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Donkey Kong Country

aka: Chaoji Dajingang, DKC, Donkey Kong 2001, Donkey Kong Country 1, Super Donkey Kong
Moby ID: 5199
SNES Specs
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Description official descriptions

King K. Rool has stolen Donkey Kong's banana stash, and Donkey Kong needs your help to get them back. In search of K. Rool, the Kremling horde impedes your progress. Kremlings, crocodile-like creatures, include Kritters (they succumb to a simple jump on the head), Krushas (they are virtually indestructible), and others. There are also other enemies that block your path, such as beavers, snakes, vultures. Leading them are dastardly bosses, including Very Gnawty, Necky, Queen B., and Dumb Drum, and they all bar the way with their own special blend of villainy.

Donkey Kong is joined by Diddy Kong: these two primates differ significantly. For example, Donkey Kong is generally stronger; he can destroy most enemies with a single jump and can lift barrels straight over his head to throw them farther. On the other hand, Diddy is faster and not as strong as Donkey; he can run really fast and do cartwheels. Diddy carries barrels in front of him, creating a shield against frontal attacks.

The game is split into different worlds, which are split into different levels. Each level contains bonus areas, where one can collect bananas, medallions, and lives. At the end of each world is a boss, which is usually a larger version of a minor enemy.

The original Super Nintendo game was later released for Nintendo's handheld systems. The Game Boy Color version has an exclusive level (Necky Nutmare) and additional bonus games, Funky's Fishing and five Crosshair Cranky minigames. There was also the addition of collectible DK sticker packs scattered throughout the levels. These sticker packs could be printed out using the Game Boy Printer. The game also has two more difficulty options that become available after beating the game.Beating the game once lets the player turn off DK barrels and beating the game a second time will let the player turn off checkpoint barrels.

The Game Boy Advance version also had additional bonus games. It to has a version of Funky's Fishing but instead of the crosshair themed games, there is now Candy's Dance Studio, which hosts six dance games. There is also the additions of a time attack mode called DK Attack, a harder difficulty mode called Hero Mode (can only play as Diddy Kong and the game no longer offers Donkey Kong barrels and checkpoints throughout the levels), and the sticker book idea from the Gameboy Color version was replaced with collecting scrapbook pictures instead.

Spellings

  • スーパードンキーコング - Japanese spelling
  • ドンキーコング2001 - Japanese GBC spelling
  • 超级大金刚 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (SNES version)

52 People (45 developers, 7 thanks) · View all

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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 83 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 277 ratings with 9 reviews)

A counterpoint to the popular view of DKC...

The Good
1. A satisfying platformer in many respects. Engaging level design with lots of hidden shortcuts and tricks to keep you interested. Not a lot of variety, but succeeds in that it finds the fun things (riding animals, mine carts) and hits you with it enough to keep you happy but not so much as to trivialize things.

  1. Good music that attempts to move away from the three-tone-ditty or faux-rock of most other games. For me, the most memorable part of the game.

  2. Overall design that distinguishes the game from others. In the platforming genre, that's doing something.

    The Bad
    1. This game was popular in its time because of the graphics, and those graphics haven't aged well: they now look a little chunky, a little too ambitious. I don't think they've held up as well as the clean lines of Super Mario World, the tricked-out SMB2 and SMB3 of Super Mario All-Stars, or the minimalist sci-fi of Metroid or Super Contra, all of which seem to me a more timeless design. I'm not comparing DKC's graphics to those of current games, I'm looking at those graphics in the context of those of the time, and I think the design of DKC comes off as a little gimmicky.

  3. Looking at the graphics in this way allows us to do something many other gamers didn't do when DKC was released: divorce our opinion of the gameplay from our opinion of the graphics. I think doing this allows us to look back on this game and realize that while it's a good platformer, it's not as fantastically great in terms of gameplay as many people made it out to be when it was released. A few notes on the gameplay:

2a. Riding animals is fun, but is it that fun? For instance, it doesn't take a lot of skill to hop on the rhino and move right, and I think because most animal riding doesn't engage any game skill, the novelty of it--hey, I'm ridin' a crazy rhino! woo-hoo!--wears off pretty quickly.

2b. Not many things to do with your characters in terms of movement. While it's a testament to quality level design, which manages to make playing the game interesting despite the limited moves, it's still something.

2c. The play control to me always felt slightly off. Let's pick on the rhino again: Whenever I was on that guy, jumping around felt non-responsive, like there was some kind of variable, minuscule lag between when I hit the button and when the rhino jumped. The same goes for the timing on DK's roll and leap: I learned that the key to nailing it was to be a little too patient and wait past the moment you feel like you should be jumping to nail it. I'm sure the control on DK's roll and leap is by design, but I just didn't care for it. Would have liked for it, and the rest of the control, to be a little tighter.

2d. Easy. Never really challenging at all. Part of the reason is the amazing amount of lives you can rack up without really trying. Yeah, you can get tons of lives in other platformers, but normally you have to go out of your way to get those additional lives. In DKC, the lives rack up as a consequence of simply playing the game. It makes the game too forgiving.

  1. At the time I hated the snow levels because of the snow storm falling between you and the character sprite. I know that this was a "cool" feature at the time, but I hated it then and I still hate it.

  2. Please don't take this as a "hater" comment, but I don't care for the character design and resent that it's been taken on by the Mario karting universe. Diddy Kong to me is solely appealing to the "cute monkey" perception and lacks a lot of the imagination put into many of the Mario characters. I dunno: chimp in a baseball cap isn't exactly what I'd call exciting. But the cute factor caught on, and now Diddy's befouling the Mario kart series. DK Jr. in Super Mario Kart wasn't so bad, but the Rare designed Kongs to me just don't do it as far as character design goes.

    The Bottom Line
    I wrote this review for the reasons the title suggests: I wanted to give a counterpoint to the notions upon the game's release and the notion held to this day by some nostalgic DKC fanatics that the game, coming near the end of the SNES life-cycle, was by default the pinnacle of SNES platformers. It's easier to realize you're being unfairly nostalgic when you're looking back on an Atari 2600 game that clearly benefited from cool cover-art--it's harder to recognize nostalgia when it's a game that's only 10 or so years old.

I don't think it takes much of a serious playthrough of DKC to see that it just doesn't have the ageless qualities of other great platformers. Where I identify many other great, older games with their gameplay, I can't help identifying DKC with those chunky graphics that were such a big deal at the time. That to me suggests that DKC isn't maybe all it was cracked up to be at the time in terms of gaming goodness.

None of this is to suggest that DKC is a bad game. It's a good game, a very good game that obviously had a lot of time put into it. But does it belong in the rarefied company of platformers like SWM, SWM2, SMB3, Super Metroid, some of the Mega Man games, etc? I don't think that it does.

Still, a good platformer that's worth playing.

SNES · by MagFram (33) · 2005

What was Nintendo thinking...

The Good
Donkey Kong Country was a important game for the SNES back in 1994 for many reasons, not the least for its graphics, it was ported to the Game Boy Color in 2000, keeping most of its game play features intact, remaining a great game, but many flaws exist.

The Bad
The graphics suffer a great deal from the Game Boy Color capabilities, the backgrounds remain, however the characters are 2D sprites, and are barely recognizable from the SNES version, also for some reason this port auto-saves itself, the save points are removed, rendering this game much easier to complete. However once again due to the Game Boy Color's capabilities this game is rendered much harder since the method to detect that you have hit something or picked up something is very poor, I have been right over a item and not picked it up, while missing a enemy quite completely, and lost a life...Lastly the major change to gameplay is that when you obtain an animal, you do not ride it, you become it, and you cannot dismount from it, unlike the original version, this is a great change from the original.

The Bottom Line
This port puzzles me, the original version was renowned for its graphics, graphics which the Game Boy Color could not achieve, Also the two button interface hurts the game as well. Avoid this port like the plague, I haven't seen the GBA version, however, I would presume it's better...

Game Boy Color · by Chris Lesinky (294) · 2007

A Classic Platformer Is Still Found In Those Pretty Graphics.

The Good
It's impossible to describe Donkey Kong Country without mentioning the graphics. It's the biggest selling point of the game. Even by today's standards, it's a very pretty game, and it's not hard to forget how mind-numbingly awesome it looked back in the day. From the multi-layered graphics with weather effects to the full character animations, it was the type of game that you took out to impress your friends.

Equally on par was the sound and music. The music was very rich and diverse and pushed very close to CD-quality. Sound effects were equally as impressive. Lots of monkey chatter and platformer sound effects, rounded out an already impressive package.

But at the heart of it all was the gameplay. This was a good "Nintendo" platformer, even though this was Rare's baby. The worlds were huge with multiple paths, and plenty of secret areas to exploit and discover. The game also had a fun sense of humor ranging from Cranky Kong to the little in-jokes found throughout the levels. From a Rare standpoint, this was also one of their best titles as the gameplay remained strong, not devolving into a series of "fetch quests" that plagued even their best titles on the Nintendo 64.

The Bad
As good as Donkey Kong Country is, it's simply not a "Mario" game. This statement isn't meant as the end-all that only Mario games are some of the best platformers around, but with all of its perks, the game just lacked those subtle nuances that Mario titles had.

Finding things wasn't quite as accidental. You had to be a pretty bad player NOT to find a large collection of secret areas in Donkey Kong Country. Finding animals to ride was fun, but it didn't have that offensive "oomph" Mario titles did. A player didn't necessarily feel like the tables were suddenly turned in their favor as it was more of a new way to get around.

Donkey Kong Country also had a difficulty that ranged from very easy to viciously hard. One moment, there would be a level that would hand out free lives with generous abundance, the next level would eat those lives as getting through a barrel launching puzzle or a mine cart chase would take split second timing or pure dumb luck.

While the graphics are great, the age in rendering technique shows. It's not enough to ruin the experience, but what blew one's mind over a decade ago, is more subtly regarded with admiration for the technology of the time.

The Bottom Line
When it was released in the early '90's, Donkey Kong Country was a real stunner. It was a beautiful game for its time, and in many regards, it still is. And even without the exploitive depth of the Mario titles, the game does not leave a player wanting for things to see and do.

As the Wii reintroduced Donkey Kong via its Virtual Console, it's pretty easy to see why this game has been so loved over the years. It's a fun game, even without the graphical wizardry, and it makes one yearn for the long since gone Nintendo-Rare relationship of old.

If you've never played it, then you owe it to yourself to give this game a try, especially since Nintendo has made it so readily available. If anything, just to see one of the biggest games to change the face and perception of what the Super Nintendo was capable of.

Recommended.

SNES · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2007

[ View all 9 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Game Problems with Game Boy Color version Jeff Robinson (64) Jul 4, 2008

Trivia

Animated series

An animated TV series was based on the characters and world of the Donkey Kong Country game. Running from 1997-2000, the series featured all of the cast from the game plus additional new characters. The series was animated with computer-generated imagery (mostly with SoftImage).

Board game

In 1995, Milton Bradley combined two youth trends of the 1990s and brought together the world of Donkey Kong Country and a POG-slamming game.

Cranky Kong

Cranky Kong is actually the "original" Donkey Kong from the early 1980s and will drone on and on about how games don't need 16-bits and etc.

Donkey Kong Junior

Donkey Kong's sidekick for Donkey Kong Country was originally going to be an updated version of Donkey Kong Junior from the 1980s arcade game. Nintendo, however, objected, and told Rare to either keep Junior's original design, or create a completely new character. This resulted in the introduction of Diddy Kong, who has since replaced Junior in all later Donkey Kong games. Following this, DK Junior's appearances have been reduced to that of an unlockable/trophy in sports-based Mario spin-offs.

Game Boy Advance Version

The Game Boy Advance version has the contrast cranked up to make the game easier to see on the darker LCD screen.

Soundtrack

The music that Cranky Kong plays on the Victrola during the intro is a rendition of the actual Donkey Kong music from the original 8-bit Nintendo game.

Super Power review

The game got a full 100 % in the Swedish magazine Super Power. The game was rated in the one day they got to borrow the early cassette. The reviewer today claims that he committed a breach of duty, and was completely astounded by the graphics so he couldn't make a proper review of the game.

Technology

Donkey Kong Country was the first game to feature the new ACM graphics technique. ACM was a new graphics technique which allowed rendering of sprites, which made the graphics for the 16 bit games that used it (the DKC games, Killer Instinct and more) extremely detailed. When it first was presented most people took it as a game for what was at the time called Project Reality (i.e. Nintendo 64). People were really shocked when it turned out to be a game for the SNES.

Awards

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • November 1994 (Issue 64) - Game of the Month
    • 1995 Buyer's Guide - Game of the Year
    • 1995 Buyer's Guide - SNES Game of the Year
    • 1995 Buyer's Guide - Best Animation
    • 1995 Buyer's Guide - Best Game Duo
  • FLUX Magazine

    • Issue #4 - #17 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • GameFan

    • 1994 (Vol.3, Iss. 1) - Best SNES Action/Platform Game of the Year 1994
    • 1994 (Vol.3, Iss. 1) - Best SNES Special Effects
  • VideoGames

    • March 1995 - Game of the Year 1994
    • March 1995 - Best SNES Game in1994
    • March 1995 - Best Action Game in 1994
    • March 1995 - Best Graphics in 1994
    • March 1995 - Best Gameplay in 1994

Information also contributed by Alexander Michel, Andreas Vilén, Big John WV, Pseudo_Intellectual, So Hai, WildKard and Zovni

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Related Sites +

  • DKC GBA Website
    Official site for the GBA version of Donkey Kong Country
  • OC ReMix Game Profile
    Fan remixes of music from Donkey Kong Country, including the album "Kong in Concert".

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 5199
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Syed GJ.

Wii U, New Nintendo 3DS added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Game Boy Advance, SNES added by Kartanym. Wii added by gamewarrior.

Additional contributors: Kartanym, uclafalcon, Unicorn Lynx, Exodia85, Alaka, Freeman, gamewarrior, Evil Ryu, Fangusu, Zaibatsu, Patrick Bregger, Thomas Thompson, Mario500 ..

Game added October 21, 2001. Last modified July 17, 2024.