Now this is a game that gets forgetten about so often, whilst everyone raves on and on about the Mario Kart series. Anyone who tells you that Mario Kart 64 was the best karting game on the N64 is insane, DKR had so much more to it with better level design, a harder challenge, and a great variety of themed races, all tied to different sections of the island you were free to roam around and explore.
20 tracks is what we’re talking about here. 5 worlds with 4 different races in each one, and it feels sensible in that they’re similar to one another in their groups but still different enough to be able to tell apart. Moreso with the fact that you have different vehicles to race around with such as a plane and hovercraft. It took the Mario Kart series 15 years from its beginnings to finally give you the chance to choose your type of vehicle when Mario Kart Wii was released. DKR was doing this back in 1998!
The first world is set in Dino Domain, a set of races which take you through canyons, waterfalls and volcanos with the Jurassic creatures themselves getting in your way. It’s a fun start to the adventure, and it eases you in nicely.
Second world is Snowflake Mountain, the obligatory ice world. Most karting games would give you one snow level, well you’re getting 4 in DKR.
Next, we have Sherbert Island, full of beach antics and piratey japes! There’s a very watery theme going on here but you’ll be relieved to know you’re not resigned to using the hover-boat in every race here.
The 4th zone is Dragon Forest, a medieval area with castles, forests, and village towns. Work your way through the levels and you’re greeted by Smokey the Dragon as the world’s boss.
I won’t get into the logistics of how to do it, but you then have the pleasure of playing through the hidden 5th zone, Future Fun Land, home of Wizpig the bastard himself. A more space orientated area, it’s also the best looking set of tracks in the entire game.
So, 5 worlds, 4 tracks a-piece, 20 in total. It’s the best karting game on N64 and it’s such a shame that Rare never opted to tack a sequel onto it at any point. I’d like to say ‘maybe’, but Rare, the original developers seem so far past their prime, I don’t think we’ll ever see the long wanted follow-up.
See me listening to all the character select screen voices @auto2112