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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Rare
Genre: Racing Action
Players: 1-8 (up to 6 online)
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: February 7, 2007
Written By: Noel Del Pilar
Screenshots: Link
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In the days of the Nintendo 64, there were several kart racing games, including the great Mario Kart 64. While Mario lead the pack, there were several others including Mickey Speedway USA and Snowboard Kids that were interesting racers as well. It wasn't until Diddy Kong Racing was released by Nintendo and Rare, did we know that the kart racing wasn't limited to just the road. While the other games required justpure racing, Diddy Kog Racing brought about a sense of exploration, which couldn't be found in any of the other racers. Years later, Rare makes a return to the scene trying to re-capture the magic and hihg fun factor within Diddy Kong Racing DS.

It's easy to see similarities between Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart seeing how both game required you to race through various tracks, defend yourself with weapon attacks against your opponents, utilizing speed boosts, etc. But while there are similarities, Diddy Kong Racing seperated itself from the rest with nifty features and a twist to the gameplay. DKR featured three styles of racing, karts, airplanes, and hovercrafts. Another noticable different between Mario Kart and DKR is that as you complete races within the Adventure mode, you will get the opportunity to race the boss of that given world.

Completing each course will make you collect a balloon. You need to collect them all in order to confront the last boss. Not only that but they are also balloons spread around the island and you also get them by beating the challenges of Taj the blue genie elephant that will helpful you through the adventure mode. There are also special locked doors on each world that you will need to find the key in one of the courses of that world.

That is basically some of the stuff the original and this DS version have. Now the DS version has new features using the touch screen and microphone. At the beginning of a race you will either need to roll the wheel of the kart that appears on the touch screen, with the plane you need to move the propeller and with the boat you need to blow on the mic. When you perform one of this you will get a bad, good or great boost at the starting line but it all depends if you spin it a lot or blow it a lot in the mic. Some people seem annoy by this feature but itís nothing frustrating and it does add some nice originality.

In the original version when you beat a course in adventure mode you had to collect all the silver coins in that course. Now those coins are only collectibles to upgrade youíre vehicle and buy tons of unlockables like new courses. Not only that but you can also buy the mode of collecting coins in the courses from Taj. However you still have a second mission on that course: You will be flying on Tajís magic carpet and you will need to pop a certain amount of balloons with the touch screen that are spread around each stage. Depending on how many you blow up you will get a gold, silver or bronze balloon. But to win the mission you only need bronze.

Another change is the battle missions. In the original version the battle missions where on the locked doors, but on the DS version you go and create youíre own course with barely any options and you will race on it against T.T. the clock. Donít worry the battle missions are unlockable but you can only play them on multiplayer.

On the visuals department this DS version does improve from the N64 version. Some of the special effects have been fixed. For example rockets on the N64 version cause a big white light like smoke and it was pretty wild. In here you just get hurt. However sadly in the original it was more interesting and more fun to do. Another notable special effect is that in speed boosts on the original each type of boost had its own colors. In here is hard to identify and the upgrades seem to do same boost.

Graphically is not that much impressive for a DS game, however is not really bad either. This game has some blurry textures here and there and well overall is not impressive like Mario Kart DS. The characters still look great. And they also added this nice touch of a square popping out during a race expressing the reaction of that character that attack you, you attacked, you become first place and on the final lap if the first and second place racers are close it will show them looking at each other with rivalry.

In the audio department most of the soundtrack is still the same, however they are still a few courses here and there that there soundtrack got remixed or new background sounds added. The voices are new and they are not that great like before. Tajís voice is pretty disappointing because in the original version he sounded more energetic in this one it feels more like it was something obligated to do and they chose simply anyone. The other voices in other characters are decent but it was still a lot better in the original version.

Yet where Diddy Kong Racing DS truly shines a lot is in the multiplayer. It offers lots of different type of racing or battling for both single, multi card play and on online. In online you can play with up to 6 players and no lag happens when in other games like Mario Kart DS had lag and it was only 4 players. If a player leaves the game the race still continues and just tells you in the screen who left. But thatís not all it also features battle mode online in which Mario Kart DS didnít. All the online features work really well and will keep you playing the game for quite some time. And there is also a lot of unlockables to buy or do in the adventure mode.

Overall Diddy Kong Racing DS is a great return of a classic in the Nintendo 64 with new feature such as an online mode that features many options that no other online racing DS game has done. Despite that some of the changes such as the voiceovers and the touch screen ideas arenít so great they still donít affect that much the overall gameplay of the game. If you want another really good racer on the DS like Mario Kart DS then you must definitely pick up this game. If you loved the original game then you must pick it up because it will certainly bring you a lot of memories.


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