|Diddy Kong Racing|
|Release dates|| November 21, 1997 (JP)|
November 14, 1997 (NA)
November 21, 1997 (PAL)
|Modes||Single player, Multiplayer|
|Media||240 MB (30 MB) Nintendo 64 cartridge|
Diddy Kong Racing is a racing game for the Nintendo 64 developed by Rareware. It was released in 1997. 800,000 copies were ordered in the two weeks before Christmas 1997, making it the fastest selling video game at the time, according to the Guinness Book of Records. An enhanced remake/sequel of this game for the Nintendo DS titled Diddy Kong Racing DS was released February 6, 2007.
A karting game like Mario Kart 64, DKR also has a distinctive adventure mode. The game features characters from Rare games, some of which had yet to be released at the time of this game's release. Diddy Kong Racing was partially intended to introduce some of Rare's future franchise characters so that gamers would recognize them when they appeared in other titles later on. For example, Banjo as well as Conker appeared in this game, but would not appear in their own franchise games until Banjo-Kazooie and Conker's Pocket Tales were released.
In Diddy Kong Racing, a player can choose to drive a car, hovercraft, or airplane. However, certain levels have restrictions. For example, in the course "Hot Top Volcano", a player can use an airplane or a hovercraft, but not a car.
An evil, intergalactic, pig wizard named Wizpig arrived at peaceful Timber's Island and attempted to take over. The only recourse available to the island's inhabitants was to defeat Wizpig in an elaborate race that involved cars, hovercraft, and airplanes. Drumstick, the best racer on the island, failed this challenge and was transformed into a frog by Wizpig's black magic. Other creatures on the island, including Diddy Kong, eventually challenged Wizpig to a race and defeated him. Shortly afterwards, Wizpig left for his home planet, Future Fun Land. Fearing that Wizpig would again attempt to invade Timber's Island, the islanders traveled to Future Fun Land for a second challenge. When Wizpig loses the second race, the rocket he rides on malfunctions and blasts him to the moon.
The playable characters who reappear in other games are:
- Diddy Kong the main character and spider monkey from the Donkey Kong Country series. His abilities are all equal, and he has no advantages nor disadvantages.
- Banjo the honey bear from the Banjo-Kazooie series. He has low acceleration and high top speed, and is the second fastest racer that is initially available, although he cannot turn very well. This is the first appearance of Banjo in any game, before the creation of even the Banjo-Kazooie series (this is due to delays in that game's release date). Banjo's partner, Kazooie is not seen in this game, but she is mentioned in the instruction manual and can also be heard yelling after banjo's vehicle collides with an object.
- Conker the Squirrel is the red squirrel from Conker's Pocket Tales. Conker wears a blue vest with a yellow cape, and blue and yellow sneakers. He has a low acceleration and a high top speed, but his turning is slightly below average. Conker is much more innocent in this game than he is in his later games, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Conker: Live & Reloaded.
- Tiptup the Turtle has a high acceleration, a low top speed, and good handling. He also makes cameo appearances in the games Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie.
- Krunch the Kremling is a Kritter-like Kremling who ends up wrapped up in the effort to kick Wizpig off the island. His clothing style was carried over to several of these enemies in Donkey Kong 64 (released in 1999). He has the worst acceleration and the worst handling, but has a very high top speed and is the 3rd fastest racer.
The other playable characters are:
- Bumper the Badger the black male badger. He has a high acceleration, an average top speed, he turns fairly well and is arguably one of the better all-around choices.
- Timber the Tiger the orange and black-striped male tiger. He has a low acceleration and a slightly above average top speed, but his turning is slightly below average. His parents leave on vacation and leave him to watch Timber Island. Wizpig invades and Timber gets all his friends to help him out.
- Pipsy the Mouse has a high acceleration, and a low top speed, but she is easy to handle for beginners and professionals alike. In this version of the game, she is the only female character, and in the Nintendo DS remake, Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong are the two additional females that replaced Banjo and Conker.
- Drumstick the Rooster is one of the greatest racers on Timber's Island. After Wizpig invaded the island, Drumstick was the first to confront him and was subsequently turned into a frog by a magic spell. Drumstick is a hidden character unlocked by running over a frog with a red crest on its head after getting 4 gold trophies, and 39 gold balloons. He has a low acceleration, has average turning, and is the 2nd fastest character, and the fastest in the plane.
- T.T. is a living stopwatch who helped organize Time Trials. If players beat his records on every track, he becomes a playable character. He has the best acceleration, great handling, and is the fastest character in the car and hovercraft, and second fastest in the plane.
There are also non-playables:
- Tricky the Triceratops is the boss of Dino Domain. A styracosaurus called Prince Tricky appears in Star Fox Adventures. Even though they share the name and they are the same character, their ages are different.
- Bluey the Walrus is the boss of Snowflake Mountain.
- Bubbler the Octopus is the boss of Sherbert Island.
- Smokey the Dragon is the boss of Dragon Forest.
- Taj the Genie is an ally character who changes the vehicle in which the player travels around the island.
- Wizpig is the main antagonist of the series.
None of these characters have appeared in any other Rare or Nintendo games to date, (except for the remake/sequel, Diddy Kong Racing DS) although Taj appears the cancelled GameCube game, Donkey Kong Racing as seen in the trailer. The game was aborted when Rare was acquired by Microsoft in 2002, although it is rumored that it reappeared as an Xbox title called Sabreman Stampede. A portable sequel to the franchise, Diddy Kong Pilot, was also in development, which would have seen the return of a Kritter resembling Krunch. It too was redesigned following Rare's buyout as Banjo-Pilot, which stars Banjo-Kazooie characters and is possibly an indirect sequel to Diddy Kong Racing. Taj and Wizpig appear in the DS remake/sequel as playable characters, as well as in their normal roles.
There are several battle stages, each of which must be unlocked by obtaining a hidden key from each world:
- Dino Domain: Fire Mountain - The objective is to hatch three dinosaur eggs. Players take eggs from the volcano in the center of the arena to their nest, which is identified by a picture of their character. When an egg is dropped in a nest, it will eventually hatch. Unhatched eggs in other player's nests can be stolen. As such, players have to defend their nests as well. The hidden key is in Ancient Lake.
- Snowflake Mountain: Icicle Pyramid - The objective is to survive. Collecting red balloons will give the player missiles, which can be shot at opponents. Each player gets eight bananas, and each shot takes two away; players are knocked out when they lose all 8, with the last remaining player the winner. There are also yellow balloons, which provide a shield, as well as the green balloons which drop obstacles that will also take away 2 bananas if hit. The hidden key is in Snowball Valley.
- Sherbet Island: Darkwater Beach - The same objective as Icicle Pyramid, but on the water and small areas of land. The hidden key is in Crescent Island.
- Dragon Forest: Smokey Castle - Similar to Fire Mountain, players must take bananas to their chest, which is identified by a picture of their character. Players can only carry 2 bananas at a time, and must put them into the chest by passing near it. Players can steal bananas from their adversaries by shooting them, but they can be shot too. Once bananas have been placed on a chest, they cannot be stolen. The hidden key is in Boulder Canyon. To get the key, you must ring the bell to slope up the bridge, and you'll make it if you're fast enough.
- Future Fun Land does not have a battle stage, but evidence of a key hideout in Spaceport Alpha indicates there might have been a key in development.
If the player beats Wizpig in Future Fun Land and obtains the amulet pieces and gets all of the gold medals, the player will be able to play in a mode called Adventure 2. In this mode, all of the balloons are silver and the tracks are mirrored, meaning that they are flipped from left to right. The silver coins are in different locations in each track. The silver coins are also extremely easy to find throughout all of the courses.
There are three different vehicles in the game. The car and/or plane are not used for some tracks.
- Car - The Car is the standard vehicle of the game. You can powerslide by holding the R Button. You will spin out if you hold the R Button too long, touch an oil slick, or get touched by an opponent with invincibility. It is the slowest vehicle to get around in the water. The only Zipper for the Car is the Pointed Zipper. Where available, the Car is the default vehicle on most tracks. The Car cannot be used in a completely aquatic level or on tracks that are unsuitable for the vehicle.
- Hover - The Hover is a vehicle that has a blower in the rear end, and looks like it's inflatable. You can hop by pressing the R Button. If you hold R down, you will be able to make sharper turns while maintaining a high speed. You can also turn different directions without accelerating. The Zipper for water This vehicle is basically used for in the water that has the Arc-Shaped Zipper. The Hover is available in every track. Whale Bay, Pirate Lagoon, and Boulder Canyon are the Hover-Only tracks.
- Plane - The Plane is used to fly. Tilt the Control Stick down to ascend. Tilt the Control Stick up to descend. Press the R Button repeatedly to flip when you're going straight. Press the R Button repeatedly to roll when you are turning left or right. On some tracks, the Plane is the default vehicle, e.g. Hot Top Volcano, Everfrost Peak, Windmill Plains. The Plane cannot be used on tracks that exclude the Octagon Zipper. The Plane is the fastest vehicle in the game.
There are three types of Zippers that appear on different tracks. You will boost when you touch them.
- Pointed Zipper - This is the standard Zipper of the game. It is on the ground. Any vehicle can be used on this Zipper.
- Octagon Zipper - This Zipper is off the ground. Only the Hover and Plane can be used for this Zipper. This Zipper is also used to straighten your direction, and you will turn around when you hit this Zipper if you go the wrong way.
- Arc-Shaped Zipper - This Zipper only appears on Hover-Only tracks. This Zipper is also used to straighten your direction, and you will turn around when you hit this Zipper if you go the wrong way. In the Thunder Cove race from the remake, this zipper appears and it's not a Hover-Only Track.
Throughout the courses, players can find balloons. There are five different kinds of balloons, each containing different weapons or items. When a balloon is collected, the item can be used immediately, or the player can wait for another balloon with the same color. When they pick up a second balloon of the same color, the item will be upgraded. A third balloon of the same color will upgrade the item to its maximum level (with the exception of the battle stages which allow only the 2nd upgrade; subsequent balloons will do nothing, in some courses with the green balloon only the 2nd upgrade mine will appear). If the player picks up a different colored balloon before they use the one they have the item is lost and begins at the first level of the new color. Below is a listing of items and the upgrades.
- Red Balloons: Missiles - These are offensive weapons that can be shot at opponents. The 2nd upgrade gives the player a homing missile, and the third upgrade gives 10 regular missiles that can be replenished with one balloon if not all used up.
- Green Balloons: Dropper- Obstacles that can be dropped behind the player to obstruct opponents. The default green balloon is an oil slick (or cloud of green dust in the air), the 2nd upgrade is a spiked mine, and the third is a bubble which will stop the player for several seconds.
- Blue Balloons: Speed Boost - These give the player a speed boost just like a Zipper. Upgrades simply give the boost more power. Using these balloons without holding the acceleration button also increases the effectiveness of these balloons. The first upgrade is the Boost, the second upgrade is the Fast Boost, and the third upgrade is the Super-Fast Boost.
- Yellow Balloons: Shield - These will give the player shields to protect them from missiles or droppers. Upgrades make the shield last longer. The shield can cause another driver to spin if he/she comes in contact with the shield.
- Rainbow Balloons: Special - A magnet attack, which will attract the player towards the targeted opponent or pull him back in the case of the third upgrade.
Diddy Kong Racing won the Console Racing Award at the 1998 Interactive Achievement Awards
Donkey Kong Racing was just entirely scrapped. It was to be reworked in Sabreman Stampede which, too, was scrapped.
In 2007, Nintendo released an enhanced port/sequel of Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo DS, entitled Diddy Kong Racing DS.  Rareware, despite being acquired by rival Microsoft, worked on the remake.
- The Nintendo 64 version of the game is one of the few in which Diddy Kong appears on his own, without his Kong brethren.
- One track, Greenwood Village, appears as an unlockable track in the videogame Jet Force Gemini as part of the unlockable racing mode.
- Banjo the Bear would appear in the game as a racer before moving on to star in his own Rare titles Banjo-Kazooie and its two sequels Banjo Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, Banjo-Tooie and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. The same applied to Conker the Squirrel who later appeared in Conker's Pocket Tales, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Conker: Live & Reloaded, and later, Banjo was replaced by Tiny Kong and Conker was replaced by Dixie Kong in the Diddy Kong Racing sequel for the Nintendo DS.
- There are at least 21 Magic Codes for this game that can be entered at the options screen.
- In the Future Fun Land stage Star City there is a building with a Killer Instinct insignia on it; the game was produced by Rare.
- When the player faces Bluey the Walrus again, his voice sounds different.
- The tunes of Walrus Cove and Frosty Village are based on instrumental Christmas carols.