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Friday, September 7, 2012

Favorite Tunes #24: Mario Kart Edition

Super Mario Kart was released in Japan for the SNES on August 27, 1992 and on Sepetember 1, 1992 in America. So the series if effectively 20 years old. I had a feature planned for the occasion but it still needs more work. To compensate, enjoy some good music from the Mario Kart series.

Rainbow Road - Super Mario Kart (SNES)

The final course in the Special Cup circuit and the last track in the game can be quite harsh to new players. It has zero barriers so there's nothing to prevent you from falling off the track and inflating Laiktu's wallet. You'll more than likely think twice about risky driving since it only takes one mistake to make you fall. Super Mario Kart music composer Soko Oya considers this one of her favorite compositions that she's written. The tune was remastered in for the retro course in Mario Kart 7.

Koopa Troopa Beach - Mario Kart 64 (N64)

Zipping around the sand with a giant Koopa Troopa statue on the beach, using a mushroom to go up a ramp to give you an extra boost of speed to reach a shortcut in a cavern while a lovely Hawaiian track plays. The only missing was being able to drive on this track as Koopa Troopa. This was thankfully rectified when Koopa Troopa returned in Mario Kart 7.

Bowser Castle - Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA)

Mario Kart: Super Circuit may be the weakest link in the audio field of all of the Mario Kart games, but it still manage to put out some memorable music. Sky Garden is my favorite tune from the game, but Bowser Castle is also good for a listen.

Waluigi Pinball - Mario Kart DS (DS)

Mario Kart DS had some of best track designs in the entire series but if I had to pick one track that I love above the rest, Waluigi Pinball would win easily. A pinball themed race track. What's not to like about that? The track itself was already full of win but then they went and gave it an incredible background tune. This theme was so good that it was arranged for Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Mario Circuit - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

This is one monster of a game. It has a ton of Nintendo characters to do battle with (including some third party stars with Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake), a plethora of things to unlock, a huge selection of cool stages to fight on and one of the best soundtracks in video game history. A lot of it is remixes, but when they remixes are this good, it's hard to find fault with the finished product. Mario Circuit was also one of the best audio tracks in the original Super Mario Kart so it was nice to hear it arranged for Brawl.

Rainbow Cup - Mario Kart Arcade GP (ARC)

What? You say you didn't know there was a version of Mario Kart in the arcade? There were actually two of them and I've never played either one. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to find this in an arcade because outside of modding your Wii, I know no other way to play this game. I suppose my dream of racing as Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man in Mario Kart will never be realized. Like all other Mario Karts, this version has an awesome Rainbow Road theme.

Luigi Circuit/Mario Circuit - Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

The sixth entry in the Mario Kart franchise (not counting the arcade versions) was notable for the inclusion of tricks to gain short bursts of speed and bikes. It also has the misfortune of punishing the player for doing so well, often having CPU opponents assault the player with Blue Shells and any other item that will make their life miserable. Still, this is another good entry in the Mario Kart series. This song has a wacky vibe and it sounds like someone's messing with a record in the background, which I absolutely love.

Neo Bowser City - Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

Bowser has some pretty fancy looking castles. Lots of lava, a few death traps here and there, but Neo City? Stylish. It's like someone mixed some Blade Runner with Mario Kart. Either that, or Bowser took over the Mushroom Kingdom. If this is the end result, I have to say that I'm pretty impressed. Newo Bowser City's BGM is a remix of various themes throughout the Mario Kart series such as the Main Theme of Mario Kart 7 and Toad's Turnpike.

Main Theme - Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)

Races in all Mario Karts can get hectic, but in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! they tend to be the most chaotic. With two racers per kart and specific items for each character, the image above is a good indicator of what you can expect from some of races in this game. The Main Theme also conveys the insanity Double Dash!! brings to the table, too. You gotta love that whistling along with the music.

Ending - Super Mario Kart (SNES)

The road to the Special Cup and even finishing it in the first Mario Kart game was a long and difficult one. It was full of sharp curves, Banana Peels, Poison Mushrooms and every single hazard that the game could throw at me. And when I finally finished the game and saw the end credits as this theme played, all my anguish felt totally worth it. It may seem minimal by today's standards, but seeing Mario and company drive across the various courses through different camera angles was a huge reward for me. What made it even better was the entire cast of racers jumping up and down under the words "Thank You."

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