Diddy Kong Racing

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Diddy Kong Racing
Diddysracing.jpg
Developer(s) Rareware
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Nintendo 64
Release date USA November 14, 1997
Japan November 21, 1997
Europe November 21, 1997
Genre Racing
Rating(s)
ESRB:ESRB K-A.png - Kids to Adults
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer
Media
Nintendo 64:
Media N64 icon.png Cartridge
Input
Nintendo 64:

Diddy Kong Racing is a game for Nintendo 64. Like the Mario Kart series, Diddy Kong Racing is a racing game, but makes use of airplanes, hovercrafts, and cars; it is also the first game of the Donkey Kong Racing series. The game has a story mode, multiplayer modes, and a variety of characters (many from Rare series), such as Diddy Kong, Banjo, Tiptup, and Conker, but not Donkey Kong. The game was such a success that it earned a Player's Choice title and a remake for the Nintendo DS.

Story[edit]

Wizpig's face, carved into the mountains.

The story begins with Diddy Kong sitting on the porch of his tree house curiously opening a letter, as it wasn't often that a message arrived that was so far away that a carrier pigeon had to bring it to him. The note reads "Dear Diddy, Help!!!" It turns out that the message is from his old friend, Timber, the son of the Kong's guests, the Tigers. Diddy reads the note a few times and knows he has to help, though he isn't sure on whether he should or should not draft some extra help, since Wizpig, the villain he reads about in the letter, seems like a pretty mean foe. Finally, he decides that his friends, Banjo and Conker, would still enjoy an adventure, even if it turned out their services weren't needed. Diddy calls Squawks, his makeshift carrier pidgeon, and gives him the messages for his friends.

Diddy Kong is later at the beginning of his journey, tearing off at high speed through the jungle. A pair of Kremling spies lurking behind a boulder watch him with suspicion. The one Kremling, Krunch, suggests to go with Diddy, but the other Kremling rejects his suggestion and bolts into the undergrowth. Krunch, however, tags along with the young ape through the jungle.

Meanwhile, Timber is trying to calm the excitable Pipsy so that he can understand at least part of what she is saying. Pipsy angrily complains on how she had just seen Taj the Genie who said he'd help. Tiptup, confused, protests that Taj hasn't been seen in 50 years. Afterwards, the group thinks about the Wizpig face that was carved onto the mountainside overnight and the race courses that were magically sealed off. The group knows they need to get this mess sorted out before Timber's parents got back. Bumper then concludes the conversation by telling his friend that everybody needs to start practicing. Agreeing with Bumper, Timber and his friends leave, hoping that Diddy Kong doesn't mention the mess to his parents.

Diddy Kong in the first Wizpig race.

When the first four worlds are completed, the carving of Wizpig's head on the mountainside opens and allows the player to race Wizpig. After beating him, the playable characters have a party along the beach. However, Wizpig crashes the party and chases everyone around, destroying everything. Afterwards, a spaceship comes and takes him into space. The credits then roll, and a message comes up saying "The End?" If the player continues playing, the lighthouse on the beach turns into a rocket ship and takes them to Future Fun Land.

After the player completes all their tasks in that world and gets the whole T.T. Amulet, they can face Wizpig again, except this time in their airplane on a space themed stage. After winning, Wizpig's rocket short circuits and blasts him into an unknown planet that can possibly be the moon. Once again, the heroes of the Timber's Island celebrate their victory, except this time, without Wizpig in the way. The carving of Wizpig's head on the mountainside is also seen to be changed into a golden carving of Taj's head.

Right before the credits roll, one of Wizpig's spaceships appear and Wizpig is heard laughing, possibly meaning that he will make a return. As of now though, a sequel hasn't been made for Diddy Kong Racing.

Modes[edit]

Adventure Mode[edit]

The overworld for adventure mode.

Adventure mode is the main mode of the game. Here, the players must find a number of golden balloons to defeat Wizpig. In order to find them, they must win races. After the players win all the races in one of the five worlds, they will race a boss. If the players beats the boss they will be given the challenge of collecting eight coins in each course and then win. When the challenge is complete, the player will face the boss again. After beating the boss again, they will get a piece of the Wizpig Amulet, and the boss will tell them to try the Trophy Race.

Keys are also hidden in the first four worlds, and if found, the player can play special battles against CPUs or friends.

On a side note, a code exists, which enables two players to play. In boss races though, the two players take turns racing the boss.

Adventure Two Mode[edit]

Adventure Two is played the same as Adventure One, but harder. The balloons are silver, the tracks are flipped (very similar to Mirror Mode in the Mario Kart series), and the locations of the silver coins are different often in hard to reach places. It is unlocked by defeating Wizpig at Future Fun Land.

Tracks Mode[edit]

Players can freely play all the race tracks unlocked. They can also race T.T, unless he's already a playable character. Tracks with a Taj symbol are completed tracks, and players can choose any vehicle that is compatible with the track. Tracks with a Wizpig symbol have not been cleared, and players are restricted to the default vehicles for them.

Trophy Races and Battle Stages are also accessible through Tracks mode, however players will always use each track's default vehicle, regardless if a Taj symbol is present.

Stats[edit]

Diddy0.png
Diddy Kong
  • Weight group: Middle
  • Acceleration: 3/5
  • Turning: 3/5
  • Top Speed: 3/5

Tiptup2.png
Tiptup
  • Weight group: Light
  • Acceleration: 5/5
  • Turning: 4/5
  • Top Speed: 2/5

Pipsy0.png
Pipsy
  • Weight group: Light
  • Acceleration: 5/5
  • Turning: 5/5
  • Top Speed: 1/5

Bumper0.png
Bumper
  • Weight group: Middle
  • Acceleration: 4/5
  • Turning: 2/5
  • Top Speed: 3/5

Conker065.png
Conker
  • Weight group: Middle
  • Acceleration: 2/5
  • Turning: 2/5
  • Top Speed: 4/5

Timber.png
Timber
  • Weight group: Middle
  • Acceleration: 2/5
  • Turning: 2/5
  • Top Speed: 3/5

Banjo0.png
Banjo
  • Weight group: Heavy
  • Acceleration: 1/5
  • Turning: 2/5
  • Top Speed: 5/5

Krunch1.png
Krunch
  • Weight group: Heavy
  • Acceleration: 1/5
  • Turning: 1/5
  • Top Speed: 5/5

DrumstickDKRDS.png
Drumstick
  • Weight group: Heavy
  • Acceleration: 1/5
  • Turning: 3/5
  • Top Speed: 5/5

DKRDSTT.PNG
T.T.
  • Weight group: Middle
  • Acceleration: 5/5
  • Turning: 4/5
  • Top Speed: 5/5

Vehicles[edit]

There are three different vehicles:

  • Car- A simple to control vehicle that is used in many races.
  • Hovercraft- The hardest vehicle to control. They are shown to be very powerful and can ride through fire.
  • Plane- Planes are used the least often out of the vehicles. They are much easier to control if the player holds the R button while driving. They can also do stunts on these.

Vehicle Colors[edit]

Each character has different colored vehicles:

Areas[edit]

Key
The letter that's in bold represents the default vehicle for the track.


Timber's Island Areas
Dino Domain
# Track Balloon Amount Silver Coin Challenge Balloon Amount Types of Transportation Available
1 Ancient Lake 1 6 C , H , P
2 Fossil Canyon 2 7 C , H , P
3 Jungle Falls 3 8 C , H , P
4 Hot Top Volcano 5 10 H , P
5 Boss - Tricky the Triceratops 6 or more once all 4 are beaten 11 or more once all 4 are beaten C
Snowflake Mountain
# Track Balloon Amount Silver Coin Challenge Balloon Amount Types of Transportation Available
1 Everfrost Peak 2 10 C , H , P
2 Walrus Cove 3 11 C , H
3 Snowball Valley 6 14 C , H
4 Frosty Village 9 16 C , H , P
5 Boss - Bluey the Walrus 10 or more once all 4 are beaten 17 or more once all 4 are beaten H
Sherbet Island
# Track Balloon Amount Silver Coin Challenge Balloon Amount Types of Transportation Available
1 Whale Bay 10 17 H
2 Crescent Island 11 18 C , H
3 Pirate Lagoon 13 20 H
4 Treasure Caves 16 22 C , H , P
5 Boss - Bubbler the Octopus 17 or more once all 4 are beaten 23 or more once all 4 are beaten H
Dragon Forest
# Track Balloon Amount Silver Coin Challenge Balloon Amount Types of Transportation Available
1 Windmill Plains 16 23 C , H , P
2 Greenwood Village 17 24 C , H
3 Boulder Canyon 20 30 H
4 Haunted Woods 22 37 C , H
5 Boss - Smokey the Dragon 23 or more once all 4 are beaten 38 or more once all 4 are beaten P
Wizpig Head
# Track Balloon Amount Silver Coin Challenge Balloon Amount Types of Transportation Available
1 First Wizpig Battle All 4 pieces of the Wizpig Amulet N/A C
Future Fun Land
# Track Balloon Amount Silver Coin Challenge Balloon Amount Types of Transportation Available
1 Spacedust Alley 39 43 C , H , P
2 Darkmoon Caverns 40 44 C , H
3 Spaceport Alpha 41 45 C , H , P
4 Star City 42 46 C , H , P
5 Boss - Wizpig --- 47 + all 4 pieces of the T.T. Amulet P

Challenges[edit]

Tiptup racing Taj the Genie in a plane.

After the player collects enough Golden Balloons in Adventure Mode, Taj the Genie will appear and challenge the player to a race in a specific vehicle. The player has to race Taj, who rides a flying carpet. The racetrack is marked with red flags showing the Nintendo 64 logo and the player has to follow them. If they leave the set track, they will be disqualified. After Taj is beaten, he will reward the player with another Golden Balloon. There are three different challenges and each of them can be repeated at any time after they have been unlocked (the player will only obtain one Golden Balloon per challenge however).

Car Challenge[edit]

The Car Challenge is a relatively easy race done in a car. This race goes around a dirt road right in front of Dino Domain and reaches into a tunnel. This should be very easy for the player because of Taj's slow movement.

Hovercraft Challenge[edit]

The Hovercraft Challenge is the second of Taj's races and is a tad harder than the Car Challenge. The track is mostly in water and begins next to the bridge which leads to Dino Domain. In the race the player will hover into a waterfall that is on the far east of the river. Here, they will be in a cave leading to Snowflake Mountain and eventually fall down two small waterfalls taking them to the ocean. Going east will take the player back on shore where they need to go through a small tunnel leading to the finish line.

Plane Challenge[edit]

The Plane Challenge is considered to be the hardest of Taj's three races and a plane is used in it. This race begins at the same place where the Car Challenge begins. From the start the player must fly up to the tunnel leading to Snowflake Mountain and then move east, going over a long river. From there, the player must glide to the beach and go east again. After going through a small tunnel, the player should end up at the finish line.

Items[edit]

Item Balloons[edit]

Item Balloons.

During the challenges on the different race tracks throughout the game the player can find these Item Balloons on the track. Similar to the Item Boxes of the Mario Kart series, these objects will give the player an Item when they break them. There are five different types of Item Balloons, each with a unique colour and a specific type of Item. A special feature of the Item Ballons is their ability to power up, meaning that the player will receive stronger items if they collect more balloons of one colour. An item can be upgraded two times, making a total of three items obtainable from one type of balloon.

The items that are received upon hitting the proper balloons.
  • Red Balloons
    • 1: One rocket
    • 2: One homing missile
    • 3: 10 rockets
  • Blue Balloons
    • 1: A weak powered orange turbo
    • 2: A moderately powerful blue turbo
    • 3: A very powerful purple turbo
  • Green Balloons
    • 1: An oil slick(or cloud of green dust if in the air)
    • 2: A mine
    • 3: A bubble
  • Yellow Balloons (with purple stars)
    • 1: A weak barrier lasting around 7 seconds
    • 2: A strong barrier lasting around 10 seconds
    • 3: A very strong barrier lasting around 15 seconds
  • Rainbow Balloons
    • 1: A yellow magnet that attracts the closest opponent
    • 2: A red magnet that has a longer range for attracting the closest opponent
    • 3: A green magnet that attracts the opponent and pulls them backwards

Gold Balloons[edit]

Taj giving a Golden Balloon to Conker.

Gold Balloons are the key items in the game. The player must collect them to unlock different courses. After winning a race, Taj will give the player one Gold Balloon. There is a total of 47 balloons; 43 of them are earned though races.

Hidden Gold Balloons

The player comes across four hidden Gold Balloons throughout the overworld in the game:

  • The first one is right in the entrance to Dino Domain.
  • The second is to the left of the stone Wizpig's head.
  • The third is in the ocean behind Sherbet Island's entrance to the left.
  • The last balloon is behind two trees east of Snowflake Mountain's entrance, next to a waterfall.

Bananas[edit]

A Banana

Bananas are scattered in every course. By collecting them, the player is able to increase the top-speed of his or her vehicle until the banana counter reaches ten. After that, the bananas do not affect the vehicle any further. If players get hit, they lose some bananas.

Additionally, bananas play a key role in the battle games of Icicle Pyramid and Darkwater Beach, where they act as the player's life gauge, and in Smokey Castle, where they need to be collected and stored in a treasure chest.

Zippers[edit]

Car, Plane, and Hovercraft Zippers.

Zippers can be used to give the player an extra speed boost. They are found in every track. Letting go of the A button before hitting one will make the player go slightly faster.

Types of Zippers[edit]

Each vehicle has a different kind of zipper:

  • The Car Zipper - A zipper that's flat on the ground and easy to go over with cars and hovercrafts. Planes can also go on these, but the player must be very low to the ground for it to completely work.
  • The Hovercraft Zipper -A zipper only found in water with a flat bottom. Planes can also go through these.
  • The Plane Zipper -Unlike other zippers, the plane zipper is in the air. Some plane zippers are low enough above the ground for hovercrafts to use them, but this isn't the case most of the time.

Wish Keys[edit]

Tiptup finding a Key on Crescent Island

There are four Wish Keys hidden throughout the adventure mode of the game. Getting them can unlock 4-player battle stages. There is one in each of the four regular worlds:

  • Dino Domain- Course: Ancient Lake - The player must go up a nearby ramp to get the first key.
  • Snowflake Mountain- Course: Snowball Valley - The player will find the second key to the left of the finish line.
  • Sherbet Island- Course: Crescent Island - At the start, the player should take the left way at the split and go into the water and Search to find the key.
  • Dragon Forest- Course: Boulder Canyon - The player must race until they get to the bridge and hit the bell. Then listen for a ring, turn 180 degrees, and the bridge should rise. The player must make sure they have the maximum power-ups with the purple star balloons. As the bridge is rising, the player must boost themself up and over the jump. They should be on a platform where they can can obtain the key.

Battle Stages[edit]

A door that leads to one of the Battle Stages.

Battle Stages are special challenges that can be found throughout the four main worlds of the game. Each of these worlds have one Battle Stage matching the theme of the world and they can be unlocked by finding Keys throughout certain race tracks. By winning on a Battle Stage, the player obtains a part of the T.T. Amulet. Each battle stage is different in its appearance and the task it offers to the player.

  • Dino Domain - Course: Fire Mountain - On fire mountain the players goal is to get three eggs into their nest and waiting for all of them to hatch. They can get eggs from the middle of the course, or steal it from opponents. However, once the egg is hatched, it may not be stolen. The player can hit their opponents with weapons to make them drop their eggs. This battle is played in a plane.
  • Snowflake Mountain - Course: Icicle Pyramid - To play in this battle, the player must simply hit their opponents with weapons in a three-story pyramid. If a player gets hit four times, they will be out of the battle and lose. The last person standing wins. This is played in a car.
  • Sherbet Island - Course: Darkwater Beach - This one is played the same way as Icicle Pyramid, but takes place on a beach. It is played in a hovercraft.
  • Dragon Forest - Course: Smokey Castle - The goal in Smokey Castle is to find ten bananas throughout the course and be the first one to bring them to their own treasure chest. However, the player can only hold two bananas at a time. The player can also hit their opponents to make them lose bananas. This is played in a car.

Trophy Races[edit]

Main article: Trophy Race
A gold Wizpig trophy.

When the player manages to defeat an area boss twice and receive a piece of the Wizpig Amulet, they can compete in that area's Trophy Race. If the player manages to finish all four races and be placed in 1st place, they receive a gold trophy; silver for 2nd, and bronze for 3rd.

All five areas have a Trophy Race, but Future Fun Land's is only accessible after the player completes all of the Silver Coin Challenges.

Magic Codes[edit]

Magic Codes are game cheats, always accessible in the options menu. These cheats alter mostly alter only the tracks mode rather than the Adventure mode, while some others do miscellaneous tasks such as allowing players to listen to music in the game. At the end of the game credits, a random magic code is given to players. Here is a complete list of all codes.

Magic Code Name Description
ARNOLD Large players
BLABBERMOUTH Changes horn sounds into character sounds
BODYARMOR All balloons are yellow
BOGUSBANANAS Bananas slow players down
BOMBSAWAY All balloons are red
BYEBYEBALLOONS Balloons are disabled
DODGYROMMER Displays ROM Checksum
DOUBLEVISION Multiple players can be the same character
EOLAOBFENRLONE Free balloon
EPC EPC lockup display
FREEFORALL Fully powered-up balloons
FREEFRUIT Players start with ten bananas
JOINTVENTURE The second player joins Adventure mode
JUKEBOX Adds Music Test to audio menu
NOYELLOWSTUFF No bananas in Tracks mode.
OFFROAD Four-wheel drive
OPPOSITESATTRACT All balloons are rainbows
ROCKETFUEL All balloons are blue
TEENYWEENIES Small players
TIMETOLOSE CPUs are harder
TOXICOFFENDER All balloons are green
VITAMINB Unlimited bananas
WHODIDTHIS Players can view credits
ZAPTHEZIPPERS Disables zippers

Development[edit]

A mammoth character repurposed from the RTS build.

Diddy Kong Racing found its root in a short-lived prototype. According to Lead Designer Lee Schuneman, a team of four at Rareware was developing a caveman/time travel-themed real time strategy game for the Nintendo 64[1]; however, the idea was quickly abandoned and the developers decided to create a "fun" racing game named Wild Cartoon Kingdom using assets from the cancelled RTS (3D artist Lee Mungrave denies, however, that the two projects were ever related[2]).

The racing aspect was heavily inspired by Super Mario Kart while the concept of an "adventure" mode was inspired by Disney World according to Schumenam[1]. The initial concept featured a hub world based on theme parks. Development was initially slow, up until a larger team was brought in to help him accelerate the project, and the game was renamed to Adventure Racers.

The project was renamed Pro Am 64 (in reference to Rare's NES hit R.C. Pro-AM) later in development and briefly featured the characters using three-wheeled trike-like vehicles[1]. The game was demoed to Shigeru Miyamoto in June 1997, who approved of it and suggested that it features Diddy Kong[1]. The development team initially hated the idea[1], but eventually agreed to it as featuring Diddy Kong brought stronger marketing from Nintendo and greater visibility due to the popularity of the Donkey Kong brand.

Sequels[edit]

Diddy Kong Pilot[edit]

Main article: Diddy Kong Pilot

Rare planned to make a Diddy Kong Pilot, but the game ended up canceled, due to Rare's move to Microsoft in 2002. It was supposed to be for Game Boy Advance and many Kongs were set to be playable, including Redneck Kong. It was replaced by Banjo-Pilot, an indirect sequel to Diddy Kong Racing.

Donkey Kong Racing[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong Racing

Rare and Nintendo also planned to make Donkey Kong Racing for the Nintendo GameCube. However, this game was also canceled due to Rare's move to Microsoft in 2002. Very little had been revealed about it, but Animal Buddies were supposed to reappear.

Diddy Kong Racing DS[edit]

Main article: Diddy Kong Racing DS

A remake for the Nintendo DS was released: Diddy Kong Racing DS. Although a remake, it featured more characters, tracks, and some different challenges. Some music had also changed.

Gallery[edit]

Main article: Gallery:Diddy Kong Racing

References to Other Games[edit]

References in later games[edit]

Beta Elements[edit]

One unfinished track remains in the game.

Staff[edit]

Main article: List of Diddy Kong Racing staff

Software Director[edit]

  • Robert Harrison

Software Engineers[edit]

  • Paul Mountain
  • John Pegg
  • Richard Gale

Art Director[edit]

3D Artists[edit]

  • Lee Musgrave
  • Keith Rabbette
  • Dean Smith
  • Johnni Christensen
  • Brian Smyth
  • Paul Cunningham

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e GamesTM, Issue 79, Behind the Scenes of Diddy Kong Racing
  2. ^ Nintendo Life: Month Of Kong: The Making Of Diddy Kong Racing

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ディディーコングレーシング
Didī Kongu Rēshingu
Korean 디디 콩 레이싱
Didi Kong Leising
Chinese 迪迪剛的赛车
Dídí Gāng Desàichē