Diddy Kong Racing is a kart racer developed by Rare and released exclusively for Nintendo 64 in November 1997. While visiting the island home of Timber the Tiger, Diddy Kong and several of his friends participate in a racing competition against the evil Wizpig to free the island from his control. In addition to standard head-to-head multiplayer racing modes, the game includes a substantial single-player "Adventure" campaign, as well as time trials and arena battles. Players have access to three different vehicle types during races: cars, hovercraft and planes.
Diddy Kong Racing received widespread critical acclaim and has sold over 4.8 million copies since its initial release, making it the Nintendo 64's eighth best-selling game. It is also notable for featuring the debut of characters Banjo and Conker, both of whom would later star in their own Rare-developed game franchises.
In Adventure mode, Diddy Kong receives a request for help from one of his friends, Timber the Tiger. Timber's parents have gone on vacation and left him in charge of the typically peaceful island they all live on. However, an evil pig wizard from outer space named Wizpig has recently arrived to ruin the islanders' tranquility. Wizpig schemes to take over Timber's Island and claim it as his own by conquering all of the island's racetracks, just as he has done on his home planet of Future Fun Land.
Upon learning of Timber's dilemma, Diddy recruits his new friends Banjo the Bear and Conker the Squirrel and heads over to Timber's Island. Meanwhile, Timber enlists the remaining inhabitants of the island to join Taj the Genie's resistance against the evil Wizpig. However, Wizpig has been doing some recruitment of his own, and he has used his dark magic to hypnotize the island's four guardians Tricky the Triceratops, Bubbler the Octopus, Bluey the Walrus and Smokey the Dragon into becoming his henchmen. Furthermore, Wizpig has transformed the island's champion racer Drumstick into a frog in order to neutralize the speedy rooster as a potential threat to his new regime.
Diddy and the other resistance members race against Wizpig's minions across each of the island's different areas, completing all their challenges in order to end the sinister swine's reign of terror over Timber's Island. The plucky troupe eventually defeat Wizpig himself in a race, causing him to flee into outer space. Faced with the possibility that Wizpig may eventually return to the island to make more trouble, the resistance follows him to Future Fun Land for a final showdown, where a second defeat sends Wizpig blasting off atop a rocket headed into deep space, never to be seen again.
The gameplay takes place in various worlds on the island, each containing several race tracks, a battle stage and race against one of Wizpig's henchmen.
A Golden Balloon is awarded after each race won and the player must collect a certain number of Balloons to unlock further worlds and tracks. Some golden balloons can be found in the hub world that connects the game's areas.
Each of the ten racers have unique attributes that can be broken into four categories: weight, acceleration, handling and top speed.
Drumstick and T.T. must first be unlocked by fulfilling special requirements in Adventure mode before they can be selected as playable characters.
This is the main single-player mode in which new courses and characters are unlocked. It consists of a central hub area connecting to five main worlds known as "Lobbies". Taj can be found here, who can assist players with changing their current vehicle as well as offering extra racing challenges. The main hub area hosts a number of secrets, including a handful of hidden Golden Balloons.
Each Lobby contains four main tracks, as well as a Boss stage and a Key Challenge level.
Silver Coin Challenge
In order to extend the length of the game (and add more difficulty) after beating races the first time, the player must go and complete Silver Coin Challenges. These take place on the same tracks, but the player must collect eight Silver Coins hidden throughout the tracks and win. Of course these coins are not simply sitting in the middle of the track, and many involve going well out of the way to collect.
Essentially the game's version of a Grand Prix, each Lobby contains a Trophy Race unlocked by completing all of a world's Silver Coin Challenges and defeating its Boss in a rematch. Afterwards, players can compete in a four-race GP series across each of the Lobby's main tracks for the chance to win a golden Wizpig trophy as the first-place prize.
By locating a key hidden somewhere inside each world's four racetracks, players can unlock extra "Challenge areas" consisting of special single-player arena battles. Earning entrance to a Challenge area also unlocks a multiplayer version of that level in Tracks mode.
This mode allows players to select any unlocked track for either single-player or multiplayer racing.
Adventure 2 (Mirror Mode)
Completing Adventure Mode once unlocks a new mode where all of the courses in the game are mirrored, and the player must complete them all again. This includes the aforementioned Silver Coin Challenges, although the locations of the Silver Coins are also rearranged.