Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is on the verge of seeing a fresh batch of DLC gravitate towards its growing catalog of courses. With Nintendo announcing the Booster Course Pack, 48 tracks will soon flesh out the library, all of which will be ripped directly from previous entries in the Mario Kart franchise. At the time of writing, however, we've only been given the course names that come with the first wave of DLC. Besides that, it's really anybody's guess what comes next.
Anyway, announcing the Booster Pack gives us an incentive to talk about Mario Kart. Specifically, its many tracks that have both built friendships and fractured them over the last 20 years. But with 170 courses making up an entire portfolio, the question we're left to answer is which of them made the biggest impression? Rainbow Road, sure—but what else? What tracks have lodged themselves deep within our core memories? Well, here's how we see it.
8. Mushroom Gorge (Mario Kart Wii)
You know, it's sort of hard to forget the alluring mushrooms that beckon for you to steer off-road and plummet into an endless abyss. With thanks to Mushroom Gorge, we've had to relive that memory time and time again—and it never gets any easier. And yet, the course itself still stands as one of the most memorable, mainly down to that reason alone. Bouncing from mushroom to mushroom while trying to bash another driver into the void makes up for some simply yet effective entertainment. Call it what you will, but Mushroom Gorge is fun in its own sort of way.
7. Waluigi Pinball (Mario Kart DS)
Being able to blitz through a pinball machine as a mushroom-headed child is a recipe for success, in our books. Love it or hate it—Waluigi Pinball is a timeless classic that has been rebuilt time and time again for multiple platforms. However, it's the original DS chapter that poured life and soul into developing its creation, which is why we're inclined to give it the full marks. It's fast, vibrant, and ridiculously entertaining beyond belief. We'll leave it at that.
6. Cheese Land (Mario Kart 8)
Because, you know, why not? It can only be a Mario Kart course, right? Having an entire world made up of cheesy obstacles and yellowy potholes seems rather fitting for such a series, in all fairness. And besides the obvious fact that it is just a world of cheese—Cheese Land is, funnily enough, a pretty solid track to compete on. Of course, it's an eyesore for those that wouldn't dare touch a slice of cheddar with a barge pole—but it's a real delight for everyone else. Most of the time, anyway.
5. Electrodome (Mario Kart 8)
Because who doesn't love defying gravity, right? What better way to compete with a friend than to have them fumbling around for the sweet taste of asphalt while spiraling out of control forty feet in the air? Thanks to Electrodome, Mario Kart 8′s unhinged spin on a 70s-themed disco, racers could party through waves of glitz and glamour on a hell-bent mission for success. Boasting a non-stop rave for all ages, the electrifying course made its mark as one of the best in the series.
4. Coconut Mall (Mario Kart Wii)
Of course, every track needs a USP. And in this case, Coconut Mall's hyperactive escalators are what drives it straight into the upper leagues of classic Mario Kart levels. And then, you know, there's the mall itself, which is anything but vanilla. All in all, the hustle and bustle of the jam-packed mall is a real highlight in the series. It's also a place where you can pull off a thread of gravity-defying tricks, providing you're able to dig out the secret spots, of course.
3. Bowser's Castle (Nintendo 64)
Bowser's Castle has been a running tradition ever since the series found its feet way back when. As a staple course filled to the brim with noteworthy features, Nintendo has gone above and beyond to include it wherever possible. And it makes sense, given the fact that the course is made up of death-defying feats. Pitfalls, lava, you name it. Bowser's Castle is threatening for all the right reasons—and we love it.
2. Baby Park (Mario Kart: Double Dash)
We can go on and on about the endless slew of complex courses Mario Kart has tapped into over the years, though we'd still feel as if we were missing something. Specifically, Baby Park. Although one of the most basic designs in the entire franchise, many would argue that it has been the grounds for dividing the strong from the weak for years. Sure, it's simple to navigate—but it is oddly difficult to master. Having all the gadgets and gizmos from the surrounding theme park aren't much help, either. So there's that.
1. Rainbow Road (All)
Yes, it's Rainbow Road, Nintendo's go-to course for every iteration of the Mario Kart series. Has it changed much over the last 20 years? Sure. But that's exactly why Nintendo make the return trip. It's a timeless classic that can be altered in any way shape or form. So long as it possesses a rainbow of some sort, as well as a barrel of unforgiving twists and turns—then it is fit to run alongside its siblings. But as far as the best track goes, I mean, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn't one to ignore.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.