Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Diddy Kong Racing DS (DS) Review

Yesterday was a brand-new retro review for Diddy Kong Racing. Today we're looking at the remake on the DS with an absolutely terrible review. One of my first reviews, here's Diddy Kong Racing DS for the Sony PSP. C'mon. It's for the DS, of course.

Kong Kart Kongfused

Diddy Kong Racing was a game that originally came in the hey-day of the Nintendo 64 back in 1997. This was when Rare and Nintendo were still joined at the hip. This time around Microsoft owns Rare and has allowed the company to continue developing for Nintendo's handhelds, thus Diddy Kong Racing DS is here. Playing this game I couldn't help but wish Rare left DKR alone.

Voices have been given the boot for text.
Weird choice at first but with how bad the in-game voices are,
maybe that's a good thing.

It's not to say the game is bad. It's a far distance away from bad, but some of the design choices with this game makes me wonder if Rare is just trying to screw with their classic games to get revenge on Nintendo for selling them. For one, Rare opted to use gimmicky options to start off each race. In a car, you have to rub the bottom screen up and down repeatedly to gain speed. In a hovercraft you need to blow into the microphone. Hopefully no one playing has asthma. Finally, a quick circling of the stylus to the bottom screen starts off the plane. These ways to boost are simply gimmicks and hinder the experience. I'm blowing into the mic, and then I have to quickly raise up and begin the race? Whaaaaaaat?!

Additionally, silver coin challenges have been removed from adventure mode replaced by touch challenges. These are mostly unresponsive, needing you to drag the screen to look in different directions, trying to grab coins and pop balloons simultaneously. It's just a jumbled mess. A handful of the boss touch challenges require you to draw lines to guide your racer to the finish. Completely terrible controls and design choices. Thankfully the latter chore isn't required to complete the game. Furthermore, a new mode called T.T.'s Wish allows players to draw their own tracks-- albeit very simplistic tracks.

This game won't win any graphical awards.

Graphically the game looks a little grainy compared to its big brother.
Audio-wise the voices have changed drastically. Some are ear-curdling to listen to quite honestly. David Wise returns to compose tracks for this version of the game. The quality is lessened compared to the N64 version as expected. It's still as catchy as ever, so it's nothing too major unless you absolutely loved the original's soundtrack and do not want to hear any changes whatsoever.

After all of those questionable or mediocre changes you may be wondering what decent upgrades there are. For one, four new characters have been added to replace Conker and Banjo (removed for obvious reasons), two of which are Dixie and Tiny Kong. The other two are unlockable characters. Also, four new themed tracks of DK Isle have been included as unlockables. The biggest draw to this version of DKR is the inclusion of online play. The game supports six players via Wi-Fi in a variety of modes such as trophy race (a four race cup), battle mode (which was missing from Mario Kart DS), T.T.'s Wish (players take turns drawing and racing on tracks) and token tussle (a collect before your opponent does mode). Online lobbies allow you to see if your friends are online, and they allow you to join them freely.

Pre-race minigames are a pain in the ass.

Diddy Kong Racing DS isn't 100% faithful to its N64 brethren, but it does give more to the table than the N64 ever did. ...Unfortunately. Online play is a big plus with this title, and although other modes may have been replaced or stupidly given gimmicks to, DKR DS remains nowhere near as satisfying as its N64 counterpart.

[SuperPhillip Says: 6.5/10]

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