Almost everyone has heard of the chaotic racing game series known as Mario Kart. From the 6 titles, there are more than 100 courses to play and choose from. This list will include 10 of the best Mario Kart courses ever.
1. Waluigi Pinball
Waluigi Pinball is the third track of the Flower Cup in Mario Kart DS. It is the prequel to that game’s Wario Stadium and has the same music. The track takes place in a huge pinball stadium with a giant picture of Waluigi on the front of the sign.
The race begins in a dim tunnel with an indigo, metal floor. The gray walls are sparkling with green and yellow neon lights, and to the right, players can gigantic metallic spheres lined up through a tinted window, So, even though the luminescent MARIO KART sign marks it as a starting line for a racecourse, this is really a chute for balls to enter a massive pinball stadium.
A Dash Panel propels players into a cannon (meant for pinballs), with flashing streams of light everywhere; the speed is amazing, able to outrun Spiny Shells if you enter it at a certain point, and at least delay a Red Shell attack.
Exiting the launcher lets players on to a gray catwalk, lined with red barriers. Directly ahead, a huge, lighted sign displays the course’s name with many bright colors, and outlying the track is some yellow railing, which the spheres come from. The track starts curving left, with the first row of Item Boxes along the way. The outer edge doesn’t offer any Items, but instead a multitude of Boosters.
A ramp right underneath a Waluigi sign follows, sending players high up into the air and down onto a long, green platform. This is pretty much the coolest part of the track- the camera angles delivered, matched with brilliantly laid and sudden turns, creates an amazing rush of adrenaline in players. And it’s all mixed perfectly with the hulking pinballs, rolling along and stopping for no one (unless with a Star, though).
Experienced players love driving right behind them and watching other players get plowed to the side. The descending gangway is also lined with red walls and takes about an 80 degree left turn, with an immediate right hairpin following. These turns require master Drifting skills, but for those lacking, extensions to the catwalk lie on the brims. Still tilting to the right, another difficult U-turn comes up. Then, a grated gray platform with a Boost Pad equipped ramp shoots players over a ball drop off (but they’ll be back…) and onto the next section.
After pumping back down, the track ahead is a dull metallic driveway, with mesh wire and red bars bordering it. Along the circumference of the drastic 270 degree right turn, the pinball railing can be seen carrying more doom to the track’s route. Players should be able to refill on Items at the loop, and afterward is a large dip in the platform.
Another railway overhead dumps more colossal pinballs on drivers’ heads, and then two simple left corners followed (compared to the other turns in Waluigi Pinball.) The road surface goes back to purple/blue like form the beginning, and then the glory of the course, the sublime pinball arena opens up in front of players. The balls meet their destination here, careening off of multiple huge bouncers and pins.
The dip from a while ago hangs over the entrance, and towering over the whole stadium is an enormous statue of Waluigi watching all the mayhem down below. Florescent lights, a slot machine, lights, and giant Waluigi Pinball billboard, and MORE lights make this a site to behold- and also to beware. 4 large, blue-glowing bumpers in the formation of square knock around players… and pinballs. Their trajectory is almost completely random. Hopes of getting through the center of the track, which has a wooden path lined with yellow, without getting hit are not to high. Not to mention, each lap supplies another ball the machine. For safety, players can opt to head around the bumpers along the turquoise floor, a longer way, yet less infested with pinballs. 4 Item boxes award players at the end of the straight and center path.
Next, another set of bumpers (to be exact four) lie ahead- differences if these include new pink color and rotation. They can actually be pretty hard to pass, and getting repeatedly slammed around isn’t uncommon. A regular blue one lies in the center, along with a patch of Items, and surrounding all of the circling bumpers in each of the corner is a stationary blue bumper. Orange arrows on the track point players to the exit, right underneath the jack pot machine. But, of course, humongous red pins strike out at players, trying to make sure no one escapes the machine with a green electric flash.
A few advertisement signs follow, and then a right left 90 back into the loser (in this case winner) tunnel. The floor is once more indigo, and electronic light blue arrows point players around another sharp left turn. After this, the cycle through the pinball machine begins again! This course belongs to Waluigi.
2. Maple Treeway
Maple Treeway is the third track of the Star Cup in Mario Kart Wii. It takes place in a large maple forest with a giant tree that resembles Gold Leaf Galaxy from Super Mario Galaxy. It is themed on maple leaves and maple trees. It is also based on Canada because it’s known for its maple trees.
A barrel cannon sends you into a giant tree through the autumn leaves. Two giant Wigglers make the tree their home on top making them the hazards. They block you as they walk around their new home. They don’t mean to get in the way, but running into them will bring you to a bouncy halt.
The place is also surrounded with some leaf piles (like those from Super Mario Galaxy). Most of them contain a Banana Peel, a Mushroom, or even a Star. There is also a bouncing net over a lake that can make them preform tricks such as the ramps do. Maple Treeway is the longest course of the whole Nitro Cups.
Maple Treeway reappears in Mario Kart 7 as the final course of the Leaf Cup. The bushes now also hide Green Shells and Coins, while the trampoline-bridge near the end is replaced with a Glider segment.
3. DK Mountain
DK Mountain is the fourth and final race track of the Star Cup in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and the third track of the Lightning Cup in Mario Kart Wii. The course takes place along two volcanoes in the middle of the jungle. The center of the track is a giant Barrel Cannon that shoots racers to the upper part of an active volcano. The course itself is complex, containing several curly paths, dangerous, tight turns and an uneven ground where drifting is difficult to control.
All players start the race in the jungle. As they start the race, the players go to the base of an inactive volcano and take a curved path surrounded by the crater of this volcano. Racers are soon fired at 195 MPH / KM/H by the DK Cannon, onto an active volcano. While airborne, racers are invulnerable to items. After landing near the top of the mountain, drivers now have to drive downhill on rugged terrain.
Almost at the base of the active volcano, racers happen on a road prone to falling boulders. Reentering the jungle, players take a zigzagging path where more boulders roll down hills. During the first turn, racers should avoid falling off the cliff while swerving around. A second turn surrounds a deep ravine where players may fall. Lastly, the third tight turn leads racers to a swaying, windy rope bridge high above a deep canyon. This leads racers to the finish line.
The course has one shortcut during the descent of the zigzagging portion. Just after the first tight curve, players can instantly jump across the ravine to reach the other end of the second turn. This saves them a few seconds in the race. DK Mountain is in the background of Baby Park and Dino Dino Jungle.
4. Coconut Mall
Coconut Mall is the second course of the Flower Cup in Mario Kart Wii. It is set in a shopping center, located on Isle Delfino (according to the Official Mario Kart Wii Game Guide published by Prima), but clearly next to a beach.
The race takes place in a mall set in a beach setting. The first parts of this course are very straight, but it starts with two escalators going in opposite directions, and every fifty seconds they change directions.
The Pianta nearby will point to the escalator the player would want to go through, which is in this case, upwards. After that, the player may choose to go through three paths. One of them descends into a lower level via an escalator that always goes downwards while the other two stay on the current level.
After the first turn, there is a fountain and another set of escalators, much like the beginning of the race. The player then needs to go up a passageway into another room with more fountains and some boost pads.
After that, there is another room and a turn to the exit of the mall and into the parking lot. Cars with the player’s Miis driving them will move back and forth in the parking lot, which the player must avoid. If players hit these then they will be knocked back. After a final right turn the player will cross the start/finish line, starting another lap.
5. Yoshi Valley
Yoshi Valley is a race track in Mario Kart 64, and the second course of the Special Cup of that game. It takes place over a canyon and there are many twists and turns. The map modes that show the player icons making circuits around the screen relative to their positions seem to work fine; however, the maze is so complicated that determining the racers’ current positions is impossible, so the players’ mugshots will just be replaced with question marks. Their position will only be revealed at the end of the race.
There are also several Porcupines that can disable turning and slow racers down for 1.5 seconds. Near the end of the course, there is a giant rotating Yoshi Egg that can easily flatten any player to disable their movement for about five seconds. The track uses the same music from Moo Moo Farm. It returns in Mario Kart 8 as both a retro track and a playable Battle Stage, and in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe just as a retro track.
Due to the unique design of the course, there are many different routes that can be taken from the beginning of the maze to the end. The maze begins after a right turn over a bridge shortly after the starting line, and the end is where the Bridge Route connects to the Main Route, after which is a left hairpin turn that then leads to the spinning Yoshi Egg, after which is a long narrow bridge that brings the racers to the grassy field with the finish line.
The Main Route can be accessed by going either direction at the start of the maze, if the player took a left then the main route will be to the right of the Narrow Route and if the right was taken then the next two lefts must be taken to the Main Route. The Main Route begins in an underpass under the Long Route and a small jump, where there will be a group of Porcupines and then a right turn to the end of the maze.
The Bridge Route is located to the right of the Main Route and is found by taking the first right and then a left and the Bridge Route will be straight ahead, alternatively the player could also drive towards the Main Route and then hang a right just before passing under the Long Route. The Bridge Route passes under both the Long Route and the final stretch of road, the gap between being connected by a small narrow bridge, afterwards is a horde of Porcupines on a steep left turn, which then leads to the end of the maze after a short drop.
This route can be reached by taking the first two right turns, where the road will make a sharp right turn and a somewhat straight path that passes over both the Main and Bridge Routes. After the Narrow Route joins up to this path there is a comparatively wide right turn that leads to a small drop to the Main Route shortly before the end of the Bridge Route.
The Narrow Route is found by taking the first two lefts from the beginning of the maze, and joins up with the end of the Long Route. This route can be risky due to how narrow it is and the long fall if racers don’t successfully stay on the road, especially if two racers attempt to take this path at the same time.
6. Airship Fortress
Airship Fortress is the fourth and final course of the Star Cup in Mario Kart DS. The course takes place both on a floating fortress in disrepair and on an airship. The course is inspired by the environment of boss levels seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Other airships can be seen flying away in the sky.
The most notable feature in the course is the Pipe Cannon that shoots racers out to the fortress through the air. Furthermore, the track includes obstacles such as Bullet Bills, Rocky Wrenches and more. Missions 6-2 and 7-7 take place in this course.
The track starts with a straightaway, where a barrage of Bullet Bills are shot from a Pipe Cannon of the airship and causes players to flip over. Passing this section of the track, players turn left with a right turn shortly after and get a boost by running over a Dash Panel, entering the deck of the airship.
On the deck of the ship, racers must dodge Rocky Wrenches that pop out from their trenches, hitting racers who drive over them. Proceeding inside the airship, players take a tight left turn and reach the cellar where some crates are spread throughout the room that may contain a Mushroom or a Banana Peel if they break the crate. The next room to follow includes burners moving side to side that causes players to spin out if they touch the fire.
Players exit the airship by being launched by the airship’s Cannon Pipe with a dash panel, similar to DK Mountain, aimed at a hole in the fortress tower. Following the corkscrew inside the tower, there’s one last turn to finish the race. Just before the last turn, players can knock other racers off the course.
7. Koopa Cape
Koopa Cape is the second racecourse of the Star Cup in Mario Kart Wii and the first course of the Lightning Cup in Mario Kart 7. The course takes place on an isle of sort, where racers begin the race near to a cliff. The isle in this course also contains a river cutting through a forest and an underwater tunnel for racers to dive into, with a Warp Pipe at both ends. This course is owned by Koopa Troopa, as signs of him and the name of the course itself reveal.
According to tiny advertising signs on the island, Koopa Cape seems to be located on Shell Island. In the beginning of the course, there is a Dash Panel that will launch the racer to a cliff area, where the racer has to avoid the Goombas walking around. After a sharp turn, the racer will arrive at a river that is rushing forward. This river acts as a pathway for the player and also provides a small speed boost.
At the end of the river, there is a waterfall that the player must drive down. Afterwards, the racer will enter a pipe with a glass tunnel inside. The river continues here, and the player has to drive to the Dash Panel ramp at the end of the pipe while avoiding Koopa Zappers. After the ramp, the racer will find a half-pipe and a water current that tries to push the racer off the cliff. The starting/finish line is located past this area. In Mario Kart Wii, the Koopa head at the start of the small cave is replaced by a random Mii head when there is a Mii in the race.
The music for Koopa Cape comes in four versions in this game alone. The cliff part of the course has a Tropical-sounding tone, the brook part has Country-styled remix, and the submerged glass tunnel part is ambient-sounding. A fourth version is played alongside the cliff and brook parts. The second version of the song was not used in Mario Kart 7.
8. Bowser’s Castle
Bowser’s Castle is the last race course in Mario Kart 64 on the Star Cup. It features several Thwomps that try to block drivers from getting to further areas. Near the beginning of the course, there is an imprisoned Thwomp tinted green with yellow teeth due to the lighting, who will shake and laugh if the player goes near it. The laugh can also be heard by the normal Thwomps throughout the course.
In further corridors there are pictures of Bowser and large stone statues that shoot flames from their mouths, but they are harmless. At the end of the track racers will race on the roof of the castle. On the last lap, or when the player gets too close to the Bowser statue at the start of the track, Bowser’s famed laugh plays. Thwomps are the main obstacle in this course.
Most of them will move around the room and try to crush the racers and some slide across the room. The Thwomps’ laugh in the N64 version is the same as Wario’s, only pitched down. Because Wario’s voice changed for the international release, the Thwomps’ voices changed with it.
9. Rainbow Road
Rainbow Road is the final course of the Special Cup featured in all Mario Kart games and is the climactic course of each game it appears. As the name suggests, these tracks are made of rainbow-colored glass or metallic surfaces that are either one color or change their color as racers pass by them, depending on the game they appear in. Most of them are transparent throughout the Mario Kart series.
They typically appear floating in deep space or atmosphere, although the one in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and the remade N64 Rainbow Road and SNES Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 8 hang suspended in a starry night sky above a landscape. Most contain few or no railings, putting racers at risk of falling into space, and each Rainbow Road also contains its unique hazards.
Due to these obstacles, Rainbow Road is among the difficult courses in each Mario Kart game. Starting in Mario Kart 7, some of the Rainbow Road courses have some sections of the race track that are not rainbow-colored. Rainbow Road is also usually a long track when compared to other tracks. Outside the Mario Kart series, Rainbow Road has also made some appearances in other games.
10. Wario Colosseum
Wario Colosseum, as the name implies, is a raceway based on The Colosseum, that belongs to Wario. It is raced first in the Special Cup of Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. It is the longest course in the game, having it reduced to two laps in Grand Prix mode and in the “Recommended” option of laps in VS mode; it is one of the only two courses in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!to not, by default, have three laps, with the other being Baby Park with seven laps.
A gold “W” in a red background appears on the track immediately after the long ramp, as well as a picture of Wario above the downhill section and a sign that says “Wario Kart” can be seen at the beginning of the course. Outside of the Colosseum, Mushroom City can be seen in the distance. This course shares its background music with Waluigi Stadium.
The course first starts at a straight road, which leads to a curve to the left. Past that curve is a ramp with boost panels in it and an Item Box for use. After the ramp is a small, twisty road with an overhang that leads into another ramp, with another Item Box in it. After the ramp is a curve to the left, which leads to a straight road with a set of Item Boxes.
After the Item Boxes is a large ramp with boost panels in it that leads the player into the dome-shaped area, that leads the player in a corkscrew for the next moment. Past the corkscrew curving to the right is a downhill road that turns left, leads into a straight road, and curves left again, that leads into a hill with boost panels that sends the player flying.
Past the hill is a curve right that leads the player into a U-turn, and after the U-turn is a steep downhill road that makes the player fly instead of driving downwards. After the downhill road is a set of item boxes in a curve to the right.
Past the curve is a huge dome arena that the player can have a choice of taking two paths. One is the ramp in the middle, that leads the player flying across a pit underneath them. This way is quicker than the way around the pit, but more dangerous as the player is prone to falling off if not angled correctly. The other path, which leads the player around the pit, is safer, but a longer route. It is the route that the AI prefers, as they never take the ramp in the center.
After that giant pit is a ascent of the road that leads into a 90 degree turn left, underneath an overhang. The road underneath the overhang slightly curves to the right. After the over hang, the road still curves to the right, until it is straight again and then, leads to a ramp with boost panels in it and the last set of Item Boxes. After the ramp is a curve to the right, which leads into the straight road into the finish line for the start of the second and final lap.