North America

Diddy Kong Racing DS

by Steven Rodriguez - January 29, 2007, 1:04 pm PST
Total comments: 7

The N64 game holds up well despite some questionable DS touch screen usage.

I've played quite a bit of Diddy Kong Racing DS lately. I'm happy to report that for the most part, the charm and allure that made the N64 original so popular back then is still in the game. However, Rare put in a bunch of new stuff that makes DKR DS different enough from Mario Kart DS to make it stand out...though not all of the additions are good.

One of the new things you can do is upgrade your car, plane, or hovercraft with different parts that affect its performance. This is done by spending coins collected during the course of a race. Coins can also unlock other stuff, like new tracks, special features, and game modes. There's a lot of neat stuff to buy, so there's a big incentive to keep racing and collecting the coins to get everything the game has to offer.

Another addition to the DS version of Diddy Kong Racing is a very lackluster one. The touch screen is used a little too much in the game, most notably during the starting sequence to a race. To get an optimum turbo boost off of the start line, you need to interact with the touch screen to spin a car wheel or propeller and fill up a meter. The problem here is that many tracks have obstacles or sharp turns right after the start line. With one hand on the gas and the other on the touch screen, you can't get back to the D-pad quickly enough to steer where you want. It works fine most of the time, but I feel that using the touch screen is not a good idea for something like this.

Disappointingly, the Silver Coin Challenge races from the N64 version have been replaced by something completely different. In the DS game, the second time through a set of tracks in adventure mode has you hop on Taj's magic carpet, fly around the tracks on a fixed path, and pop up to 50 golden balloons with your stylus. If you get most of them, you win. At first I found this mode to be an insult, but I have since grown to like it a little. However, I would much rather be racing in a game called Diddy Kong Racing, not playing touch screen mini-games. Gimme back my Silver Coin Challenges, Rare.

The one thing I'm liking above all else so far is playing DKR online. Answering the prayers of many gamers, you can now see if your friends are online when logging on to Nintendo WFC through your DS. (You still need to punch in friend codes, of course.) Not only that, you can see exactly what they are doing (racing, matchmaking, hosting, etc.). The friend list screen will automatically update as you view it, so you can join a friend the moment you see him or her create a room.

Up to six people can play in a race, which is very nice. During my online playtime with the game, there weren't any issues with lag or any other weirdness, but I did notice a lot of post-game cut-outs. Since the lobby timer counted down to zero every time this happened, I assumed it was due to people on the other end not making a selection or dropping out inadvertently. However, the games themselves were smooth as butter. There were also options to play trophy races (championship series) for six players, and online battle modes for four, though I haven't got a chance to play those yet.

Check back to Nintendo World Report for the full review of Diddy Kong Racing DS later this week.


KnowsNothingJanuary 29, 2007

I loved Diddy Kong Racing, and I'd love to experience it again online...why does Rare have to screw it up by adding arbitrary and detrimental touch screen controls? And NO SILVER COIN CHALLENGE? Dammit.

UltimatePartyBearJanuary 29, 2007


One of the new things you can do is upgrade your car, plane, or hovercraft with different parts that affect its performance.
This has no business in a kart racer

To get an optimum turbo boost off of the start line, you need to interact with the touch screen to spin a car wheel or propeller and fill up a meter.
All hope is lost!

Good job not selling this game to me, Rare.

It sounds like they've put some unnecessary crap in this game, but the core is still awesome back from the N64 days when I loved it so much. With the ridiculous online features, I think I have no choice but to buy in.

Actually, I have to agree with Mr. Bear from what I've read. I hate hate HATE having to balance or upgrade my freaking karts/cars/other vehicle. I also hate mindless use of the touch screen, especially when they can result in wrist pain.

KlapauciusJanuary 30, 2007

I also loved the N64 game. It was a brilliant alternative to Mario Kart, much like Banjo-Kazooie to Mario 64.
But now... needless touch screen controls... no silver coin challenge... it isn't the same.

Oh, I heard rumours of a track editor in this game. True?

There is a custom track editor, and you can play your custom tracks online with friends.

+1 sale

Jome20January 30, 2007

*Could contain Spoilers of the Game .... I have it and here are my Impressions / Differences of the DS Game*

I've been able to play through a portion of this game as well. And I've definitely had fun with the game but Steven is right when he talks about some of the negative touch screen aspects. The 2nd run through each course involves popping balloons with the stylus and grabbing coins by sliding the coin into your coin bag that's in the bottom right corner of the bottom screen. You have to tap the coin and then slide it into your "bag". If you just tap it you won't get credit for the coin. And if you slide it towards your bag but release too soon you'll lose the coin and it'll revert to its original location. It's fairly fun to pop the balloons but it's not as fun as racing for the silver coins. Also, the biggest inconvenience about this mode is the way the camera works. You're on a constant rail and you must slide your stylus around to look up, down, left, right, etc. The control isn't very good and makes looking around for all the balloons frustrating. You may slide the camera to look one way then get stuck in that viewpoint and miss a whole bunch of other balloons.

Other things worth noting, Banjo and Conker have been replaced by Dixie and Tiny Kong. There are 8 original characters to choose from. Pipsy the mouse, Tiptup the Turtle, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Tiny Kong, Timber the Tiger, Bumper the Badger, and Krunch the Kremling. There appear to be 4 unlockable characters. I remember the two unlockable characters in the original Diddy Kong Racing being Drumstick the Rooster, and TT the Time Clock. Well TT is definitely in the game, and I assume Drumstick is one of the other secret characters. Since the original game only had 10 total characters and there appears to be 12 available spots, there is supposedly two new characters. If I manage to unlock them I'll let ya know who they are.

Some other new things in this game that weren't in the original. When you get one of the keys for TT, you enter the locked door and TT tells you to draw a race track with the stylus. They force you to draw the path / course that they want, and then you race TT in a cloud stage / race track. He also doesn't seem to be nearly as fast as he used to be, but I'm not sure since I have yet to unlock him and it's been several years since I played the original game.

There are some other challenges that Taj gives you that weren't in the original. For example, one has you driving around the Island and blowing out torches in caves via the DS speaker.

Obviously the coins and upgrades are new to the series but Steven already mentioned this.

Another new aspect of the game is after you beat the boss of each area twice, you then can challenge them for a 3rd time. When you do this, you have to direct your driver by drawing a path for him to take. This reminds me of Kirby's Kanvas Curse except it's a bird's eye view of your driver. If you can beat the boss a 3rd time you earn 100 coins which helps you buy upgrades rather quickly. However, it's pretty difficult to beat the bosses this way so you might just be better off collecting money in other areas of the game.

At this point I've played through 3 of the 5 "worlds" of the game. I have yet to play any multiplayer or online play. Mainly because the game isn't officially mine and I don't want to link the game to my system and get in trouble for it.

Anyways, if anyone has any questions about the single player game or differences, etc ... I'll do my best to answer your questions.

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Diddy Kong Racing DS Box Art

Genre Racing
Developer Rare
Players1 - 8
Online1 - 6

Worldwide Releases

na: Diddy Kong Racing DS
Release Feb 07, 2007
eu: Diddy Kong Racing DS
Release Apr 20, 2007

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