Rainbow Road as it appears in Mario Kart Wii
|Series||Mario Kart series|
|First game||Super Mario Kart|
Rainbow Road is a recurring course found in the Mario Kart series. They all have common elements–they are all suspended in space, and naturally the road itself is very colorful (in bands) and occasionally transparent. The same uplifting-themed music has remained with Rainbow Road throughout the series. The roads have little or no railing, making the course extremely hard. They are usually the longest in the their games, especially Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road, the longest track in the game.
Super Mario Kart
Rainbow Road as it appears in Super Mario Kart
The original Rainbow Road is characterized by hairpin corners, splits in the narrow track and there are no crash barriers. This makes the course hard for all characters. There are invulnerable flashing Thwomps throughout the stage. This course also reappeared in Mario Kart: Super Circuit with all of the other tracks, and again in Mario Kart 7 as a retro track in the fourth race in the Lightning Cup.
Mario Kart 64
Rainbow Road as it appears in Mario Kart 64
In contrast to the SNES iteration, this track is lined with crash barriers. A steep drop at the start can be used as a shortcut by skilled players who make a well-timed jump. Chain Chomps roam the track, which is surrounded by the enormous neon visages of the game's stars. It is 2000m (2 km) long, and is the longest track in Mario Kart series. The course is very bouncy, making the player bounce every time they drift or hop. This is used in an exploit, that skips half the track.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Rainbow Road as it appears in Mario Kart: Super Circuit
A particularly devious take on the course, with multiple speed boost and jump pads. However, one should be careful as once again the course has very few barriers to prevent racers from driving off the track. Bowser's starship hovers in the distance as well as the Bowser Castle from Paper Mario.
Mario Kart: Double Dash‼
Rainbow Road as it appears in Mario Kart: Double Dash‼
This version of Rainbow Road involves racing on multiple levels, speed boosts around banked helices, chicanes and a levitation tunnel that propels racers upwards and back towards the start of the course. While many of the corners have barriers, there are holes that people can fall in. The course is also is the only one that takes place over a city.
Mario Kart DS
Rainbow Road as it appears in Mario Kart DS
Similar to Double Dash, it fetures a 360-degree loop of turbo boosts and a horizontal spiral structure also lined with turbo boosters. Narrow places make this track highly dangerous for lighter characters.
Mario Kart Wii
Rainbow Road as it appears in Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Wii's version of Rainbow Road follows tradition and is more complex than its predecessors. It also fetures Star Bits from Super Mario Galaxy, though they are just an asthetic detail and do not affect gameplay. Similar to the track in Double Dash, this one contains a long tube that warps you to another track segment. The entire world can be seen below the stage along with other planets, including one that has a striking resemblance to Saturn, can be seen in the background. Unlike previous installments, this track is set very high above Earth. If the player drives off the course, he or she will burn up in the atmosphere, and Lakitu will recover the player, still smoking.
Mario Kart 7
Rainbow Road is featured once more in a new incarnation in Mario Kart 7 and is again made up of multicoloured tiles. It also shows planets and rockets in the background. This incarnation of Rainbow Road, along with the tracks Wuhu Loop and Maka Wuhu, only has one lap instead of three. Unlike past Rainbow Roads, this incarnation features the player driving on non-rainbow tile surfaces such as the moon and rings of a planet resembling Saturn. The first part has the drivers race on the rainbow tiles and the second part has them race on the rings of the planet for a short time. The third part brings them to the moon with Chomps coming out of the craters, and finally the track returns to the rainbow tiles. Like in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the music on the course is a remix of Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road. There are 2 different variations of this new theme. The 1st variation plays while driving on the rainbow tiles, and the 2nd variation plays during the 2nd section when the player is driving on the moon.