Christmas Day 1997. My parents and I are finishing up opening presents when my mom pulls out a box behind the tree I somehow did not see. As I tore open the wrapping paper, there it was: my very own Nintendo 64 with a copy of Diddy Kong Racing which, to this day, I believe is better than Mario Kart 64.
Before I dive into what a great sequel should look like, let us take a look at the last 20-plus years since the original’s release. In 2001 at E3, Nintendo and Rare revealed a sequel was on its way for the Gamecube. Nintendo even showed a concept trailer detailing what the game was going to look like. In Donkey Kong Racing, instead of racing planes, boats, and cars, players would be racing animals of different kinds and sizes on an island.
However, outside of Diddy Kong and Taj the Genie, it appeared as if none of the other characters from Diddy Kong Racing were part of the game. Other confirmed characters were Lanky Kong, Kiddy Kong, Cranky Kong, and Tiny Kong. As the game moved forward towards its 2002 release, it was canceled after Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare in 2002.
Microsoft then re-crafted it into Saberman Stampede which never made it to the sales floor. The last time a new Diddy Kong Racing game was released was in 2007 when the DS port was released. So what would an honest sequel look like? Well, let us start by giving it a title. The first game ended with Wizpig leaving Earth laughing in his spaceship, so what if he came back for round two but this time he came with backup?
I would love to race any animal as long as the race did not involve water. That was my biggest issue with the first game as is with most games involving water. Boats are fun but challenging when it comes to steering. Plus, swapping out the boat for a snowmobile and racing an abominable snowman from space would be a great new element. As far as the tracks go, each area should continue to be specifically built for each type of vehicle.
Also, it would be interesting to see environmental hazards affect outcomes. If you are on an ice level, driving is harder, if you are flying a plane, the wind is a factor on a certain track, as are avalanches. It is important to highlight not all levels will have these types of hazards. Vehicle customization should also be an option as well, especially for online play.
It would be interesting to see what types of creations and styles people come up with. Upgrades, to me, are not necessary as kids would be playing this game and it’s need to remain simplistic. The lack of upgrades provides a level playing field. As far as the weapons and power-ups go, I would keep the current system in place.
Being able to collect multiple of the same color balloons to strengthen your attacks and shields makes the game stand out among other titles in the genre. As for the characters, I would bring over the original roster and add a couple of new original characters. How about Dixie Kong?
How would you craft a Diddy Kong Racing sequel? Comment below!