kart 64 and Mario Golf (N64) both had their soundtracks developed completely away from Koji Kondo, and it shows (in a very good way). For me at least, I think the music is what made me like those games in the first place, which is probably why I also don’t care for Mario Kart 64′s 4 player – there is no music.
Anyway, Mario Kart 64′s music is something you don’t really hear in nearly any other Mario game – something more akin to soft rock. I mean, if anything, that’d be the OPPOSITE of Kondo’s type of “Mario music”. The three songs in particular I’m thinking of is the Main Menu, Toad’s Turnpike, Rainbow Road, and the Credits. Heck, a version of the Rainbow Road song even got used in F-Zero X, a game with music that is FAR removed from Kondo’s typical.
Now Mario Golf is a different animal. The gameplay itself, contrary to it’s name, has NOTHING to do with Mario, and by connection has to be one of the best sports games in existence due to its relative simplicity and lack of ANY gimmicks (the same goes for Mario Tennis on the N64). But I digress, I’m supposed to be talking about music, and this game yet again has very non-Kondo-Mario music. It has everything from strings to orchestras to almost Celtic-like music, the kind of music modern 2D Mario sorely lacks.
One thing that’s particularly interesting though, is aboutt the composer for Mario Kart 64, Kenta Nagata. Mario Kart 64 was actually the first game he ever did the music for, which could explain why it is so different from the typical Mario stuff.
I still really love the music of Super Mario Kart, and I figured that couldn’t have been from Kondo. Sure enough, it wasn’t. It was from Soyo Oka who also did the music for Pilotwings (SNES) and the SNES version of Sim City.
Above: Perhaps the most ‘Mario’ music of them all…