Diddy Kong Racing
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|Diddy Kong Racing|
North American box art
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 5, 2007. It currently stands as the Nintendo 64's sixth-most best-selling game.
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 Diddy Kong Racing 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 Jet Race.
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 Diddy Kong Racing was influenced by Disney World. At this point, Diddy Kong Racing was known as Wild Cartoon Kingdom. Wild Cartoon Kingdom evolved into Adventure Racers. Nintendo had no involvement in Diddy Kong Racing'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.
In an October 2012 interview, Lee Musgrave, who worked on Diddy Kong Racing, said Timber would have been the main character of Pro-AM 64 if Diddy Kong Racing had not been made. Musgrave says, "Yes, there was Pro-Am 64 that had Timber as the main character, but that became Diddy Kong Racing and that was the end of that." When Martin Wakely is asked about a rumored game called "Timber 64", Wakeley responds, "Where the rumour may have started is that an early version of [Diddy Kong Racing], I think it was called RC Pro Am at the time, had Timber as the lead character. I'm sure I've got a badly fitting Nylon polo shirt with the game logo on it somewhere."
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 Kremling, 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. All of his henchmen are free from his control and with the two Triceratops kids on Tricky's side, they all have fun together with Diddy and all his friends.
Playable characters 
The playable characters are:
- Diddy Kong
- Banjo (N64 exclusive)
- Conker (N64 exclusive)
- Dixie Kong (DS exclusive)
- Tiny Kong (DS exclusive)
- Taj the Genie (DS exclusive)
- Wizpig (DS exclusive)
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 boosters 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 on Diddy Kong Racing: the car, the plane and the hovercraft. The hovercraft is the best at speed with the ability of bouncing but lacks acceleration and turning. The plane is good at accelerating and turning but is slowest at speed. The car is an all-round vehicle except on sand where its speed is then comparable to that of the plane.
|Diddy Kong Racing: Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by David Wise|
|Genre||Soundtrack, video game music|
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. The soundtrack was first released in Japan on April 1, 1998, with 42 tracks, a German version of the album was released in Europe with the same number of tracks. For its U.S. release only 16 tracks were featured, those being over a minute long, excluding the jingle type short pieces. The CD itself was specially shaped in the form of Diddy Kong's head, which was unplayable in certain players.
List of tracks 
- "Character Selection"
- "Welcome to Timber Island"
- "Adventure Time"
- "The Choice"
- "Ancient Lake"
- "Fossil Canyon"
- "Taj Gives a Prize"
- "Jungle Falls"
- "Hot Top Volcano"
- "The Battle"
- "Entrance to the Boss' Challenge"
- "Listen to the Boss Talk"
- "Race the Boss"
- "Meet Taj"
- "Whale Bay"
- "Sherbet Island"
- "Meet T.T."
- "Crescent Island"
- "Snowflake Mountain"
- "Walrus Cove" (based on parts of "Here Comes Santa Claus", "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Winter Wonderland")
- "Frosty Village" (based on the song "Winter Wonderland")
- "Race Taj"
- "Boulder Canyon"
- "Dragon Forest"
- "Haunted Woods"
- "Race Wizpig"
- "Wizpig Says Goodbye"
- "Future Funland"
- "Spaceport Alpha"
- "Wizpig Awaits"
- "Ready For Blastoff/Darkmoon Caverns"
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. It currently holds an 89% score on GameRankings and an 88/100 score on Metacritic.
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." 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." 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." 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."
However, Nintendojo stated: "With its lack of replay value and repetitiveness, the game just gets really old." 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 Mario Kart 64 ever was."
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).
Unreleased sequel 
Rare was working on a sequel to Diddy Kong Racing called Donkey Kong Racing. A prerendered CGI teaser video of the game was shown at E3 2001, but no actual gameplay footage was shown.
Lee Musgrave, who led the project, explained to NotEnoughShaders what the gameplay would have been like, "It was a pure racing game, the underlying software mechanics were actually based on car physics, but it also incorporated the idea of riders jumping between different animals mid-race, to always be riding the ones that were bigger or faster ... we had some awesome gameplay in place, and it was lots of fun – we even had a multiplayer version working – and when you fell off, you had to tap-tap-tap (HyperSports style) to run on foot and catch up with an animal. Fun, but it lost some appeal without the DK universe around it, and Microsoft were unsure of its potential with Xbox gamers I think." He then explains what happened after the Microsoft buyout - "Donkey Kong Racing was obviously pretty heavily tied to Nintendo as a franchise, and as Rare approached the finalization of a buyout deal with Microsoft it was clear that the game had no future, at least with the apes as characters. We switched it around to be a 'Sabreman' game, and there was a great early Xbox prototype – but someone, somewhere decreed that it was a little too old-school for the kind of ‘revolutionary gaming experiences’ that the Xbox was capable of delivering, and so it started down a path of meandering changes, updates and ‘evolution’ that finally saw it run out of steam and fall over. There were some great ideas in the game as it developed though, and I still look back to the early racing game design and think we could have done something great with that." 
See also 
- "Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo 64)". NintendoLife. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Mark Mazzei (2009-03-29). "Behind The Scenes of Diddy Kong Racing".
- Emily Rogers (2012-10-01). "Crash Lab: Life after Rareware and Free Radical".
- "Diddy Kong Racing Original Soundtrack". Square Enix Music. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- "Höher, Schneller, Weiter: The Original Diddy Kong Racing Soundtrack". Video Game Music database. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- "Diddy Kong Racing Soundtrack CD". Video Game Music database. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- Diddy Kong Racing for Nintendo 64 - GameRankings
- Diddy Kong Racing for Nintendo 64 at Metacritic
- Diddy Kong Racing - Review - allgame
- Diddy Kong Racing Nintendo 64 - GameSpot.com
- Diddy kong Racing - N64 - IGN
- Diddy Kong Racing
- Diddy Kong Racing Review
- Diddy Kong Racing Review
- "Donkey Kong Racing [GameCube 2001 Tech Demo] UNRELEASED!". 2006-10-18.
- Official Diddy Kong Racing site (Archive)
- Official Diddy Kong Racing site (Japanese)
- Diddy Kong Racing on the Banjo-Kazooie Wiki, an external wiki