Diddy Kong Racing
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 lacks Donkey Kong).
The game was such a success that it earned a Player's Choice title and a remake for the Nintendo DS. Two sequels were planned but both were subsequently cancelled, with one of them being edited to be released as a Banjo-Kazooie themed racing game.
According to the instruction manual, the story begins with Diddy Kong sitting on the porch of his tree house curiously opening a letter delivered by a carrier pigeon. The note reads, "Dear Diddy, Help!!!" 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 is unsure whether he should draft some extra help, since Wizpig, the villain he reads about in the letter, appears to be a competent foe. Finally, he decides that his friends, Banjo and Conker, will still enjoy an adventure. Diddy calls Squawks, his makeshift carrier pigeon, 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 complains on how she had just seen Taj the Genie who said he'd help. Tiptup, confused, protests that Taj has been missing for 50 years. Afterward, the group thinks about the Wizpig face that was carved onto the mountainside overnight and the race courses that were magically sealed. The group knows they need to solve the problem 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 does not mention the mess to Timber's parents.
When the first four worlds are completed, the carving of Wizpig's head on the mountainside opens and allows one of the characters to race Wizpig. After beating him, the group has a party along the beach. However, Wizpig interferes in the party. Afterward, a spaceship arrives and takes him into space, and the lighthouse on the beach turns into a rocket ship and takes them to Future Fun Land.
After the character completes all the tasks in that world and gets the whole T.T. Amulet, he or she can face Wizpig again, except this time in the 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.
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
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.
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.
Characters and Stats
There are three different vehicles:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 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
Each vehicle has a different kind of zipper:
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:
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.
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 are game cheats, always accessible in the options menu. These cheats 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.
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; 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).
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. 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. The game was demoed to Shigeru Miyamoto in June 1997, who approved of it and suggested that it features Diddy Kong. The development team initially hated the idea, 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.
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
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
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.
References to Other Games
References in later games
Pre-release and unused content
One unfinished track remains in the game.
Names in other languages