Rainbow Road is the last track of the Special Cup in Super Mario Kart, the Extra Special Cup in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the Lightning Cup in Mario Kart 7, and the second track of the Triforce Cup in Mario Kart 8.
In Mario Kart 7, the staff ghost kart setup is Lakitu driving a Pipe Frame with Slim tires and a Super Glider while the other has a time of 01:21.994 with Lakitu driving the Cloud 9 with Roller tires and a Paraglider.
The track is the final course of the Special Cup in this game. It was, originally, considered to be the most challenging course at the time, despite having a fairly simple layout; it contains absolutely no guard rails, thin passageways with sharp, ninety-degree hairpin turns, and hazardous Thwomps that cause racers to spin out upon contact as well as being squished.
However, it is one of the best tracks to learn power-sliding in the Time Trial mode, thanks to the absence of guardrails and rainbow Thwomps to cause random spinouts, which impose the player to learn the perfect power-sliding techniques, curve per curve. Having the correct power-sliding pattern makes this track much easier in Grand Prix Mode by allowing the player to save not only the gained seconds from avoiding braking at every curve, but also the precious seconds lost each time a driver falls off the track. Plus, the very colorful track setting and the powerful theme, allow for multiple tries without getting the player bored.
This track, along with all of the other tracks from Super Mario Kart, returns in Mario Kart: Super Circuit with the Thwomps removed; however, it still remains a challenge due to the similar mechanics between the two games. Its music has a lighter tune after the intro.
Several years later, SNES Rainbow Road makes another return as a retro track in Mario Kart 7. It is the final track of the Lightning Cup. Besides the general decrease in difficulty due to the new turning mechanics and wider track layout overall, Rainbow Road now has added ramps to accommodate aerial tricks and has a different coin distribution. Additionally, the Thwomps (returning after an absence from MK:SC) create waves on the course which can be used to perform Jump Boosts. Also, the rainbow Thwomps have an updated appearance, as they are now mainly white.
The track appears again in Mario Kart 8 as a DLC track in the Triforce Cup, making it the only track in the entire Mario Kart series to date to actually appear in four distinct games, aswell as the first Rainbow Road track not serving as the game's finale (final track of final cup).
The track's layout is similar to its appearance in Mario Kart 7, retaining the thwomp's shockwaves. The tile colors are nearly the same as they were in the original version, yet said tiles have a neon/LED backlit appearance (a feature N64 Rainbow Road reuses in this game's version). Their color pattern is reversed (racers went from purple tiles to red tiles, now they do the opposite), with the addition of an eigth color, cyan, between turquoise and blue. Finally, the tiles the Thwomps land on are now white.
The course itself is also wider, and equipped with borders on the curves' outer edges. The forked road is also altered further, with the six-tile end of the hole filled in. The music is also remastered with deeper pitch and additional instrumental sounds.
- There is a jumping bump/ramp in the middle gap; if any racers use a Mushroom while they are heading it, they can jump over the gap for a significant shortcut. However, it can be very dangerous as a 90 degree turn follows directly after it.
✱ for SMK ✱ for 3DS ✱ for MK8
- On the inside of the second U-turn, players can use a Mushroom to get across.
✱ for 3DS ✱ for MK8
- SNES Rainbow Road has appeared in four Mario Kart games, the most times out of any track in the series.
- SNES Rainbow Road is the only course in Mario Kart 7 not to have a boost pad/ramp, and one of four courses not to have a glider pad/ramp; the others being N64 Luigi Raceway, GCN Daisy Cruiser, and Rosalina's Ice World.
- It is one of the three downloadable courses that doesn't have any gliding, underwater or anti-gravity sections, the others being Excitebike Arena, and GCN Yoshi Circuit.
- This Rainbow Road, along with its retro counterpart, N64 Rainbow Road, the new Rainbow Road and GCN Baby Park are the only courses in the game to have the map in different colors instead of just blue.
Vanilla Lake 2
Rainbow Road (SNES)
Wii Wario's Gold Mine
Recently reappeared in:
Mario Kart 8
Ice Ice Outpost
|Nitro cups||Mushroom Cup||Mario Circuit 1 • Donut Plains 1 • Ghost Valley 1 • Bowser Castle 1 • Mario Circuit 2|
|Flower Cup||Choco Island 1 • Ghost Valley 2 • Donut Plains 2 • Bowser Castle 2 • Mario Circuit 3|
|Star Cup||Koopa Beach 1 • Choco Island 2 • Vanilla Lake 1 • Bowser Castle 3 • Mario Circuit 4|
|Special Cup||Donut Plains 3 • Koopa Beach 2 • Ghost Valley 3 • Vanilla Lake 2 • Rainbow Road|
|Battle Courses||Battle Course 1 • Battle Course 2 • Battle Course 3 • Battle Course 4|
|Nitro cups||Mushroom Cup||Toad Circuit • Daisy Hills • Cheep Cheep Lagoon • Shy Guy Bazaar|
|Flower Cup||Wuhu Loop • Mario Circuit • Music Park • Rock Rock Mountain|
|Star Cup||Piranha Plant Slide • Wario Shipyard • Neo Bowser City • Maka Wuhu|
|Special Cup||DK Jungle • Rosalina's Ice World • Bowser's Castle • Rainbow Road|
|Retro cups||Shell Cup||N64 Luigi Raceway • GBA Bowser Castle 1 • Wii Mushroom Gorge • DS Luigi's Mansion|
|Banana Cup||N64 Koopa Troopa Beach • SNES Mario Circuit 2 • Wii Coconut Mall • DS Waluigi Pinball|
|Leaf Cup||N64 Kalimari Desert • DS DK Pass • GCN Daisy Cruiser • Wii Maple Treeway|
|Lightning Cup||Wii Koopa Cape • GCN Dino Dino Jungle • DS Airship Fortress • SNES Rainbow Road|
|Battle Courses||GBA Battle Course 1 • N64 Big Donut • DS Palm Shore • Honeybee Hive • Sherbet Rink • Wuhu Town|