- System: Nintendo DS
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Genre: Racing
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When it was announced in 2005 that Rare would develop Nintendo DS titles, many Rare fans were curious as to what the games would be. It wasn’t until E3 2006 when we finally found out what game would grace our DS’ in our future. That game being a port/sequel to Diddy Kong Racing called, appropriately enough, Diddy Kong Racing DS.
Only wizard pigs trip twice on the same plot
DKRDS is, believe it or not, a continuation from Diddy Kong Racing’s “To Be Continued” message, if Tiny’s growth is of any indication. In the original story, Timber sent a letter to Diddy Kong explaining that Wizpig has taken over the island while his and Diddy’s parents were off on vacation and asking for any and every help he could. Among the way, Diddy and friends gained Golden Balloons to access new worlds, won Trophy Races and Battle modes, won against bosses who were really hypnotized natives of Timber’s Island, and finally defeated Wizpig, all while racing on land, sea, or air. At the end of the game when Wizpig was finally defeated, the legendary words (among Rare fans, at least) “To Be Continued” were shown, thus making us wait longingly for a sequel.
Ten years later, with a few character exceptions, the same thing is happening over again. Timber’s Island has been taken over by Wizpig again, and Timber, along with Diddy, Dixie, Tiny, Tiptup, and friends, must stop him again in cars, hovercrafts, and airplanes.
Lots of changes for DKR veterans
Besides the addition of the DS in the title, there are significant changes to this new game. For starters, Banjo and Conker, two protagonists of the N64 version, are nowhere to be seen in the DS version. While the reasons for them not being in the adventure this time have never been explicitly stated, it is safe to assume that due to Banjo and Conker now appearing on Microsoft systems, it wouldn’t be a good idea to have two characters promoting a rival system. Instead, DKR DS has Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong, who has sported a massive growth spurt since her N64 adventure in 1999. Moreover, other two additional well-known characters are in the game to be unlocked.
In addition, the Silver Coin Challenges from the first game are -while offered as a bonus- nowhere to be seen during regular play in DKR DS.Instead, we get a mini-game featuring Taj in which you must pop Golden Balloons along the way in your designated tracks. Also, bananas which you collected to gain speed in races are gone as well, now being replaced by coins along the track.
But don't worry. Like every Rare port made, there are new features to keep even DKR veterans on their cars, planes, and hovercrafts. The touch screen, being a major difference between the N64 and NDS, is now used before races to boost your racer, pop balloons in Taj’s Mini game, and design decals (a la Mario Kart DS). You can also customize your vehicles to improve their performances: using the currency in the game, you can buy different unlockables which could lead you to discover even a whole new world with its own four never-before-seen tracks. Lastly, a new mode called T.T.’s Wish Races allows you to make your own custom tracks.
Yet perhaps the biggest inclusion of the DS version has to be the addition of multiplayer through Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection. Originally said to have eight players playing online, it was finally changed to let 6 players race head to head. Editorial impressions dictate that the Wi-Fi options in this game are much better than Mario Kart DS’ was, letting players see what their friends are doing when they’re online, provided that you enter their friend codes first.
Diddy Kong Racing DS looks to be a great first title from Rare on the DS. With new features, it’s sure to make every lover of DKR look forward buying this game once again.