N64 Rainbow Road

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This article is about the race course originally from Mario Kart 64 and featured as a retro course in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. For Rainbow Road as a whole and other versions of the track, see Rainbow Road. For the course's music and later references to it, see N64 Rainbow Road (theme).
Rainbow Road
Rainbow Road MK64.png
MK8-Course-N64 RainbowRoad.jpg
Information
Appears in Mario Kart 64 (1996)
Mario Kart 8 (2014)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017)
Cup(s) Special Cup (64)
Lightning Cup (8, 8 Deluxe)
Distance 2,000 m
Online play No longer available (Wii U)
Available (Switch)
Music sample
Mario Kart 64: Kenta Nagata

Nintendo Sound Selection Vol.3: B-Side Music

Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Ryo Nagamatsu

Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (frontrunning)
Course map
Mario Kart 64
An aerial view of Rainbow Road.Mini map of Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Map of N64 Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 8.Map of N64 Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Staff ghost(s)
8 Nin★Leonel
1:33.731 Metal Mario's head icon in Mario Kart 8Metal Mario's Standard ATV body from Mario Kart 8Monster from Mario Kart 8Thumbnail of Metal Mario's Super Glider (with 8 icon), in Mario Kart 8.
8DX 150cc Nin★Leonel
1:33.981 Metal Mario's head icon in Mario Kart 8Metal Mario's Standard ATV body from Mario Kart 8Monster from Mario Kart 8Thumbnail of Metal Mario's Super Glider (with 8 icon), in Mario Kart 8.
8DX 200cc Nin★Fausti
1:08.128 Mario's head icon in Mario Kart 8Tri-Speeder body from Mario Kart 8Monster from Mario Kart 8Super Glider from Mario Kart 8

Rainbow Road is the fourth and final course of the Special Cup in Mario Kart 64, as well the sixteenth and last course in the game. It is the longest race course in Mario Kart 64, at 2,000 meters (2 kilometers), and requires about two minutes per lap, making it the longest three-lap track in the whole series. The track differs from the other Rainbow Roads in that it has rails throughout the entire track. The track features a translucent multicolored glass path with star-shaped rails running throughout the entire course. Neon-light pictures of the eight playable characters and a portrait of a Boo and a Mushroom are visible in the distance and float in the void. Additionally, a big three-dimensional smiling star lies in a curved section of the track. Chomps also appear throughout the course as obstacles. It reappears as a classic course in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as the fourth and final course of the Lightning Cup.

Mario Kart 64[edit]

Course layout[edit]

Rainbow Road
The big drop at the start. The player can make a long jump over it by hopping with precise timing when the road starts to descend, as seen in this picture.

The course begins with a long straightaway where the track curves downward and then more gently curves upward before soon becoming level again. Racers then pass through a rainbow ring and take a long gradual right turn, encountering the first set of Item Boxes and passing neon signs of Mario, Peach, and Luigi which all lie outside the turn. The track then briefly straightens out as racers reach another item set before there is a slight left turn with the track curving down. Here there is a neon Mushroom sign to the right of the track. The track then evens out and makes a very slight right turn before making a 360° counterclockwise loop around a large star. At the beginning of this loop is another item set, and at the end of this loop there is a neon Boo sign to the right of the track. A gradual right turn follows with another item set in the middle, then racers drive straight before making a gradual U-turn to the left. On the outside of this U-turn are neon signs of Donkey Kong and Yoshi, with a neon Bowser sign in the distance. There is then another brief straight with another item set before the track makes a slight right turn and curves downward. It soon after curves upward and then evens out as racers continue driving straight, and then the track makes a very long and gradual U-turn to the right. At the start of this turn is another item set and a neon Toad sign on the outside, and towards the end of the turn is a neon Wario sign on the outside. Racers then reach another item set and make an equally long loop to the left as they pass the aforementioned neon Bowser sign. After this loop is one last item set followed by two very slight turns, and then racers reach the finish line.

Along the track, several Chomps can be found lodged in the middle of the track. They continuously travel the course in reverse and slide in a zigzag pattern. Racers that collide with them will be launched in the air.

Shortcuts[edit]

A notable shortcut can be found at the very beginning of the track. By using a well-timed hop to clear the railing on the left side of the track, the player can land on the loop going around the large star and skip a large portion of the track.

Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe[edit]

This version of Rainbow Road makes its classic course debut in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, where it is the fourth and last course of the Lightning Cup. The course is now section-based, and takes place above a brightly-lit city near a coast at night instead of the deep space from the original. The Princess Peach Statue of Liberty from Toad Harbor and the course itself can be seen in the city setting, and in the center of the city below, there is a tower that faintly resembles the Eiffel Tower, with four ? Blocks, a Mushroom, and a spinning Star visible on top of it. Christmas trees can also be seen scattered throughout the city. Also, there is a moon in the sky that can be seen right after the starting line. The road is now formed by multicolored tiles made of glowing LED lights (similar to SNES Rainbow Road) laid out in a diagonal color pattern within a golden frame, as opposed to the slightly translucent glass stripes from the original version. A flying train travelling around the course was also added, ridden by Toads who throw coins onto the track.

The starting banner is now a rotating, star-shaped planetary gear. When players nearly reach the finish line, the outer gears will change shape by expanding their star-shaped appendages wide and closing in upon themselves. A scrolling LED sign reading "RAINBOW ROAD" in the NES font can be seen in the inner part of the gears.

The other major change is that the course has been greatly altered to incorporate the game's gliding and anti-gravity mechanics. At the gentle uphill stretch, an anti-gravity panel was added. The circular loop now lies on the right side of the course instead of on the left side and is inclined at a near-90 degree angle to act as an anti-gravity section. The dip after the large U-turn is now another smaller U-turn. The Chomps are now larger, and instead of sliding through the course in a zigzag pattern, bounce repeatedly, creating ripples on the track that can be used to perform aerial tricks. Along the course, Dash Panels have been added and are surrounded with rings. The final stretch before the finish line is now slightly sloped as an anti-gravity section and ends with a glide ramp.

A map of the city beneath the course, mentioning Toad Harbor, Wii Moo Moo Meadows, and Wii Wario's Gold Mine, can be seen in Super Bell Subway. Because of this, this Rainbow Road is likely set above those courses.[1] The railway lines that can be seen from this Rainbow Road, according to the map in Super Bell Subway, connect this city to many other courses in Mario Kart 8.[2]

Other appearances[edit]

F-Zero X[edit]

Rainbow Road
The course's appearance in F-Zero X.

F-Zero X features the N64 Rainbow Road as Rainbow Road: Psychedelic Experience. It is the first course of the Joker Cup (the game's equivalent to the Special Cup). Parts, though not all of it, are rainbow-colored. Unlike the original, it has no barriers in certain areas, and the neon Super Mario franchise decor is missing. Instead, it just has a plain black background with a watery blue bottom to which careless drivers may fall. In addition, when racing the track with the 64DD expansion features, the background song is a rock version of the Rainbow Road song heard in Mario Kart 64 (the regular version uses the track used in Sectors α and β). The Chomps are replaced by deadly minefields on certain sections of the track which will cause drivers to crash or destroy their vehicle.

Audio.svg Rainbow Road - F-Zero X Expansion Kit
File infoMedia:FZX Rainbow Road.oga
0:30
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?

Profiles[edit]

Mario Kart 64[edit]

  • Instruction manual bio: This course can be described in a word—LONG, very long. It is simply the longest of all the courses. As the name indicates, the road is made of rainbow and it has a fantastic view of neon sculptures twinkling in the distance. The final course of the Special Cup, it is definitely worth seeing. It is advisable to slow down to avoid the Chomps that will attack.
  • Website bio: The longest track in Mario Kart 64, Rainbow Road is a surreal trip through a world of giant neon sculptures.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe[edit]

  • Nintendo Magazine 2023 Winter: "A midair circuit with a beautiful nightscape. The flying trains sometimes throw coins at you."[3]

Mario Kart 8 Original Soundtrack liner notes[edit]

"This is a hugely popular track, and for the full HD version we worked on the arrangement to bring out its full beauty. You'll be pleased to hear that those lovable Chain Chomps are alive and well in this title."

Gallery[edit]

Mario Kart 64[edit]

Neon signs[edit]

When a player is playing the course, the neon lights of Mario, the Mushroom, and the Boo are the only ones that are animated. In order as the track follows:

Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese レインボーロード
Reinbō Rōdo
Rainbow Road

Chinese (simplified) 彩虹之路
Cǎihóng zhī Lù
彩虹桥 (Mario Kart 64)
Cǎihóng Qiáo

Rainbow Road

Rainbow Bridge

Chinese (traditional) 彩虹之路
Cǎihóng zhī Lù
Rainbow Road

Dutch Regenboogbaan
Rainbow Track
French (NOA) Route arc-en-ciel
Rainbow Road
French (NOE) Route Arc-en-ciel
Rainbow Road
German Regenbogen-Boulevard
Rainbow Boulevard
Italian Pista Arcobaleno
Rainbow Track
Korean 무지개 로드
Mujigae Rodeu
Rainbow Road

Portuguese Estrada Arco-Íris
Rainbow Road
Russian Трасса Радуга
Trassa Raduga
Rainbow Track

Spanish Senda Arco Iris
Rainbow Path

Trivia[edit]

  • Excluding courses in or from Mario Kart Tour, this is one of only two non-SNES courses in the series that differ in lap count between its original and remade versions; the other is GCN Baby Park in Mario Kart DS.
  • The map of its reappearance in Mario Kart 8, shown in the Prima guide, has two Dash Panels on the third section placed on the right side. However, in the game, they are actually placed on the left side.
  • Aside from its reappearance in Mario Kart 8, arrangements for Rainbow Road's music from Mario Kart 64 can be heard in later titles. Part of Rainbow Road's music from Mario Kart 64 was arranged and used in the music for Rainbow Road in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart 7. Additionally, part of the music can be heard in World 9's world map theme in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. When first driving the rainbow road in Paper Mario: Color Splash, this music can be heard.

References[edit]