Diddy Kong Racing (DS) Reviews

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Diddy Kong Racing (DS)

By: Rex Inego | May 12, 2007 10:21 PM

Diddy Kong Racing. Arguably one of the greatest N64 games made, selling 800,000 in its first weekend and breaking records. But does the sequel live up to its predecessor? Or is just another remake, ruined by the touchscreen that could have made it so much better? This review aims to explore that, and also assumes you already know a little about the game. A short synopsis for those that don't is that it's a kart racing game similar to Mario Kart, but has hovercrafts and planes as well - it's also set out in an adventure mode with a (weak) plot, and has bosses along with a host of moderately successful touchscreen features.

Pros: Graphics: The graphics are fairly similar to the N64 original. They aren't massively interesting or inspiring, and aren't anywhere near as crisp as Mario Kart. The basic graphics seem to have been toned down a little as you still get sharp edges and so on, despite it being on a much smaller screen than the N64 version. There are some nice effects, though, and certain areas do look nicer thanks to helpful coding shortcuts that have been learned in the 10 years between now and then. I'll also include the Billboard designing extra here. Like icons in Mario Kart, you can draw pictures in an MS Paint styled interface - however, you have to use the stylus which makes any hope of a detailed picture impossible. With button support, this feature would have been perfect - billboard appear around the track, and seeing a near-photographic quality image would have been wonderful. Sound: The sound is a mixed bag. While we have some excellent music that really does sing to your ears, and the final lap music is sped up perfectly, the sound effects are somewhat downgraded from the last game. All of the characters use the same voice, simply sped up or slowed down - for example, Tiptup now sounds like a 4 year old girl with a British accent who's been denied candy, and Taj sounds like the kind of creepy guy that would offer her the candy... Yeah, a candy salesman. The recordings extras are pretty interesting for a while, and fun when playing locally against friends if your volume is up and they can hear it, but on your own gets tedious - you can only listen to the sound of your own voice screaming, ''THIS IS SPARTAAA!'' so many times before you get annoyed and change it back to a gentle boom noise. Still, it's fun while it lasts so a thumbs up there. Gameplay: There isn't actually all that much to say about short-term gameplay fun. Playing individual tracks is fun, and when I had to do every track two or three times over in different vehicles to do the time trials, I didn't get bored at all - the three different vehicles have enough variety to keep you interested finding new routes. Online is where the game really shines, with 6 player races and 4 player battles - I once played a game of Fire Mountain (the first battle track - it sees players collecting eggs from the centre and eachother's nests to put in their own nest, and try to hatch 3) that lasted 25 minutes because the three of us were effectively playing perfectly - and yet I still didn't get bored at all. It was quite fun, as the game would swing in one person's favour, giving a slight adrenaline rush, and then the other's would get a kick out of sabotaging them and so on. I put this odwn to good game design rather than chance. Longevity: Longevity depends on whether you have online. Once you finish the game and unlock every character and option available, even if you don't have wireless internet you'll still find yourself occasionally playing through a few races. If you have friends with DSes, this is a perfect game to bring on a trip (there are 4 different multiplayer modes on one cart - each of these is varied within itself).

cons: Brief overview of the bad points: -Boss touch screen battles. They're hard to control and not much fun. -Magic Carpet Riding. Picture house of the dead with balloons - an on rails shooter where you tap balloons. It could have been fun, but there are some control issues with the camera. -Wish Races. The track editor (''Wish Races'') is fairly basic - all you do is draw the direction of the course and set how bumpy it is. Don't get excited about this feature. -''Blow'' challenge. One challenge sees you blowing out torches with the microphone. It doesn't work.

conclusion: Verdict: Worth a buy even if you have Mario Kart, due to the fact that the overall gameplay, while marginally less fun in certain areas, is a lot more varied and lasts much, much longer. The online is also more developed, and single cart play has many more features. In general, it feels less polished than Mario Kart due to the badly implemented DS features but is longer and better wih friends. 85%, buy it from movietyme.com for 15 (when I bought it) and it's well worth it. I'm not sure if it's worth the high street price of ã30, though - but it's worth a look for almost anyone, especially if they liked the original simply because of the nostalgia trip once you reach the space tracks.

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