Rare shows DS love with Diddy Kong Racing

The N64 classic gets a modern DS facelift

Rare shows DS love with Diddy Kong Racing
| Diddy Kong Racing DS

There are many mysteries in the world: the abominable snowman, stories of alien abductions, the Marie Celeste, and the relationship of Kate Moss and Pete Doherty.

In the relatively laidback world of DS gamemaking however, the most peculiar situation has to be Microsoft making games for Nintendo DS. Okay, Microsoft doesn't have a gaming handheld (yet), so it's not strictly direct competition.

But the fact that UK studio Rare is remaking its N64 game, Diddy Kong Racing, for DS still strikes us as more than a little strange, whatever arguments are made about intellectual properties rights and cross-device branding.

Such machinations apart, we're really looking forward to getting our hands on the game, which if it's anything like the original promises bundles – well, 20 levels – of racing fun.

Like Mario Kart DS, the game is based around colourful cartoon characters – who in this case revel in names such as Diddy Kong, Tiny Kong, Tiptup the turtle, and Krunch the Kremling – and race around various themed-tracks, picking up weapons and items (in the shape of coloured balloons) as they attempt to cross the finishing line first.

These include such delights as missiles, boosts, and shields, which you can either use as soon as you pick them up or save, upgrading them by picking up more ballons of the same colour.

For example, one red balloon will provide you with a rocket, but add another and you'll get a homing missile. Add one more and you'll get ten rockets.

All the action occurs across five worlds; Dino Domain, Snowflake Mountain, Sherbet Island, Dragon Forest and Future Fun Land, with regular tracks to race around, as well as battle arenas to unlock as you make your way through the main challenge mode.

Like Mario Kart DS, Diddy Kong Racing DS will also let you play against seven other players using the local wi-fi connection. No one know yet whether the game will use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, but if so we can only hope it will and also will support up to eight players, as Mario Kart DS only supported four players on the the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which rather spoilt the fun for us.

Other promised features include use of the DS' touchscreen and microphone, the ability to customise the vehicles – the original Diddy Kong Racing let you choose either karts, planes and hovercraft – as well as what Rare's calling TT's Wish Races. TT is one of the game's strangest characters, being a stopwatch, and Wish Races will enable you create your own tracks, which you'll be able to share and race with your mates.

Still being constructed in Rare's black ops underground bunker, Diddy Kong Racing DS is expected to be accelerating off the grid sometime this spring.

Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.