When I was about seven years old I found out that I had a brother. Well a half brother. Well actually three half brothers and one half sister, but back to my Donkey Kong Country story. I found out that I had a brother and met him once or twice. Then one day I come home from school and he's at my house with his Super Nintendo playing Donkey Kong Country.I thought the game looked amazing, but when I played it, that was when I was truly amazed.
I want all platforming games to play like this. It takes the best elements from other platform games like Mario and put its own spin into the genre. In each level you'll find bananas, get a hundred of those and you get an extra life. You've an over world map to replay any stage you want to, including boss battles. You've a partner that you can switch to. Donkey Kong is the slower but stronger one and his smaller companion Diddy Kong is the smaller but faster monkey. A good example of what I mean is on the first level. There are these bigger enemy characters that can only be killed by Donkey Kong. If one of your monkeys dies you can keep playing and can find a barrel marked "DK" that magically contains whichever partner got killed. The control scheme isn't that much more complicated than any other platforming games. Besides the jump button you can also pick up barrels with the Y button. Hold down the Y button to move faster. A button tags your other monkey in. That's it. Most of the game has you throwing barrels, jumping on enemies, fighting bosses, underwater levels, mine carts, and so much more. Tons of levels and secret bonus rooms to unlock.
One other gameplay feature is your animal buddies. You find a crate with a picture of an animal on it, jump onto that, and out comes an animal buddy. You get a frog, a rhino, a swordfish, an ostrich, and maybe more if I've forgotten. Each one has their own ability with the Y button, for example the rhino bucks with his horn. You also can collect golden animal statues, collect three of those and you go to a special bonus stage.
Stylistically this game was amazing when I was a kid and its amazing now. It holds up okay. The sequels look a little better, but I think for the time and place that it came from Donkey Kong Country holds up. Maybe that's just my love of the game, but I think it looks great. All the characters are 3D models and the backgrounds are all detailed artwork. I love that. The word used to describe a game that looks 3D but plays like 2D is 2.5D. More games should do that. Especially now where they can render things a lot better. Imagine a Conker game that played like Donkey Kong Country on Xbox? Since rare developed this and is now exclusively with microsoft, that's just my suggestion.
You also have three animal monkey friends who have their stages on the over world that give you advice, transport you from world to world, or let you save your game. Crank Kong, who I think may be the original Donkey Kong, gives your two monkeys some wonderful advice and usually sarcastic and condescending comments. Candy Kong is the Donkey Kong in this game's love interest, I think, and lets you save your progress. Funky Kong, who is the funkiest monkey, has a barrel airplane that flies you from world to world. Candy doesn't show up in Country 2 or 3 for some reason, but Cranky and Funky are two of the series standards. Without them something would be missing from the experience. I love these monkeys so much.
Funky Kong Candy Kong Cranky Kong
I was so excited to play this today! The first world only has one tricky level that almost always gives me trouble. Its one of the ones with barrels shooting you around, I always lose a few lives on that one. I didn't have too much trouble today actually. I as always was blown away by the water level and how much I love that. The animal buddies are always fun. I got the Ostrich and really there is no better animal buddy than the Ostrich. Anyway I played up to the first mine cart level and if I hadn't stopped when I did, I would have kept playing. No really. Not just kept playing until I died, I would have been here all day And I've other things to do, some involving another projects development.
Donkey Kong is a long running Nintendo series, going back all the way before Nintendo even made consoles! Donkey Kong arcade is one of the best arcade games ever. From there is Donkey Kong Jr. where Mario (was he still called Jumpman then?) is the villain and you're Donkey Kong Jr. Some discussions of the series suggest that Donkey Kong Jr is the Donkey Kong in the Country series. From there is Donkey Kong 3. Then the first Donkey Kong Country. After this game were the two other Country games: Donkey Kong Country 2 Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble. After that, Rare developed a Nintendo 64 follow up in Donkey Kong 64. Be careful if you buy that one, make sure you get the expansion bay port thing that plugs in the front of you N64. At that point Donkey Kong made many other game appearances. Mario Karts, Mario Parties, Mario sports games, and of course Super Smash Brothers games. Donkey Konga, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, and even more than I can't think of. Donkey Kong gets around. One strange thing is that in Country 2 & 3 you don't have the option of playing AS Donkey Kong. Just thought I would point that out. That still bothers me. However many years ago when I first played 2 and realized I couldn't play as Donkey Kong.
Did you ever play Donkey Kong Country for Super Nintendo?
More screen shots in the gallery!