The 'Shroom:Issue 142/Palette Swap
Happy new year, peeps! Welcome to the January issue of Palette Swap!
I've been busy this new year- really getting into those resolutions and trying to hit the gym more. Really looking forward to what this year brings me- I've got a lot of fun plans!
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We've got a good mix for you this month, so I'll leave you to it! ~FunkyK38
Section of the Month
And yet another win for Yoshi876 (talk) and What's on the Box?, this time for his section analyzing the art of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who voted, and please keep voting!
What's on the Box?
Hello readers, and welcome back to What's on the Box.
Unfortunately, I am incredibly busy during this moment in time, I have a lot of real-world things that I need to be working on, so this edition of What's on the Box is going to be fairly brief. And to help me in this aim, I have chosen a box art that is fairly plain, so I don't have a tonne of analysing to do.
Yes, this is the box art for the iconic Super Mario World one of the defining games of the SNES, and like a lot of other Mario box art for some of its standout games of the era, it is incredibly bland. Super Mario Bros. 2 features Mario jumping, Super Mario Bros. 3 is Racoon Mario, Super Mario 64 is Mario flying, this one is Mario on Yoshi's back, jumping through the air. Hooray? On the plus side, however, the game is showing off one of Mario's new power-ups, Cape Mario. And Cape Mario was probably the best power-up to show, as I can't imagine Balloon Mario is going to be able to shift many copies. Plus, Yoshi's back might come in for some additional pounding.
As the box art is pretty bland, there are a myriad of ways to make it a bit more interesting. Chief among those is to add more stuff. Dinosaur Land may not be a location with massive variation, see above land levels, underground section, forest etc. but the box art could have featured the first world as a backdrop instead of just a blue background. Similarly, with the return of the Koopalings, perhaps they could have featured on the box art as well. The Japanese box art would have been a great template to use, as it highlights several elements in the game without looking too cluttered.
Overall, despite prominently featuring Yoshi, this box art doesn't really offer a lot, and could do with some major improvements.
Ongoing Fan Projects
Touhou (Remix) Project
Hello, 'Shroom readers! Welcome to another edition of Touhou (Remix) Project, where I cover a particular Touhou theme and its remixes! You might be wondering why I'm here already, considering it hasn't been two months. Well, that's because I'm shifting my bimonthly schedule to offset with Take Cover and help keep Palette Swap from having too few sections each month. For this month, I'll be covering the theme of the tsukumogami Raiko Horikawa, Pristine Beat ~ Primordial Beat! The extra boss theme of Double Dealing Character, this plays against Raiko, a drum that's become a youkai thanks to the plot of the game. And it's my favorite theme from Touhou 14, too!
If you've been following my section, you know I start with the instrumentals that are closest to the original. So if you're expecting the obligatory dBu remix, that's where you're wrong, bucko! The theme that most fits my re-instrumentation definition is Kishinjou set 14 〜 始原のビート by クロネコラウンジ, who you might remember from the Reverse Ideology section. This take on Raiko's theme adds a lot of... force, would be the best word for it, but despite the energy (and occasional woodwind) that gets mixed in there, it doesn't really do that much with the theme. Of course, there's a dBu remix of Pristine Beat - there's always a dBu remix. They went all in on the jazz this time, though, with Adept Beat Scherzo adding a lot of drum and brass. Sure, it's still a reinstrumentation, but it completely drops the original genre for a new one, which is more than dBu usually does. They also take the neat strategy of mixing in sound effects from Raiko's battle.... and they're not the only one. The rotas arrangment of Pristine Beat turns the whole thing into a classic chiptune style, sounding like you'd expect Raiko to sound if you were fighting her on the Gameboy. I have a personal weakness for chiptune remixes, so naturally I think this one is good, but it does a great job of downgrading Pristine Beat without actually losing anything that makes the song as catchy and enjoyable as it is.
There's not that many instrumental remixes of Pristine Beat in my personal collection - it's just a theme that lends itself so well to vocals! But there's one more that's definitely worth discussing in this section, and that's Dancing Materials by Hachimitsu-Lemon. Compared to the three arrangements above, Dancing Materials is a huge departure from the original song, going for not just a completely different feel, but synthesizing and remixing it so much that honestly, I wouldn't even recognize it as Pristine Beat if I wasn't told. Still, it's one heck of a good remix, and I'd highly recommend it. As we move on to the vocal section, I'll start off with Native Beat by A-One. It does a good fakeout job - the opening gives the implication it'll just be Pristine Beat with new instruments and vocals, but then the beat drops and the original parts come in. Sure, it still sounds a lot like Pristine Beat, but you can tell they put some energy of their own into it. On the other hand, Pristine Heart by KRASTER shows a completely different version of the drummer's theme. Like with Dancing Materials, it's a severe departure from the original, and while you can definitely hear underlying elements of Raiko's theme, the main beat isn't pristine at all. Sometimes I wonder if I should even count these in this section, but... hey, they're Pristine Beat remixes, so why not? Emotional Rhythm by Akatsuki Records is, however, obviously a Pristine Beat remix. Sure, you can tell how the song's been bended and changed around to accomodate the remix, but the buildup to the main part? That's obviously the same as the original. The main part on the other hand is totally different, which means your ears get pulled a way they weren't expecting. Pretty neat, really.
Hey, remember that German Touhou vocalist group from Seija's section last month? They're back with Last Beat, once again showing that German vocals and Touhou music actually go together pretty well. The reverb on this song is off the charts, and it sure sounds like a Pristine Beat remix... although like a lot of them, the section of the original from 1:15 to 1:35 is relatively downplayed. Wish more remixes used that. bEAT GATHER by Sound Holic... also doesn't, but it definitely keeps the main drum melody that's a near-constant across Pristine Beat remixes. By far the fastest remix yet, it really instills a sense of high energy when listening to it. It's not the only one to do so, considering that 2 GATHER BEAT by Zytokine keeps up a fast beat from start to finish. If you're listening to it, you're gonna be hearing drum and cymbal that threatens to leave you in the dust! I'll cap off this edition with my favorite remix of Pristine Beat: Glamorous Beat by Konekodakkaiya. A rock vocal, this one starts hard, calms down, and then LAUNCHES into the main song with the force of guitar, vocals, and drums all at once. Of all the remixes, this one feels the most fitting to the Touhou equivalent of Raijin, with the sheer amount of impact energy it's got. It's certainly the one I keep handy in case I want to listen to it.
Overall, Pristine Beat doesn't feel like it has as much variety or playing with the track as Reverse Ideology does. Most of the remixes either skew closely to the original or completely abandon it, a opposed to the sliding scale that you find with Reverse Ideology and Rigid Paradise. Still, that's not all bad, considering the quality of the thunder drum remixes. I'll see you in two months, 'Shroom readers, and bring you a new theme then!