Mario Kart 64 – “Dream Racing” (Prozax)February 14, 2010
“Rainbow Road” is my favorite song from Mario Kart 64 (1997), and Prozax’s “Dream Racing” (2001) is my favorite version of it (at least out of all the ones I’ve heard). I picked this one as I just spent half the day driving back from the pop culture conference in Albuquerque – which went fantastic – though I think the trip down to ABQ fit more with this song than the trip back, as there was plenty of fog – if you went over Raton Pass about noon on Tuesday, you would have seen a HUGE low cloud made brilliant white with the sun shining behind it – literally felt like the highway to heaven.
“Rainbow Road” was originally composed by Kenta Nagata (1080 Snowboarding, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) and it is from the final racetrack in the game. Rainbow Road is in outer space (and here I’m wondering if there are any Super Mario Galaxy connections…) with a Bifrost-esque rainbow road that loops past constellations of Mario characters. The entire racecourse has a mystical feel to it that I enjoyed and was the type of Nintendo magic that really impressed me as a kid. The song is also very long, and takes an average of about four minutes to perform one loop, so the 2:20 long track fits well with the length.
“Dream Racing” is a soft rock guitar-driven version of the original, and I think it’s much better than the other mixes due to this simplicity, though this makes it kind of a straightforward remix from the early 2000s. The track opens with a strong guitar lead, not bothering to construct a build-up of the tune and proceeds to play the theme three times with variations. Each variation is separated by guitar solos (1:17 and 2:20) that effortlessly play off the notes of the melody and weave fluidly back into the main theme. The long, high guitar notes coupled with the bells give the piece a great dreamlike feel of flying through outer space.
The course Rainbow Road has appeared in practically every Mario Kart game, and even found its way into the F-Zero series. (The N64 version was MUCH easier though as they actually put railings on the sides!) The original version of “Rainbow Road” the song was divided into two 1:10 sections, the second a variation of the first theme. The first plays the tune with the classic Mario instrument set of midi pipes while the second uses a midi guitar. Flourishes of tinkling bells and whistling add to the mystic feel (and hey, what could be more mystic about a rainbow road in outer space? That and I just really dig space levels like this).
“Dream Racing” is another OCRemoved track, and this version is the original one from OCR. Prozax (“Daniel Orosz”) doesn’t have much of a homepage anymore (in fact, he forgot to pay for it so now it’s nonexistent) and so OCRemoved is the best place to find his work (unless you want to brave VGMix).