Donkey Kong You Have Returned!
Donkey Kong is back to his old SNES self in, Donkey Kong Country Returns. Retro Studios is the same developer that brought back Metroid with the Metroid Prime series. Are they able to capture that same amount of success or do they fall short of every ones expectations? Are they able to take over where Rare left off and developer a new series of Donkey Kong games for a new generation?
Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong return to there original roles, when the game starts out with the volcano on Kong island erupting. Out of the eruptions come flying tiki guys and a big tiki building come out out the top of the volcano. The tiki's are then sent out to the jungle to hypnotize the jungle inhabitants with music to make the animals do the tiki's biding. The tiki's are after bananas of course. After they steal all of Donkey Kong's bananas, he opens his front door to see his banana stash being taken away. Before he can chase after his stash, he is confronted by a tiki guy, who then tries to hypnotize him, but it doesn't work. Donkey Kong then spends the rest of the game trying to break the tiki's hold on the other animals and get his banana stash back. Returns is short on story and cut scenes. The cut scenes are told without any dialog, they only use expressions to get there points across. The story is the games weakest part, it doesn't help push you forward and it doesn't push you, to see what happens.
If you ever played Donkey Kong Country for the SNES, then you know what you are in for. Retro Studios really did a good job paying tribute to the original and adding there own game-play mechanics. Returns is a plat former that is reliant on split second judgment making. Timing your jumps to make it from platform to platform is crazy. Along with jumping Donkey can roll into enemies and jump on top of them. Along with that he has a couple new abilities like being able to pound on the ground with his hands and blow air with his lips. The ground pound helps stun enemies or help reveal new areas in a level by pounding on a switch. Blowing air helps put out enemies that are on fire so you can then jump on them. Donkey can also jump and hang on to long strands of grass. In certain areas he will use the grass to scale walls. The new abilities help add a new feel to the game. It helps make it feel like it is something different but completely recognizable.
Unlike the original game you never control Diddy Kong, but he does help you when he is with you. Diddy has a jet pack so when you have him with Donkey you are able to glide with his jet pack. He comes in handy as long as you are able to keep him alive. Donkey can only get hit two times after that he is dead. If you have Diddy you get an additional two hearts. That help extend your life. But if you lose the first two hearts then you lose Diddy.
Barrel cannons make there return. Timing the right time to shoot out of the barrel and across the screen while narrowly missing enemies never gets old, but it can get frustrating. The mine cart levels return, and I still love them to the point that I hate them. They placed the mine cart levels so far apart that by the time I was thinking about a mine cart level I would come across a new one. Retro has also added a couple of different levels themselves like barrel rocket levels that require you to press the A button repeatably to gain altitude or stop pressing it and you will fall slowly. These levels where so hard for me, I could never find the right rhythm to pressing the button, I would always fly up to high or to low. They also added silhouette levels where the background is the only thing lit up. So you only see the silhouette of yourself and other obstacles in the level. These levels look great and I never got tired of looking at them. I would not want a whole game filled with these levels but they help to break up the colorful world you are rampaging through.
The controls in Returns are a pain in the ass for this game. In order to roll through the game you shake the Wiimote, I found myself several times rolling off the edges of cliffs because I accidentally shook the Wiimote. I used the Wiimote-Nunchuk combo. It is a lot easier playing it with the combo then with just a Wiimote. There were times that I would press down to duck and I would not go down, or I would press the jump button but I would not jump.
That brings me to something else that happens a lot, dying. I can't believe this game was marketed towards kids. I feel sorry for my nephew that got it for Christmas. This game is down right hard. There were a couple of levels that I easily used up 20 guys trying to get pass. I know the original games were hard as well, but I thought they would of turned it down to make it more appealing to kids. I feel sorry for those kids that got this game for Christmas and cant get past the first five levels.
With that said, this game showed a lot of respect for what Rare did with the original games. I enjoyed my frustrating time with this game for the most part. I hope that when they make a sequel they don't go crazy like they did with the SNES ones. Keep Donkey Kong in it, and Diddy Kong. If you want to have more characters then have them be a selectable character at the beginning of each level, with each character having there own special moves. If you loved the original ones you will love this one. If you hated the original ones then you will dislike this one. But if you have patience and you don't have high blood pressure then you should give this a try. Sure it has virtually no story and bad controls but the game-play is top notch.