The Let's Play Archive

Diddy Kong Racing

by njsykora

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Original Thread: Bananas: Fuel of the Future - Let's Play Diddy Kong Racing!


This LP is also available on the Internet Archive! Some video LPs are kindly hosted by the folks on This means the original source videos will always be available for download or watching, even if the original video hosts are no longer available!


Diddy Kong Racing is a game released for the Nintendo 64 in November 1997. Developed by the then-legendary Rareware it was one of very few games at the time to receive a near-simultanious worldwide launch, only a week separating the games North American launch from Europe and Japan. It stood out from other racing games at the time such as Mario Kart and Wipeout thanks to its Adventure mode. In this mode the aim is to win races and collect Golden Balloons to force the evil bully Wizpig off of Timber's Island. It was also unique for its multiple vehicles, the standard racing car is joined by a hovercraft and plane. These meant track design could be a lot more visually unique than the standard racing track, helping the game to stand out from the inevitable comparison.

The game also marked the first appearance of Banjo and Conker, who would go on to bigger things.

A remake entitled Diddy Kong Racing DS was released for the Nintendo DS in 2007. It was also developed by Rare as their last game for a Nintendo platform. There are quite a few differences between the N64 and DS versions, most of them not for the better. The positive additions of online multiplayer and a track creator were well received though.

I'm going to be doing a 100% run of the Adventure mode, collecting all the Golden Balloons and various other bits and pieces. I'll be using a different character for each world based on the whims of the thread so we can see how they all control and hear all the fun little sounds they all make. Trophy Races I'll be doing offscreen though I would upload them as bonus videos if people still want to see them.

Commentary duties will be handled by me, though I might want to bring in some guests as the LP progresses.

Update wise I'm aiming for a new video every few days, at least one a week.

Golden Balloons: 47/47
TT Keys: 4/4
Wizpig Amulet: 4/4
TT Amulet: 4/4
Trophies: 4/4

Youtube playlist is right here

Suspicious Dish found this great promo video for the game from Nintendo Power!
Tricky: Murphy's Law Edition
Diddy Kong Racing DS! Part 1
Diddy Kong Racing DS! Part 2
An Illustrated Guide to Trophy Races
Time Trialling Dino Domain, semi pro-shit
Time Trialling Snowflake Mountain, slightly more pro-shit
Time Trialling Sherbert Island, mostly pro-shit
Time Trialling Dragon Forest, increased pro-shit
Time Trialling Future Fun Land, climactic pro-shit
Time Trialling Darkmoon Caverns, anti pro-shit

Choray puts everyone to shame with her incredible Krunch skills
More insanely pro-shit from Choray, making Adventure 2 her bitch
Choray boss rushes without balloons
Once again Choray makes everyone feel inferior, even Wizpig. Then she does it again at the other end of the weight scale!
One final time, Choray demolishes Wizpig in space
Adventure 2, Future Fun Land, silver coins, proof that Choray is not freaking human

Weight Class: Middleweight
Acceleration: Poor
Turning: Poor
Top Speed: Average
Notes: Timber is a tiger cub who wears a baseball cap. He is therefore cool and the BEST RACER!
From the Manual
A playful young tiger, Timber has been left in charge of the island while his parents visit their old friends over in Kong Country. Desperate to get Wizpig out and everything else back to normal before they return, Timber rallies his friends to join up with Taj's resistance!

Weight Class: Heavyweight
Acceleration: Bad
Turning: Bad
Top Speed: Excellent
Notes: Krunch came to Timber's Island after hearing of the trouble while spying on Diddy, he tried to get the rest of his spy group to come with him but they refused. As a young Kremling he was traumatised by a corner, since then he's refused to go round them.
From the Manual
Seeing Diddy Kong rush off so suddenly makes the Kremlings very suspicious, so Krunch goes bounding after him to make sure there aren't any anti-Kremling plots in the works. Diddy Kong, Timber and company don't exactly trust him, but Krunch insists he's only there to lend a hand...

Weight Class: Middleweight
Acceleration: Good
Turning: Poor
Top Speed: Average
Notes: Bumper's a solid trade-off middleweight. His turning is in the sweet spot where he can go round corners unlike Krunch, but is more precise and less twitchy than Timber. Plus he's a goggle-wearing, speed-loving badger, and what's not to like about that combination?
From the Manual
Unlike most of his kind, Bumper the badger prefers speed and thrills to a quiet nocturnal lifestyle. He gets even more worked up than his friends when he realises how much racing and excitement will be involved in the crusade to get rid of Wizpig...

Weight Class: Middleweight
Acceleration: Poor
Turning: Poor
Top Speed: Good
Notes: Conker is a fairly basic middleweight, his turning isn't bad enough to detract from his above average top speed and his acceleration is also perfectly fine. Plus it's freaking Conker! Before he became super edgy and generally rubbish.
From the Manual
Another friend made by Diddy Kong on one of his endless adventures with Donkey Kong, Conker is also an exploration nut who'll jump at any chance to break free of a squirrel's less than exciting daily routine. He's eager to join up with Banjo as the bear passes through.

Diddy Kong
Weight Class: Middleweight
Acceleration: Average
Turning: Average
Top Speed: Average
Notes: Diddy's the Mario of this game, by which I mean he's the least interesting character and no-one will ever play as him.
From the Manual
Regarded as a hero after all his adventures in Kong country, the young primate is a long-time friend of Timber and doesn't think twice about responding to his call for help. With his family tending to their guests, he even manages to sneak off without their interference.

Weight Class: Heavyweight
Acceleration: Bad
Turning: Poor
Top Speed: Excellent
Notes: Banjo's top speed lies just below Krunch's, but his improved handling makes him much more reasonable as a heavyweight choice. Especially without a certain loud-mouthed breegull weighing him down.
From the Manual
Even before the start of his future partnership with Kazooie, Banjo isn't one to turn down the chance of an adventure. So when Squawks brings the message from his pal Diddy Kong, the Honey Bear stuffs a few things into his trusty backpack and takes to his heels.

Weight Class: Lightweight
Acceleration: Excellent
Turning: Excellent
Top Speed: Bad
Notes: Anything Pipsy can do, Tiptup can do better. She's the worst lightweight in a game with 2 lightweights. She's also the only female character in the game, has an annoying high pitched voice and lacks the top speed and weight to make any kind of hovercraft turn. She is the worst.
From the Manual
Evicted from her mountain home by the wicked Wizpig, Pipsy the mouse turns to her friends for help and gives them yet another reason to want the intruder out. She might seem delicate, but take her on in a race and you'll find out that she's a lot tougher than she looks!

Weight Class: Lightweight
Acceleration: Excellent
Turning: Good
Top Speed: Poor
Notes: Tiptup's the effective lightweight. A higher top speed than Pipsy makes him my go-to character for time trials. He would go on to become a regular character in the Banjo Kazooie games.
From the Manual
Tiptup the turtle is another member of the close group of animal friends, but because of his nervous (and maybe even slightly clumsy) nature, he's never been particularly fond of the racing that the others seem to like so much. Now, though, he doesn't seem to have much choice!

Weight Class: Heavyweight
Acceleration: Bad
Turning: Average
Top Speed: Excellent
Notes: Drumstick is the heavyweight with a middleweight's handling. He's quick as all hell, pretty easy to get to grips with handling-wise and has probably the best horn in the game.
From the Manual
The most experienced racer on the island, Drumstick was the animals' best hope for getting rid of the intruder. Unfortunately something seems to have gone wrong and he hasn't been seen since he went off to make a stand. Could he have fallen afoul of one of Wizpig's spells?

Acceleration: Excellent
Handling: Excellent
Top Speed: Excellent
T.T. is a beast of a racer who will kick everyone's ass on any track at any time. He's also a pretty cool guy who sucks in planes and hovercrafts if the AI's controlling him.
From the Manual
Like Taj, the overseer of the racetracks is less than impressed at Wizpig's behavior, but in T.T.'s case, it's because the bully has sealed off his beloved courses. He can't do much on his own, but he's certainly willing to give the animals any help he can in their mission.

Tricky the Triceratops
Tricky is the guardian of the Dino Domain, he has been brainwashed by Wizpig and holds a piece of the Amulet.
Trivia: Tricky the Triceratops was originally intended to be Krystal's companion in Dinosaur Planet, however its unsure if this connection was maintained when the game changed to Starfox Adventures. It can be assumed however that the Styracosaurus in Starfox Adventures is named Tricky in homage.
Source: August 2007 edition of Rare's Scribes column.

Bluey the Walrus
Bluey is the boss of Snowflake Mountain, like all the bosses he's been brainwashed by Wizpig and entrusted with an Amulet piece.
Trivia: Bluey was rumoured to be a playable character in Diddy Kong Racing's sequel Donkey Kong Racing, however since the game was never officially cancelled nothing was confirmed.

Bubbler the Octopus
Bubbler is a dick. A giant, 8 tentacled, spike-ball dropping, start gun jumping dick.
Trivia: As a kid, I broke 3 controllers racing this guy. He's also the only boss to not appear in the ending cinematic, making some people believe he's the only truly evil boss besides Wizpig in the game.

Smokey the Dragon
Weirdly, Smokey's probably the easiest boss in the game. His track holds no real dick moves and his fireballs always make a reasonably predictable pattern.
Trivia: Smokey was ridiculously nerfed in the remake. The first race against him in DKR becomes the second race in DKRDS.

An evil beast who makes the player suffer just as much as any of the inhabitants of the many worlds he's destroyed. He has a sweet spaceship, despite having the ability to fly and breath in outer space.
Trivia: Wizpig travels around to different worlds and wreaks havoc until he's bored. Then he destroys the world and moves on, he's a dick. A beta track left in the game features Wizpig randomly flying around, I like to think he was being tested as a track hazard.

Taj is the genie guardian of Timber's Island, before Wizpig invaded he hadn't been seen for over 50 years. He helps us out by changing our vehicle on the island and is partial to a bit of racing himself.
From the Manual
"Evicted from his mountain home and cut off from his lamp, this ancient Genie isn't exactly pleased with the despicable Wizpig. Now he's in search of a champion racer to go up against the uninvited guest and hopefully teach him a lesson in manners."

The most powerful (and common) weapon in the game. From a standard straight line rocket, to the homing missile, to the winner's fireworks that are the 10 homing missiles. These are the only weapons that can force bananas out of our opponents.

All that really matters here is the level 3, purple boost. The orange and blues are very nice speed-ups but the sound barrier breaking purple is the only kind of boost that really hits the spot.

Our mine set. The basic spin-out oil slick, the explosive spike ball and the evil time freezing bubble. These are the bread and butter of defending position.

They're shields, nothing else to say about them. Higher level shields last longer and that's about it.

The magnets, rarely will you find a chance to use them. They are the rarest balloons in the game so most people tend to ignore them. They lock on to the closest visible opponent and drag you towards them, the 3rd level also drags the opponent backwards.

The reason we're here. These are what we win for placing first in races, and there are a few dotted around the island as well.

The source of everything good and beautiful in the Kong's world. These will increase our vehicle's top speed, though only up to 10 bananas.

From the good and beautiful, to the evil and brutal. In the second phase of the Adventure the tracks become littered with silver coins, 8 of them to be exact. The game then requests that you win the race again, but now you're forced to go far out of the way (sometimes completely off the track) to track down and collect all 8 coins over the 3 laps.

All the music in DKR was composed by David Wise, Rare's in-house composer and sole musical maestro between 1985 and 1994. He was responsible for all the Donkey Kong Country soundtracks and also soundtracked Viva Pinata, Battletoads and Starfox Adventures. Wise returned to the game in 2007 to remix his soundtrack for the DS remake.
Composer profile on Overclocked Remix

DKR Main Theme
Character Select
Timber's Island
Taj's Theme
Taj Challenge
World Lobby
T.T. Theme

Dino Domain
Ancient Lake (DS Remix)
Fossil Canyon (DS Remix)
Jungle Falls (DS Remix)
Hot Top Volcano (DS Remix)

Snowflake Mountain
Everfrost Peak/Snowball Valley (DS Remix)
Snowball Valley DS
Walrus Cove (DS Remix)
Frosty Village (DS Remix)

Sherbert Island
Whale Bay (DS Remix)
Pirate Lagoon/Treasure Caves
Pirate Lagoon DS
Treasure Caves DS
Crescent Island (DS Remix)

Pirate Lagoon DS
Treasure Caves DS

Dragon Forest
Windmill Plains/Greenwood Village (DS Remix)
Boulder Canyon (DS Remix)
Haunted Woods

Windmill Plains DS

Future Fun Land
Spacedust Alley/Star City (DS Remix)
Darkmoon Caverns (DS Remix)
Spaceport Alpha (DS Remix, used for Spacedust Alley)
Spaceport Alpha DS

Battle Arena
Boss Race (DS Remix)
Wizpig's Theme (DS Remix)


FREEFRUIT - Start with 10 bananas. (immediate maximum speed)
TOXICOFFENDER - All of the balloons are green. (good luck getting close to first)
DOUBLEVISION - Two-players may use the same character in multi-player mode. (otherwise known as the T.T. compromise code)
OPPOSITESATTRACT - All of the balloons are rainbow colored. (this makes multiplayer insane)
BODYARMOR - All of the balloons are yellow (boring)
BOMBSAWAY - All of the balloons are red. (shootout at the DK corral)
ROCKETFUEL - All of the balloons are blue. (god forbid you pick T.T. with this on)
NOYELLOWSTUFF - Disable bananas.
BYEBYEBALLOONS - Disable balloons. (this and disable bananas will separate the men from the monkeys)
JOINTVENTURE - Two-Player adventure. (basically 2 player races in Adventure mode, increasing your odds)
TIMETOLOSE - Expert AI (the computer hauls ass and makes no mistakes, think racing 7 T.T. AIs)
BLABBERMOUTH - Changes horn sounds. (character voices replace the horn, can be hilarious)
BOGUSBANANAS - Bananas slow you down. (another hardcore code)
VITAMINB - Unlimited bananas. (VROOOM!)
ZAPTHEZIPPERS - Disable zippers (more realism options)
FREEFORALL - Fully powered up balloons. (combine with any balloon code for ultimate mayhem)
JUKEBOX - Adds a 'music test' option to the audio options menu. (whee music!)
ARNOLD - Large racers. (yep, its freaking DK mode!)
TEENYWEENIES - Small racers. (awww)
OFFROAD - Four Wheel drive! (non-track terrain won't slow you down unless its water or bouncy ice)
WHODIDTHIS - Show the credits for the game. (in case seeing them twice during Adventure wasn't enough)
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