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Mario Kart 64 Original Soundtrack (Japan) :: Review by Jon Turner

Mario Kart 64 Original Soundtrack (Japan) Album Title: Mario Kart 64 Original Soundtrack (Japan)
Record Label: Pony Canyon
Catalog No.: PCCG-00419
Release Date: September 19, 1997
Purchase: Buy at eBay


This is the third Mario Kart 64 CD, and it is certainly the best. The music itself, for those of you who don't know, may not be much, but it is certainly one of the more lively soundtracks written for the Nintendo 64. What we have here is a great selection of tunes that are energetic and electrifying, but softened up with humorous paths in between. Almost all the tracks are humorous, except for some which seem to sound unmusical like "Jungle" and "Castle", or heroic like "Rainbow." The composer, Kenta Nagata, deserves great credit for composing some of the most impressive music I have ever heard.

Many Mario Kart fans will recognize the same old tunes we heard in the game, but most surprisingly, one track, "Result #1 (Win)," is much longer than it was on the other Mario Kart CD, Mario Kart 64 Race Tracks (US), and in fact there is a new part heard in the theme featuring the piano. The producers managed to fix major problems that were on Race Tracks; best of all is that there is no dead space in between any tracks, sorting the biggest problem on the Race Tracks CD.

While these are great factors to cheer about, Mario Kart 64 fans will be surprised at the differences of the voices of Luigi, Toad (Kinopio in Japan), Wario, and Peach. The other voices are all the same, but Luigi, Toad, and Peach have different voices than in the American version; they sound high-pitched and twice as annoying. Wario, on the other hand, has a much deeper voice than in the American version, but some of the best lines he had on the Race Tracks CD have been changed completely. Instead of growling "I'm-a Wario! I'm-a gonna win-a!", he squawks lame lines such as "Oh, I missed!" and "Wario is gonna win!" This was rather surprising and unfortunate since I found the original voices outrageously funny (except for Peach's), but I guess it had to do with cultural differences.

One other bonus on the CD is one track that has sound effects. All of the sound effects sound the same, with the exception of the opening voice (Mario says "Welcome to Mario Kart!" in the American version, but in this one, it's a bunch of kids who shout excitedly "Mario Kart!") and the announcer (instead of Mario announcing the "Mario Grand Prix", it is a cool DJ-like voice that says through a vibrating microphone "Mario Grand Prix").

Don't pass up the opportunity to get this soundtrack if you wish to relive the Mario Kart 64 experience and have money to burn; it has lots of things that the other two CD releases didn't have, and it leaves them in the dust in comparison.

Overall Score: 8/10