Diddy Kong Racing is a racing video game developed and published by Rare for the Nintendo 64. It was released on 21 November 1997 in Japan and Europe and 24 November 1997 in North America. The game is set in “Timber’s Island” and revolves around Diddy Kong and his friends’ attempt to defeat the intergalactic pig-wizard antagonist, Wizpig, through winning a series of races. The player can take control of any of the featured characters throughout the game. Diddy Kong Racing features five worlds with four racetracks each, and the ability to drive a car, hovercraft, or pilot an aeroplane.
Development of the game began after the release of Killer Instinct 2, and was intended to be a real-time strategy game known as Wild Cartoon Kingdom during early stages. As time progressed, the game shifted from a Walt Disney World-influenced racing game to a unique title named Pro-Am 64, in which Nintendo had no involvement with. Due to the delays of Banjo-Kazooie, Rare felt that they needed a stronger intellectual property to attract a wider audience for a game scheduled to release before Christmas 1997, thus making the decision to revolve a game around the character of Diddy Kong.
Diddy Kong Racing received critical acclaim upon release. The graphics, audio and gameplay were the most praised aspects of the game, however minor criticism was directed at its repetitiveness. The game has sold 4.8 million copies since release and stands as the Nintendo 64’s eighth best-selling game. A cancelled sequel, Donkey Kong Racing, was in development for the GameCube, however it was abandoned after Microsoft’s purchase of Rare for £375 million in 2002. An enhanced remake for the Nintendo DS titled Diddy Kong Racing DS was released worldwide in 2007