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Mixing adventure elements with whimsical racing, Diddy Kong Racing features eight animal characters on a quest to defeat an evil space traveler named Wizpig. Unlike traditional go-kart racers in the mold of Mario Kart, Diddy Kong Racing includes both aircraft and watercraft as options. Each character's vehicle is individually rated in acceleration, weight, handling, and top speed. Taj, an elephant genie, serves as your guide through the interconnected areas making up the tropical island setting.
The default view is set behind your character as you race each course using small cars, airplanes, or hovercrafts. To achieve a first-place finish, you'll need to maximize the use of "zippers" and power-up items found in balloons. Running over zippers through the air or on the surface gives your craft a temporary boost in speed. Balloons contain a specific weapon or power-up, such as missiles, shields, or magnets, which can be strengthened over time. Collecting up to ten bananas on a course adds to your vehicle's top speed for the duration of a race.
Two play modes include "Adventure" and "Tracks." "Adventure" is comprised of the following events: Balloon Races, Boss Challenges, Silver Coin Challenges (collect a certain number of coins before placing first), Trophy Races, and T.T. Challenges (find four golden keys to access four multiplayer games). The primary objective in Diddy Kong Racing is to collect gold balloons by winning events, which opens doors leading to five worlds: Dino Domain, Snowflake Mountain, Sherbet Island, Dragon Forest, and Wizpig's Planet. Each world consists of five courses plus a boss encounter, and up to four players can race each unlocked course in the "Tracks" mode. The game also supports the Controller Pak to store ghost racers and the Rumble Pak for vibration feedback. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide