I randomly started a playthrough of Diddy Kong Racing on N64. I played it as a kid but never beat the game.
It’s both better than I remember and worse somehow.
Like, I love the hub world, but hate how empty it feels.
I also love the music, although the jolting lack of transition to the victory music when you win a race is ear-searing.
I love the open ended level structure that lets you play different races in different hub worlds in nonlinear fashion for variety. But I hate the fact that you need to repeat races so many times to completely clear a hub world in the first place. The coin challenge is actually a good thing to add some difficulty on what’s otherwise a brain dead easy game. But I just wish I could skip to it instead of having to play through all of the normal races first.
I also think the 5 powerups in the game are just okay. Not too fun, but not too bad either. They’re just “fine.” Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64 both did this way better.
The art style is also a mixed bag. The winter themed levels are incredible, but the dinosaur themed ones… not so much. Given what Nintendo accomplished with Mario Kart 64, I can’t help but feel like the tracks are a bit barren here in comparison.
The three different vehicles do add some nice variety and definitely make the game feel distinct from Mario Kart in a good way. Track design is also generally well done in the sense that it’s fair.
I just keep thinking that they didn’t flesh out the game as much as they really wanted to. It lacks excitement. I’m having fun though. But the repetitive nature of the single player really hampers the fun.