Diddy Kong Racing

Diddy Kong Racing
Diddy Kong Racing
Diddy Kong Racing
North American box art
Developer(s) Rare Ltd.
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Lee Schuneman
Producer(s) Chris Stamper
Artist(s) Kevin Bayliss
Composer(s) David Wise
Platform(s) Nintendo 64
Release date(s)
  • JP November 21, 1997
  • NA November 14, 1997
  • PAL November 21, 1997
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player

Diddy Kong Racing is a 1997 racing game for the Nintendo 64 developed by Rareware. 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 World Records. It is the first game to spin off from the Donkey Kong Country series. An enhanced remake for the Nintendo DS titled Diddy Kong Racing DS was released on February 7, 2007. It currently stands as the Nintendo 64's sixth-most bestselling game of all time.

A racing game like Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing also has a distinctive adventure mode. Some of the playable characters would later appear in their own franchise titles. The game was partially intended to introduce these future franchise characters so that gamers would recognise them when these games were released. In Diddy Kong Racing, a player can choose to drive a car, hovercraft, or airplane, though a certain level may require that the player picks one of these.

Originally, two sequels to DKR were planned; Diddy Kong Pilot and Donkey Kong Racing. Diddy Kong Pilot eventually became Banjo Pilot, a game based on Rare's Banjo-Kazooie. Donkey Kong Racing was cancelled due to Rare's departure from Nintendo to Microsoft. Diddy Kong Racing was remade for the Nintendo DS as Diddy Kong Racing DS. The DS version uses the stylus for control purposes only in certain instances, such as the start of the race where the stylus can be used to attain a boost. Classic gamepad controls are employed for the majority of the game.

A Donkey Kong themed racing game was eventually released, however, in the form of Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.



At its first stage, Diddy Kong Racing was a real-time strategy game with a caveman/time-travel theme worked on by a team of four. The Adventure element of DKR was influenced by Disneyland. At this point, DKR was known as Wild Cartoon Kingdom. Wild Cartoon Kingdom evolved into Adventure Racers. Nintendo had no involvement in DKR’s early stages. In June 1997, the game was known as R.C. Pro-Am 64, a sequel to the R.C. Pro-Am titles on the NES. It was Shigeru Miyamoto that offered Diddy Kong to the game. The Pro-Am 64 team wasn’t happy with having Diddy Kong in the game but finally agreed. The game was launched first in Japan and the PAL region on November 21, 1997.[1]


Timber the Tiger's parents go on vacation and leave their son in charge of the island they live on, leaving him and his friends to race for fun. Their enjoyment is derailed when an evil, intergalactic, pig wizard named Wizpig arrives at peaceful Timber's Island and attempts to take over after he conquered his own planet's racetracks. He turns the four island's guardians: Tricky the Triceratops, Bubbler the Octopus, Bluey the Walrus and Smokey the Dragon into his henchmen. The only solution available to the island's inhabitants is to defeat Wizpig in an elaborate series of races that involves cars, hovercrafts, and airplanes. Drumstick the Rooster, the best racer on the island, failed this challenge and was transformed into a frog by Wizpig's black magic. Timber recruits a team of eight racers: Diddy Kong, the first recruit; Conker the Squirrel (Dixie Kong on DS) and Banjo the Bear (Tiny Kong on DS), recruited by Diddy; Krunch the Kritter, Diddy's enemy who follows after him; and Tiptup the Turtle, T.T. the Stopwatch, Pipsy the Mouse, and Bumper the Badger, inhabitants of Timber's island. They eventually complete all of Wizpig's challenges and confront Wizpig himself to a race and defeat him. Shortly afterwards, Drumstick is turned back into a rooster, and Wizpig leaves for his home planet, Future Fun Land. Fearing that Wizpig would again attempt to invade Timber's Island, the islanders travel 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, and peace returns to Timber Island for good. However, that peace may be short lived, as it is shown in a small scene that shows Wizpig's spaceship flying through the sky. Wizpig is then heard laughing, indicating that he survived.


N64 Character select screen. Top row from left to right: Krunch the Kritter, Diddy Kong, Drumstick the Rooster, Bumper the Badger, Banjo the Bear; bottom row from left to right: Conker the Squirrel, Tiptup the Turtle, T.T. the Stopwatch, Pipsy the Mouse and Timber the Tiger.

The playable characters are:

  • Diddy Kong
  • Banjo (N64 version only)
  • Conker (N64 version only)
  • Krunch
  • Tiptup
  • Timber
  • Bumper
  • Pipsy
  • Dixie Kong (DS version only)
  • Tiny Kong (DS version only)
  • Drumstick (Unlockable)
  • T.T. (Unlockable)
  • Taj the Genie (Unlockable) (DS version only)
  • Wizpig (Unlockable) (DS version only)

Conker and Banjo went on to star in other games (Conker's Bad Fur Day and Banjo-Kazooie respectively, with the former drastically changing the direction of the star character). Tiptup has a cameo in both Banjo's game and its sequel.


Each world contains several race tracks, an unlockable battle stage and a race against a boss character. Depending on the race track, players may have a choice of using a car, hovercraft or plane; this choice is restricted on some tracks. Each race track contains Zipper devices that give a short-term speed boost to racers that cross them, and balloons of various colors that provide powerups to racers.

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 flipped from left to right. Along with the much sharper difficulty curve, the silver coins are also placed in different locations in each track, often in harder to reach places.


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. The car cannot be used in all tracks.
  • Hovercraft - The Hovercraft is a vehicle used to travel over water and land. Used in all tracks.
  • Plane - The Plane is used to fly. It can turn at very sharp angles and is faster than the other two vehicles.


The music for the game was composed by David Wise, one of Rare's in-house composers. Using the Nintendo 64's cartridge format, the music in the game could change mood across the overworld or midway through a racetrack (retaining the same tune and tempo but using different instruments) without being hampered by load times common to the disc format. However, this technique was only used on one track (Boulder Canyon), although it is used in the hub world, and in the character select screen as well. This was the first Rare game to use this technique, with it later being used in Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64 and Conker's Bad Fur Day.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 89%[2]
Metacritic 88/100[3]
Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame 4.5/5 stars[4]
GameSpot 6.6/10[5]
IGN 8.4/10[6]

Diddy Kong Racing was very well received for its graphics and sound, but was criticized for being too similar to Mario Kart 64 (coincidentally, Diddy Kong would be a playable character in later Mario Kart installments). The game became a Player's Choice title, and is considered to be one of the better racing games on Nintendo 64, alongside Mario Kart 64. The game remains popular even today, despite being an older title. It currently holds an 89% score on GameRankings[2] and an 88/100 score on Metacritic.[3]

Electric Playground stated: "Diddy Kong Racing is almost too good to be true. It is an exquisitely animated, color-rich racing game that bubbles over with character and charm. A triumph."[7] Allgame commended the game for its "very good Adventure mode" but stated: "don't expect multiplayer action on the same level as the Mario Kart series."[4] Total Video Games stated: "There are so many subtle touches that only become apparent after many hours of play and the cunningly designed levels match anything Nintendo can offer."[8] While IGN stated: "Diddy Kong Racing is an excellent follow-up to the somewhat controversial "Mario Kart," improving on all of the game's weaknesses and inventing a few new additions of its own. It's the best kart game we've ever seen."[6]

However, Nintendojo stated: "With its lack of replay value and repetitiveness, the game just gets really old."[9] While GameSpot stated: "Artificially lengthening games by making you do the same thing over and over again is my vote for the worst trend in gaming … even though this is a much better game than Kart 64 ever was."[5]


Diddy Kong Racing won the Console Racing Award at the 1998 Interactive Achievement Awards and also won Best Console Game of the Year 1998 by Scandinavian Game Review.


Toy Biz produced a line of action figures, in 1999, (with Wizpig being the most common). The line, being acclaimed, has been said to be an improvement over the Mario Kart 64 figures for not breaking so easily, but also pointing out the lack of Conker. The line included 3 characters: Diddy Kong, Wizpig, and Banjo (from the Banjo-Kazooie game franchise).[citation needed]

Diddy Kong Racing DS

Diddy Kong Racing DS
Developer(s) Rare
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Gary Richards
Producer(s) Paul Machacek
Composer(s) David Wise
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
Release date(s)
  • EU April 20, 2007
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Diddy Kong Racing DS is a racing game developed by Rare for the Nintendo DS. It is Rare's first Nintendo DS game, and was released on February 5, 2007,[10] in North America, April 20, 2007, in Europe and April 19, 2007, in Australia. It is a remake of the critically acclaimed Diddy Kong Racing. Diddy Kong Racing DS makes use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, as well as the microphone for various features in the game, and the touch screen to create race tracks. Although some of the tracks underwent minor changes, they remained nearly identical to the N64 version. Unlike its predecessor, it was never officially released in Japan.

All the characters received new voices; the most notable is Taj, whose Indian-like voice was replaced with a more generic American voice.

New features in the DS version include collecting coins around tracks and using them to upgrade the player's vehicle so it can either have a higher top speed, better acceleration, better handling, or a custom design.

Characters Conker the Squirrel and Banjo the Bear were replaced with characters Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong due to copyright issues with Rare, Ltd. after Microsoft bought the company from Nintendo in 2002.[11]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 67%[12]
Metacritic 63/100[13]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com C[14]
Eurogamer 5/10[15]
GameSpot 6.7/10[16]
GameTrailers 8.6/10[17]
IGN 7.1/10[18]

Diddy Kong Racing DS received an average score of 67% at Game Rankings.[12] It has received a lower average of 63/100 at Metacritic, based on 39 reviews.[13]

NGamer, an unofficial Nintendo magazine based in the UK, praised Diddy Kong Racing DS for the amount of variety in the different races, as well as the massively enjoyable online mode, but also criticized the game for the poor quality of the touch screen-specific sections, particularly the balloon-popping game on Taj's carpet and the third boss battle. Official Nintendo Magazine also criticized the game for the fact that the tracks created in the track editor were all set in a cloud setting (considered by the reviewers as bland), and also randomly generated hills and chicanes. These aspects led to the final score of 80%.[19]

GameSpot gave the game a 6.7/10, praising the number of activities, customization features and online multiplayer, while criticizing parts of the game for being tedious as well as criticizing some of the touch screen controls.[16]

As of July 25, 2007, Diddy Kong Racing DS has sold 1.04 million copies worldwide.[20]

See also


External links

Portal icon Nintendo portal
Portal icon Video games portal

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