Diddy Kong Racing DS
Rare sneaks out to do another DS title!
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What should you do when everyone's favourite family-friendly console developer releases a handheld capable of running anything its two-generations-old console broke new ground with a decade ago? Why, you spruce up your old titles, add touchscreen magicalness, punt it to the eager public and let the money flow! Welcome to the latest version of a touched up 64 'classic' - Diddy Kong Racing DS.
"Rare has polished off the game and added some touchscreen challenges, because... um... there's a touchscreen now, isn't there?"
Diddy Kong Racing does have a lot going for it. Cute cartoon animal characters, an 'adventure' mode where you drive round an island unlocking new challenges, the ability to power up your vehicles and most noticeably an aeroplane and hovercraft to race around in as well as your kart. The adventure introduces Wizpig, a giant evil (you guessed it!) Wizard Pig.
Wizpig has decided to rain on Diddy and friend's parade, so it's up to you to win races, unlock the courses and beat him in a race to chase him off. This plot line is so unimportant that they barely mention it in the instruction book but it manages to provide an incentive to reach first place and win the balloons necessary to unlock later levels.
Help is at hand, in the form of a large blue elephant genie who shows you round the island, helps you master the controls and magically changes the different vehicles you've unlocked. He's also happy to provide you with vehicle upgrades, if you have collected enough money on your way round the courses.
Racing is instantly accessible to anyone who's ever played Mario Kart. The tracks are littered with power-ups to blast the opposition, boost bars to give you a dash, and a healthy number of opponents to keep things exciting without having too big a pile up at the first corner. The theme of each of the worlds stick to traditional platform fare, so expect loose grip on the ice tracks. If you manage to beat all your opponents round the circuit, the genie will grant you a balloon. Each level requires a certain number of balloons to gain entrance, so you will have to race many of the tracks repeatedly to get that coveted pole position.