RETRO REVIEW: Donkey Kong Country

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Share this page

We are proudly a Play-Asia Partner

SUPPORT OPRAINFALL BY TURNING OFF ADBLOCK

Ads support the website by covering server and domain costs. We're just a group of gamers here, like you, doing what we love to do: playing video games and bringing y'all niche goodness. So, if you like what we do and want to help us out, make an exception by turning off AdBlock for our website. In return, we promise to keep intrusive ads, such as pop-ups, off oprainfall. Thanks, everyone!

By


Donkey Kong Country
Title Donkey Kong Country
Developer Rare
Publisher Nintendo
Release Date November 1994 (SNES)
Genre Platformer
Platform Super Nintendo
Age Rating ESRB – Everyone

In the mid 90s, Nintendo was in the middle of a fierce console war with SEGA. The SEGA Genesis proved to be a worthy competitor to the Super Nintendo, and both companies spent a good deal of their time trying to one-up each other. Whereas SEGA used the blast processing power of the Genesis to market their machine, Nintendo used its impressive Mode 7 and fledgling 3D graphical capabilities, focusing a bit more on eye candy. One game that really stood out and almost pushed the SNES to its limits was Rare’s Donkey Kong Country. Nintendo wanted to reinvent Donkey Kong for a new generation, so they slapped on a big, bright, red tie and teamed him up with his “nephew” Diddy to retrieve his giant horde of bananas from the evil King K. Rool and his Kremling army. It was dazzling to look at at the time, and a hint of things to come from future “2.5D” titles. The brilliant David Wise composed the score, with such standout tracks as “Aquatic Ambiance,” “Fear Factory” and “Gang-Plank Galleon.”

Donkey Kong Country | Rambi Smash

There were a few gameplay mechanics introduced in Donkey Kong Country that really made it something special. First off is the co-op aspect of the game. Playing by yourself, you can freely switch between DK and Diddy, so long as you have both apes. If one gets hit, the other takes over. DK is more suited for taking down tough enemies with his sheer strength, but Diddy is lighter and more agile, and you can use his cartwheel to propel you over large gaps.

Donkey Kong Country | Under the Sea

As long as you have Enguarde, you have little to fear under the sea.

On top of this, you have animal partners to help you around in select stages. Rambi the Rhino is great for plowing through groups of enemies and ramming into walls to discover hidden bonus areas. Expresso the Ostrich is fast and has limited flight which can help you get to tough to reach places. Then you have Enguarde the Swordfish, who is vital in underwater areas, poking through almost anything that gets in your way. Without him, you’re pretty defenseless under the sea. Winky the Frog gets you around with powerful jumps that can take out unsuspecting Kremlins and nab yourself a lot of bananas. Finally, you’ve got Squawks the Parrot, who appears in a dark tunnel stage and helps light the way to the end. Squawks makes only one appearance in the first Donkey Kong Country, but he’s used more in the sequels.

Donkey Kong Country | Barrel Hell

Good luck with this stage!

Donkey Kong Country is one of those games that teaches the player as you go. Every stage in a given world introduces something different. Whether it’s barrel blasting, swimming with the fishes, running away from angry beavers in giant wheels, riding in mine carts, sliding up and down ropes to dodge vultures and jumping around flaming oil barrels, to name a few examples. The difficulty is rather forgiving at first, and you can repeat the first stage as much as you want to rack up extra lives for the later game. It really hits a crescendo once you reach Gorilla Glacier, specifically the stage Snow Barrel Blast. I would argue this single level is the hardest one in the game, since you have to precisely time your barrel shooting to avoid deadly Zingers (giant bees) and not fall to your death. Most of the time, I can’t make it and I end up losing a lot of lives. If it wasn’t for a hidden shortcut, I doubt many could clear that stage easily.

Donkey Kong Country | King K. Rool

Two apes versus one crazy crocodile king. This should be a pay-per-view event!

Boss fights are pretty straightforward encounters. In the earlier worlds, you fight the first version of a giant animal boss, and then later on you’ll fight a harder, faster moving version of it, with the only exception being Kremkroc Industries, Inc.’s Dumb Drum, which is more like an endurance and survival fight. At the end, you’ll face off with King K. Rool himself on his pirate ship, avoiding his crown throws, jumps and falling cannonballs. Possibly the most memorable moment of this game happens when you seemingly down the mad reptile, only for fake “kredits” to roll shortly before he gets a second wind. I’m sure a lot of kids ended up falling for that one!

All in all, Donkey Kong Country is a fantastic platformer that still holds up well today. It is a bit on the short side. Depending on how practiced you are, it might take you two to three hours to beat at most. I was trying to achieve 100%, so it took me a little while longer. It’s one of the first examples of a completionist’s game, one that rewards you for scouring every inch and finding everything there is to find. It insists that you keep trying if you miss out on them. And it’s true that Donkey Kong Country 2 plays and sounds slightly better than this one, but this is a game that shouldn’t be missed. You’ll want to come back to it from time to time to remind yourself of how much fun it is to monkey around with DK and Diddy.

Review Score
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

Review Copy Owned by Reviewer

About Joe Sigadel

Joe is the reporting manager for oprainfall, he is also a broadcaster on Twitch and loves showing off many of the games we report about on his channel. He has also been known to defended Senran Kagura from those who only want to accept it at face value.




  • JDobbs

    The Original Donkey Kong Country Trilogy is still one of my favorite video game trilogies today. I would have to agree Snow Barrel Blast is the hardest and most frustrating stage in the game. Fun fact: I was not introduced to Donkey Kong Country through the Super Nintendo, my introduction to DKC was the Game Boy Color version and not too many people know it exists. Its clearly not as good as it was on the Super Nintendo, but for a port on inferior hardware, its good.