When you think of racing games on the N64, the first thing that comes to your head will probably be Mario Kart 64. A racing game with the added element of being able to use powerups to shoot your victim or boost your speed to get past them. Well Diddy Kong Racing has the fun characters, powerups and even more!
There are many racing games for N64, but Diddy Kong Racing is somewhat different to all the others. Alongside the usual racing on different tracks, there are also races against bosses (including a giant walrus and a dragon), minigames and also the option to explore in an adventure type way! You are given the choice of racing in a car, hovercraft or aeroplane, and can do each track in the game in any of these vehicles. Each track in the game is fairly short with three laps, but each are well thought out and have secret keys hidden in some of them that unlock extra minigames which means that if you have done all the races in a particular area but still haven’t unlocked the minigame, then you have to keep searching for that hidden key! The game is split up into areas that are behind locked doors. To get into each area, you must have the correct amount of balloons which is displayed on the door. You gain these balloons by completing races and coming first.
They really have thought about getting the player to keep on playing time and time again. the concept of the game goes like this; you head to a particular area once you have enough baloons to open the door, you race until you come first in each track, then you beat the boss, you then do each track again BUT this time not only do you have to come first, you have to collect all the silver coins around the track aswell! After you beat each track AGAIN with collection all the silver coins and coming first you then beat the boss again! But it’s still not over… You will probably have found the secret key for the area by now and so you play the minigame! There really is a lot to do in each mini area, and it does keep you at the console.
Graphics: There are many games on the N64 that are notoriously ‘boxy’, however Diddy Kong Racing is not one of these in any way. The graphics are smooth and pretty damn good for the N64 console (what, no square wheels? – Ed).
Sound: Diddy Kong Racing has a soundtrack that very much fits in with the game play. Each track has it’s own original song, and the main map also has its own. Some of the songs will get into your head and you will be humming them for days! (especially hot top volcano!)
Gameplay: The controls are easy to use, and pretty self explanatory making for an easy game to pick up and get stuck into right away. None of the tracks are particularly taxing after practice, and in fact the only thing that I find difficult in this game is the bosses! Of course bosses are supposed to be difficult, hence they are ‘bosses’ but in particular the dragon boss. Wow, took me FOREVER to beat, and considering that this game isn’t really targeted at adults it surprised me how hard some of the bosses were.
As a summary, I would say that Diddy Kong Racing blows Mario Kart out of the water. It has a lot more to do, easy to play and is really addictive. It has fun and familiar characters such as Banjo from Banjo-Kazooie (no Kazooie? damn – Ed) and of course Diddy Kong himself. It’s a really fun game that can be played by casual gamers, hardcore gamers and even grandma. I remember first playing this game when I was a teenager, and it still hasn’t lost any of it’s magic. I am giving Diddy Kong Racing a firm 5 out of 5 purely for just being the best racing adventure game ever!