WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
As I wrote in my review of the game last week, one of the joys of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is seeing all the crazy shit Ubisoft was able to incorporate into the world of Mario. You’d think Nintendo would’ve reigned them in but it feels as if they were quite lenient in regards to the silly shenanigans Ubisoft came up with. And I think, for quite a lot of us, the absolute pinnacle of delightful absurdity that they concocted was the Phantom of the Bwahpera.
I mean, first of all, it’s a boss enemy that was made by fusing a Rabbid with a Boo balloon and an old fashioned record player, which somehow creates this bulbous, floating opera singer – one who’s even voiced by actual French opera singer Augustin Chemelle. Hearing full on voice acting in a Mario title is weird enough but having a boss singing a song about how much Mario sucks is almost indescribable in how unexpected it is.
The first part of the song (sung right before the boss fight begins) is delightful with how its full of references to the series as a whole but also manages to do a good job at hyping up the Phantom himself. Sure, he’s clearly egotistical but something about having him professionally sing about it makes it seem more believable. I also like how the accompanying music occasionally has a ghostly feel to it, matching the spooky, night-clad arena.
The third act that plays after enough damage has been dealt to him is much more ominous, quickly building up to an amazing crescendo that cements the Phantom’s status as this seemingly unbeatable figure that’s going to effortlessly trounce Mario – he straight up mocks nearly everything about the guy. It’s what makes his eventual defeat and childish breakdown all the sweeter.
Between the vocals and composer Grant Kirkhope’s fantastic backing score, this is not only the highlight of the entire soundtrack but arguably of the entire game as a whole.
(BTW, there is an Act 2 but it was cut from the game and isn’t included on the official soundtrack so I’m not putting it here).