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Video Game: Diddy Kong Racing

A Wacky Racing spin-off of Donkey Kong Country (sort of) originally released for the Nintendo 64, Diddy Kong Racing puts DK's pal Diddy in the spotlight once more. While lounging at his pad and eating bananas, Diddy gets a message from his far-off pal, Timber the Tiger. Timber's island home is in trouble—an evil sorcerer FROM SPACE named Wizpig has landed on the island from his UFO, and has claimed it for his own! The only way to oust the foul creature is by... racing him. Specifically, by racing each other, to gain gold balloons, to be able to race his minions, to claim pieces of his amulet, to open the pathway to his hideout, so then they can race him. With the help of his friends (and a Kremling who snuck along for the ride), Diddy (and Timber) set out to rescue the island by racing.

While the original Diddy Kong Racing was, essentially, a capitalization on the Mario Kart formula, it was unique among kart racers at the time because it actually had a story mode, and even had a colorful Hub Level that connected all the differently-themed levels. While the tracks in Mario Kart had little in common with one another besides difficulty, worlds (which also served as the "cups") actually had themes to them. Also, Dave Wise, the composer for DKC, provides the game music, so you can expect for it to be phenomenal.

The game contained three vehicles. The car was the standard vehicle, and the easiest to control, but couldn't navigate different terrains very well. The hovercraft could go over water or lava, but was squirrelly and difficult to control. The plane could fly, but adding a third dimension to the race naturally made some things more difficult. Combined with a unique items system, the addition of bosses, a unique "Silver Coin Challenge" mode, and various different types of "battle," Diddy Kong Racing was actually fairly different from Mario Kart.

In 2007, Rareware remade the original, this time for the Nintendo DS. The remake included several new characters, a huge host of new vehicle upgrades, new items, an entire new world, new challenges, a somewhat unexpected "light-gun shootout" mode for each track, new music, track creation, new personalization modes... Well, let's just say, a lot of stuff. It also dropped a few elements.

This game provides examples of:

  • Affirmative Action Girl: In the original game, Pipsy was the Smurfette; the remake added Dixie and Tiny, presumably to ease this somewhat (though the idea was actually to cover the holes left by Banjo and Conker).
  • The Ahnold: Smokey the Dragon sounded a lot like this.
  • All There in the Manual: If you didn't read the manual, then you probably wouldn't know that the island was owned by Timber's parents, who left it in his care when they went on vacation. So, he invites his friends for a party. Their enjoyment is derailed when an evil, intergalactic, pig wizard named Wizpig arrives at the Island and attempts to take over after he conquered his own planet's racetracks.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: All the space levels are extremely colourful even just by the terrain.
  • Astral Finale: The final world, Future Fun Land, is set on another planet.
  • Attract Mode: The game's title screen consists of an in-game sequence of wacky introductions by each of the characters. Once the opening ends, the game starts playing itself.
  • Badass Adorable: Most of the cast, really, but Pipsy especially.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted with Banjo. He's a nice bear, of course.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Haunted Woods racetrack, which is haunted by flying Wizpig heads.
  • Brainwashing: This is how Wizpig is able to make the bosses race against you.
  • Bubbly Clouds: This is where T.T.'s "Wish Races" take place in the remake.
  • Buff: Krunch was extremely difficult to use in the original game, having very low acceleration and utterly atrocious handling. His best trait was his impressive top speed, but Bumper did everything he did better. In the remake, his handling was much improved, making it easier to take advantage of his top speed.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: There's a whole world hidden behind one of the waterfalls on the island, which is hinted at when the music changes as you get close to the waterfall.
  • Cherubic Choir: By getting close to the frogs in the Hub Level, you will be able to hear children singing.
  • City of Adventure: The island.
  • Classic Cheat Code: The original game offered a "password" screen; entering the right codes would do everything from making the characters look goofy, making the A.I. ungodly hard, or race-affecting things like changing all the Power-Up balloons to one color (type) or making all balloons automatically give the highest-leveled item of that type. Combining several of those can either lead to races becoming really hellish, or really awesome, depending on one's point of view.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The hovercraft has no problems driving over the lava in Hot Top Volcano. Given its bright yellow appearance, maybe it's just cheese fondue?
  • Disc One Final Boss: The first race against Wizpig. While it seems as if you've ousted him, and the credits roll... There's still an entire world left, and it requires you to beat every Trophy Race and T.T. Challenge, as well as all its own tracks and challenges.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The T.T. Amulet is in four pieces. The Wizpig Amulet is also in four pieces. Need both amulets to win the game.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Banjo and Conker both went on to star in their own series, and Tiptup made an appearance in the Banjo series. Timber was also slated to appear in his own game, with Bumper and Pipsy as his sidekicks, but it was cancelled.
    • And the game is now the one of the few remnants of Rare's original plans for Conker (the other being his Gameboy game), before he was changed to be a Darker and Edgier parody of that kind of character.
    • And although she did not appear in person at all in this game, Kazooie was actually first mentioned in the game's instructions manual. A literal Early-Bird Cameo.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: But of course.
  • Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels: Conker, who later went on to star in one of the nuttiest games ever made.
  • Exiled from Continuity: Banjo and Conker for the DS remake, due to their franchises continuing on Microsoft systems. Tiptup is left intact though, likely because his presence in the Banjo series is minor enough that they didn't really care.
  • Evil Laugh: Wizpig gave a whole generation of gamers nightmares with his boisterous guffaws and sinister chuckles.
    • Though he isn't evil, Smokey will do this if you lose to him.
    Smokey: BAD LUCK! HA HA HA HAAA! Try again whenever you're ready!
  • Follow the Leader: As a Kart Racer, this game follows Super Mario Kart. The idea to race eight karts and give them Power-Ups comes from Mario Kart.
  • Funny Animal
  • Furry Confusion
  • Go Karting with Bowser: Krunch the Kremling.
    • Wizpig becomes a playable character in the DS remake.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Tapping A rather than holding it while racing in the car makes it perpetually gain speed, to the point where it's actually possible to lap Wizpig.
  • Green Hill Zone: The first track, Ancient Lake.
  • Guide Dang It: The hidden keys, especially the one in Dragon Forest.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Most of the 2D objects, including the various traps left by players or most bosses, have surprisingly large hitboxes. In a small act of mercy, this includes the Silver Coins, meaning you could drive just sort of nearby them and pick them up without actually driving through them. In the remake, however, they're more sensibly sized.
  • Hub Level: The island.
  • Ice Palace: The Battle course for the ice world is one. Surprise! It's called the Ice Palace!
    • Icicle Pyramid in the US version.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: T.T. - only accessible after beating the game, and quite a challenge at that, but ungodly powerful.
  • In Name Only: Only two characters (out of ten) in the original game were actually Donkey Kong Country related—Diddy, and Krunch the Kremling. The remake included Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong, in order to even the balance—and to replace Conker and Banjo, who had been removed for copyright reasons with Microsoft. A secret sixth world was also added, which was full of DK-themed tracks—and finally used the Donkey Kong Country theme in the game.
  • Jack of All Stats: Diddy, naturally. In the remake, Dixie joins him in this regard. Timber is also one.
  • Jerkass: Bubbler may not be evil, but he's certainly enough of a jerk to mock you if you lose to him–moreso than even Smokey, who taunts you with an Evil Laugh after yelling "BAD LUCK!".
  • Jungle Japes: Suprisingly averted on the original; played straight in the DS remake, which gives a DK-themed world.
  • Large Ham: Wizpig.
  • Leitmotif: On the character select screen, each character changes the instruments playing in the theme song, except Diddy, who replaces the melody with the song from Donkey Kong Country.
  • Lethal Joke Character: In the original, Krunch the Kremling is terrible in the kart and meh in the plane... but does unexpectedly well in the hovercraft, due to the hovercraft's handling having more to do with your character's weight than their handling stat.
    • Difficult but Awesome: Krunch is a perfectly competent racer when handled properly... which takes a whole lot of practice and getting used to, but once you've got it down, his handling is a non-issue and he gets to shine as the fastest default racer in the game.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Hot Top Volcano, which is found within Dino Domain. But what did you expect with a name like that?
  • Level Editor: The DS game's Wish Races. It's not fancy (you can draw your track and decide how bumpy it is, but that's it), but it is still an editor.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Drumstick the Chicken, once he's activated. His top speed is one of the highest in the game and he's bulky enough to use the hovercraft efficiently. Also, unlike Krunch, his handling and acceleration don't suck.
  • Mirror Match: Lampshaded. In the DS port, try talking to Taj while you're playing as Taj as well. He's... understandably confused by the situation.
    Taj: Am I going crazy? I'm talking to myself! What can I do for... you?
  • Missing Secret: In the DS remake, in Treasure Caves, there are some coins you can't grab in your car because you're too high up. This might lead one to think that you can unlock the alternate vehicles for use in single player, right? Nope—in the DS remake, you are always limited to the default vehicles in single player.
    • There's also Coin Bombs, which are bombs that look like coins. They're meant to fool others into thinking they're real coins. But that only works in multiplayer, and there are no coins in multiplayer! Is there a way to enable them? You'd think so, but nope. They're basically just five landmines, and the artifice means little.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: The original version replaces one item with another, losing upgrades in the process. In the DS version, you can't grab a new balloon color unless you use up the one you're holding first.
  • New Game+: Beating the game the first time unlocks "Adventure 2," which has all the tracks mirrored and which moves the coins in the Silver Coin Challenge. In the remake, your Adventure and Adventure 2 games share the same slot, as well as sharing upgrades and money between them.
  • Nice Hat: Several characters have one.
  • Nintendo Hard: Adventure 2 does this to you, and so does trying to get T.T. activated as playable character.
  • No Export for You: The DS version wasn't translated into Japanese.
  • Noodle Incident: Leigh Loveday mentioned that Bumper the Badger is in jail.
  • Nostalgia Level: Although the Silver Coin Challenges were cut from the main game in the remake, they were included as an unlockable extra.
    • All DK-themed levels qualify.
  • Oil Slick: Oil Slicks are the first-level Green item in Diddy Kong Racing. They'll send someone spinning, slowing them down, and, in the DS Video Game Remake, they also screw up their car's steering for a few seconds afterward.
  • One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others: Bluey is the only boss that doesn't mention luck if you lose to him.
    Bluey: Aw, never mind, kid! You can come back whenever you're ready.
  • Palm Tree Panic: The third world, Sherbet Island.
  • Plot Coupon: Gold Balloons, four keys, and two amulets. Collect the Gold Balloons to unlock more race tracks and some bosses. Race four bosses to win four pieces of the Wizpig Amulet. Find four keys, unlock four battle arenas, and win four pieces of the T.T. Amulet. Need all balloons and both amulets to win the game.
  • Prehistoria: The first world, Dino Domain.
  • Sailor Fuku: For some reason, Pipsy the mouse wears a sailor suit. Is she a schoolgirl? Is she Japanese? Hard to say, but she's got the costume anyway.
  • Secret Level: Future Fun Land would count, but it's necessary to finish the game. But the remake gives us D.K. Island, which is a textbook secret world.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The second track in Dino Domain, Fossil Canyon.
  • Shout-Out: The Spaceport Alpha course contains a "laser trench" similar to the one from Star Wars.
    • The music contains parts that sound similar to the Thunderbirds theme. [1]
    • Star City's tunnel is literally modeled after Epcot Center at Disney World.
    • Several of the cheat codes from the N64 original have shout out names. The code that makes all characters big is "Arnold;" the one that makes all balloons green is "Toxic Offender."
  • Silliness Switch: Several were included in the game's original cheats. There were codes to make characters huge or small, change the horn sounds to taunts, and other amusing things.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The second world, Snowflake Mountain. Ironically, the ice is neither Slippy nor Slidey. It is, however, very Bouncy.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: There's not much plot to be spoken of, but in the DS port, Tiny seems a lot older than her previous appearance, while her older sister, Dixie, looks the same as she always has.
    • Likely justified by the fact she now wears large hoop earrings, which generally makes one look more adult.
  • Space Zone: Future Fun Land.
  • Species Surname: Timber the Tiger, Bumper the Badger, Tiptup the Turtle...
  • Spiritual Successor: Banjo-Pilot was originally supposed to be Diddy Kong Pilot, focusing mainly on the game's planes. Rareware was bought by Microsoft, however, putting the kibosh on that.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Most of the game is made of polygons, but the plants and the wheels are sprites.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Inverted with Banjo, who speaks english in this game but only grunts in his own series. Played straight with Diddy.
  • Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom: Future Fun Land is NOT fun. Well, not EASY fun, anyway.
  • Turtle Power: Tiptup the Turtle.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In the remake, the "Balloon Touch Challenge" found on every course is similar to a light gun arcade game. It replaces the Silver Coin Challenge from the original game.
  • Variable Mix: The overworld, changing due to your proximity to the different world entrances, or to Taj and the frogs. (Taj hums along with the melody, and the frogs... add singing children. OK, then.) Interestingly, one—but only one—of the tracks uses it too—Boulder Canyon's song changes from oompah to more dramatic when you're in the track's castle.
  • Wacky Racing
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Tricky the Triceratops, who is suddenly unexpectedly tough.
    • There's actually a shortcut part way up the mountain which makes beating him pretty easy, but Bubbler's second race is a different story.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After beating Wizpig for the second time, the only character to not be seen in the following cut scene is the Octopus boss.
  • Worthy Opponent: By the end, Wizpig seems to regard you as such.

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alternative title(s): Diddy Kong Racing
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