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Diddy Kong Pilot (2001)

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Diddy Kong Pilot
DKP Title screen.png
Developer Rare Ltd.
Publisher N/A
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance
Release date Japan: Canceled
(planned for February 2002[1])
USA: Canceled
(planned for March 4, 2002[2])
Genre Racing
Rating(s) Unknown
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer (unimplemented)

Diddy Kong Pilot is a canceled follow-up title of Diddy Kong Racing for the Game Boy Advance, which was developed by Rare Ltd.. Diddy Kong was the main and titular character of the game. The game involves Donkey Kong characters racing in Planes on Mode 7-rendered courses. It was initially planned for early 2002, but Nintendo sold their share of Rare Ltd. to Microsoft and opted out of their publishing contract. Around the same time, in 2002-2003, before the decision was made to design it into a Banjo-Kazooie title, Diddy Kong Pilot was being redeveloped into an entirely different game. In 2005, the game was finalized as a Banjo-Kazooie title, Banjo-Pilot due to Microsoft's acquisition of Rare in 2002.

Prior to being canceled, Diddy Kong Pilot was planned to be released in Japan in February 2002[3] and in North America on March 4, 2002.[2]


Diddy Kong Pilot was first shown at E3 2001 and then a few months later at Space World 2001.

One of the characters, tentatively named Redneck Kong,[4], or "Crappy Kong"[5] was "killed off" early in the game's development, according to the September 3, 2001 edition of Scribes from Rareware[6] and Jens Christian Restemeier, one of the game's developers.[7] Candy Kong would subsequently appear in the background for character selection menus.[8]

One of the builds, said to be presented at a Space World 2000, consisted of a cast featuring both Donkey Kong Country and Mario characters, which would have been a first for a Donkey Kong spinoff. This version allowed players to select between six Donkey Kong characters (Diddy Kong, Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong, King K. Rool, Funky Kong, and Dixie Kong) and six Mario characters (Princess Peach, Mario, Yoshi sitting atop a Lakitu's Cloud, Wario piloting a red biplane similar to the Bulldog, Bowser, and Toad).[9] A tilt control idea that was present in the debug mode of a very early build[9] was dropped in this build, but was retained in the Options mode.

At Space World 2001, the game was at 65% completion,[10] and by October 2001, planned for release on March 4, 2002.[2]

Some time in 2002, Nintendo refused to publish Diddy Kong Pilot, as they found the game "substandard". One of their criticisms was "There's no point in flying up and down on flat levels").[4] Some Rare employees believed the company was prejudiced since it occurred in a time period just before the Microsoft acquisition. Despite being featured in the DVD of the May 2002 issue of G-Force magazine,[11] none of the Rare games except Star Fox Adventures were showcased at E3 2002.

Rare's other two Donkey Kong titles from E3 2001, Donkey Kong Racing and Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers, were canceled in August 2002,[12] one month before Microsoft's acquisition of Rare, while Diddy Kong Pilot received no official announcement of the cancelation.

On September 15, 2011, after ten years of no new information regarding the game, a former Rare employee, under the pseudonym of Transparentjinjo, posted gameplay footage of the game on YouTube.[13] According to the video's title, the build was dated "September 7, 2001".[14]

On January 14, 2013, this prototype build was released online.[15]


Diddy Kong Pilot featured six modes: Racing, Stories, Dog Fights, Battle, Clock Race, and Options. The build is largely unfinished as most of the stages are nearly empty, some only having a backdrop and a few assets laid out on the stage. Many of the modes, such as Dog Fights, are non-functional. The gameplay essentially only consists of flying around on a course. Some features were never implemented such as plane customization,[16] or unlockable characters, stories, and stages.[17]

Debug menu

The debug menu

Upon starting up the game, the player is instantly led onto a debug menu, and it has three options: Level, Player, and Blend. The first option allows them to choose a course, and the second one allows them to select a character (Cranky). The "level" options include:

Beach 00 Beach 01 Beach 02 Beach 03
Lava 00 Lava 01 Lava 02
Snow 00 Snow 01 Snow 02 Snow 03
Keep 00 Keep 01 Keep 02 Keep 03
Lake 00 Lake 01 Lake 02 Lake 03
Farm 00 Farm 01 Farm 02 Farm 03 Farm 04 Farm 051
Haunted 00 Haunted 01 Haunted 02 Haunted 03
Jungle 00 Jungle 01 Jungle 02 Jungle 03
Swamp 00 Swamp 01 Swamp 02 Swamp 03
Desert 00 Desert 01 Desert 02 Desert 03

1 - Inaccessible from debug

The second option, "Player" has six numerical values, labeled 0-5. Each of them represent a playable character:

  • 0: Cranky Kong
  • 1: Diddy Kong
  • 2: Krunch
  • 3: K. Rool
  • 4: Dixie Kong
  • 5: Donkey Kong (selecting him results in playing as Cranky Kong instead)
  • 6: Diddy Kong instead of Candy Kong (only selectable by using cheats;2 same function as when selecting Dixie in the character select)
  • 7-11: No data (only selectable by using cheats;2 Krunch, K. Rool, Dixie, Cranky, Diddy in order)

2 - Apply 020000DC:0X in code; 0 to B (hexadecimal)

The last option, Blend, does not have any apparent function. It has four options: Off, Alpha, Up, and Down.


Diddy Kong racing in the first course, Bounty Beach

The player can exiting to the main menu by opening the pause menu. It has three options which are self-explanatory: Continue, Restart, and Quit. Few of the further developed courses also redirect the player to the main menu after they complete all three laps.

The main menu has six modes: Racing, Stories, Dog Fights, Battle, Clock Race, and Options. It is also the only part of the game to have a music track.

The character selection screen

Before starting a mode, the player must select a character. The selection menu is very buggy, and choosing a character causes a different one to be playable, except for Cranky Kong. For instance, selecting Diddy Kong causes Krunch to be playable instead. The sound that each character makes when highlighted does not correspond to the correct character as well. When a character is highlighted, they are not aligned with their sepia shadow; additionally, the sepia backdrop has Candy Kong but highlighting her shows Redneck Kong instead, meaning the color character select screen had not been edited yet; Cranky Kong's pose is different as well. The following "Select World" menu shows the character that will actually be played as, with the exception of when Dixie is selected. In this case, a glitchy black rectangle taking up the entirety of the character sprites' parameters will be shown, and playing will result in Diddy appearing. As such, the rectangle is likely the remains of Redneck Kong's data.

The Racing mode allows the player to select a world, each with an associated level difficulty. Unlike its predecessor, Diddy Kong Pilot only features four characters racing on a course at a time; the main goal remains the same: racing three laps around a course and getting first place. Many of the core features are similar to Diddy Kong Racing, for instance how the player can collect bananas and pick up an item from item balloons appearing around the course. Zippers also return in the courses, and they give racers a speed boost.

The Stories mode has three out of seven different stories: King of Kongs (Diddy Kong), Back to the Light (Dixie Kong), and K. Rool's Gold (K. Rool). This mode is almost entirely nonfunctional, but it was intended to have a unique story for a certain character and a final boss at the end.[18][19] This build seemed to be in the process of removing Stories mode,[20] since K. Rool's Gold did not work in this build but did in the very early build.

The Dogfight mode features players fighting against each other. There are four options and none can be accessed: Classic Dogfight, a Dawn Duel, a Classic Variation, or a Focal Feud.

Gameplay of Hatch Match, a game of Battle mode

The Battle mode was planned to be a multiplayer mode, and its icon shows a crate containing miscellaneous objects. Another version has a different icon showing four original Game Boy Advance units hooked to each other via a Link Cable.

The Clock Race mode was presumably planned as the Time Trials mode. It has little to no difference from the Racing mode, but it allows the player to easily select a stage, similar to the debug menu. Unlike the debug menu, most of the stages crash in this option.

The Options mode is untouched from E3 2001, retaining the same background graphics as the E3 2001 character selection screen. It only gives the option to use either D-Pad or tilt control to steer the plane. This was completely scrapped in October 2001.[20]


  • +Control Pad or Tilt motion control: Move in the desired direction.
  • A Button: Acceleration
  • B Button: Use weapon
  • L Button or R Button: Tilt at a sharper angle
  • L Button or R Button (twice): aerial roll
  • R Button and +Control Pad Down (twice while accelerating): U-turn
  • Start Button: Pause the game

Playable characters

"Dog Fights" icon

The character selection menu is highly incomplete, as highlighting a character would trigger a sound effect from an unrelated character. The game was planned to include more than seven characters.[21] Selecting a character causes the game to choose an entirely different character instead. Redneck Kong was playable in earlier builds, such as E3 2001, and was a very short-lived idea from the designer of the project.[4] He was replaced by Candy Kong in a later build. Despite her appearing on the character selection screen, she was not implemented in the September 7, 2001 build. She also appeared on the main menu, in the "Dog Fights" animated icon and battle mode portrait.

Default characters
Candy DKP 2001 icon.png
Candy Kong
Diddy DKP 2001 icon.png
Diddy Kong
K Rool DKP 2001 icon.png
Kamikaze K. Rool
Candy Model - Diddy Kong Pilot 2001.png Diddy Kong DKP 2001 front sprite.png K Rool Model - Diddy Kong Pilot 2001.png
Unimplemented; replacement of the removed Redneck Kong
Cranky DKP 2001 icon.png
Cranky Kong
Donkey DKP 2001 icon.png
Donkey Kong
Krunch DKP 2001 icon.png
Dixie DKP 2001 icon.png
Dixie Kong
Cranky Model - Diddy Kong Pilot 2001.png Donkey Model - Diddy Kong Pilot 2001.png Krunch Model - Diddy Kong Pilot 2001.png Dixie DKP 2001 front sprite.png
Only by using cheats[22]
Unlockable characters
Character selected
Voice played as Character played as
Cranky Kong (0)
Cranky Kong Cranky Kong (0)
Redneck Kong (6) Diddy Kong Diddy Kong (1)
Diddy Kong (1) Donkey Kong Krunch (2)
Donkey Kong (5) Krunch K. Rool (3)
Krash (2) K. Rool Dixie Kong (4)
K. Rool (3) Dixie Kong Donkey Kong (5) → Cranky Kong (0)
Dixie Kong (4)
Diddy Kong (when highlighted) → Cranky Kong cursor Corrupted (6) → Diddy Kong (1)
Unimplemented (7) Diddy Kong cursor Corrupted (7) → Krunch (2)
Unimplemented (8) Donkey Kong cursor → Krunch cursor Corrupted (8) → K. Rool (3)
Unimplemented (9) Krunch cursor → K. Rool cursor Corrupted (9) → Dixie Kong (4)
Unimplemented (10) K. Rool cursor → Dixie Kong cursor Corrupted (10) → Cranky Kong (0)
Unimplemented (11) Dixie Kong cursor → Donkey Kong cursor Corrupted (11) → Diddy Kong (1)
Status unknown


Most of the items reappeared from Diddy Kong Racing except for peanuts, watermelons, and eggs. The player can carry up to a few items at a time. Most of the items can be obtained from sky blue-colored item balloons with a yellow question mark on them. Item balloons also have a green and DK variant, and both have unfinished functionality. Both provide an item, either with an icon of Cranky or Diddy, and neither are functional.

There is also a chained barrel item, but it goes unimplemented in the September 2001 build of Diddy Kong Pilot.[24] There is also an unimplemented yellow single rocket boost itemMedia:DKDKP.jpg.

Image Name Description
Rocket DKP 2001 green.pngRocket DKP 2001 red.png Rockets These items can lock on to a nearby opponent and temporarily slow them down.
Rocket boost DKP 2001 green.pngRocket boost DKP 2001 red.png Rocket boost Like zippers, these give a speed boost to the racers. The high-level rocket boost provides a higher speed boost.
Magnet DKP 2001 green.pngMagnet DKP 2001 red.png Magnet When used, the player is magnetized to another nearby racer. The high-level magnets are stronger.
Peanuts DKP 2001 five.pngPeanuts DKP 2001 ten.png Peanuts Peanuts can be fired at other opponents; based on the count, the player can either shoot out five or ten at a time. Unlike rockets, these items do not have lock-on capabilites.
Watermelon DKP 2001.png Watermelon This item drops behind a watermelon. When a racer crashes into the item, it splatters and temporarily slows them down.
Egg DKP 2001.png Egg The egg functions similarly to the watermelon except that it also moves around in a circular pattern.

Race tracks

The game was planned to feature 24 tracks, with four in each of the six worlds. Only five of the courses can be selected from the Clock Race menu, and they are marked in bold.

Sleepy Shores
Bounty Beach DKP 2001 preview.png
Bounty Beach
Beach 00
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Farm Attract
Farm 03
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Jet Set Jungle
Jungle 02
Beach Race DKP 2001 preview.png
Beach Race
Beach 01
Kongo Kingdom
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Swoop Swamp
Swamp 02
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Jungle Race
Jungle 01
Magma Mainland DKP 2001 preview.png
Magma Mainland
Lava 00
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Haunted Race
Haunted 03
Western Wastes
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Lake Race
Lake 02
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Lava Race
Lava 02
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Swamp Race
Swamp 03
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Crackpot Keep
Keep 02
Island of Eggs
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Vulture Valley
Desert 02
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Keep Race
Keep 03
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Lake Race
Lake 03
Chicken Chase DKP 2001 preview.png
Chicken Chase
Farm 00
Polar Plateau
Frosty Lake DKP 2001 preview.png
Frosty Lake
Snow 00
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Farm Race
Farm 04
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Desert Race
Desert 03
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Snow Race
Snow 03
World 6
Whisper Woods DKP 2001 preview.png
Whisper Woods
Haunted 00
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png


The game was planned to feature 36 dogfight and battle levels. Only "Hair Raising Rescue" is playable in September 7, 2001 build, where the player has to catch ghosts and move them to a pond. There are 41 coffins on that map.

King of Kongs (Diddy Kong)
Beach Barricade DKP 2001 preview.png
Beach Barricade
Beach 02
Hair Raising Rescue DKP 2001 preview.png
Hair Raising Rescue
Haunted 01
Peaceful Passage DKP 2001 preview.png
Peaceful Passage
Lake 00
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Cranky Panky
Farm 02
Back to the Light (Dixie Kong)
Grub Grab DKP 2001 preview.png
Grub Grab
Jungle 00
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Farm Feud
Farm 05
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Swamp Swoop
Swamp 00
Dark Tower DKP 2001 preview.png
Dark Tower
Keep 00
K.Rool's Gold (K. Rool)
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Classic Dogfight
Lava 01
Fly Like the Wind DKP 2001 preview.png
Fly Like The Wind
Desert 00
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Snowball Snapshot
Snow 02
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Flawed Genie'us
Beach 03

Battle stages

Hatch Match DKP 2001 preview.png
Hatch Match
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Ghost Grasp
Question Mark DKP 2001 preview.png
Swamp Showdown
Wasteland Wipe Out DKP 2001 preview.png
Wasteland Wipe Out

Differences between builds

Very early build


Mario characters would have originally made an appearance. While the idea had already been scrapped at E3 2001 in development, the graphics still remain in the ROM. The playable characters included:

K. Rool's Gold

K. Rool's Gold was a functional story in the build. It is inaccessible in the September 2001 build, although its graphics and story remain inside of the ROM:

  • Genie
  • Nikiki (red)
  • Nakaka (green)
  • Nukuku (blue)
  • Nokoko (yellow)


  • A tilt option was present in the Debug menu.
  • Dog Fights had a different menu.

E3 2001 build


  • Redneck Kong was a playable character.

Character select screen

  • The background had less colors and was brighter. In the latest build, it was instead used for the Options menu.
  • The sepia background graphic of the characters was different:
    • Cranky Kong's pose is slightly different.
    • Redneck Kong is shown instead of Candy Kong.
    • Dixie Kong does not have two curly hairs on the left side.
    • Krunch's toenails are smaller.
    • K. Rool's goggle outfit is smaller.
  • A highlighted character on the menu aligns with their sepia background, as this was before it was in the process of being redesigned.


  • The item box had a different shape and contents, being rectangular-shaped instead of square.


  • The flame is yellow instead of orange in the lava course.
  • The boundary is orange instead of blue.

Spaceworld 2001 build


  • The current lap number is shown in between the course icon.


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Diddy Kong Pilot (2001).


Audio.svg Diddy Kong Pilot - Title screen theme
File infoMedia:DKP 2001 title theme.oga
Audio.svg Diddy Kong Pilot - Beach race course theme (unused)
File infoMedia:DKP 2001 beach theme.oga
Audio.svg Diddy Kong Pilot - Snow race course theme (unused)
File infoMedia:DKP 2001 snow theme.oga
Audio.svg Diddy Kong Pilot - Lava race course theme (unused)
File infoMedia:DKP 2001 lava theme.oga
Audio.svg Diddy Kong Pilot - Bayou race course theme (unused)
File infoMedia:DKP 2001 bayou theme.oga
Audio.svg Diddy Kong Pilot - Haunted race course theme (unused)
File infoMedia:DKP 2001 haunted theme.oga
Audio.svg Diddy Kong Pilot - Castle race course theme (unused)
File infoMedia:DKP 2001 castle theme.oga
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?

Names in other languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ディディーコングパイロット(仮称)
Didī Kongu Pairotto (KASHŌ)
Diddy Kong Pilot (tentative)


The lower background layer used during the dogfight against Bottles in Banjo-Pilot
  • The background of the Stories menu has two photographs resembling official Diddy Kong Racing artwork. One of themMedia:DKRScene3.jpg shows Diddy flying over a plains with a few windmills while the other oneMedia:Wizpig and Diddy DKR art.jpg shows Diddy flying away from Wizpig.
  • The map of Magma Mainland would be reused in Banjo-Pilot as the lower background layer of the dogfight against Bottles in the Feather Cup, but the track itself cannot be raced on. Differences include: a darker layer consisting of both the lava and the track; a big hole in the center; the removal of the finish line and boosts; and the removal of the cracks in the center island.
  • When waiting for 30 seconds in the main menu, a gameplay demo is shown. It takes place in one of five courses: Bounty Beach, Magma Mainland, Chicken Chase, Frosty Lake and Whisper Woods, which are the most developed compared to the other courses. Either Diddy Kong, Krunch, K. Rool, Dixie Kong, or Cranky Kong are selected as the playable character for the demo.


External links