Rating: Average Diddy Kong Racing tries to mix the Mario Kart racing formula with the Super Mario 64 action/adventure formula and falls flat on its face in the process. Unlike Mario Kart, there are characters you have to talk to, keys you have to find, and so forth. You do all this within the confines of the vehicle you're riding, which is extremely awkward since you should be able to get out of the vehicle and roam freely. Imagine playing Mario 64 in a restricting little go-kart and you get my drift. Also, all the different challenge levels and boss levels and keys and overworlds and all that other stuff is supposed to add variety to the game, but instead it just leaves the player wondering just what the heck they're supposed to be doing. Yeah, but there's three different vehicles, a Nintendo representative might say. Yeah, well these new vehicles (the plane and the hovercraft) may as well not have been included at all since they control horribly (especially the plane, which has horrible elevation mechanics that will have you screaming, "Go up you stupid Methoosala!") And then there's the sickenly-cutesy strangers that make up the game's character selection. The only characters you'll recognize are Diddy Kong and maybe Krash from the Donkey Kong Country series (who has been renamed Krunch to avoid any confusion between Krash and Crash Bandicoot), along with Banjo and Conker from upcoming N64 action/platform games. All the other characters are overly cute, never-before-seen characters that should have been left on the drawing board. The game isn't very well balanced either, since it won't take you more than five minutes to figure out that Pipsy the Mouse and TipTup the Turtle are the best characters by far. (Pipsy the Mouse? Come on!) Elsewhere, the graphics really aren't noticeably different from Mario Kart, the music doesn't have the same catchiness that Mario Kart did, and the voices of the characters are even more overly-cutesy than the characters themselves. Even if you own an N64 and are a big fan of Mario Kart, trust me on this one, you should stick with Mario Kart 64 over Diddy Kong Racing any day.
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