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Cloudtop Cruise is the first course of the Special Cup of Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This course mainly takes place on clouds, a giant beanstalk (similar to Sky Garden), and on an airship (like Airship Fortress). Several of Bowser's airships are seen flying in the background.
The race starts on a giant beanstalk. Shortly after there is a ramp with some Item Boxes on it, and there is a Bowser Balloon that characters can bounce on, similar to the mushrooms in Mushroom Gorge from Mario Kart Wii. The racers will then continue racing on a cloud. Later, they come onto an airship, where the player encounters two paths, both of which meet up right before a cannon, which launches the player to a anti-gravity metal track inside a storm cloud. On the track, there are many Dash Panels, but once in a while, lightning will strike them, which the racers have to avoid or else they will get knocked out. This section then ends to start a gliding section, which touches down on a giant stone ? Block, a reference to how Beanstalks grow out of ? Blocks in Mario games. There is just one more right turn before the finish line.
The staff ghost for this course uses Baby Rosalina in the Biddybuggy. The times to beat are 2:26.347 in Mario Kart 8 and 2:19.568 in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 200cc, the staff ghost is Bowser Jr. with a time of 1:44.120.
Like several other courses, the music for this course has two different variations: the first variation is orchestral and plays when the players drive on the cloud and beanstalk sections, while the second variation is a rock arrangement that plays when reaching the thundercloud section. The ending portion of both variations uses parts of Sky Station Galaxy and Gusty Garden Galaxy's music from the Super Mario Galaxy games. The course's music also reappears as a new arrangement, which combines the two variations, in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U on the Mario Circuit stage and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on any Mario Kart stage.
The first portion of the course's music plays on amiibo screens in select retail stores.
Mario Kart 8 Original Soundtrack liner notes
"On this title, we set ourselves on a challenge of creating melodies we'd never come up with before, and we put a huge amount of effort into this track. We thought that a full orchestra would be perfect for creating that sense of a vast world in the clouds. We've included the thundercloud version of the track, as well as a medley."
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