In an article last week I mentioned that I think Diddy Kong Racing is a better game than Mario Kart 64. Let me be clear, I believe Mario Kart 64 was a great racing game on the Nintendo 64. I just do not feel like it was the best one on the console.
Mario Kart 64 had 16 tracks and four battle tracks to choose from, but Diddy Kong Racing had a story to go along with its 20 tracks and main map. Not only were the tracks diverse, but certain ones contained a special feature which allowed players to use more than one type of vehicle. Ancient Lake allowed players to drive all three vehicles (cars, planes, and hovercrafts), while a track like Hot Top Volcano only allowed players to drive the hovercraft and plane. The ability to use different vehicles is something which to this day stands out to me because they all handled differently.
The car, of course, could drift and was slowed in water, hovercrafts had loose controls but could be used on any terrain, and planes could perform stunts but were very fragile. If players bumped into obstacles, they would lose altitude and crash.
I was nine-years-old when I first played Diddy Kong Racing and prior to my playing it, I had never played a racing game that had multiple vehicle type options. The box art alone was enough to have me interested in playing it because it showed Diddy flying a plane. The game also had a roster filled with original characters including Banjo and Conker and two unlockable characters (Drumstick and T.T.).
Racers were not the only original characters; the game also had unique bosses, including Tricky the Triceratops, Smokey the Dragon, and its main villain Wizpig. But even with all of the original characters, races were fun because you could upgrade your weapons and other powerups. Collect three red balloons and one rocket would turn into a barrage of missiles. The highest level shield spun out opponents if they collided with you.
Also no matter how fast or slow your character was, you could collect bananas that were scattered around the tracks to increase your speed, and even combine them with blue balloons to give yourself an extra boost. Mario Kart 64 had some unique and famous weapons, but it only had one weapon slot. Diddy Kong Racing may have also had one weapon slot, but being able to upgrade the weapons really added another dimension to it.
These are the reasons why I believe Diddy Kong Racing is better than Mario Kart 64. Which do you think reigns supreme? Let us know in the comments below!