Diddy Kong Pilot [GBA – Beta / Cancelled]

Diddy Kong Pilot [GBA – Beta / Cancelled]

Diddy Kong Pilot was a Mode-7 racer developed by Rare Ltd. and meant to be published by Nintendo. Originally announced in 2001, the game featured various characters from the Donkey Kong universe and could be controlled with a tilt sensor that was integrated into the game’s cart. In 2002, Nintendo sold their share of Rare Ltd. and opted out of their publishing contract. The game was later reskinned with Banjo characters and released as Banjo-Pilot.

Original description from Rare’s website:

Relive the classic gameplay style of Diddy Kong Racing as you take to the skies again in one of Rare’s very first titles for the Game Boy Advance! Pick out your favourite from an unlikely squadron of Kongs and Kremlings, each bringing along their own distinctive (and customizable) flying machine, then launch yourself headlong into the striking 3D courses. Within minutes you’ll be diving low over sandy beaches and climbing high above bubbling lava en route to the chequered flag and victory…

All sorts of play options are yours for the tinkering, including single-player and multiplayer tournaments, a classic time trial and detailed story modes for each character (ending in climactic one-on-one boss duels). You can even link up with three of your mates, competing for the title of squadron leader or simply blast each other out of the sky in frantic dogfights.

Other features of the game include interactive background scenery, rolling and looping manouevres, upgradable weapons and power-ups, secret features to unlock and of course the rarely-seen Tilt Technology, where, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can set aside your D-Pad in favour of controlling the plane by actually tilting the Game Boy Advance.

Diddy Kong Pilot’s Hillbilly Kong’s name: http://www.dkvine.com/?p=1082

[Thanks to Matt Gander, Lucas Araujo & Vaettur for the contributions!



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9 thoughts on “Diddy Kong Pilot [GBA – Beta / Cancelled]

  1. Celine

    The voxel engine is simply astounishing and the 3D one is quite good for a gba.
    I wonder why Rare decided to go with a bland mode 7-esque engine in the end.

  2. Celine

    I doubt it took too much space.
    Framerate is probably the cause althought the 3D engine seems pretty solid and with all the gameplay elements.


    Rarewareexperimented with an impressive Mode 7 Voxel Engine for a short duration during the change from Diddy Kong Pilotto Banjo Pilot. The hardware-pressurising graphics engine rendered realistic but slightly jagged 3D environments by analysing the level’s height-map and extruding the now-flat Mode-7 terrain upwards, creating the illusion of valleys, etc. It was an incredible feat of game engineering, considering the power of the Gameboy Advance. However, after releasing a batch of screenshots featuring the engine, Rarewaredecided to revert to the previous flat landscapes, as once they had added the various level elements, the frame rate took a considerable nose-dive.

  3. Sam Jones

    If Nintendo knows how to do one thing, it is to milk its biggest selling franchises. This business strategy carries over to its 2nd party companies as well. Back in 1997 Rare released an adventure cart(hover craft, airplane) racing game called Diddy Kong Racing. The game consisted of a wonderful cast of playable characters including Diddy Kong, Conker, and Drumstick (a chicken), a ton of tracks, multiplayer action, and an amazing single player adventure mode with lots of secrets and a great challenge. Rare has decided to follow up its successful title with two new games: Donkey Kong racing for the GameCube and Diddy Kong Pilot for the GameBoy Advance. Although both games seem to break a little away from the first they look to be nothing short of amazing.

    Spaceworld had a playable version of Diddy Kong Pilot (now only a plane racer) that simply amazed those who played. The game seemed to drop the original cast and focus on a more Donkey Kong related group including Cranky Kong, K. Rool, Donkey Kong, and the title character, Diddy. On the demo the characters were chosen for you when choosing the five playable courses. In the full version characters can be chosen and aircrafts tweaked for performance. The five tracks covered a variety of areas with a snowy track, a barnyard track (with chickens), a lava filled track, a seashore with typical palm trees lining the area, and a haunted track containing ghosts who rise from the ground. The tracks on the demo seemed relatively small and were over in a short amount of time. Each track came with its share of tricky shortcuts to maneuver as well but could lead to a loss of time if not maneuvered perfectly.

    The one real disppointment of the demo was the lack of tilt controls. In the final version Rare will allow players to tilt the GBA to control the plane like in the GameBoy Color game, Kirby Tilt N Tumble. The demo did not have this option yet. It did, however, have its share of items to collect while racing. Players can collect items such as watermelons, peanuts, magnets, and homing missles to aid in stopping opponents and gaining ground. Boosts are also placed throughout the tracks for quick launches of speed.

    From a visual stand point Diddy Kong is one of the most impressive games currently shown for the GBA. The engine uses mode 7 scrolling to create a 3D effect and it works great. Before each race the camera will pan around the player very fluidy and the tracks are a step up from others that we have seen (Mario Kart). The only real problem seen were some clipping effects when players are down near track objects. This should easily be fixed by release.

    Diddy Kong Pilot is looking to be one of the most impressive titles for the GBA. With a slated release of sometime next year (although Rare says it will be finished by the end of this year on its website) all we can do is wait to see how the final version will pull everything together. More on Diddy Kong as we get it.

    Source: GameSpot

  4. Maik

    fom planet gamecube
    Last updated: 08/13/2001

    The original Diddy Kong Racing for N64 is an altogether odd game. The game originally started off as RC Pro-Am 64…no joke. It was announced as DKR out of nowhere in the wake of a disappointing Banjo-Kazooie delay back in 1997, and after a short three months or so of public existence, became the fastest-selling video game of all time. Even Guinness said so.

    The game itself combined fairly traditional Mario Kart-style racing with loads of new twists, including water and air races and a fantastic, Mario 64-ish adventure quest tying all the different races together. Diddy Kong Racing featured, of course, Diddy Kong, plus upcoming stars Banjo and Conker, and a wide range of original supporting characters.

    At E3 2001, Rare unveiled not one, but TWO sequels to DKR. The GameCube got Donkey Kong Racing, featuring Donkey and other characters (including Taj the Genie…hmmm…) riding various animals across 3D landscapes. Game Boy Advance got (arguably) the true spiritual sequel though: Diddy Kong Pilot. Diddy is back, this time with some of his relatives and even a Kremling, ready to take to the skies for one of the most exciting and visually arresting GBA games yet.

    The gameplay is somewhat a departure from Diddy’s last adventure; every race employs airplanes (as opposed to less than a third of the original DKR’s tracks). Rare has also added an interesting buoy system to the racing action, which provides some structure to the very open Mode-7 levels. Otherwise, many of the old features seem to be returning. Rare promises that the game will have adventure elements, including different plotlines for each character in the single-player mode.

    The races themselves will of course be against other furry friends. Weapons are a major part of winning, but unfortunately none of them were available in the E3 demo. There are also boost-rings to help you get ahead. DKR was somewhat infamous for adding strategy to the old idea of “zip strips”…to get the full effect, you had to completely let off the gas while riding over the boost. Whether Diddy Kong Pilot will adopt that technique or develop a new one remains to be seen.

    DKP was easily one of the best-looking GBA games to be shown at E3 2001. It features intricately detailed Mode-7 graphics, complete with some great sprite scaling/rotation effects for the racers. This game has a somewhat different implementation of 3D than the usual GBA racing title, since the gameplay involves moving up and down as well as side-to-side. The result is a very liberated look and feel to the “tracks”…you can really fly anywhere you want, although the buoy system eventually shoves you in the right direction. Also, the race intro sequence has to be mentioned; your chosen character flies directly into the camera, and just before your view is totally blacked out by the incoming primate, the camera swoops out to the side and then swings around to its normal position behind the character. It’s quite a snazzy little display.

    The most surprising feature in DK Pilot? Tilt technology! This will one of the very first GBA games to use Nintendo’s tilt sensor, and if the E3 demo was any indication, the application of this technology has come a long way since Kirby’s Tilt ‘N Tumble for Game Boy Color. The sensor is pretty sensitive, which is actually desirable so that you don’t have to tilt the screen out of your light source. Tilting the GBA around also lends itself very well to the flying sensation…moreso than it does for making Kirby roll about. The translation of your movements to the plane is very smooth and natural…Diddy isn’t going to dive and crash into the ground if you sneeze. Finally, and most importantly, you can turn off the tilt sensor and play just fine with the D-pad. The only downside is that you’re not going to have the same analog precision.

    If you’re a fan of multiplayer in your “kart” games, DKP has you covered there as well. Rare says that “several” tracks will be playable over just one cartridge, and all the rest will be unlocked if you can convince your three cheap friends to get the game as well. With multiple cartridges, you can also unlock the battle mode…and the famous developer supposedly has something extra-special brewing up for its more violent Diddy fans.

    Jonathan Metts, Senior Editor

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