The "Underground Theme" is a recurring musical theme in the Mario franchise composed by Koji Kondo, first heard in underground areas in Super Mario Bros. The original theme is a short, looping tune played in 3/4 time and lasting approximately 11 seconds long, and plays in every underground level in the game. In composing the theme, Kondo said, "It was really concentrated on the space between the notes, and using a few notes to create that feeling of being underground -- that sort of creepy atmosphere is something I really focused on." Super Mario Bros. designer Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that the theme was an "even more perfect fit" than the Ground Theme. Like the Ground Theme, the Underground Theme has seen many reuses and arrangements in later Mario games and media.
The following list does not count ports and remakes (such as Super Mario Bros. Deluxe) of Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros. Special
In Super Mario Bros. Special, the Underground Theme plays in underground levels at a slower tempo than the original similar to the Ground Theme.
Super Mario Bros. 3
In Super Mario Bros. 3, an arrangement of the Underground Theme plays in underground areas and bonus rooms. It also plays in the main levels of Dark Land; the game's Ground Theme is completely absent from that world. This version is the first to use a 4/4 time signature and add a percussion beat at the start of the theme (which carries through the rest of the theme), both traits which would go on to be reused in many of the later arrangements.
This version is reused in Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2 in Super Mario Bros. 3-styled Underground levels, as well as in Paper Mario: Color Splash in the Super Mario Bros. 3 portion of Green Energy Plant, though it is given an echo effect if Mario flips into 3D.
Super Mario All-Stars
For the respective underground levels in Super Mario All-Stars, rather than both the original and Super Mario Bros. 3 versions receiving 16-bit arrangements, a single arrangement of the latter is instead used for Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and Super Mario Bros. 3.
Super Mario 64 / Super Mario 64 DS
In Super Mario 64, an extended arrangement plays in cave areas, including Hazy Maze Cave, Wet-Dry World, Wiggler's cave of Tiny-Huge Island, Behind the Waterfall, the pyramid in Shifting Sand Land, and the igloo in Snowman's Land. New notes were added in this arrangement, and the introduction is a longer, unique melody. The theme's main melody is played on bass guitar.
Super Mario Advance
In the Mario Bros. remake featured in Super Mario Advance, a fast-paced arrangement appears as one of the two regular stage themes, first playing in Phase 5. The arrangement uses the NES bass sound for the main melody. The Mario Bros. remake and its arranged music return in all three of the later Super Mario Advance games.
Super Mario Sunshine
Multiple arrangements are featured in Super Mario Sunshine. The first is heard on Delfino Airstrip when Mario first arrives, played on strings and piano. A techno arrangement plays when Mario chases down Shadow Mario. The first six notes played on an electric guitar can be heard when Shadow Mario reveals his face during the cutscene where the Grand Pianta Statue appears. Another arrangement plays when using manholes.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
An updated version of Super Mario Bros. 3's arrangement was created for Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, having less reverberation and more bass guitar-sounding instrumentation for the main melody.
Super Mario 64 DS
In Super Mario 64 DS, an arrangement resembling Super Mario Bros. 3's version (albeit without the introduction) plays in the minigame Coincentration, which returns in New Super Mario Bros. for the same minigame as well as Whack-a-Monty, and in the Nintendo DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games in the gallery under the same name as the former minigame. The main melody is again played on bass guitar.
New Super Mario Bros.
In underground levels of New Super Mario Bros., a new arrangement of Super Mario Bros. 3's version includes additional percussion, as well as vocals that cause enemies to hop slightly when played. A chiptune version of the Underground Theme can also be heard approximately three minutes into the credits music.
Super Mario Galaxy
In Super Mario Galaxy, three arrangements were arranged by the game's main composer Mahito Yokota. The first, titled "Space Athletic" in the game's original soundtrack, is a slower-paced, techno arrangement that plays on several galaxies and planets, including Flipswitch Galaxy, Sand Spiral Galaxy, and the interiors of Battlerock Galaxy, Dusty Dune Galaxy's pyramid, and Dreadnought Galaxy.
The second, officially titled "Interlude", is a much slower-paced, eerie arrangement that plays in areas such as the first area of Ghostly Galaxy and Deep Dark Galaxy, as well as before the boss fight with Dino Piranha and Fiery Dino Piranha after breaking their eggs. This version only uses the theme's first four measures.
The third, titled "Cosmic Comet", is a fast-paced techno arrangement that mixes in the Ground Theme from Super Mario Bros. and Shadow Mario's theme from Super Mario Sunshine. The Underground Theme is used as the bassline for the song, which plays in Cosmic Comet and Fast-Foe Comet missions.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Another arrangement based on Super Mario Bros. 3's version plays in underground levels in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which also resembles New Super Mario Bros.'s version, incorporating vocals. Additional percussion can be heard if a player is riding Yoshi. This arrangement is reused in New Super Mario Bros. 2, New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, and Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2 in New Super Mario Bros. U-styled Underground levels. In New Super Mario Bros. 2, a woodblock is added if Mario/Luigi is in his Raccoon form, and in New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U, the Baby Yoshis vocalize to the theme if players are carrying them.
An arrangement also plays in underground volcano levels in World 8. This rendition also returns in New Super Mario Bros. 2 in World 6-A, New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U in Soda Jungle-5 and Peach's Castle-3, and in Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
In Super Mario Galaxy 2, a techno arrangement of the Underground Theme plays on rhythm-based galaxies and planets, including Beat Block Galaxy (the song's namesake in the official soundtrack), Flash Black Galaxy, the gravity-shifting room of Flipsville Galaxy, the final area of Upside Dizzy Galaxy, and the interior of the Undergrunt planet of Battle Belt Galaxy; with elements of the level (such as the Beat Blocks and gravity) changing in time with the music. The "Cosmic Comet" arrangement also returns, this time being slightly higher-key with additional notes at the start of the song. It plays during the Clone Comet mission "The Shadow Lining" and the Double Time Comet mission "Turning Turning Double Time".
Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D Land uses a variation of "Space Athletic" from Super Mario Galaxy for underground levels, adding ascending notes at the start of the theme and extra percussion.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
In New Super Mario Bros. 2, a snippet of the Underground Theme is incorporated into the credits music.
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World's arrangement, again playing in underground levels, is directly based on its predecessor's rendition, except with descending notes at the start instead of ascending, and additional drums.
Super Mario Maker
In Super Mario Maker, in addition to the Underground Theme and its respective arrangements reappearing as the default background music of the Underground course theme in all styles except Super Mario World, the music for editing such a course in the Course Maker are original, more ambient arrangements, each using multiple tracks that fade in and out randomly to create a dynamic mix. This returns in Super Mario Maker 2.
Super Mario Run
A new arrangement of the Underground Theme is used for underground levels in Super Mario Run.
Super Mario Odyssey
In Super Mario Odyssey, another arrangement based on "Space Athletic", titled "Subterranean 1" in the Music List and "Underground Power Plant" in the official soundtrack, plays in several secret areas as well as the Underground Power Plant in the Metro Kingdom. This version uses a different introduction and backing instrumentation. It also received an 8-bit variation for when Mario is in an 8-bit section of said secret areas.
Super Mario Maker 2
In Super Mario Maker 2, like in Super Mario Maker, the Super Mario 3D World-style underground level theme, which uses the Underground Theme arrangement from that game, features a more ambient version of the arrangement with multiple fading tracks while in editing mode. In addition, music box versions of the respective Underground Themes play during nighttime levels of underground-themed levels in the Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and New Super Mario Bros. U styles.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the music that plays in the Pipe Vault is an arrangement of the Underground Theme. It was arranged by Yoko Shimomura, and in the official Japan-only soundtrack, it is titled 「土管からコンニチハ」 (Dokan kara Konnichiwa, "Hello from the Earthen Pipe").
Mario Party series
The original Mario Party has two arrangements of the Underground Theme: one titled "Option House Theme" that plays in the Option House, and one titled "The Room Underground" that plays in the mini-games Bombsketball, Pipe Maze, Whack-a-Plant, and Key-pa-Way.
Mario Party 3
Mario Party 6
Mario Party Advance
Mario Party 7
In Mario Party 7, three different arrangements play in King of the River; they are themselves arrangements of the Mario Party 6 arrangement.
Mario Party 8
Mario Party DS
Mario Party 9
In Mario Party 9, an arrangement plays in Choice Challenge.
Mario Party: Island Tour
Mario Party 10
Mario Golf series
Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64, Mario Golf for the Game Boy Color, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, and Mario Golf: Advance Tour all have arrangements of the Underground Theme that play when on the green with an under-par putt.
Mario Golf: World Tour
In Mario Golf: World Tour, an arrangement plays when on the green with a par putt.
Paper Mario series
Super Paper Mario
In Super Paper Mario, the song "Nostalgic Underground", which plays in the underground portion of Chapter 3-1 (itself based on World 1-2 of Super Mario Bros.), is a techno arrangement of the Underground Theme, which samples the original theme and the percussion from "Underground Room".
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
The music that plays in underground areas of Paper Mario: Sticker Star, such as the one in Hither Thither Hill, is an arrangement of the Underground Theme. The theme is played on saxophone and accordion, while an oboe can be heard in the background.
Paper Mario: Color Splash
In Paper Mario: Color Splash, an arrangement plays in Indigo Underground. This arrangement adds a trap beat in the background, while the theme itself is played on flute and piano. Additionally, a sitar arrangement, titled "Snifit Hideout" in the Prisma Museum's music gallery, plays in the underground section of Mustard Café. In the Super Mario Bros. 3 section of Green Energy Plant, if Mario flips into 3D in an underground section, the music is is given an echo effect.
Paper Mario: The Origami King
The Underground Theme's first six notes can be heard partway through Luigi's Mansion's credits music.
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Melee
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, the Underground Theme is interspersed throughout the music for Princess Peach's Castle (which is an arrangement of the Ground Theme from Super Mario Bros.), with the first six notes played in the introduction and bassline, and the final notes played towards the end of the song. The song was arranged by HAL Laboratory composer Shogo Sakai, and returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for Rainbow Cruise, in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U for Mushroom Kingdom U and Super Mario Maker, and in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for every Mario-series stage.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Underground Theme received its own dedicated arrangement arranged by HAL Laboratory composer Kentaro Ishizaka. The song is a techno-based arrangement with echoed dripping noises that can be heard in the background. The song plays in the World 1-2 variation of Mushroomy Kingdom, and returns for the same stage in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and any Mario-series stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For the latter, it is also featured in Piranha Plant's character trailer.
A heavy-metal arrangement also plays towards the end of "Ground Theme 2 (Super Mario Bros.)" (arranged by Masaaki Iwasaki), which plays in the World 1-1 variation of Mushroomy Kingdom. This arrangement does not return in later installments.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
An arrangement of the Ground Theme, Underground Theme, and castle music from Super Mario Bros., arranged by Tetsuya Shibata and titled "Ground Theme / Underground Theme", appears in both Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, playing on Golden Plains and Mushroom Kingdom U respectively. The Underground Theme is heard during the song's latter half, and is played on electric guitar. This arrangement returns in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the Underground Theme can be heard at the end of the arrangement "Super Mario Bros. Medley" (arranged by Kondo), and halfway through the arrangements "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Medley" (arranged by Bandai Namco composer Katsuro Tajima) and "Egg Planet" (arranged by Nobuko Toda).
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, an arrangement of the Underground Theme plays in cave areas, including the Mysterious Mine Carts minigame, the Beanbean Castle Sewers and Guffawha Ruins. This version adds a beat after the theme's first iteration, and the first four bars are repeated once each time.
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, the Underground Theme's first six notes were arranged into the song "Holding Hands in the Darkness", which plays in Doop Doop Dunes Grotto and the Mount Brrr caves. The melody is played on piano.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions
The arrangement from the original game received an updated arrangement in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, and is now known as "Climbing" in the Music List.
In Donkey Konga, part of "Super Mario Theme" is a jazz arrangement of the Underground Theme.
Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix
In Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, the song "Where's the Exit?" is an arrangement of the Underground Theme.
In Tetris DS, a slightly uptempo arrangement of the original Underground Theme (retaining its 3/4 time signature) titled "Basement Tetris" in the music menu plays in levels 3 and 7 in single-player Standard mode, which are based on World 1-2 from Super Mario Bros.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong series
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, an arrangement plays in Magnet Mania's levels. While the Mini Marios are inactive, only the percussion is audible; after they begin to move, the music plays in full. This arrangement is reused for Magnet Mania's levels in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, two new arrangements based on the previous installments' version play in Secret Storage's levels. The first one uses the same tempo and plays in Area X-1 and every second level after it, while the second one is slightly uptempo and plays in every other level.
Both arrangements return in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars for Crumbling Cavern's levels, though they have less reverberation. The first plays in Level 4-1 and every third level after it, while the second plays in Levels 4-3, 4-6, and 4-8.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
Wario Land: Shake It!
A cut track exists in pre-release versions of Wario Land: Shake It! for a level known as "Plumber's Cave"; it was also posted on the official site as a soundtrack sample. The track is a disco-inspired arrangement of the Underground Theme, played on acoustic bass and featuring samples of retro sound effects.
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games features a techno arrangement of the Underground Theme with electric guitar, arranged by the Sega Sound Team; this version returns in Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart 8
In Mario Kart 8, the Underground Theme's main motif can be heard on bass guitar in the music for the underground portion of Super Bell Subway (titled "Super Bell Subway (Underground)" in the official soundtrack and arranged by Atsuko Asahi). Piranha Plant Slide and its music also return, though with slight alterations and rearranged by Ryo Nagamatsu.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
In Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a slow-paced, ambient arrangement of the Underground Theme plays before and after the mine cart ride in Mine Cart Tunnel Throwdown as well as in the room the player enters when they get a Game Over. This arrangement returns in Super Mario Odyssey in the underground area of Jaxi Ruins in the Sand Kingdom, the secret Puzzle Part room in the Lake Kingdom, and the secret wooden block room in the Snow Kingdom; this time titled "Subterranean 2" in the Music List.
Appearances in other media
In the Japan-exclusive Just Dance Wii and the Wii version of Just Dance 3 (in which the song is downloadable content), the song "Just Mario" (whose artist is simply credited as "Ubisoft meets Nintendo") is a medley of remixes of the Ground Theme, invincibility theme, and Underground Theme. The song returns in the Nintendo Switch version of Just Dance 2018, albeit with the themes fully arranged instead of remixed.
In Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition, a techno arrangement plays in Mushroom Battles.
List of Mario appearances
Names in other languages