Tag Archives: Donkey Kong

Diddy Kong Racing DS (Nintendo DS)

Developer(s) – Rare & Ultimate Play The Game

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Designer(s) – Gary Richards

Producer(s) – Paul Machacek

PEGI – 3

Released in 2007 as the second-to-last game developed by Rare specifically for a Nintendo console (the last being Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise), Diddy Kong Racing DS was a remake of the original Nintendo 64 classic aimed at providing a new experience for fans of the first game as well as one for newcomers to the series, boasting new gameplay features in place of old ones, new characters, and updated visuals. However, having played through it, and being a huge fan of the Nintendo 64 version, I wasn’t impressed, to say the least; the DS port seems much more like a demake than a remake for several reasons. 


Graphics – 5/10

First of all, as it was developed for a handheld system with limited capability in terms of technical graphical quality compared to that of even a fourth-generation home console, the graphical quality doesn’t seem updated at all; it actually seems worse with this game than on the Nintendo 64. Aside from that, the game also suffers in terms of conceptual design compared to the original Diddy Kong Racing; additional scenery was added to certain tracks, but they don’t ostensibly add anything to what was already great; in fact, if you’re a fan of the first game, it can even create confusion as to where the player needs to go on certain tracks like Whale Bay. 

The first Wizpig race is also considerably less atmospheric as it takes place on a sunny day in stark contrast to the Nintendo 64 version, which takes place on a stormy night. The game’s soundtrack also sounds considerably worse where both old and new songs are concerned. The recycled songs sound nowhere near as vibrant as they did on the Nintendo 64 and as for the new songs, it wouldn’t particularly surprise me to learn if they were old ideas that David Wise came up with whilst development of the original game was taking place and that they were just shoehorned into the remake because that’s what it feels like to me. 


Gameplay – 5/10

The gameplay, for the most part, is identical to that of the original Nintendo 64 title, but there were some drastic changes made. Firstly, Banjo and Conker were removed from the game and replaced with Tiny Kong and Dixie Kong, most likely due to copyright issues with Rare, Wizpig and Taj became playable and the Taj races in the hub world were considerably meddled with in negative ways. In addition, the silver coin challenge was replaced with a mode whereby players have to pop balloons strewn across each track in the first-person, which to me, presented next to no challenge, unlike the silver coin challenge. In terms of gameplay overall, this remake is an example of when developers try to add more to the original experience but inadvertently take away what was great about a beloved classic and giving players an all-around inferior experience. 


Controls – 5/10

One of the bigger gripes I have with this game, however, is with its control scheme. Playing out nowhere near as fluently as the original Diddy Kong Racing, players have to do pretty arbitrary things to get the initial speed boost at the start of a race depending on what vehicle the player is in at the time, such as rotating the plane propeller with the stylus and blowing into the microphone for the hovercraft boost. It annoyed me something fierce when I was playing through it, making me think just how unnecessary it was to have been put in the game. 

There are a lot of DS games I had problems with because of the need to use the stylus during gameplay, whereby if the feature wasn’t implemented, the games would’ve been just fine; examples include The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and Star Fox Command. But Diddy Kong Racing DS is no exception to this rule either, and again just gave testament to how much the developers took away at the cost of what they were trying to add. 


Lifespan – 7/10

For anyone who can forgive some or all of the above issues, it can be made to last there around the same amount of time as the original Diddy Kong Racing, as it also includes the Adventure Two mode. But to me, it only lasted about an hour, due to everything about it that I couldn’t bring myself to forego. The remake is certainly not worth investing as much time in as the original game in any case. 


Storyline – 6/10

The story simply retells the events of the original game of Wizpig invading the land and Diddy Kong and company having to race against him to drive him back. However, in the remake, it’s told in a much less exciting way, with the absence of many of the cutscenes from the original game that added so much meaning to it. The quality of the voice acting in the remake is also infinitely inferior to that of the original game, which only makes matters even worse. The voicing talent of the likes of Kevin Bayliss and Chris Seavor is sorely missing from the remake. 


Originality – 5/10

Ironically, in trying to add so much to this game and taking away almost everything that was great about the original, the developers made it stand out, but for all the wrong reasons. Normally, I would be able to appreciate the fact that the developers at least tried new things, but as all those new things made this game seem like much more of a negative departure from the Nintendo 64 version than what it should’ve been, I can’t bring myself to appreciate much about it in general.



Overall, Diddy Kong Racing DS is a massive disappointment, and in many respects, a middle finger to the fans of the original game. It destroyed everything that was great about the original game and gave players a severely downgraded experience. I can’t recommend the first Diddy Kong Racing game for the Nintendo 64 enough, as to me, it’s a cherished classic, and a game that I return to time and time again, but I’d advise players to avoid the DS remake. 



5.5/10 (Below Average)

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U & Switch)

Developer(s) – Retro Studios, Monster Games & Nintendo SPD

Publisher – Nintendo

Director(s) – Ryan Harris & Vince Joly

Producer – Kensuke Tanabe

PEGI – 3

Following on from Nintendo’s previous success with the re-vamp of the Donkey Kong Country style of play in Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii, Tropical Freeze takes the same classic formula and adds one or two extra into the mix, and frankly, it makes for a fairly entertaining game in my opinion. Whilst it has some different elements from other video games, effective use is made of them and it’s a joy to play.


Graphics – 8/10

It’s been some time since I’ve seen an FMV (Full Motion Video) cutscene in a licensed first-party Nintendo game, and the introductory FMV gives the game a pretty decent first impression; as does the first glimpse of the in-game visuals. The conceptual design of each of the six stages is particularly well done; indeed, a sure sign that passion went into it is that concept art for the game can be unlocked as an incentive for collecting every puzzle piece on a single level. The decent mixture of different environments, ranging from vast jungles to rainy and sunny beaches bring something entirely new to the table, whilst also featuring elements that hearken back to not only the original Donkey Kong Country, but also games such as Diddy Kong Racing, as in the level Irate Eight, there is a giant octopus, which looks very much like the octopus that has to be raced in the game to advance.


Gameplay – 8/10

In terms of map layout, Tropical Freeze bears a striking resemblance to New Super Mario Bros. U, but in terms of gameplay, it’s just as challenging; if not more so. Not only does this game present a good few stern challenges in its boss fights, but also in the completion of side quests, as it can sometimes be difficult to find every hidden item in each level, given how cleverly some of them are hidden. What I also like about the gameplay is the very decent amount of variety. Not only do classic elements return, such as the mountable rhino in the original Donkey Kong Country game, but there are also new gameplay elements to be experienced with the inclusion of the three supporting characters venturing alongside Donkey Kong; incidentally, they also hearken back to gameplay features of previous Nintendo games. Diddy Kong’s jetpack ability is very reminiscent of his role in Donkey Kong 64 as well as Peach’s role in Super Mario Bros. 2, Dixie Kong’s hovering ability is very similar to Yoshi’s hovering ability in the Yoshi’s Island series and Cranky Kong’s spring ability is Identical to Scrooge McDuck’s ability in the old Duck Tales Game Boy game.


Controls – 9/10

Unfortunately, I did find the game’s controls to be somewhat unresponsive at times. I experienced trouble trying to roll along the ground to dodge enemy attacks, as the game would sometimes interpret it as me trying to do the ground pound attack instead. But otherwise, there are no other outstanding issues with the controls.

Lifespan – 7/10

To get everything done in this time, it should take around 15 hours, which for a linear 2D side scroller is fair enough. Previous games in the genre tend to be much shorter than that, and it’s always good to see games like this being made to last as long as possible. It’s better to have an extraordinarily long linear 2D side scroller than a disappointingly short open-world 2D side scroller like Symphony of the Night. As I said last week, for how good that game played out, I was left wanting more.


Storyline – 7/10

From what I’ve seen of the seventh generation, Nintendo seems to be taking some of their longest-running franchises in new directions; particularly in terms of story. I’ve seen it in A Link Between Worlds and Super Mario 3D World, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is no exception. Donkey Kong’s birthday celebration is cut short after his home island is frozen over by a new batch of enemies called the Snomads. Donkey, along with his friends Diddy and Dixie and hid grandfather Cranky embark on an adventure to retake their home island from the Snomads and their leader, Lord Frederick. It’s still pretty simplistic but different from the norm. It’s a positive change that presents a new story, new enemies, and an entirely new objective. Unlike previous entries, it doesn’t have Donkey Kong looking for his hoard of bananas and instead focuses on something entirely dissimilar.


Originality – 7/10

Although the overall premise of Tropical Freeze has been repeated many times over in video gaming, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has been given a fresh coat of paint with different gameplay elements and graphical concepts, which add a bit of flair and makes it stand out from most others.




Overall, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a game well worth playing through at least once. There are some very stern challenges to be overcome, and a fair amount of incentive to be had for playing the game to its fullest. Although there may not be enough on the Wii U in terms of quantity, Nintendo is very much still able to deliver quality.



7.5/10 (Good)