Check out this awesome jazz-fusion cover of Mario Kart 64’s Royal Raceway

by Martin Watts, 11 June 2019

Dog Drive Mantis saxophonist performing a Mario Kart 64 jazz fusion cover

Even over 20 years later, Mario Kart 64 holds a special place in the heart of many a gamer.

This is especially the case for Dog Drive Mantis. They’re a jazz-fusion and prog-rock band, and they’ve produced a fantastic cover of Royal Raceway’s iconic soundtrack.

You can listen to their Mario Kart 64 jazz fusion cover in the YouTube video below:

Dog Drive Mantis’ cover extends beyond the race music itself. Everything in the video – even the sound effects – is created using instruments.

It’s a journey through all the music you’d hear when booting up the game to race around the track. The video starts with the title screen and menu music – the perfect warm up for the main event.

The Royal Raceway segment itself is varied. Whereas the first lap imitates the original score, lap two adopts a slower, reggae/samba-beat style.

Mario Kart 64 jazz fusion cover performance by Dog Drive Mantis

As per Mario Kart tradition, the tempo increases during the final lap. And the band even manages to slip in the classic Super Star music into the middle of all this.

It’s an excellent performance from start to finish. And the fact that the video features multiple projectors showing Mario Kart 64 is an extra nice touch.

The performance’s style is very reminiscent of Mario Kart 8 for Nintendo Wii U and Switch, which employs a similar sound.

Mario Kart 64 two-player Grand Prix mode on Nintendo 64

The original Mario Kart 64 N64 game released on a meagre 12MB cartridge. As a result, the sound is quality is comparatively low.

In fact, in multiplayer the music is disabled in order to boost technical performance.

Dog Drive Mantis’ Mario Kart 64 jazz fusion cover strikes the ideal balance between modern and nostalgic. It really does the original game justice.

Let’s just hope the band covers more N64 music in the near future!