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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Mario Kart an ever expanding series.

Hello and welcome to a new series of reviews where I will be covering an entire series as whole instead of each individual game, the reason I have chosen to do this for some game series is because I do not feel the need to go back and review each individual title as the reviews would all be quite similar due to the game style of the series.

Instead I will be giving a quick explanation of each game and discussing major changes throughout the games releases and I am planning on updating this review as the newer titles come out.

We will be kicking off this new series of reviews with my one of my favourite racing game series of all time Mario Kart.

To sum Mario Kart up it is a racing series where you must drive across various creative race tracks while using items to help you win the race by bashing, blowing up and causing obstacles for the other players.

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The series began on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Mario Kart.

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In Super Mario Kart you could play as eight racers Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, a Koopa, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong Junior or Toad and each racer had different strengths and weaknesses.

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The game uses the Mode 7 technology allowing the developers to rotate and scale background layers allowing a more unique and exciting experience.

The game had two game modes the first was Grand Prix which is a standard racing mode where the player will have to finish one of three cups each holding various creative racetracks,there are three difficulty levels 50cc, 100cc and 150cc although the last one needs to be unlocked by finishing the cups on 100cc first.

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The final mode is battle mode where you must collect items and throw them at your enemy popping their balloons before they pop yours, its basic but fun.

After a cancelled Virtual Boy title we got Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64

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3D is the biggest change here and it looks and feels great, other smaller changes include swapping the Koopa and Donkey Kong Jr with Donkey Kong and Wario, adding time trials and allowing the ability of four players on one system.

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Mario Kart Super Circuit was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2001, it is the first of the of handheld titles and has the same roster of characters as the previous entry in the series, the developers added a new mode which allows players to race using customised rules but other than that is essentially a better looking version of Super Mario Kart with the Mario Kart 64 content.

ap9BeDIn the Game Cube game players need to choose two characters to play as, as well as choosing one of the many karts (The karts available depends on the calculated weight of your chosen characters), this Mario Kart has 20 playable characters which are as follows Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Yoshi, Birdo, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Toad, Toadette, Koopa, Parakoopa. Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Bowser, Bowser Junior, Wario, Waluigi, Petey Piranha and King Boo.

After doing research I found out that this was Toadettes first appearance in a video game which is pretty cool.

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For the first and only time in the series two players can play simultaneously in Grand Prix with one player driving and the other player throwing the items.

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As well as balloon battle, battle mode has two new game types one where you need to try to hold onto a shine sprite and the player who holds on the longest wins, and another where you must throw stacks of bob bombs at the other players in order to pop the opponents balloons.

The game also included lan play allowing you to use an adaptor to connect up to eight Game Cubes which would allow up to 16 players to play at one time.

Mario Kart DS was the second handheld game in the series and was the first to use dual screens.

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Mario Kart DS added the possibility of playing online over the Nintendo Wifi Connection, I used this back when it first came out and the results were ok with little issues

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A brand new mission mode was added in this game giving it the best Mario Kart content yet after various missions you would have to beat one of many boss fights and all of them were a lot of fun.

Unfortunately Mission Mode never made a return to the series.

After two fairly amazing arcade games which I may cover another day we got the first game in the series to use motion controls with Mario Kart Wii.

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Mario Kart Wii added a fair bit of new gameplay to the series including four gameplay styles which were a single Wiimote, a Wiimote and Nunchuck, motion controls using the Wii sensor bar and a Mario Kart Wii steering wheel.

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Players can now also ride motorbikes and peform tricks when going over ramps and you could now also play as both Princess Rosalina and Dry Bowser.

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Mario Kart Wii added a new battle mode called coin runners, players must collect coins, using items to cause their opponents to drop the coins they have collected, who ever has the most coins when time runs out wins.

Mario Kart 7 is the third handheld title in the series and is where some more of the major changes in the series took place.

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As with all of the games Mario Kart 7 adds new items however one unique feature is the lucky seven item which allows you to hold all of the items at once.

New Characters have been added to the series including Metal Mario, Queen Bee, Wiggler and Lakitu

On each track the player can collect a maximum of ten coins allowing them to unlock new car parts which they can use to build their vehicles.

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New ways to play have been added including gliding through the air and driving underwater in your vehicles.

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Mario Kart 7 added the ability to have a first person view while you race

It should be noted that some of the race tracks are from Wii sports and Wii sports resort making this the first Mario game to include major additions from other game series.

after another Arcade game we got Mario Kart 8 and this entry of the series added Anti Gravity to the tracks allowing players to drive on walls and go upside down, you can also bump into bumpers to give your self short boosts.

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This entry to the series was the first to offer paid DLC, the DLC offered two new cups and Link from the Legend of Zelda as well as Isabelle and the villager from Animal Crossing as playable characters, as a small change you can now also change colours for Yoshi and Shy Guy.

Pink Gold Peach, the Koopalings and Baby Rosalina have also been added as playable characters as part of the base game.

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For some unknown reason battle tracks were removed and instead players had to use regular tracks which made battle mode not feel very special and it was also quite slow.

Mario Kart 8 was re-released for the Nintendo Switch here all of the DLC came with the base game, Splatoon characters were added to the roster and they finally fixed the battle mode by re-adding arena battles.

Mario Kart tour is a sorry excuse for a Mario Kart game, it is the ninth instalment in the series and is the first to hit mobile phones as its platform.

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The game plays quite well for a mobile game and with its shorter race tracks which only have two laps it makes it a good game to pass short amounts of time.

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The issue with the game is the overall cost, it is filled with micro-transactions making players wait long lengths of time to save up in game currency to buy racers and karts or they can use their own money which is a lot faster, a system where you can pay real money to randomly unlock characters, items and karts was added on top of this and the worst part is that you need to hope to have certain character and kart combinations to be awarded stars for winning the Grand Prix something you gained for pure skill in the previous games.

I think its both quite sad and disgusting that a company like Nintendo would sink this low when they could have made a real Mario Kart 9 and still made millions.

And that is where we are so far with the Mario Kart series, I love Mario Kart for all its fun and competitive game-play, its a favourite game to play at parties and with friends, I cant wait to play the next game in the series what ever that may be and until then we will enjoy what we have so far.

I hope you enjoyed this different type of article, I really enjoyed making it and I am hoping to do more of these in the future, what series would you like to see me cover in an article of this style?

Thank-you for joining me in this look at changes throughout this ever expanding game series.

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

 

 

Wave Race (Game Boy) Review

Big thanks to Michael Elvidge for sending in Wave Race

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Wave Race on the Nintendo Game Boy is one of the very few Game Boy games that I owned when I was a child, I remember that I would always bring this game to the playground and me and my friends would often challenge each other to see who was the fastest racer.

Back then I thought that Wave Race was a fantastic game, but how does it hold up today?Wave_Race_GBC_ScreenShot1If you haven’t figured it out yet,Wave Race is a Jet Ski racing game, you and three other players which can either be CPU’s or your friends who you have the ability to race against  by connecting via the Game Boy Link Cables.

If you decide to play alone you will be have the ability to select one of three options

Practice-  Selecting this option allows the player to select any course they desire, they can then race through the selected course alone with no other players or CPU’s, this option can be extremely useful as some of the tracks  later on in the game  have been built for more advanced players as they contain more obstacles such as whirl pools and strong currents of water which slow down the racers,  also these later courses have a more complicated and challenging layout compared to the earlier courses.

All Courses for Circuit mode

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 All Courses for Slalom

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Record- This mode shows the player their best times for every track in circuit mode and it also shows them the total amount of time they have spent on each track, this is a really useful feature that any competitive players will enjoy using for bragging rights it is also really cool to see this kind of feature on such an old game.

and finally 1P aka the single player mode,  as soon as you select this option you will be greeted to another screen which will give the option of playing Circuit Mode or Slalom.

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Circuit Mode is essentially just a Grand Prix of the four available courses, the player will have to race three CPU’s through out each course while trying to avoid being bashed by the other racers while also steering away from any obstacles in their path to victory, depending on what place you finish at the end of each course you will be given a set amount of points and once the Grand Prix is over all of the points will be added up and the player with the most points will be crowned the winner.

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Slalom is similar to Circuit mode as you are still racing three CPU’s in all four of the Slalom Courses, the big difference is that now instead of racing to a finish line the main objective is to race through marked flags in a set order, again depending on how long this takes you will determine what place you will finish, once all of the courses are complete every players points will be added up and the one with the most points will become the winner.

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The overall look and sound of the game is mediocre to say the least, even though we are given two different game modes I wish that a larger selection of courses were available because 8 courses isn’t enough to keep bringing people back.

I also cant say much for the music as again there really isn’t a lot of it, during the different selection screens and menu’s we are presented with some catchy little tunes, but during the racing segments there is no music at all and the only sound you can hear is the penetrating sound of the jet ski’s motor and this gets very annoying. very quickly.

Overall Wave Race is nothing special but that in no way makes it a bad game,it has tight and simple controls and  even though we are not given much variety in course selection or music the game it self is still fun to play especially with friends, I don’t recommend this game if you plan to play it alone though as I can see most people getting bored with it rather quickly, but if you plan to buy the game I suggest either playing it in short bursts or competitively with friends, as long play sessions did tend to give me a headache due to the annoying buzzing you hear during races.

Wave Race for the Nintendo Game Boy is an ok game but sadly that’s about it 5.4/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Wave Race

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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