It is hard to believe that just recently Super Mario Kart turned 25 years old. Even more unbelievable, in just one month there will be a new SNES console with the game out at retail, so we can take on those cups all over again.
Dedicated Super Nintendo and MSU1 fans (a byuu-developed custom chip that allows up to 4GB of total storage, allowing for streaming of both video and audio files on call from the original game cartridges) aren't holding back on digital audio enhancements for retro games, bringing new ways to enjoy the old classics in that "what if" scenario where Sony and Nintendo remained good friends and actually released the SNES Playstation.
It is with perfect timing that a new patch and sound pack just surfaced that gives Super Mario Kart a CD quality soundtrack to go along with those frantic Mode 7 races and battles. The patch was developed by qwertymodo and the (currently WIP) sound pack has been compiled by Kurrono Kei (who is still currently ironing out some kinks). See in action below.
Those who are tech savvy know that it is possible (in this or any other other MSU1 soundtrack enhancement) to add whatever tracks you wish for the MSU1 to playback. As such it's possible to replace the whole thing with the original F-Zero soundtrack, Mario Kart 8 live arrangements or if you are musically inclined your very own remixes and arrangements.
What do you think of these new ways to enhance old classics? What other classic SNES games would you like to have a CD audio quality soundtrack? Fire up that comments section with your thoughts below.
I'm real wary of these patches being called "enhancements." Some of them just stomp all over deliberately paced musical cues and replace them with arrangements that didn't need that pacing just because they're on CD.
@Exy Come again?
noun: enhancement; plural noun: enhancements
an increase or improvement in quality, value, or extent.
"this MSU1 enhancements will improve the aural experience of players"
synonyms: improvement, intensification, magnification, amplification, increase, strengthening, inflation, augmenting, augmentation
... I guess its open to subjectiveness.
@Kalmaro The worst of these is the MSU-1 hack of Super Metroid. There's a demo video showing the intro sequence and all the musical cues are wrong because the songs have lead-ins that the game audio didn't, and much of the drama is lost because of it.
@Exy Funny you mentioned that particular case (since it is something I am currently working on).
MSU1 sound design is no easy feat.
@Exy Nit entirely sure I understand but it sounds like it ruins the experience.
After Mario Kart 8, who would still be able to play such an old game. It looks terrible.
Oh neat. There's actually a guy (https://twitter.com/PrinceSamlet) doing CD quality restorations of the DKC soundtracks, by basically finding the original synths used to create the samples used in the original games, and then replacing the original samples with the unfiltered synths. Basically it results in tracks sounding just like they would have if the SNES supported CD quality audio. It would be awesome to mod DKC 1 and 2 to have those play instead of the originals!
Awesome work, but as usual, the MSU1 soundtrack almost completely drowns out the SFX.
Is this something that can't be fixed?
@TheMudHutDweller This is a very delicated subject because it is unfortunately something caused by SD2SNES/MSU1 hardware itself. As such, people are releasing fixed patches to run the game with proper level on emulators and/or manually lowering PCM volumes. It's an incredible mess to make everything sound just right, an unfortunate and unforeseen legacy of said hardware issues.
Oh, another great reason to get SD2SNES. I've ordered mine here - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HYK7MVS
Impressive to see people getting this to work.. BUT I'll try not to listen to what they've done with this game. I remember how horrible the replacement audio of Secret of Mana sounded.. I'm trying to replace the music of that game at the moment with just the original soundtrack in CD quality. That's the way these msu1 patches should work imho.
I mean, don't most of these songs have a Mario Kart 8 version already? (Including some awesome fan remixes from Panman14 and JoshhMarshh)
That would probably better fit a cohesive theme. I'd probably do it myself though if I could.
@Omedru, do you have a way to do these yourself since you mentioned it with Secret of Mana?
@Wolfy76700 I found the patched rom with the replaced music (with many tracks not fitting the game at all) and tried replacing those music files. I'm at the point now that I learned how to do that (converting a music file to the .pcm format) but it will take quite a lot of hours to finish. Maybe I should wait for the remake with the remastered OST so I can use that soundtrack on the SNES game. The main reason for wanting msu-sound on Secret of Mana is the fact the music conflicts a lot with the sound effects ingame. With a replaced soundtrack using msu1 this problem will be solved. Then you can hack away with your sword without interrupting the music
Having SoM with rockmusic and the like isn't exactly what I wished for
If the patch is publicly available to use in a future, I might consider making an alternate release to a SMK mod I'm working on, since I changed some backgrounds into something different, would be nice to change the music to something more appropriate.
@Omedru Try chiptune!
Ugh... I would much rather the original soundtrack, it matches the tech/graphics of the time. CD stuff sounds really out of place.
Super Castlevania iv has a stunning sound track that would sound great enhanced
@Jeronan Interestingly, the only reason I'd play Super Mario Kart these days is just for the original music, exactly as it was, for nostalgia purposes, so something like this would completely ruin it for me.
I'm not into this at all. Whilst I have many orchestral renditions of SNES game music to listen to, I think adding them to the game itself is horrible. Just doesn't fit whatsoever. One of the reasons game music from the SNES era is so iconic is because they had to work to hardware limitations.
I won't argue it's not technically impressive, because getting that out of original hardware most definitely is.
But that Link to the Past 'enhancement' with the cringey cartoon intro and horrible voice acting? Ugh. No thanks. Definitely NOT an enhancement in my book.
@TheMudHutDweller Volume levels are a bit tricky, because the SD2SNES for a while used some incorrect components that resulted in audio levels being too quiet. Games then boosted volumes to compensate, but when that problem was fixed (via firmware for older hardware revisions, and via fixed hardware for newer revisions), some games still had the amplification, and so sounded too loud.
That said, the MSU1 volume is configurable.
@Shiryu You've obviously spent a lot of time and effort making sure the replacement tracks stick to the original tunes and timing, and the results are some great sounding CD tracks, but it just seems so out of place when playing alongside the original 16-bit game. Some of that is just nostalgia, sure, but the biggest thing I noticed is that the enhanced CD tracks of the atmospheric and mellow first areas of Super Metroid were basically putting me to sleep, which is something you definitely don't want when playing an action game!
I also particularly dislike the enhanced fanfare that plays when picking up an item, as it abruptly cuts off at the end. Again, this might be to stay true to the original, but to hear the much more rich CD music abruptly stopping is just jarring every time.
I'm surprised the negativity surrounding this. I always thought this was something to mess around with, not to replace the original game. There will always be something about original music, but sometimes new ways to look at old games can be good too.
@WaxxyOne This one is not my work. I did release 6 packs in the past, like this one with all tracks produced by yours truly.
@Shiryu Thank you for the suggestion but still I majorly prefer having SoM SNES with the original soundtrack but in CD quality. It would be an amazing upgrade to this game, since the sound effects distort the music of the normal build-in soundtrack. Just having the same music without interruptions and a bit more clear is all I need
Any help would be appreciated, but I'll try to replace the music myself if I got the time.
@Omedru First you will need to convert the supplied .pcm files to .wav so you can play back and figure out what music is which. When you have the complete listing of what each .pcm is, you can just replace them with whatever music you like, convert them to .pcm and name the new file the same as the original one. Simple!
@mystman12 If there's a way to mod the SNES Mini and support the audio hack for DK1 & 2 then I'm totally going to do that
@Ginger_fish NOT at that price. Maybe @ $100 I'd get one
@Omedru Has anyone done this with the the SNES Fire Emblem games? All 3 have CD quality arraignments
@Shiryu Thx for the tip! If I succeed (I read you need to make the music tracks loop) I will look into sharing the result.
@Spacey Haven't heard of that but that'd be cool! I really liked FE4, awesome OST.
Ah, I see. Thanks for the reply.
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