Published on June 20th, 2012 | by Jondo0
Nostalgia 64: Diddy Kong Racing
This week for Nostalgia 64, i’d like to take a look into that wonderful game you may or may not have had as a kid: Diddy Kong Racing! DKR was one of those racing games that was definitely geared towards kids, but still remained fun to play for anyone. It was the first video game my family had purchased when getting our N64, and to this day it is sitting on my shelf. I’ve hung on to it all these years not just because it was my first video game experience, but it was the first one that I completely mastered. For nostalgia’s sake, I decided to whip it out and play it once again.
I remember playing it when I was only 4 years old, sitting down with my older brothers, and the three of us just racing to no end (that was until our parents told us to shut it down). I remember my friends would come over and we would play Battle mode for hours. I remember when my brother played Adventure mode, he would yell out of frustration when facing Wiz Pig because he just couldn’t hit all the boosts and pass him (and if I tried to watch him fail, he yelled at me to leave so he could “concentrate” and win). I remember playing the campaign myself and not realizing there was an entire space world to play through after beating Wiz Pig. I remember trying to unlock T.T. by beating his ghost on every single time trial. I think it took me years before I was finally able to do it!
So many wonderful memories.
If you think about it, Diddy Kong Racing was basically Mario Kart, but with Rare’s own twist on things. Granted, not all of the characters in DKR are well-known–in fact, I don’t think Drumstick even had a game of origin. But at the time, being as young as I was, I really couldn’t care less (Pipsi was the best, anyway). Rare took the Mario Kart style and added in their signature adventure-style gameplay with an actual quest, important/non-optional trinkets to collect, and real bosses to race! I realize now that i was definitely not your typical racing game. Maybe it’s why I found it so enjoyable as a kid to begin with. I’ve never really found most racing games to be very fun, unless you can play it with a bunch of friends. They’re just way too repetitious to play by yourself. But since DKR has an adventure/story side to the gameplay (coupled with being young), I found venturing an overworld to find new races to be quite enjoyable! And I still do.
Even though there weren’t many characters (and fewer still that most would recognize), DKR makes up for it by having a wide variety of courses to race from; 20 not counting the boss courses. There are 5 worlds, each with their own specific theme. In Adventure mode, a player must win races to collect balloons, which are used to unlock new races. Once a player has beaten all 4 levels in ay given world, they proceed to go head-to-head with the boss! Once they’ve beaten the boss, they must race the courses again, this time collecting 8 silver coins placed throughout each level. Beating the boss a second time will earn you a piece of the WizPig amulet. Collecting all 4 pieces will trigger the opening of the course against WizPig himself… I won’t explain the rest of the details, but you get it by now, I’m sure: there’s definitely a sense of single-player mode being done in a linear fashion.
This game could very well be the reason why Banjo-Kazooie became my favorite game of all time. Diddy Kong Racing was the first game I had ever played, and even though it was a racing game, it still had that adventuring aspect to it. And that’s something that I’ve come to absolutely love in games.