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Have some brown overalls and some handkerchiefs on standby. You really might need them.

"Ever heard of 'Curiosity Killed the Cat'?"
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The colorful world of Super Mario Bros. is one where Mario and Co. venture off to engage in light-hearted and wacky shenanigans with friends and foes alike. This game, however, is none of those things mentioned above. This game is what happens when you take Mario out of the happy-go-lucky Mario Universe and throw him into a game the likes of Corpse Party, The Crooked Man, Mad Father, Misao, and The Witch's House.

(Mario) The Music Box is a fangame created by Team Ari (led by the talented artist Marios-Friend9), staring Mario as he ventures out to an abandoned home that's been close to the Mushroom Kingdom for over a century. People have gone inside it before, but none have returned. Princess Peach was also supposed to come along for the ride to investigate, but Mario left her behind for her own safety. Soon after making it inside, the plumber comes across a quaint little music box that was playing by itself. Little did he know, the "harmless" music box would trap him inside the house and set off a series of events that would serve to utterly break and terrify him every step of the way while also trying to get him killed. As a horror/puzzle/survival game, it tests the player in a way where one little thing could lead to a nasty, Gorn-filled Game Over.

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In 2016, a sequel, titled (Mario) The Music Box -ARC-, was released, which takes place during the "Missing" ending route of the original game. There, Mario continues his escape from the mansion, but finds out more about the history of the abandoned town it overlooks. When memories of his past begin to surface, Mario realizes that he may be more connected to the town and its history than he knew. Mario may choose to follow either the "Insane" or "Sane" path, depending on the first decision he makes. Both paths have a variety of endings depending on decisions made through the game. Later, the Wonderland DLC was released, serving as an extension to the original. A final DLC, Delirium, and a Remastered version of the original are undergoing development, with a demo for the latter out.


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This game contains examples of the following:

  • 100% Completion: Getting all of the journal entries and taking the "Puppet" ending route will instead give you the true ending.
  • Artifact of Doom: As spoiled by the website to download the game itself, the titular music box is this, but not necessarily on its own. We don't find out why until much later in the game. It's what kept Alice sealed inside of it until Mario broke the seal by touching it. It becomes Mario's prison during the "Omitted Memory" ending route, and it seals Alice away for good (and Mario whom she dragged with her) during the "Sealed" ending route. It apparently fails to seal Alice away during the "Puppet" ending route (which leads to Mario getting taken over) and the True Ending route "Better off Lost" (it's smashed by Mario to completely free Alice so that her pacified soul can finally pass on).
  • Battle in the Rain: This gets mixed with Rooftop Confrontation when Mario faces Alice for the last time in the "Omitted Memory" ending route. Somewhat enforced/justified in that Mario mentioned that it always rains in the area.
  • Big Bad/Big Bad Ensemble: Alice, Riba, Marchionne, and Len are the primary threats throughout the games, with each part of the series focusing on a specific one:
    • In the original game, Alice Aduraice is the one behind the curse on the mansion keeping Mario trapped in, having killed all the residents beforehand, and wants to possess his body so she can become immortal and kill Riba. In ARC, she tries to assert control over his body and appears in Wonderland as the tyrannical Queen of Hearts. Though Riba himself turns out to be the demon who turned her into a witch in the first place.
    • In the Sane route of ARC, Riba Aduraice, the seemingly kind man who warped Alice into becoming a witch and killing her family, becomes the primary threat as he chases after Mario and Luigi, repeatedly trying to kill them, and is the Final Boss of the route.
    • In the Insane route of ARC, Marchionne Evangelisti, Mario's past self who led the witch hunts in the town of Evangeline, is the antagonist who controls the remains of the town and seeks to kill his reincarnation. He is also one of the antagonists in Wonderland as King Sündige Nacht, who still seeks to kill Mario to prevent him from repeating the endless cycle.
    • In the Countenance 4 ending and the Wonderland DLC, Len Alwenia Foska, the Witch of Fate, is revealed to be the true mastermind who engineered everything as part of her experiment on humanity and takes over from that point onward.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Jisatsu no Mori" translates into "Forest of Suicide". Riba's name also means "beautiful".
  • The Cameo: Princess Peach. She only makes a proper appearance near the end of the "Omitted Memory" ending route, and she's the only other Mario Universe character besides Mario and Luigi to make an appearance. This is especially egregious if you don't take the "Omitted Memory" ending route, because her only appearances would have been illusions and a spirit impersonating her who tries to inject poison into Mario. You can also hear what appears to be her on the phone with Mario (whether it's her is ambiguous).
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: A recurring theme that is hammered into the heads of Mario and the player. The entire mess he is in started because he opened the titular music box, unleashing the evil within.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Many of the deaths, which sport lots of blood and gore with Mario and/or Luigi being gruesomely murdered.
  • Darkness = Death: Most of the mansion is dark, and wandering around carelessly results in deaths.
  • Death Trap: The mansion is littered with them.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: There are a sheer number of ways you can get a game over. There are some things that look like they may not kill you, some things that look like they are obviously going to kill you, and some things that are (in)active at certain points of the game with certain characters. Justified in that the mansion is cursed and filled with deadly spirits.
  • First-Person Perspective: A number of game overs treat the viewer to a lovely shot of whatever enemy is killing Mario and/or Luigi at the time.
  • Glamour Failure: Whenever someone's possessed, their eyes change color to that of the spirit possessing them.
  • Haunted House: The Aduraice Mansion, from where people are said to never return, serves as the main setting. It has a darkness history and is cursed with spirits.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: A heartbeat can be heard when something really intense happens, like a death.
  • Hell Is That Noise: A few spirits make some nightmarish sounds when they're on the prowl.
  • Hidden Eyes: Several villainous or otherwise threatening characters are usually portrayed without eyes.
  • Leitmotif: Several remixed variations of the song Ensei (Yuki Kajiura being the original composer) make appearances throughout the game as the main theme. The title screen itself even has three different remixes of the song.
  • The Many Deaths of You: There are forty-seven different ways to get a game over in the original game alone.
  • Multiple Endings: There's several ending routes that are available depending on where you go after Luigi joins your party.
    • "Omitted Memory": The ending route you're locked into if you go to the second floor from the former nursery room after Luigi joins the party. Luigi and Mario do manage to defeat Alice, wiping her out from existence, but as a result, her curse is left to spread. Mario, in an effort to save the Mushroom Kingdom from Alice's curse, takes it within himself — resulting in his being completely erased from existence and from everyone's memories (except Luigi's, until Mario wipes his memory too).
    • "Missing": Mario and Luigi decide to leave the house through the front entrance (which was gone after Mario first touched the music box). Unfortunately, Mario is possessed by Alice and kills Luigi, before heading out to engage in another killing spree and start the ritual she started long ago. A newspaper details Luigi's death and how Mario had gone missing.
    • "Sealed": Mario and Luigi attempt to leave through the "Forest of Suicide" and continue into the mines. On this route, the player learns from Alice, Serina, and Riba the full truth of how Serina died, as well as the full story of how Riba was responsible for Alice's actions. Luigi ends up battling Alice and wins, but Alice takes Mario's soul with her as she's re-sealed. Luigi leaves the mansion and attempts to bring help, but he and Princess Peach's search party only find Mario's corpse in the mines.
    • "Puppet": Mario and Luigi go through the forest as before, but before going deeper into the mines, they discover a note from Alice detailing her descent into evil, which was caused by a combination of Riba's influence and Alice's terminal illness. They use this knowledge to pacify Anna's vengeful spirit, and she encourages Mario and Luigi to not let Alice take Mario's body. The rest of the sequence from "Sealed", including Alice's defeat, happens as before, except that Alice doesn't take Mario's soul with her and the brothers head home. Late in the night, however, Luigi discovers that Alice was able to escape and possess Mario anyway.
    • "Better off Lost": All of the journal entries are required to see this ending. Everything's the same as the "Puppet" ending route, but when Mario and Luigi exit the mine, Alice's spirit confronts them a final time and is instead pacified by Mario. Rather than imprison her, he reassures her that she's no longer subject to Riba's will, promises to never tell anyone else about what they found in the mansion, and smashes the music box to set her free. Alice finally fades away and Mario and Luigi return home in peace, Mario burning his journal entries on the mansion to keep his promise.
  • Nintendo Hard: Before the Smashing Survival was put in place, players used to have to press specific keys in a long string of them before time ran out. This method of survival is still available for players who want the challenge, though it was noted to be notoriously difficult.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: There are some deaths in which you never actually see what happens to Mario or Luigi.
  • Ominously Open Door: Downplayed in that whatever is behind any open door in the house you find (meaning any doors you find wide open) is dead. Such doors you can enter will both result in game overs.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Spirits are said to mostly lack corporeal forms (even though most if not all spirits in the haunted house have a physical body), and angels are even mentioned once. Spirits that do have corporeal forms also tend to be hostile with few exceptions. Entities are mentioned (though they aren't given much explanation) and only two of them exist: Alice and Anna. The circumstances that allowed said characters to become entities are also different in nature.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Certain areas will be blocked off for good after a certain point in the story, meaning you lose out on journal entries associated with the area or things you learn from them. This is especially frustrating because some rooms are not accessible all the time and the player may just forget about them by the time they are accessible. This becomes problematic because the player needs all journal entries to see the True Ending. If you saved at a certain point, then your only hope of getting the True Ending is to start all over from the beginning.
  • Point of No Return:
    • The game gives you two informed instances of this after Luigi is reunited with Mario. Another less obvious one is when Mario and Luigi pull a lever and have to make it into the deeper parts of the mines before the time limit is up.
      *WARNING* THIS DECISION WILL AFFECT YOUR ENDING
    • The same warning is given in ARC whenever you are about to make a significant choice. Since there are many endings, the message appears much more often.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: In ARC's Insane Route, in one of the tests of greed encountered in the Church, there are two rooms with chests filled with healing items, most likely to help the player against the Final Boss that soon follows. This example is unique for two reasons: first, you are actually required to collect all the healing items inside the bundle of chests to proceed; second, the player still has to traverse one more, somewhat lengthy test before they can fight the aforementioned final boss.
  • Timed Mission: This used to be how survival portions of the game were, and this constitutes about three game overs should you fail them.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Figuring out certain things to do, especially if the player is attempting to get all the journal entries, because of the frequency of rooms becoming accessible.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Frequently, Mario and Luigi will be drawn like this in response to some horrors of the mansion.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There are some spirits who you never find out about at any point in the story (and some of them are better off left alone for the playable cast's sake).

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