DKC boasts a beautiful presentation and timeless gameplay
The first thing you notice when you play Donkey Kong Country is how different it looks from the other 2D games of it's time. The characters, objects, and environments all have depth to them, and the rendered lighting gives them a much more realistic look. Gorgeous environments make use of the technical prowess, with colorful jungles, intimidating factories, haunting caves, and sublime ocean levels spread throughout the adventure. The ambient soundtrack matches the graphical excellence and they both go a long way to enhance the overall experience.
So the game has a remarkable presentation, and it would a be a tragedy if the actual gameplay didn't match it. Thankfully, Donkey Kong Country is as enjoyable to play as it is to look at and listen to. The platforming is simple, but the levels are expertly designed and provide a healthy dose of variety. The general platforming levels will have you taking out kremlings, barrel blasting over pits, and occasionally using animal buddies to traverse the levels and pound the kremlings. There is great variation in the gameplay mechanics presented in the general levels themselves, as well as a handful of levels that completely stand out from the rest. You'll hang on for dear life in intense minecart levels, navigate the deep blue in the water levels, and use expert timing in barrel blast heavy levels. Boss fights occur at the end of the game's 6 worlds, as well as a final showdown with King K. Rool. These fights provide exciting showdowns without being too challenging, much like the game's levels. Lives will be lost, but there are many ways to earn 1ups, and a mix of save points and funky flights allow for your progress to be strored away in case a dreaded Game Over screen creeps up on you. Donkey Kong's quest though his native country is also a good length, clocking in around 4-5 hours to complete. More importantly, this game is well worth multiple playthroughs over the years, as the gameplay never grows stale.
Donkey Kong Country is a true classic. 15 years later, it still carries an awe inspiring audiovisual presentation. It might have been hyped in 1994 for it's technical excellence, but it is the artistry that has held up so strong. It is also a game that is just plain fun to play, and anyone should enjoy their time with it. It a must own for any SNES owner, and a Virtual Console port is available for the modern Nintendo fan.