Donkey Kong Country

aka: Chaoji Dajingang, DKC, Donkey Kong 2001, Donkey Kong Country 1, Super Donkey Kong
Moby ID: 5199

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 86% (based on 80 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 272 ratings with 8 reviews)

My favorite game of all time.

The Good
This game always had great graphics. Even today on a 50 inch screen tv it still is amazing. I really loved the scenery. It always seemed real. The music was great too. This game really showed what the SNES could do better than the genesis at the time. Being my favorite game for the graphics, scenery, and game play, this game is great and can be enjoyed over and over.

The Bad
There wasn't many things I didn't like about this game. If there was anything it would be not being able to save after each level. The candy kong save points weren't really that far apart, but some of the harder levels placed before a save point or a funky flights left you with few lives to get though more levels to the save point.

The Bottom Line
This is a really fun game with incredible scenery. The game play is great not being to hard but hard enough. The music is better than most games at the time and so were the graphics. I recommend everyone should buy this.

SNES · by Jeff Robinson (64) · 2008

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.


SNES · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2007

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

Decent port of the SNES classic

The Good
The game has excellent music, even for today, and character movement is spot-on. Add to the fact that the game's level design is very good, varied, and distinct (I never got the feeling that I was playing the same or similar levels over and over again like I do with, say, Sonic) and you got an superb platformer.

The Bad
The graphics is where the port is not quite up to the SNES version (especially backgrounds). While I can understand the saturated sprites to make the game visible, there is no good reason to have flat backgrounds.

The music lacks reverb effects (as in the SNES version), but this is hardly noticeable unless you are listening for it.

The Bottom Line
One of the better platformers you can get your hands on. If I'm to compare it with something, it would be a combination between Mario and Sonic. You got a bit of Sonic's speed and Mario inspired level design. The end result is a game that (IMO) is better than both (Not that I've played every Sonic game in existence).

Game Boy Advance · by anss (3) · 2005

Though DKC is still a great game this port doesn't offer enough new things to make it a good buy if you played the original SNES classic.

The Good
The level design. This has been one of the strongest points since this game was released on the SNES. You need to time your jumps carefully and also watch which character you are currently playing because each of them (Diddy and Donkey Kong) has certain weaker and stronger points compared to the other one. You can unlock some extra challenges if you search for all the items as well as new pictures in the new picture gallery. Two new mini games are added including a dancing and fishing game. They are nice but not a reason to buy this if you had the original. Furthermore the sound is also very good even on the GBA. It's still all those brilliant atmospheric tunes from the SNES.

The Bad
It just doesn't offer enough for the millions of SNES veterans. The new modes are worth a look but you won't find them worth the money to buy this GBA version. It's basically made to give younger players the ability to play this classic. Also the graphics don't look so well. The enemies and heroes are still looking great but the levels (especially backgrounds) are looking horribly blurred at times, and are just ported badly.

The Bottom Line
It's still a brilliant game and you'll love it if you haven't played the original. If you did and are already familiar with the SNES or GBC version it doesn't offer enough to make it a valuable purchase.

Game Boy Advance · by Rensch (203) · 2005

Terrific! A Masterpiece!

The Good
This game had the best graphics for a SNES game ever. Seriously, Super Mario World times 10. Plus the music was as good, if not better, than Super Mario World. Seriously. And it's extremely funny, too, and there are lots of enemies. You have to use strategy and decide whether to use Donkey Kong or Diddy King, cause for some parts of some levels you have to use Diddy cause he jumps higher/further. And seriously, The swimming levels are so much better than Super Mario World and everyone wants to ride a Swordfish, Rhino or Ostrich, and swinging on the ropes, the rain, everything looks so realistic, you almost forget your playing a SNES and think your playing a N64! And the level with the mining cart, come on, everyone liked that level and the snow it so realistic looking!

The Bad
The bosses were really easy, except King K. Rool. It gets frustrating when you die.

The Bottom Line
If you don't have it I have two words for you: get it.

SNES · by darthsith19 (62) · 2006

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

Possibly the best platform game for the SNES

The Good
Super Mario World and Super Metroid, step aside. What those platform games may have had in layout, depth, and mood, Donkey Kong Country makes up for with the most beautiful graphics of any SNES game. They look like they belong on a primitive PlayStation game, not on a simple cartridge system.

With simple Point A-to-Point B level layouts and catchy, toe-tapping music, this is without any doubt a game for anyone and everyone.

The Bad
The game may seem rather easy to more experienced players. There is no real room for deviation, with the exception of various bonus levels, which may aggravate players who enjoy more freedom in their games. Also, even though the game is said to be playable by 2 players, it suffers from the same problem as all the Super Mario Bros./World game before it, in the fact that the 2-player mode is alternative, not simultaneous, which forces one player to sit and watch as the other plays.

The Bottom Line
This game definitely ranks in the top 5 platform games for the SNES, and the top 10 games for the SNES, period. You may breeze through it quickly, but the journey is much more enjoyable than the reaching of the destination.

SNES · by lechuck13 (296) · 2003

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Critic reviews added by The 'Tude Dude, Big John WV, Igor igorek, Parf, Scaryfun, Havoc Crow, lights out party, Richard Wilder, Patrick Bregger, Tim Janssen, vedder, jaXen, Baron79, Alsy, Wizo, ryanbus84, Jacob Gens, Sun King, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Victor Vance, Maner76, nyccrg, Omnosto, Xoleras, Jeanne, Riemann80, RhYnoECfnW, Flu, Michael Cassidy, CalaisianMindthief, firefang9212, Alex Alleshater, Evil Ryu, Zaibatsu, Joakim Kihlman, vicrabb.