Diddy Kong Racing
Diddy Kong Racing is a racing game developed and published by Rareware for Nintendo 64. Featuring gameplay elements equivalent to the Mario Kart series, the game includes the use of airplanes, hovercrafts, and cars. It is the first game of the Diddy Kong Racing series. The game features a story mode, a multiplayer mode, and two characters who would eventually receive their own spin-off franchises, Banjo and Conker. It received a remake for the Nintendo DS in 2007, titled Diddy Kong Racing DS.
Diddy Kong Racing has sold 4.5 million copies upon release. It even received the Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling game of the time, with 800,000 copies before Christmas 1997. The game was even successful enough to become a Player's Choice title.
Two sequels were planned but both were subsequently canceled, due to the fact that Microsoft acquired Rare in 2002. These included Donkey Kong Racing for the Nintendo GameCube and Diddy Kong Pilot for the Game Boy Advance, the latter of which was eventually converted into the Banjo-Kazooie title, Banjo-Pilot. Around 2004, Climax pitched their own sequel idea to Nintendo, Diddy Kong Racing Adventure, but it was ultimately rejected.
According to the instruction manual, the story begins with Diddy Kong sitting on the porch of his tree house 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 Kongs' guests, the Tigers. Diddy reads the note and decides that his friends, Banjo and Conker to join him to fight against Wizpig. Diddy calls Squawks to deliver the message to his friends.
While Diddy is in the jungle, two Kremlings watch him from behind a boulder. One Kremling, Krunch, suggests they follow Diddy, but the other Kremling ignores him; Krunch eventually follows Diddy Kong.
Meanwhile, Timber is trying to calm Pipsy, where she exclaims that she had just seen Taj the Genie, who said he would help. Tiptup, confused, protests that Taj has been missing for 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. The group knows they need to solve the problem before Timber's parents return. 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 this 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 before a spaceship arrives and takes him into space. The lighthouse on the beach is a disguised rocket ship that takes them to Future Fun Land.
After the character completes all the tasks in that world and gets the whole T.T. Amulet, Wizpig can be faced again, racing against him in their plane, while he rides a rocket. After winning, Wizpig's rocket short circuits and blasts him into an unknown planet. Once again, the characters celebrate their victory without Wizpig interfering and with the carving of Wizpig's head on the mountainside turned into a golden carving of Taj's head.
Right before the credits roll, one of Wizpig's spaceships appears, and Wizpig's laughter is heard, leaving the game on a cliffhanger.
These are the playable characters in Diddy Kong Racing, along with their personal statistics. Some characters have discrepancies depending on the vehicle they use. Tiptup and Pipsy have the same speed as Diddy on a car when they have 4 to 10 bananas and have the same speed as Diddy Kong on a hovercraft and an airplane, while T.T. has the same speed and acceleration as Krunch on an airplane.
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, the racer receives a piece of Wizpig Amulet, and the player can participate in a world's Grand Prix mode, the Trophy Race, which the boss even suggests. The player obtains a gold trophy if they win first place, a silver one for second place, and a bronze one for third place.
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 in Adventure Mode.
Players can freely play all the race tracks unlocked. 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.
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 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 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 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.
Diddy Kong Racing contains twenty race tracks split between five worlds. In most races (marked with a check mark), racers are able to choose what type of vehicle to bring into the race, which can effect the paths in the course they are able to take. For some races, there are vehicles that are not able to be taken into it (marked with a red X). Every race also has a default vehicle type to use (marked with a D), which is usually the best type of vehicle to use for the race.
Challenge Levels are challenges that appear in each of the four main worlds. Each world has a single Challenge Level that matches the world's theme, and has a unique objective and layout. Each Challenge Level's door can be unlocked by a Wish Key located a specific course of that world. The player obtains a part of the T.T. Amulet when they win at a challenge.
There are three different vehicles:
Items and objects
During the challenges on the different race tracks throughout the game the player can find these Weapon 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 Weapon Balloons, each with a unique color and a specific type of Item. A special feature of the Weapon Balloons is their ability to power up, meaning that the player will receive stronger items if they collect more balloons of one color. An item can be upgraded two times, making a total of three items obtainable from one type of balloon.
Golden Balloons are the key items in the game. The player must collect a specified amount access each course and world. After the player's character wins at a race, Taj gives them a Golden Balloon. A total of 47 Golden Balloons appear 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 button before hitting one will make the player go slightly faster. There are three Zipper variants, one for each vehicle, Cars, Hovercrafts, and Planes.
The game features four Wish Keys. One is hidden in a race course of each world. Their purpose is to unlock the door to the Challenge Level in the corresponding world's hub, where the racer can compete against CPUs or other players. A Wish Key appears in Ancient Lake of Dino Domain, Snowball Valley of Snowflake Mountain, Crescent Island of Sherbet Island, and lastly, Boulder Canyon of Dragon Forest.
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.
The Japanese version of Diddy Kong Racing redesigned the font for the English text. One example is the start-up screen for the Rareware logo, which uses a different and larger font for the copyright information.
The English letters of the yellow-green font were redesigned in the Japanese version.
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 canceled RTS (3D artist Lee Musgrave 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 until a larger team was brought in to help 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 should feature Diddy Kong. The development team initially hated the idea, but eventually agreed with Miyamoto's suggestion as featuring Diddy Kong brought stronger marketing from Nintendo and greater visibility to the game 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 and Kiddy Kong 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 in other games
Pre-release and unused content
All objects are assigned a name according to the files. One unfinished track remains in the game, Horseshoe Gulch. It can be accessed with cheats.
Names in other languages