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Retro Review: Diddy Kong Racing

When I was younger and I got a Nintendo 64 I was given two games with it. One was Super Mario 64 and one was Diddy Kong Racing. I remember back in 1997 in school if you had Diddy Kong Racing and not Mario Kart, you were a loser. Well, I was already a loser so what was one more reason? This is a prime example of why kids suck. Diddy Kong Racing was superior to Mario Kart.

Reviewed on Nintendo 64


I remember loving Diddy Kong Racing as a kid but I never beat the game. Diddy Kong Racing also had one of the things that kids would talk about and it's usually not true. Remember this was pre-internet so we couldn't easily fact check. In Diddy Kong Racing I remember people saying you can go to space, I never believed it and also never made it. I made it now, and it is real, I guess kids do not always lie.

The adventure mode here was ahead of its time. It's essentially an open world racing game. You have this world that you are free to drive around in and you get into different theme worlds and complete races to earn balloons. Balloons are the currency to unlock different areas. There are also balloons hidden throughout the open world to find.

Each hub world has four races and a boss battle. After completing the four races you will race the boss. After the boss is beaten, you go back to the races you already beat for a harder challenge. You have to collect all the silver coins during the race and still come in first. After you do that, guess what? You get to race the boss again. After all that you are still not done in the hub world. There is a trophy race that has all four tracks in one challenge. After you place first in that, then you can finally move on from the hub world. It was extremely repetitive but it didn’t get boring. It was a lot of fun running through the races.

After this is completed in all the hub worlds and you beat the main villain Wizpig, you can then take off in a rocket and go to space for another hub world to beat. At the end of this is another Wizpig race then the game is officially beaten.

The actual races are a lot of fun and very similar to all the other cart racers out there. There are power ups and weapons you will find during the race to help get you into first place. The power ups work a little different from other games. What’s different about the power ups is when you pick one up, if you pick up another of the same color it will be upgraded, there are a total of 3 upgrades for each item.

The biggest difference to set this apart from the other cart racers are the other vehicles. There is the typical cart, a plane, and a hovercraft. They all control differently and are fun to drive. My favorite is the plane but you can not just use the one you like, you have to use what the race calls for.

Most of the races were easy and most of the boss battles felt almost impossible the first time you race them. I wish there was a little more balance but I still had a great time going through this game again.


1997 Brian would give this game a 10/10. I got made fun of for having this and not Mario Kart but I got made fun of anyway so I didn’t care. I only had this and Mario 64 for a while so I did these races over and over and loved it. The amount that I played this game I have no idea how I didn’t beat the game but I really loved it.

2023 Brian still loves this game but it's not a 10/10. The racing feels great, the different vehicles are all good. The races are just a little too easy and the boss races are just a little too hard. I wish the game had a little more balancing but this is still a classic worthy of a replay.

Final Score 8/10

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