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Rainbow Road is the last track of the Special Cup in Mario Kart 64, the first track of the Joker Cup in F-Zero X, and the last track of the Lightning Cup in Mario Kart 8.

In Mario Kart 8, the staff ghost kart setup is Metal Mario riding a Standard ATV with the Monster tires and a Super Glider.

Layout

Mario Kart 64

At 2 kilometers - which engenders laps that are two minutes long each - it is the longest course in the game. It is a colorful course through the final frontier, while the original Rainbow Road featured a starry purplish sky instead. It may have been switched to the deep space setting in order to help the console manage the track. Pilots swerve past neon-lighted pictures of the eight playable characters, as well as various items from the series. Chain Chomps plague this otherwise peaceful course, traveling inside the road itself and knocking up racers they happen to collide with. Near the middle of the track, the course harbors a large, three-dimensional, smiling star.

This long course starts out with a large drop followed by a gentle uphill stretch, passing through a rainbow ring. From here, the path is mostly level with a few shallow drops here and there. Approaching the end, racers turn around in a corkscrew and then a twisting stretch to finally return to the checkered line.

It is possible to take a shortcut and skip about half of the course at the beginning. Right after the starting line, a racer can jump over the railing on the left while the track starts to slant downhill and land on a different part of the track.

F-Zero X

The track has went through some changes to fit with the F-Zero universe : Not only did it had the Mario references removed (the neon portraits, the smiling star, etc), it also had several parts of the track's guardrails removed. The chain-chomps have also been removed, and replaced by road bumps.

A supposition may be that the track has been rebuilt on a much larger scale in F-Zero, in order to legitimize the idea that the track is rolled with go-karts on one side, and hyper-speed modules able to reach speeds of more than a megameter per hour when in turbo mode on the other, in approximately the same lap times in both games.

Also interesting fact is that, in F-Zero X, the Rainbow Road is not the final track of the Joker Cup (so called their Special Cup), but instead the opener. This is due to the fact that Rainbow Road is much easier than the track which stole it's place, the infamous "Big Hand" , which is known to be the hardest F-Zero X Track by far and one of the most infamous of all their franchise.

Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe

Rainbow Road 64 has been heavily updated to the newest installment of the franchise, but with some unique and new features. Not only did the developers reused the "square tiles" rainbow pattern used in Super Mario Kart, they also reused the city setting from the Double Dash version of Rainbow Road. This obviously cuts off with the "Final Frontier" setting of the original two versions, but also proves the abilities of the new Nintendo console.

However, a massive difference in the layout is the fact that the "smiling star helix" has been switched from the original game to the MK8 version. In the new game, the loop points outwards with anti gravity section, while in the original N64 game the loop was inside the track, towards the finish line. Also due to its length, the number of laps has been changed to one lap (divided in thirds), similar to the 3DS Rainbow Road. It is the first retro course to use this format. Rainbow Road also currently has the most physical on-stage coins out of any track in Mario Kart 8, at a shocking total of 62.

Other new additions include:

  • A flying train circling along the first loop of the track, floating in the sky, with Toads kindly tossing coins onto the track.
  • A modification of the second loop (the one which circled around the star in the original version) to support the anti-gravity feature. In addition, the inclined parts of the course is also anti-gravity, including the one after the starting line.
  • A final section which includes the gliding launch introduced to the series with Mario Kart 7.
  • Several parts of the track had their star-shaped guardrails removed, in order to increase the difficulty.
  • The replacement of the Chain Chomps from the original track with Bouncing Chomps, which bounce the track and make it wave near the middle of the track.
  • The music is remixed and orchestrated with the live-recorded soundtrack of Mario Kart 8.
  • The final turn before the starting line (which is 8-shaped) has been slightly shortened in order to cut down the length from the original.
  • The course itself also seems to have been built in a much smaller scale than the original, therefore its length is possibly less than 2 kilometers, unlike the original.
    • In addition, with the 1-lap format, the player can complete the track for less than 2 minutes.

Shortcuts

  • Possibly one of the most well-remembered shortcuts in Mario Kart history, one must carefully jump off the side of the starting line, in the hope of landing on the track nearby, skipping nearly half of it.  for MK64


Gallery

Mario Kart 64

RainbowRoadMK64

The course's icon in the game's menu.

Mario Kart 8

Glitches

This glitch breaks the lap counter. Go backwards and when you reach the ramp, use a Mushroom and hop over the fence. Keep going backwards until you arrive at the first checkpoint. Once you past the first checkpoint, turn around and drive the normal way like you normally would. The second checkpoint will trigger the second lap instead of the third one, and the end of the track will trigger the third lap instead of ending the race. This only works in Mario Kart 8.

If you want to learn more information on how to do this glitch, well, watch this video:

Mario Kart Trivia

  • F-Zero X, the Nintendo 64 installment of the well-known F-Zero futuristic racing franchise, has reused this track in it's game, having the exact same layout but without a few guardrails and the neon Mario characters or the Chain Chomps. There, the track has been subtitled "Psychedelic Experience". In addition, when racing the track with the 64DD expansion features, the background theme is a heavy metal version of the Rainbow Road theme heard in Mario Kart 64.
  • It is the longest course in the whole Mario Kart series, with a total length of two kilometers and approximately 2-3 minute lap times. Consequently, when the track was adapted to Mario Kart 8, they reduced the laps to only one, and divided the course into sections, much like Mario Kart 7's Wuhu courses and Rainbow Road, with 'laps' being checkpoint banners that calculate your progress as you drive one circuit around the track.
  • This is the first retro course to use Mario Kart 7's "one lap race" format.
  • In Mario Kart 64, the neon lights of Mario, the Mushroom, and Boo are the only ones that are animated.
  • In Mario Kart 8, this course uses the anti-gravity feature sooner than any other course (barring ones where the anti-gravity feature are activated before the race begins, like GCN Baby Park), right away after the starting line.
  • This Rainbow Road as well as its retro counterpart, SNES Rainbow Road (as a DLC retro course), the new Rainbow Road, and GCN Baby Park are the only courses in Mario Kart 8 with different colored maps than the others, being rainbow-colored instead of the standard blue. Also, GCN Baby Park and this Rainbow Road have the least and the most obtainable on-track coins in the game, as GCN Baby Park has 16, while this stage has 62.
  • The chorus part of this Rainbow Road's music is remixed into Double Dash!!'s Rainbow Road music and 7's Rainbow Road music. In case of 7, it is given a slight "space" feeling to the music.
  • This is one of six courses in Mario Kart 8 where at least one anti-gravity zone doesn't end with a trick ramp or glider ramp, the others being Water Park, Mario Circuit, Twisted Mansion, Rainbow Road, and Wii Wario's Gold Mine.
  • In Mario Kart 8, rainbow tiles on this track appears to be made of colored LED lamps, based on its appearance and lighting.
  • The Toad locomotive is based upon an LB&SCR E2, and three coaches are based upon LB&SCR Coaches No. 661.
  • The railway lines that can be seen from this track, according to the map in Super Bell Subway, connect this city to many other places where tracks of Mario Kart 8 can be found.
  • The city below the track resembles Paris, as well as the tower being similar to Eiffel Tower.
    • Many of the companies whose advertising signs can be seen in the various tracks have their headquarters in this city.
  • In Mario Kart 8, N64 Rainbow Road is the only point-to-point course in the game whose soundtrack speeds up in the third section of the track, unlike in Mount Wario and Big Blue.
Previous track:
Banshee Boardwalk
Current track:
Rainbow Road (N64)
Next track:
None
Previous track:
Wii Grumble Volcano
Recently reappeared in:
Mario Kart 8


Mario Kart 64 courses
Nitro cups Mushroom Cup Luigi RacewayMoo Moo FarmKoopa Troopa BeachKalimari Desert
Flower Cup Toad's TurnpikeFrappe SnowlandChoco MountainMario Raceway
Star Cup Wario StadiumSherbet LandRoyal RacewayBowser's Castle
Special Cup DK's Jungle ParkwayYoshi ValleyBanshee BoardwalkRainbow Road
Battle Courses Big DonutBlock FortDouble DeckSkyscraper
Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe courses
Nitro cups Mushroom Cup Mario Kart StadiumWater ParkSweet Sweet CanyonThwomp Ruins
Flower Cup Mario CircuitToad HarborTwisted MansionShy Guy Falls
Star Cup Sunshine AirportDolphin ShoalsElectrodromeMount Wario
Special Cup Cloudtop CruiseBone-Dry DunesBowser's CastleRainbow Road
Retro cups Shell Cup Wii Moo Moo MeadowsGBA Mario CircuitDS Cheep Cheep BeachN64 Toad's Turnpike
Banana Cup GCN Dry Dry DesertSNES Donut Plains 3N64 Royal Raceway3DS DK Jungle
Leaf Cup DS Wario StadiumGCN Sherbet Land3DS Music ParkN64 Yoshi Valley
Lightning Cup DS Tick-Tock Clock3DS Piranha Plant SlideWii Grumble VolcanoN64 Rainbow Road
DLC cups Egg Cup+ GCN Yoshi CircuitExcitebike ArenaDragon DriftwayMute City
Triforce Cup+ Wii Wario's Gold MineSNES Rainbow RoadIce Ice OutpostHyrule Circuit
Crossing Cup+ GCN Baby ParkGBA Cheese LandWild WoodsAnimal Crossing
Bell Cup+ 3DS Neo Bowser CityGBA Ribbon RoadSuper Bell SubwayBig Blue
Battle Courses Mario Circuit* • Toad Harbor* • Wii Moo Moo Meadows* • GCN Dry Dry Desert* • SNES Donut Plains 3* • N64 Toad's Turnpike* • GCN Sherbet Land* • N64 Yoshi Valley*
Battle Stadium** • Sweet Sweet Kingdom** • Dragon Palace** • Lunar Colony** • 3DS Wuhu Town** • SNES Battle Course 1** • GCN Luigi's Mansion** • Urchin Underpass**
+ - denotes DLC. • * - denotes exclusivity to Mario Kart 8. • ** - denotes exclusivity to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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