When the game first starts you get to see this really corny story video that was never on the N64, plus it has a completely different story starter then the N64 version. In the old game it talks how WizPig came from space and started destroying the island, but a wrong spell caused him to put a big head of himself out of rock and he is then trapped in it.
Now we go down hill. After you set up your game, you meet Taj the big elephant genie thing and get to race him. I noticed that for once the map is not on the touch screen (as it is in most DS games) but rather the top screen. The screens are like this until you start racing.
But what really sticks out to me as the biggest change is that the genie doesn’t have the same voice. He sounds like he is going to kill you (voice is much much lower, not as funny, and very little emotion) rather then help you (the original game had a cheery, upbright, funny voice). Also remember the how the characters would exclaim some sort of yell at the start? They took that out. Taj seems like he is the only character with a voice and he doesn’t even have the Arabic accent anymore. It would seem as Rare fired all the old voice actors. How sad.
The controls are a bit odd for a racing game. To go in reverse you have to hold B and then back instead of just holding down B. Otherwise it works out like the old version did. The hovercraft vehicle has improved, before it was hard to move around with the stick, now it’s harder! Hooray! It’s vehicle standard seems more like: “Okay, you wanna turn left but you haven’t mashed down left”. Then you mash down left and you then spin out. Thus there is the need to continuously tap right as you are going so you can avoid spinning out. Also, you can get a starting boost if you spin this wheel on the touch screen. It’s tedious and really hard to do with a stylus and then switching back to DS controls to move and race.
Diddy Kong Racing has also got rid of Banjo (from the Banjo-Kazooie series that was extremely well known) and Conker (Because Microsoft now owns Conker and this was before Conker was rated M for mature [he appeared in a kids game called Conker’s Pocket Tales for the Gameboy Color]).
The racing is not that bad (the other guys are pretty easy), it still stands up to the N64 version of the game. The racing levels haven’t changed much, if at all. And the weapons are still as crazy as ever. The create your own track is a cool feature, allowing you to make some pretty crazy tracks. Wi-Fi is really fun, as you can use all the tracks and so far there are no cheaters playing (just watch though). And you can have way more people than just 4 (like in MKDS). More people = more fun, right? So let’s get to the ratings.
Sound: 4.8/10 -The music is okay, sounds like the N64 versions but at a lower quality and people singing (which isn’t needed). Voices are terrible, especially Taj’s.
Graphics: 7/10 – Not bad, looks like the N64 ones
Controls: 6.2/10 – Controls are fine with the exception of the hovercraft (but it isn’t super bad if you are a good driver)
Playback: 6.8/10 -I like Diddy Kong Racing, the game is fun and with a few fixes could have been just as good as Mario Kart DS
Improvement: 4/10 -WHY!?!? I liked Taj’s voice! YOU GET A 4 RARE! YOU HEAR ME??!? A 4! The only reason it isn’t a 1 is because of Wi-Fi, the ability to make your own tracks and customize your craft.
Overall Score: 6.3/10 – A few fixes like hovercraft problems, a better script, improved music (so it doesn’t sound like midi versions), the original voice actors and minor other fixes and it would have been a 8.2