Game music of the day: The ending of Mario Kart 64

Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.

June 7, 2010

Game: Mario Kart 64

Song: Victory Lap

Composer: Kenta Nagata

Above: Victory Lap from Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart is synonymous with many things. Multiplayer, rubber band AI, blue shell cheating, intensely creative track design... it's a long list. But I'd bet no one thinks "uplifting credits music" when someone talks about Mario Kart 64. Time we change that, then.

"Victory Lap" plays during the game's final, final credits. Not beating it once, but beating it once and then again through all the backwards courses. Once you've utterly defeated these challenges, you're treated to a fly-by of the game's courses, set to this uncharacteristically poignant piece of music. Somehow, it finds a way to make zipping around chocolate-covered race tracks feel important.

Above is the tune from MK64's version of Rainbow Road, a track that's become a staple for the series. In fact, this song in particular has been used in other versions of Rainbow Road, making it part of the recurring theme as well. And like Victory Lap, it's a bit more serious and thoughtful than the other, bouncier Kart songs.

You can actually buy one of two Mario Kart 64 soundtracks, assuming you can find 'em. There's Greatest Hits, which was initially found in game stores around 1997, and the complete Race Tracks album. I know you internet savvy folks will find your OWN way, but just remember you can always show support by actually paying for the music. Game music composer is a nearly thankless job, so throw 'em a bone!


Game music of the day: Xenogears
Balto by Yasunori Mitsuda


Game music of the day: Wizards & Warriors
Title screen by David Wise


Game music of the day: Loaded
Dancey techno tracks from Biggin and Phelan


  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - September 9, 2010 12:06 p.m.

    All the song versions from Rainbow Road are too good. Each one of them has had an effect on me and I will remember them forever
  • secretsearcher - June 22, 2010 12:05 p.m.

    ahhhhh Mario Kart 64. My very first game. No Joke :) Brings back a lot of memories. And believe it or not, I actually know how to play Rainbow Road on the piano. For some reason I find this hilarious :) reCaptch: smuggler fuse that's a bad combination...
  • AuthorityFigure - June 9, 2010 2:47 a.m.

    @Imgema You're right except for one thing: MarioKart DS started the forgettableness. RE: patriot suspicion Shame I'm not from Arizona...
  • gatornation1254 - June 8, 2010 6:54 p.m.

    That ending is absolutely epic! I actually just got back from Florida where they had pulled out their old N64 and guess which game we played? Mario Kart 64!
  • shopping88 - June 8, 2010 1:56 p.m.

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  • BigBoss - June 8, 2010 1:11 p.m.

    Fantastic choice. I think you should get some Street Fighter 3 music going.
  • shopping88 - June 8, 2010 1:01 p.m.

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  • philipshaw - June 8, 2010 10:59 a.m.

    I remember this music after me and my cousin spent a whole day beating those backward tracks,it was as you said so uplifting and like we had achieved something so great that we couldn't match. Talking of the other track "Rainbow Road",where is the YouTube video of the guy singing about rainbow road?
  • Spybreak8 - June 8, 2010 8:39 a.m.

    Awesome, I still remember just sitting there watching the camera fly around the tracks and listening to that tune. Ahh this brings up some nostalgia feelings and the oh man Nintendo killed Mario Kart for me feelings too. :/
  • phoenix_wings - June 8, 2010 4:08 a.m.

    Mario Kart 64 is definitely my favourite MK. Playing it again just doesn't feel right. I guess the nostalgia is what gets you. *cries a little*
  • Crabhand - June 8, 2010 3:57 a.m.

    Wow, I can hardly believe over a decade has passed since my days of playing Mario Kart 64. Hearing the end credits song again is... intense.
  • michaelmcc827 - June 8, 2010 3:54 a.m.

    Reminds me of that song you guys played in tdar with the guy...getting crowned king or some stupid shit, ah I can't remember...
  • Tenfey - June 8, 2010 1:10 a.m.

    This reminds me of how much fun I had playing this game with 3 of my friends in middle school. I find it terribly depressing that I will never get that feeling again. Sorry to bring down your article with my musings.
  • goochbiscuit - June 8, 2010 1:03 a.m.

    Played this with my girlfriend the other day and it is still awesome. I love the music too, nice choice. recaptcha - world affirmed
  • RonaldRayGun - June 8, 2010 12:54 a.m.

    I love this
  • DrillurSimpson - June 7, 2010 11:51 p.m.

    Good stuff. I remember beating my whole family in this game :D
  • WonsAuto - June 7, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    @elpurplemonkey -- You unlock the mirror tracks by beating all of the cups at 150cc, IIRC.
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 7, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    It's so peaceful and calming. The OCRemix doesn't deviate but refines the core music; I absolutely love it.
  • BlackElement17 - June 7, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    Game music is fun
  • elpurplemonkey - June 7, 2010 9:04 p.m.

    The Rainbow Road track brings back great memories. Never actually heard the final, final credits song before though. Also, there were backwards tracks? I guess I really sucked at Mario Kart 64 when I was 10.

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