Diddy Kong Pilot (2001)

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Diddy Kong Pilot
Artwork of Diddy Kong Pilot showing Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong, and the game logo.
Developer Rareware
Publisher N/A
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance
Release date Japan: Canceled
(planned for February 2002[1])
USA: Canceled
(planned for March 4, 2002[2])
Genre Racing
Rating(s) Unknown
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

Diddy Kong Pilot is a canceled follow-up title of Diddy Kong Racing for the Game Boy Advance, which was developed by Rareware. Diddy Kong was the main and titular character of the game. The game involves Donkey Kong characters racing in Planes on Mode 7-rendered courses. In 2005, the game was finalized as the Banjo-Kazooie title, Banjo-Pilot. The reason for its change was from Microsoft's acquisition of Rare in 2002. In 2002-2003, before the decision was made to design it into a Banjo-Kazooie title, Diddy Kong Pilot was already being redeveloped into an entirely different game.


The game was first shown at E3 2001, and was also shown a few months later at Space World 2001.

One of the characters, tentatively named Redneck Kong,[3], or "Crappy Kong"[4] was "killed off" early in the game's development, according to Jens Christian Restemeier, one of the game's developers.[5] Candy Kong would subsequently appear in the background for character selection menus.[6]

One of the builds, said to be presented at a Space World, consisted of a cast featuring both Donkey Kong Country and Mario characters, which would have been a first for a Donkey Kong series spinoff. This version allowed players to select between six Donkey Kong characters (Diddy Kong, Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong, King K. Rool, Funky Kong, and Dixie Kong) and six Mario characters (Princess Peach, Mario, Yoshi [sitting atop a Lakitu's Cloud], Wario [piloting a red biplane similar to the Bulldog], Bowser and Toad). Not much information is known regarding this build or its history.[7]

In 2002, Nintendo refused to publish Diddy Kong Pilot, as they found the game "substandard". One of their criticisms was "There's no point in flying up and down on flat levels")[3] Some Rare employees believed the company was prejudiced since it occurred in a time period just before the Microsoft acquisition. Diddy Kong Pilot was not presented at E3 2002.

On September 15, 2011, after ten years of no new information regarding the game, a former Rare employee, under the pseudonym of Transparentjinjo, posted gameplay footage of the game on YouTube.[8] According to the video's title, the build was dated "September 7, 2001".[9]


Diddy Kong Pilot featured six modes: Racing, Stories, Dog Fights, Battle, Clock Race, and Options. The build is largely unfinished as most of the stages are nearly empty, some only having a backdrop and a few assets laid out on the stage. Many of the modes, such as Dog Fights, are non-functional. The gameplay essentially only consists of flying around on a course. Some features were never implemented such as plane customization,[10] or unlockable characters, stories, and stages.[11]

Debug menu[edit]

The debug menu

Upon starting up the game, the player is instantly led onto a debug menu, and it has three options: Level, Player, and Blend. The first option allows them to choose a course, and the second one allows them to select a character (Cranky). The "level" options include:

Beach 00 Beach 01 Beach 02 Beach 03
Lava 00 Lava 01 Lava 02
Snow 00 Snow 01 Snow 02 Snow 03
Keep 00 Keep 01 Keep 02 Keep 03
Lake 00 Lake 01 Lake 02 Lake 03
Farm 00 Farm 01 Farm 02 Farm 03 Farm 04
Haunted 00 Haunted 01 Haunted 02 Haunted 03
Jungle 00 Jungle 01 Jungle 02 Jungle 03
Swamp 00 Swamp 01 Swamp 02 Swamp 03
Desert 00 Desert 01 Desert 02 Desert 03

The second option, "Player" has six numerical values, labeled 0-5. Each of them represent a playable character:

  • 0 and 5: Cranky Kong
  • 1: Diddy Kong
  • 2: Kritter
  • 3: K. Rool
  • 4: Dixie Kong

The final option, Blend, does not appear to have a function. It has four options: Off, Alpha, Up, and Down.


Diddy Kong racing in the first course, Bounty Beach

The player can exiting to the main menu by opening the pause menu. It has three options which are self-explanatory: Continue, Restart, and Quit. Few of the further developed courses also redirect the player to the main menu after they complete all three laps.

The main menu has six modes: Racing, Stories, Dog Fights, Battle, Clock Race, and Options. It is also the only part of the game to have a music track.

The character selection screen

Before starting a mode, the player must select a character. The selection menu is very buggy, and choosing a character causes a different one to be playable, except for Cranky Kong. For instance, selecting Diddy Kong causes Kritter to be playable instead. The sound that each character makes when highlighted does not correspond to the correct character as well. When a character is highlighted, they are not aligned with their sepia shadow; additionally, the sepia backdrop has Candy Kong but highlighting her shows Redneck Kong instead. The following "Select World" menu shows the character that will actually be played as, with the exception of when Dixie is selected. In this case, a glitchy black rectangle taking up the entirety of the character sprites' parameters will be shown, and playing will result in Cranky appearing. As such, the rectangle is likely the remains of Redneck Kong's data, with Cranky acting as a placeholder here and in the debug menu.

The Racing mode allows the player to select a world, each with an associated level difficulty. Unlike its predecessor, Diddy Kong Pilot only features four characters racing on a course at a time; the main goal remains the same: racing three laps around a course and getting first place. Many of the core features are similar to Diddy Kong Racing, for instance how the player can collect bananas and pick up an item from item balloons appearing around the course. Zippers also return in the courses, and they give racers a speed boost.

The Stories mode has three different stories: King of Kongs, Back to the Light, and K. Rool's Gold. This mode is almost entirely nonfunctional, but it was intended to have a unique story for a certain character and a final boss at the end.[12]

The Dogfight mode features players fighting against each other. There are four options and none can be accessed: Classic Dogfight, a Dawn Duel, a Classic Variation, or a Focal Feud.

Gameplay of Hatch Match, a game of Battle mode

The Battle mode was planned to be a multiplayer mode, and its icon shows a crate containing miscellaneous objects. Another version has a different icon showing four original Game Boy Advance units hooked to each other via a Link Cable.

The Clock Race mode was presumably planned as the Time Trials mode. It has little to no difference from the Racing mode, but it allows the player to easily select a stage, similar to the debug menu. Unlike the debug menu, most of the stages crash in this option.

Options only gives the option to use either D-Pad or tilt control to steer the plane.


  • +Control Pad or Tilt motion control: Move in the desired direction.
  • A Button: Acceleration
  • B Button: Use weapon
  • L Button or R Button: Tilt at a sharper angle
  • L Button or R Button (twice): aerial roll
  • R Button and +Control Pad Down (twice while accelerating): U-turn
  • Start Button: Pause the game

Playable characters[edit]

The character selection menu is highly incomplete, as highlighting a character would trigger a sound effect from an unrelated character. Selecting a character causes the game to choose an entirely different character instead. Redneck Kong was playable in earlier builds, such as E3 2001, and the character selection screen from later build suggests he was busy being replaced with Candy Kong.


Most of the items reappeared from Diddy Kong Pilot except for peanuts, watermelons, and eggs. The player can carry up to a few items at a time. Most of the items can be obtained from sky blue-colored item balloons with a yellow question mark on them. Item balloons also have a green and DK variant, and both have unfinished functionality. Both provide an item, either with an icon of Cranky or Diddy, and neither are functional.

Image Name Description
The icon for a green rocket item from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001 The icon for a red rocket item from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001 Rockets These items can lock on to a nearby opponent and temporarily slow them down.
The icon for a green rocket boost from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001The icon for a red rocket boost from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001 Rocket boost Like zippers, these give a speed boost to the racers. The red rocket boost provides a higher speed boost.
The icon for a green magnet from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001The icon for a red magnet from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001 Magnet When used, the player is magnetized to another nearby racer. The red magnets are stronger than the green ones.
The icon for a five-count peanut item from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001The icon for a ten-count peanut item from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001 Peanuts Peanuts can be fired at other opponents; based on the count, the player can either shoot out five or ten at a time. Unlike rockets, these items do not have lock-on capabilites.
The icon for a watermelon item from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001 Watermelon This item drops behind a watermelon. When a racer crashes into the item, it splatters and temporarily slows them down.
The icon for a egg item from Diddy Kong Pilot 2001 Egg The egg functions similarly to the watermelon except that it also moves around in a circular pattern.


Sleepy Shores[edit]

  • Bounty Beach: A race track taking place on the beach as the name states. It has palm trees in the background along with the shore.
  • Farm Attract
  • Jet Set Jungle
  • Beach Race: The player races Donkey Kong in this area.

Kongo Kingdom[edit]

  • Swoop Swamp
  • Jungle Race
  • Magma Mainland: A volcanic area with rising lava obstacles that boost racers upward.
  • Haunted Race:

Western Wastes[edit]

  • Lake Race
  • Lava Race
  • Swamp Race
  • Crackpot Keep

Island of Eggs[edit]

  • Vulture Valley
  • Keep Race
  • Lake Race
  • Chicken Chase: This race takes place in the farmlands; there are flapping chickens for obstacles during one part.

Polar Plateau[edit]

  • Frosty Lake
  • Farm Race
  • Desert Race
  • Snow Race


King of Kongs[edit]

  • Beach Barricade
  • Hair Raising Rescue
  • Peaceful Passage
  • Cranky Panky

Back to the Light[edit]

  • Grub Grab
  • Farm Feud
  • Swamp Swoop
  • Dark Tower

K.Rool's Gold[edit]

  • Classic Dogfight
  • Fly Like The Wind
  • Snowball Snapshot
  • Flawed Genie'us

Battle stages[edit]

  • Hatch Match
  • Ghost Grasp
  • Swamp Showdown
  • Wasteland Wipe Out


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Diddy Kong Pilot (2001).

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ディディーコングパイロット(仮称) Diddy Kong Pilot (tentative)


  • The background of the Stories menu has two photographs resembling official artwork from Diddy Kong Racing.
  • The map of Magma Mainland would be reused in Banjo-Pilot as the lower background layer of the dogfight against Bottles in the Feather Cup, but the track itself cannot be raced on. Differences include: a darker layer consisting of both the lava and the track; a big hole in the center; the removal of the finish line and boosts; and the removal of the cracks in the center island.


External links[edit]