Diddy Kong Racing (1997/2007) Review

Anyone who knows me quickly comes to realise that I am big fan of Kart Racing video games and that I can be very critical of their quality. A game in this genre that I have a history with is Rare Wares Diddy Kong Racing which released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997 with a Remake coming out on the Nintendo DS 10 years later in 2007. Unlike most game I actually came to know the game through the remake and have only recently finished the original which is the version I am focusing on today, I will however be addressing differences between the DS version at the end of this review so that I can give a comparison.

All is calm in the jungle until Diddy Kong receives a letter from his friend Timber the Tiger, poor Timbers Island has been taken over by a wizarding space hog named Wiz Pig and the only way to get rid of him is to beat him in a race. Diddy quickly contacts his friends Banjo the Bear and Conker the Squirrel (yes these are the same characters you are thinking of) to meet him at Timbers Island and together Diddy, Timber and all of the Island folk team up and practice racing, getting ready for the tough race against the evil Wiz Pig.

The game uses a Hub world as a means of travelling between the different areas of the game and while it is a very basic hub world it is still fun to explore and even has some hidden balloons that need to be discovered.

The main purpose of the game is racing and it is very similar to other Kart Racers such as Mario Kart however this game has a bit of a twist because as well as cars you can also race in hovercrafts and aeroplanes.

All of the vehicles are easy enough to control however finding the strengths of each racer will help you determine the best choice for each vehicle, I personally found that Tip Tup the tortoise was a great choice all around and I mainly used him.

In races players can collect power ups (rockets, speed boosts, oil, shields and magnets) if players hold onto a power up and collect more of the same coloured balloons the power up they have will be upgraded and this can done up to three times for maximum power.

After completing a boss race players will need to repeat all of the races again but now having to collect all of the silver coins and still come first, this becomes particularly challenging in the later worlds of the game.

After beating a boss the second time you can then compete in a trophy race which is not needed but does go towards completion of the game and most people do want this. The issue have is the repetition here, its the same races three times in a row and while still fun it does get a little a bit boring.

There are four main boss races in the game not including the two races against Wiz Pig which I have not included images of in case you want to beat this game yourself. All of the races are actually very challenging and had me stuck a few times, in the end I had to learn the patterns, avoid almost all obstacles and try the race with multiple characters until I could win, these were all very memorable and really satisfying to finish.

Each world hides a hidden key which will open a door to a battle mini game, these are a nice break from the racing and were in my opinion very easy but one my favourites parts of the game if only because it was different. Some of the keys are really difficult to find and don’t worry once you find one you can return to the lobby and the key will still be with you so there is no panic to win the race as well.

There are two secret unlockable characters in the game, one of these is Drumstick the chicken who is easily one of the best racers and the other its T.T the clock who will challenge you to a race if you beat his times for each course, after winning all of the times trials and all of the races against him he will become a playable racer.

The music was composed by David Wise who had previously worked on the Donkey Kong Country series, the music is wonderful in this game and it has that Rare Ware quality that I love, they didn’t hold back here and I feel this specific game focused more on fun music than atmospheric due to the fact that is a racing game and not a big immersive adventure such is the case with other other Rare Ware N64 titles. I really enjoyed the music in the snow world as it reminded of Christmas music but with a more energetic twist.

Diddy Kong Racing is a great game and I have very few issues with it, in fact the only real problem is that it is a little bit repetitive, I would have fixed this by having the second races replaced by either having to do a scavenger hunt or solving a difficult puzzle in the main hub which would eventually unlock one key hole in a giant door and once you unlock this door you can do a boss rush to unlock another secret racer (who ever that may be), this boss rush would replace the second boss races and the puzzles would replace the silver coin challenges.

Apart from this, it has nice visuals, fantastic music and super fun gameplay which shouldn’t be missed and if you have a N64 I recommend picking this one up as it is not too expensive and is a really good time.

The game was remade for the Nintendo DS handheld system in 2007 first change to note is the absence of Banjo and Conker who due to the Microsoft purchase of Rare Ware were replaced by Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong.

The game is practically the same with small differences of course the DS is a dual screen so when you race you now see the map on the bottom screen instead of the screen you are racing on and honestly I prefer this, what I don’t like is that once you finish a race you cannot return to it until you have completed the world so if you want to return for the key you cannot do that without first finishing the worlds boss.

Silver coin races are now replaced with touch screen challenges where the players has to click on all of the silver coins and balloons over three auto driving laps of races and this helps to break up the repetetive game play and is a good change in my opinion.

Wiz Pig and Taj the Genie can also be unlocked as playable racers in the DS version and some race tracks have had modifications to help them feel a little more fair for example in star city there is an additional route beneath the bridge so that if you fall you do not need to back track and in the final race against Wiz Pig the lasers have been removed to make it a little bit easier than it was previously, although for the final boss this change felt unnecessary as it is supposed to really hard.

The DS version is very good and is almost the same game with few differences some of these are great and others maybe not so much but I am finding it difficult to determine the inferior product here as I feel while the strengths and weaknesses differ between games the end products are so close in quality that its only fair I give them a similar score and say for you to decide which version you would like to play.

Diddy Kong Racing 9.6/10

Diddy Kong Racing DS 9.6/10

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Donkey Kong Country (1994) Review

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Donkey Kong Country is a 2.5D plat-former that was developed by Rare Ware for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the game came to be after Rare Ware played around with silicon graphics. It was the first game in the Donkey Kong Franchise to not be directed by Shigeru Miyamoto however he was involved with the games development.

 

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The plot of the game is explained over four pages of the games original manual, the plot is very well written and is a humorous but atmospheric way to get players in the best mood for the game to come, to briefly break the plot down Diddy Kong was guarding Donkey Kongs Banana Horde when he was attacked by a group of King K Rool’s Kremlings before being stuffed into a barrel, the next morning after noticing Diddy’s absence and the lack of Banana’s in his collection Donkey Kong runs into the Jungle to rescue his nephew Diddy and get his Banana’s back.

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The game is an action plat-former where you play as both of the Monkeys, this also allows 2 player simultaneous game-play. In levels players can collect banana’s and Kong letters to earn more lives.

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There are various animal friends hidden in some levels which allow the monkeys to easily take out tougher enemies and find secret passages, another use of animals in the game is when you collect three matching golden animal statues,  this will open a bonus area where you can quickly add larger quantities of lives.

The two main monkeys each play the same but have different strengths Diddy Kong is lighter than Donkey Kong and is better at getting through tight spaces, Donkey Kong is much larger and a little slower but his extra weight allows him to take out armoured enemies with ease.

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There are many different types of levels in the game and all of them are very well made, the two that stood out the most to me were the water levels and the mine carts.

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These are in my opinion the most challenging in the game both require quick reactions and well timed movements, I normally hate water levels in games but I really like these ones they have great atmospheric music and they don’t tire out your thumb as much as over games water stages do, if you ride the fish you can actually go through most of these stages without any repetitive tapping as well.

I like the mine cart stages because they give off quite an adrenaline rush due to the high speeds that you travel on the mine cart and the fast reactions you need to survive, these stages leave you feeling very satisfied when you finally manage to beat them.

The only other stages that really stand out in this game are the light stages where you need to keep turning on lights to see your way through the levels, there are only a few of these but they are very difficult.

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Between worlds you can pay visits to Cranky Kong who will both insult you and also provide you hints on secrets in some of the stages.

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The boss fights are not very inspired, they all get hurt the same way and apart from one or two of them they are not that memorable, this is not including the final boss which is great.

Click to access CLV-P-SAALE.pdf

Click to access CLV-P-SAALE.pdf

The games soundtrack is one of the most beloved video game soundtracks of all time, the music is extremely well done and fits the tone and atmosphere of the game perfectly. It uses various nature sounds and music styles to make the music fit perfectly into the jungle environment and its hard to give it justice in words alone but composers David Wise and Eveline Fisher made most of the music for the game and deserve their place in video game history.

Donkey Kong Country is an amazing game, it is known to be one of the best games on the Super Nintendo and you can see why, I would argue that it isn’t perfect though one thing that bugged me was that they mapped the roll move with the same button as sprint and this caused me to roll off of edges more times than necessary and I found some areas hard to see properly due to the realism in the visuals. Don’t get me wrong the graphics are really impressive and they suit the game very well I just wish at times they were a little bit brighter, apart from these two things the game is flawless, it controls well, looks and sounds beautiful and is overall one of the best video games of all time 9.4/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Donkey Kong Country for the SNES

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Nintendo Land (Wii U) Review

A Nintendo amusement park? AWESOME !!!

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I remember when Nintendo Land first got announced at E3 back in 2012, I couldnt believe my eyes a Nintendo Theme Park with Attractions based on all of my favourite Nintendo IP’s, I was so excited and even though I didn’t own a Wii U at the time I couldn’t wait to watch people play it on YouTube.

Nintendo Land E3 Announcement

Nintendo Land was a genius idea but I couldn’t help being just a little sceptical because I remembered how excited I was for Wii Sports a game I thought I would love but instead I was bored of it after a week.

so how was Nintendo Land?

Nintendo Land does not really have a plot and I don’t see this as a bad thing because unlike other Nintendo Series such as Metroid and Zelda which have timelines connecting each game in the series, very interesting and epic character developments and some really in depth and well detailed story lines, the story in Nintendo Land is just that you are Mii visiting the theme park for fun and I personally think that as simplistic as this is it works perfectly considering where the game takes place.

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There are 12 attractions in Nintendo Land and each one is themed around a specific Nintendo Character or a Series and has a unique objective and playing style. I will now talk about each attraction briefly while explaining my personal opinion and reasons  why I may like or dislike certain attractions

The Attractions I don’t enjoy

Balloon Trip Breeze

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I like the idea of this game, you play as your Mii travelling across the ocean via the transportation of floating balloons, the idea of the game is to draw on the Wii U game pad to create a breeze of wind to help blow your Mii out of the way of obstacles. I understand why a lot of people will enjoy this attraction, it’s slow paced and at times it can be very gripping but personally I found it a bit boring and it’s one of the games I play the least often.

Octopus Dance

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Is it just me or does anyone else find this game to be a bit dull?

The idea of Octopus Dance is to copy the dance moves performed by the scuba diver by using the Game Pad’s two analogue sticks and that’s it. This is my least favourite attraction because compared to the other attractions I think its fair to say that its the most unoriginal, also sometimes the Game doesn’t recognise me copy the dance move and I lose a life which is really annoying.

Is anyone else having this issue?

Captain Falcons Twister Race

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I was really excited for this attraction when I first saw it in Nintendo Land because the last F-zero game came out on the Game Cube so we haven’t seen a new F-zero game in a long time, I only have one problem with this and its not even the game it’s self, I hate that I have to look at the game pad while playing and all I can see is a birds eye view of myself and the track, while on the TV it looks like an F-zero game. I do enjoy playing this attraction but it’s the fact that I am forced to look at the game from a different perspective than what is shown on the TV and this factor really helps me too form a not so positive opinion.

The Attractions I enjoy

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day

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This attraction is a lot of fun especially when you have a bunch of friends over, any players using wii remotes will need to collect as many sweets as they can and drop the sweets into one of the many bowls located on the map, the player using the game pad must control the two guards, controlling one guard with the left analogue stick and the other guard with the right analogue stick. I had a lot of fun playing animal crossing sweet day with my brothers when they visited over the holidays.

Luigi’s Ghost Mansion

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The idea of this attraction is that Luigi is hunting down an escaped ghost in his mansion, all players using the wii remotes will play has the ghost hunters and the player using the game pad plays as the ghost, in order to win the game either the ghost hunters need to drain all 100 of the ghosts health hitting the ghost with the beam of light shining from the flash light or the ghost needs to catch the hunters 3 times. This attraction is really fun especially if you like games which require a bit of strategic thinking in order to catch the enemy when they least expect it.

Yoshi’s Fruit Cart

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In this attraction you need to guide the Yoshi cart to all of the fruit and then to the exit door, you do this by drawing a single route to all of fruit and the exit, the only catch is that on the game pad all of the fruit is invisible so you really need to plan out your route carefully. Later the game gets really tough as it starts adding holes you fall through and by making you collect fruit in a specific order. If you are a fan of puzzle games then you will love this.

My Favourite Attractions

Metroid Blast

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Metroid Blast is the only game on Nintendo Land that I have actually managed to finish, the idea of the game is that you and a friend need to complete an objective while taking on a barrage of alien foes, these objectives can be anything from defeating all of the enemies on the map, collecting all of the character tokens, protecting civilians or overcoming a challenging boss fight.

The mulitplayer aspect allows you and your friend to fight eachother, one person will take control of the spaceship with the Wii U game Pad while shooting their target from above land and the other players will remain on land and will work together to take down the space ship. Metroid  Blast really is a Blast and it only makes me more excited for a future Metroid game on the Wii U.

Mario Chase

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Mario Chase is very similar to the animal crossing game, the only difference is that this time the objective is to either avoid the Toads or catch Mario. The reason I enjoy this game more than Animal Crossing Sweet Day is because in my opinion Mario Chase has much better maps, the Animal Crossing maps were fun but the Mario Chase maps are much bigger, you are able to pick up power stars, they have obstacles and one of the maps has slides. freaking slides !!!. Mario Chase is a multiplayer only game but everytime you play it it’s going to be heaps of fun.

The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest

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In The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest you and your friends take control over what appears to be the four link’s from the Legend of Zelda Four Swords. The idea of the game is to defeat all of the enemies quickly and strategically until the hero’s manage to reach the Triforce which is located at the end of each stage, the Triforce is sometimes guarded by a boss, the player with the game pad will need to use a bow and arrow for some long range attacks on oncoming foes and any players using the wii remotes will need to attack enemies at close range with their swords. This game is really awesome to play especially with friends, I personally don’t like that its on rails but I understand that this does add to the challenge and many players will appreciate this aspect of the attraction.

Donkey Kong’s Crash Course

 

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Donkey Kong’s Crash Course seems to be a very popular attraction among many of the guests who visit Nintendo Land and I think the reason behind this is because the game is very challenging but its also very fun to play which is a perfect combination for gamers of all ages. The idea of the game is to guide a rickety cart through an obstacle course which is filled with many fun puzzles for players to solve. This game is so far the only reason I have had to blow into the microphone on my Wii U game pad, its a quirky little feature that I hope more Wii U titles will implement in the future.

Takamaru’s Ninja Castle

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Is Takamaru a new IP or have I missed out on a past Nintendo Series?

In all seriousness I don’t know who Takamaru is but I do know that Takamaru’s ninja castle is wonderful. The player needs to turn the Wii U game pad vertically towards the tv, the player will then need to swipe the game pad in order to throw shurikens at paper ninjas who appear on the tv. This game really helps show the capabilities of the game pad and its so intense its bound to get your heart pounding.

Pikmin AdventurePikmin Adventure

 

This is by far my favourite attraction in Nintendo Land, one player will use the Wii U game pad and will take control of Captain Olimar and any players using Wii remotes will play as Big pikmin, The idea of the game is to destroy blocks and defeat enemies in order to collect nectar, the nectar will give your character experience points and after collecting a certain amount of nectar that players character will level up. Leveling up is important as it will make your character more powerful, if you are playing as pikmin your objective is to use your fists to beat up the enemies but the player controlling Captain olimar will need to tap on enemies in order to hurl their pikmin at them (real pikmin not the other players). The goal is to reach the end of stage alive but be warned once all players are defeated its back to the beginning of the stage. I have never played a pikmin game before and after playing this I am detertimed too one day to at least play Pikmin 3.

A small side mission you can do in the game is to use a pachinko machine in order to try and win prizes for your park, these prizes can be any thing from music you can play on the juke box, buttons which can do really cool things such as changing it from day to night and bits of memorabilia from the attractions.

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while playing all of these attractions you will notice that everything in the game is formed from some sort of hand made material for example in Mario chase the Yoshi Carts are made out of wood and appear to be wind up toys, in The Legend of Zelda Battle Quests everything is made of a cloth like material and you can even see the stitching and in the Pikmin game all of the creatures are robotic and also appear to be wind up toys. I believe this feature helps give Nintendo Land its own charm and it also helps show that all of the games are just attractions and that the player is in no real danger just like in an amusement park.

The Music isn’t all that memorable but I think this is fine considering the purpose of the game, the idea of Nintendo Land is to help player get use to using the Wii U game pad while at the same time showing off some of its key features, so there is no need for epic orchestral masterpieces which you may find in The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Super Mario Galaxy. The Music in Nintendo Land may not be that memorable but it is nice to listen too and for me that’s good enough.

Nintendo Land is a fantastic game which definitely outlived my expectations, there were some attractions that I personally didn’t enjoy but I had a lot of fun with the attractions I did like. I am really happy that we didn’t get a sports game to show off the Wii U game pad as that was one of my biggest fears as Sports games are not everyone’s cup of tea but luckily Nintendo Land provides a variety of game play styles and challenges and I am certain that everyone will find something they enjoy.

Nintendo Land is a great game for all the family 9.0/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Nintendo Land

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

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