By Carbon64 21 Comments
Similar to the first vs. article this is going to be a battle of a Nintendo game and a Rare game. I am a huge fan of both Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing so I thought it was fitting that they be pitted against each other in my vs series. Just like last time I will list what I liked in each game and what I didn't like as well as what was better in the other game.
The courses or tracks in Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart 64 are both great. They both exhibit vibrant visuals and both have a sense of progression within the course which I feel is very important in a racing game. However, Mario Kart 64 has more unique courses because Diddy Kong Racing had specific settings for each course in its trophy cups. For example the Mushroom Cup in Mario Kart 64 includes a beach, desert, and grassland while Snowflake Mountain in Diddy Kong Racing is all snow stages, though Diddy Kong Racing has more courses. Diddy Kong Racing still has unique courses but, Mario Kart 64 just simply has more unique courses. Diddy Kong Racing does have a trump card up its sleeve though. The fact that in most of the courses you can race with up to 3 vehicles (car, hover, and plane) makes the courses more interesting because each vehicle changes the way you approach each course. For the courses I can't really determine a winner as both games have such great courses.
Both Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart 64 had battle courses that served as a distraction from the races. Mario Kart 64 wins here and I'll explain why. While Diddy Kong Racing had 3 different battle course types and Mario Kart 64 only had one Mario Kart 64's battle courses were infinitely more fun. Diddy Kong Racing's battle courses that were similar to Mario Kart 64's (Darkwater Beach and Icicle Pyramid) only allowed the player to use few items, on the other hand Mario Kart 64 let a player use most of the items in the game in the battle mode. The other battle course types Diddy Kong Racing had (Fire Mountain and Smokey Castle) were also not as enjoyable as the battle courses in Mario Kart 64 and even worse than Icicle Pyramid.
What made Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart 64 both so great was unlike other racing games they had lots of items that you could use to obstruct your opponent from reaching the finish line. Diddy Kong Racing had less items than Mario Kart 64 but, exhibited an upgrade mechanic where if you got 2 or more of the same item it would upgrade to a better version. Mario Kart unlike Diddy Kong Racing had lots of items that had many different functions so it was always interesting to find out what item you were going to get. In Mario Kart 64 the quality of the item you got was determined a little by what place you were currently in (The worse your place the better the item) so the the player in first place would not get items that would help them boost there lead significantly. In Mario Kart 64 when you got an item you did not know what you were going to get but, in Diddy Kong Racing you did. Since the items in Mario Kart 64 were random anything could happen to change the tide of the race. In fact some of the items are so powerful in Mario Kart 64 that you could go from dead last to first place. Diddy Kong Racing had more strategy with its items because you could plan whether or not to upgrade an item or get a new one depending on what the situation was and that is why it wins this category.
Mario Kart 64 single player included racing the cpu in the 4 trophy cups at 3 difficulty levels while Diddy Kong Racing's single player mode was a whole adventure mode. Now I know its a racing game and multiplayer is more important blah blah blah blah but, here's the thing can you really say you don't enjoy Diddy Kong Racing's single player mode better? In addition to challenging the trophy cup Diddy Kong Racing's single player mode had great bosses and silver coin challenges. An adventure mode in a racing game was such a cool feature Nintendo even managed to put one in Mario Kart DS. Oh and if you hadn't picked up on it Diddy Kong Racing wins this category.
Ultimately my allegiance goes to Diddy Kong Racing. While Mario Kart has more unique items and courses Diddy Kong Racing has many new things in addition to what you would normally expect of a racing game. This I feel puts Diddy Kong Racing just ahead of Mario Kart 64.