Review by xcamel24
"Fans of the original beware, this is not the same game."
Diddy Kong Racing was one of my personal favorite party games for the N64. It had great controls, characters, and had unique boss battles and race tracks that kept the game flowing nicely. So when hearing that they would be making Diddy Kong Racing for DS with online multiplayer, I was thrilled. Unfortunately, I probably shouldn't have been.
We start out with one of the best things of Diddy Kong Racing, its graphics. They are very good for the DS, but that isn't saying a whole lot. The graphics don't look as good as its N64 predecessor, but it looks as good or better than Mario Kart DS and Super Mario 64 DS. All the characters are colored well and look nice. The custom colorization of your vehicle makes things look quite a bit nicer too. All in all you can't complain much here, things look great and from a graphical standard there isn't a whole lot wrong here.
Story: N/A / 10
Its a game, and it has a story. But im not factoring into the review, mostly because it is about as good of a story as New Super Mario Bros.
Game play: 5/10
Ugh. OK this is where a game makes or breaks, in its game play. The game play is supposed to be more of the same from the N64 version- well at first it is. You start out by racing 7 other opponents, and you can proceed by winning the race. Then things get mixed up. Unlike the original, you will now redo the courses by playing a balloon popping game. This may or may not appeal to you, but it definitely is easier than the Silver Coin Challenge from N64. But the controls for this game use the touch screen, and cause problems. You have to move the camera manually, so trying to grab each and every balloon is almost impossible because there are some spots where you have to jerk your camera around to grab a balloon without missing the next one. While it is easy to clear the level, perfectionists will be angered trying to complete. This game also has Boss races, where you'll race against the area's toughest foe. And two of these races are in the worst controlled vehicle- the Hovercraft. More on that later. Oh and remember bananas? Those have been pulled in place of R coins- which you use to upgrade your vehicle. Now how this is much different from bananas I really don't know, except I do know it is more time consuming. Also, Banjo and Conker were pulled (probably by Nintendo as not to advertise Microsoft games) so if you were looking forward to playing as them, guess again.
I can't in my right mind give the replay a bad score. There are tons of mini-games, tons of tracks, and online multi-player, plus up to 8 people LAN, so you really can't complain a whole lot. The only major complaint is the lack of battle mode- its gone. They completely pulled it, which was one of my favorite modes from the original. So likewise, the challenges in the game requiring a battle mode have been replace by matches against T.T. on mostly boring tracks. And that leads into the "create a track" mode, yeah they mostly suck, and are completely lacking of any real depth or fun. However, the online and LAN racing plus the large variety of tracks are bound to keep you busy...if you can enjoy the game.
I didn't really like the music a whole lot, but for the most part it has been translated well onto the DS. Some of the tracks have been redone in terms of music, for what I feel are lesser crappier tunes that don't hold up to the originals. Also, the voice acting for the Bosses has been removed almost entirely, so if you were expecting the same hilarious voices from the original, think again. You won't see any voice acting here. Sounds for the most part are good and make you feel at home playing, well that is if you can get past the controls...
This is easily the breaking point that made me not like this game. The controls are terrible. ESPECIALLY if you played the N64 original. Used to power-sliding/power-steering your vehicle? Well now it doesn't handle anything like what you were used to. Power-sliding/steering cannot be used like it was in the N64 version, and this hurts the original players who might try to use it. Also, instead of using timing on a button press at the start of a race to get a boost, you now have the worst idea ever for it, using the touch screen. Well the hovercraft has you blow into the mic (rubbing your finger over it works too) but the other two require the use of your stylus, which makes me wonder something- how do they expect you to start racing with your stylus in your hands? I tried using the DS thumb pad to do this, but it doesn't work hardly at all. Not to mention driving controls do not translate well to the DS D-pad. In fact- they suck. The car isn't very bad, minor problems, but nothing terrible. The Hovercraft however, is so bad that you won't ever want to play a hovercraft race. The hovercraft does not handle at all...even with upgrades. The turning is terrible, the power-steering is terrible, and it almost feels like you have a delayed response with your vehicle. The Plane is a bit better, but the power-steering is almost too powerful, you nearly do a u-turn when you power steer the plane. The bad controls make grabbing all the item balloons you need very difficult as well, making the game one big pain in the butt. Also, as I mentioned before, the camera angle for the balloon popping challenge is terrible. Also, there is a third boss challenge, also with terrible touch screen controls. Take a lesson people- this is NOT how we want to use the touch screen in our games.
It has some redeeming qualities, but the controls may break this game for most players. If you're looking for fun online racing action, you might want to check out the Xbox 360 or PSP, or buy Mario Kart DS, because this game is probably not your cup of tea. If you haven't played the original Diddy Kong Racing- you might like this version, and at 30 bucks it is probably worth a chance.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 02/20/07
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