* BrokenBase: The DS port. On one hand, it adds a ton of new content, like new tracks, new modes, new characters, new music, and even new fun doodads to mess with (like the Sound Recorder). On the other hand, the new quickstart is a ScrappyMechanic, the hovercraft is much more difficult to control, Banjo and Conker are lost to the copyright gods, and trophy races and battle modes are no longer possible in single player. Fans are ''very'' divided.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: The ending after you beat Wizpig the second time.
** Before that, the lighthouse transforming into a rocket to take you to Future Fun Land.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idEFyvBfz74 Intro theme]] in all of its glory.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_tzUrkrlyM Spaceport Alpha's theme]] is very awesome, which is good because you'll be playing the Silver Coin challenge quite a lot.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGSQceJDRRA Darkmoon Caverns]], one of the most infectious and varied pieces in the soundtrack. Doubles as the credits theme.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73p_wgBdmJw&hd=1 Pirate Lagoon]]
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1StmqQRfkA Crescent Island]]
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN5yJypyyRo Hot Top Volcano,]] one of the most iconic tracks from the game (in both the musical and gameplay senses.) It's timed ''exactly'' such that when you typically hit the final lap and speed up, the drum breakdown kicks in...
** The DS version gave tracks that previously shared their music with another track their own themes. Exhibit A: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JCGpcFHuzU The new Jungle Falls.]] [[OminousLatinChanting Upbeat Tribal Chanting]] + a seriously catchy xylophone line = awesome.
** The DS version's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBFz_OgUHDY Snowball Valley.]] Not only does it sound more Christmassy than the original music, it has an infectious clapping-and-jingle-bell breakdown near the end.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrMG7v__3t0 The new Spaceport Alpha theme]] (with the old theme still being used in Spacedust Alley.) It has a great, mysterious outer-space feel to it.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QW1sWvSmFY Strangled Shrine]], used for one of the DS-exclusive tracks. It's evocative of the already fantastic Hot Top Volcano theme, but more watery, which is pretty much what Strangled Shrine is. The brass stings are pretty epic, too.
* EnsembleDarkHorse: Pipsy was used by most people, male or female, because she combined adorable characteristics with a simple and effective style for racing. Also Tiptup, who had ''slightly'' higher top speed and ''slightly'' lower acceleration and handling, and went on to cameo in BanjoKazooie ([[YourSizeMayVary where, contrary to this game, he is considerably bigger than Banjo.]])
* FridgeLogic: Why does Taj the helpful genie have all the balloons you need to win the game (and withhold them from you until you win a race)? Wizpig stole them all.
** FridgeBrilliance: Perhaps when he first appears, Taj had just finished taking the balloons back, but he doesn't consider himself ready to take on Wizpig and decided to give the balloons to the racers as they proved themselves ready over the course of the game?
* GameBreaker: If you unlock [[spoiler: T.T.]], practically every race becomes a joke.
* ItWasHisSled: There is a fifth world, Future Funland.
* NightmareFuel: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZH82T3Ht4M This cutscene]] that plays when you go back out into the main hub area after collecting all the pieces of the Wizpig Amulet.
* ObviousBeta: A very rare (no pun intended) example of this ''not'' having any real negative effect on the game's enjoyability. The game was rushed to market so that Rare could have ''something'' out for Christmas 1997, and numerous signs of this are left in the game, including the fact that attaining OneHundredPercentCompletion requires two save slots (one for the normal adventure and one for [[NewGamePlus "Adventure 2"]]) and several not-quite-functional elements accessible via in-game cheats, including [[WhatCouldHaveBeen a 2-player Adventure mode]] and a rather-broken sound test (all music tracks are only listed as numbers, are in no real order, include some beta elements, and exclude some music heard in the final game, and the VariableMix tracks do not have their individual versions listenable - only a mash-up of all versions at once). The core game itself is complete, however - many of the ObviousBeta elements are side-features that aren't in any way necessary to enjoy the game itself.
** This could also explain why Bubbler the Octopus is the only boss ''not'' seen in the ending.
* {{Padding}}: One gets this feeling given that the single player mode requires you to, for each world, race on all the tracks, beat the boss, collect silver coins in each track, beat the boss again, and then face Wizpig when this has been done with all worlds. If you want the real ending, you need to enter a grand prix to win a trophy in each world, beat the bosses ''again'', and rinse and repeat the initial and coin races in a new world before facing Wizpig one more time.
* ParanoiaFuel: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed.]] The hub-world can seem somewhat eerie and creepy thanks to the game's ObviousBeta status.
* RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap: The DS remake rescued Tiny Kong, as it introduced her older MsFanservice redesign.
* StopHelpingMe: It is rather easy to trigger dialogue with T.T. as he's wandering about the level hubs, even if you don't intend to. Especially pesky in the DS version, where he doesn't actually do anything ''useful'' besides make comments.
* ThatOneBoss: Bubbler the octopus. And the second race against Wizpig himself.
** Wizpig is somewhat excusable, given his role as the FinalBoss. The second race against Tricky... ''argh''.
*** Tricky's not ''too'' tough if you know where the shortcut in the mountain is.
** Bubbler's second race is considered by many people to be the toughest race in the game, next to Wizpig's races on Adventure 2.
** The ''first'' race against Wizpig is damn near IMPOSSIBLE unless you know what to do. You need to use the zipper trick (Let go of the gas before getting a boost) to beat it. Unfortunately it's quite possible for players to [[GuideDangIt never to get this bit of info]], since it only shows up randomly after bosses. If players don't know the zipper trick, the ''one'' way to beat Wizpig is trying to get a boost start and stay in front of Wizpig all the time, hoping his foot will hit the player as he runs, pushing the kart forward. It requires insane timing as messing the position of your car up will result in Wizpig squashing you. Wizpig's first race is either a GuideDangIt or a LuckBasedMission.
* ThatOneLevel: Many of the normal levels during the Silver Coin Challenge, but especially Greenwood Village.
** This gets ''much'' worse in Future Fun Land, particularly Spaceport Alpha.
* ThatOneSidequest: Unlocking [[spoiler: T.T.]] as a playable character requires beating his best time on every track. And he's ''good.'' In the original, this means unlocking the fifth and final world... In the remake, this means both unlocking the final world ''and'' buying all the tracks in the [[spoiler:D.K. Jungle]] world. Of course, once you get [[spoiler:T.T.]], you have no excuse for losing to anyone ever.
** In the remake, getting all the balloons in the "Balloon Touch Challenge" can be frustrating for some courses. In fact, it is oftentimes the courses that are otherwise the easiest to race on where they are the hardest, since those courses are shorter and so there are more balloons in one area, forcing you to tap like mad to get them all before they pass by for good.