Actually knowing of and playing a game like (Mario) The Music Box – ARC feels special in and of itself. I consider myself somewhat of an explorer when it comes to games. I focus less on whatever games everyone else says are good and more so the idea that you never know what you are going to get. A game like (Mario) The Music Box is already pretty weird simply because it’s a horror game starring the video game equivalent to Mickey Mouse, but the sequel is unique enough that it would stick out even without the Mario universe attached to it.
Note that this piece will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for (Mario) The Music Box – ARC!! I’m willing to bet a fair number of you haven’t played this game, so if you have any interest in doing so then it is strongly recommended that you DO NOT read the rest of this piece.
ARC is a free to play title made by a team who has not made any non MtMB titles, as far as I know at least. Most of the music is lifted from other various weeb games like Umineko or Corpse Party, but ARC has a few original compositions up its belt. These compositions were brought to us by JerryStuff, someone whose previous work was for the SilvaGunner Youtube channel. Sadly there are absolutely zero Flintstones references in Arc despite the fact that it wouldn’t have been out of place with how absurd this story got.
What I find noteworthy about this particular track is just how well this track fits the scenario in question and how it fits in with the rest of the game’s soundtrack. I initially assumed that this and many of Jerry’s other tracks were originally from other games when I first heard them. The only thing about “Disturbed Runaway” that doesn’t feel right at place among the other boss themes in the game is its comparatively short length, and even that fits with the battle itself.
The instrumentation and the melody perfectly fit with the style of music used in Umineko (at least from what I have heard of it, which is limited to the tracks used in Arc of course), and it still just… fits. The scenario itself is something that needs to be seen to be believed though, but I’ll try my best to describe it.
The short version, without taking the rest of the plot into consideration, is that Len is basically God, and she’s basically using Mario as her personal test subject. Well technically she’s using Mario’s ancestor Marchionne, who gets reincarnated as Mario… see what I mean about how fucking ridiculous this game gets? Even crazier is that Len’s experiment involves controlling Mario throughout the entirety of both MtMB titles and through every save file… and every gruesome death.
What makes this ending so fucked up is that you literally cannot beat Len, or even damage her. You basically just dodge her attacks then she kills you, which leads to possibly the most fucked up bad end in the series. After Len causes Mario to get impaled with a spike, he falls off the platform he was fighting Len on and awakens in a darkened void. He finds dozens and dozens of his own corpses from the various save files from the series, each with different details based on the death. If you want to take things even further, you can think of this as “the bottom” of every bottomless pit that Mario ever jumps over; where every life you lost in a Mario game goes to after you reset and try again.
This is supported by the fact that the game’s canon ending involves playing through the game in one sitting without saving, in which case Mario will wake up and it is revealed that the events of of both of the previous games were a very weird dream he had after an almost fatal Mario Karting accident. Len also appears and tells him that she “doesn’t need him anymore” so he can go free.
I’m normally against “dream endings” but it really works here. I think turning an edge horror game meant to vent the creator’s depression into a meta commentary on the nature of games as a whole was a bold move, and I believe it fits these two games very well…
… even though they totally got the idea from Undertale.
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