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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'sGreatest Hits, which was initially found in game stores around 1997, and the completeRace Tracksalbum. 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

Title screen by David Wise

Dancey techno tracks from Biggin and Phelan