Artwork of Taj from Diddy Kong Racing DS
|First appearance||Diddy Kong Racing (1997)|
|Latest appearance||Diddy Kong Racing DS (2007)|
|Portrayed by||Lee Ray (1997)|
|Full name||Taj the Genie|
- “I have something special for you!”
- —Taj, Diddy Kong Racing
Taj the Genie is a blue elephant and a genie who lives on Timber's Island. His only video game appearance is Diddy Kong Racing, and its Nintendo DS remake, Diddy Kong Racing DS. Taj could have possibly been inspired from the real-world Indian elephant, considering his basis from Indian culture. His name is possibly derived from taj (تاج, from the Arabic word for "crown"), a brimless hat worn by people from Muslim countries, or the Taj Mahal, a palace in India.
Diddy Kong Racing
In Diddy Kong Racing, Taj's role is helping Diddy Kong and his friends banish Wizpig from Timber's Island. At the start, Taj introduces himself to the player's racer as the "genie of the island." His main purpose is providing the player with a Golden Balloon after clearing a course, a Silver Coin Challenge, or one of his own vehicle challenges for the first time. He also rewards the player with a T.T. Amulet piece if they complete a specific world challenge. He also provides a hint to the player after obtaining the first two Wizpig Amulet pieces, from Tricky and Bluey respectively.
Each of Taj's vehicle races occur later in the adventure. The first challenge involves the player's racer racing him in a Car, then in a Hovercraft and lastly in a Plane. Taj uses a magic red carpet for transportation.
Taj is always seen walking around a grassy patch in the center of Timber's Island. The player can get his attention by either bumping into him or honking their horn nearby. By getting Taj's attention, he gives two options on a menu: changing the current vehicle on Timber's Island or retrying one of his vehicle challenges. Taj offers to further assist the player after they selected an option from his menu; when the player exits the option menu, Taj says bye to them, and vanishes in a puff of smoke. He returns to roaming around the grassy field of the world map.
After beating Wizpig in the first race, Taj and T.T. congratulate the player. Taj and the playable characters all party in the beach portion of Timber's Island, before being interrupted by Wizpig. Taj also appears in the second ending, after Wizpig's second defeat. He is also seen celebrating with the playable characters and the four bosses. The carving of Wizpig's head on the frontward mountain of Timber's Island is replaced by a gold replica of Taj's head.
Diddy Kong Racing DS
Taj also appears in the remake, Diddy Kong Racing DS. Aside from his usual role, Taj also appears as a newly unlockable character, and can be obtained after the player completes the first Adventure Mode. Taj has maximum top speed, but minimal acceleration and turning; his stats are shared with Wizpig, who is also unlockable in the remake. If the player talks to Taj as the playable equivalent, Taj gets confused, believing that he is going crazy from talking to himself, but decides to offer assistance regardless.
Taj originally had an Indian accent, which was changed to British in the remake. Taj may be based on the Hindu god Ganesha. Taj does not have as much dialogue, since he does not have lines when introducing himself at the start, or in the sequence where he awards a Golden Balloon to the player. He also only allows them to select one option before vanishing.
Taj hosts two additional challenges in the remake: a challenge where he competes against the player to obtain ten Taj Tokens, and a challenge where the player must blow out every torch in under a minute. Taj also hosts the newly-added Wishes Menu, where the player can purchase unlockable features with their collected Coins.
In the game ending, the gold replica of Taj's head was altered to have the same rocky texture as the mountain side.
Donkey Kong Racing (canceled)
Taj was set to reappear in the canceled Nintendo GameCube title, Donkey Kong Racing. At first, he is shown to be riding on a small red Rambi, then a later segment shows him and Donkey Kong racing on a Zinger through a forest, a reference to the speeder chase scene from Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi. At the end of the trailer, the slogan "Let's Ride" displays, which Taj flies past on a Zinger.
Mario no Bōken Land
Taj makes an appearance in the Diddy Kong Racing story segment of Mario no Bōken Land, titled "Go Go Diddy!". He is shown competing in a race with various other racers, riding his carpet in fourth place. The race is interrupted when Wizpig appears, hurts Taj, and rips up his carpet, which strips Taj of his magical powers. Taj casts a spell to turn Mario, Princess Peach and Diddy Kong's cars into airplanes so they can follow Wizpig as he flies away. Diddy defeats Wizpig, and knocks a pile of rocks from a cliffside onto him. The racers award Diddy Kong with a crown for his heroic efforts, and declare him victor of the race; Taj can be seen celebrating this occasion. The last panel of the comic segment shows Taj telling Wizpig that he will help him out of the rock pile up, as long as he doesn't continue to do evil things.
4-koma Gag Battle
Taj appears throughout the 4-koma Gag Battle manga adaptation of Diddy Kong Racing.
Mario Artist: Paint Studio
Taj's Diddy Kong Racing artwork is featured as a stamp in Mario Artist: Paint Studio.
Profile and statistics
Diddy Kong Racing
- Diddy Kong Racing instruction manual: "Evicted from his mountain home and cut off from his lamp, this ancient Genie isn't exactly pleased with the despicable Wizpig. Now, he's in a search of a champion racer to go up against the uninvited guest and hopefully teach him a lesson in manners!"
Diddy Kong Racing DS
- Character stats
- Speed: 5/5
- Acceleration: 1/5
- Handling: 1/5
- For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Taj.
Names in other languages
- Diddy Kong Racing's data has an unused music file of the character select theme played on Indian instruments, suggesting that Taj would have been playable in the original version.