Mario Kart

The Best Retro Tracks In Mario Kart History

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Retro tracks in the Mario Kart series were first introduced all the way back in Mario Kart DS in 2005, with the game creating four new cups (Shell, Banana, Leaf and Lightning) and bringing back four tracks from the four games before it.

Here’s our take on some of the best retro tracks in Mario Kart’s history.

Rainbow Road

Original Platform: N64 (Super Mario Kart 64) 

Found On: Mario Kart 8 + Deluxe

The course that got Nintendo fans up and down the land hyped when it was first teased in the trailer for the Nintendo Wii U version of Mario Kart 8, the new version of N64 Rainbow Road was so good that it became the background for the cover of the Switch release of Mario Kart 8 deluxe.

This is what a Rainbow Road should always look like, filled with absolutely beautiful visuals, funky anti-gravity stretches, homages to the classic track and abundance of lights and colours to keep a player entertained, even if the original did live in infamy as being ridiculously long and ridiculously boring.

Delfino Square

Original Platform: DS (Mario Kart DS) 

Found On: Mario Kart Wii

A track that really does a good job in bringing out the skill gaming side of Mario Kart with alternate routes, shortcuts, tight angles and positions that can reward players with a real eye for item management, Delfino Square was a course that was just insanely fun to play through the first time around on the DS.

There’s just something so cool about those tracks in Mario Kart that take players on a journey and makes them feel like they really are hurtling through a place in the Mario universe, which is exactly what Delfino Square brings with its addition to Mario Kart Wii.

Donut Plains 3 

Original Platform: SNES (Super Mario Kart) 

Found On: Mario Kart 8 + Deluxe

Donut Plains 3 is not the most exciting track in the world. It doesn’t have any of the anti-gravity elements, the potential for tricks or glider air time as other titles in the Mario Kart 8 and Deluxe pool, however, there’s something unique and charming about this edition that we think really captures the essence and point of retro tracks in Mario Kart.

The course is so reimagined it basically works as a unique and original course in its own right, introducing new HD graphics and a vibrancy the original Super Nintendo system could never even dream of owning, whilst staying true to the original with plenty of references and homages to the course that helped start it all.

Airship Fortress 

Original Platform: DS (Mario Kart DS)

Found On: Mario Kart 7

Another track plucked straight from the greatest Mario Kart of them all, Airship Fortress is a course from the star cup in Mario Kart DS and comes in as the penultimate race in the lightning cup in Mario Kart 7.

What Mario Kart DS does so well is just how in touch all of the courses feel in the Mario universe, with homages to other levels and locations from other games in the Nintendo world. Airship Fortress embodies that better than most, paying homage to the classic airship auto-scroller levels from Super Mario Bros. 3.

Mario Kart

Daisy Cruiser

Original Platform: GameCube (Nintendo GameCube) 

Found On: Mario Kart 7

Daisy Cruiser was the face of Mario Kart Double Dash!! Back on the Nintendo GameCube. The best track from an admittedly lacklustre collection of courses, Daisy Cruiser is an absolute standout course, taking place on the deck of a luxury cruiseliner out on the ocean floor and seeing players drive through the decks, dining and the engine rooms.

Mario Kart 7 brings Daisy Cruiser back to the Mario Kart series and it does a wonderful job in utilising the new mechanics from the game to this classic track. The underwater driving is great for the hot tub and there’s something about driving around these classic decks on a handheld that feels so much better.