Super Smash Bros. Melee – “Ice Mountain” (arr. Tadashi Ikegami, et al)July 18, 2010
“Ice Mountain” is an arrangement of the Ice Climber theme originally by Akito Nakatsuka. This is another relatively forgotten game from Nintendo’s early years. It’s basically an upward-scrolling version of Mario Bros. where you have to bash enemies*, collect power-ups, and climb to the top of an ice mountain before time runs out (or you get scrolled off the stage). Their inclusion in Smash Bros. seems a little strange, but my guess it was more for the unique play style of having two characters as part of a team.
“Ice Mountain” is actually a pretty cool jazzy theme, almost like lounge music due to the laid-back pace. It has all the instrumentation you’d expect for ‘cool ice music’, sleigh bells, high-scale synths and guitars. There’s a carefree but chaotic feel to the music – part of this comes from the slow, effortless melody of the second half while the other part from the frantic guitars of the first. In all, that melody fit well with the frantic pace of the original, and it also works with the chaotic battles of Smash Bros. Super Smash Bros. Brawl has a remix of this theme, but I don’t like it as much as the Melee version.
Mr. Nakatsuka was one of Nintendo’s early composers who worked on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and Mario Super Sluggers. HAL’s sound team for Super Smash Bros. Melee included Tadashi Ikegami (Kirby’s Dreamland 2), Shougo Sakai (originally Data East; also composed Vapor Trail), and Takuto Kitsuta (Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver).
*You could bash seals in the Japanese version, but these were changed to yetis in the US.