Where did Rare go?
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat for the GameCube is the latest installment in Nintendo’s long-running Donkey Kong franchise. In this game Donkey Kong is on a quest to find all of the bananas he possibly can in 40 different levels. To control Donkey Kong, you use the Bongo Drums that Nintendo has put out. This sounds really weird but it is very vital to having fun with this game. You can use a regular GameCube controller but the buttons are mapped really weird and it’s not very appealing.
The graphics in the game are decent. The enemies look amazing and the bosses have a very unique look. That said the game seemed a bit dark on my screen. To make sure it wasn’t just my screen, I tried it on another and it looked the same. But these graphics do resemble some of the best you’ll find on the GameCube. The background music in the game is appropriate, but is drowned out by you pounding on the drums. The music sounds very wild and monkey-like so if you do get a chance to hear it, you’ll agree that it is appropriate. Donkey Kong also makes plenty of ape-like cries as he defeats enemies or does something special (like beating a boss or a level).
To explain the Bongo control scheme further, you tap the right bongo to go right, the left one to go left, both to jump, and clap to start pounding on enemies. There is also a “Start/Pause” button to pause your game and make menu selections. The neatest thing is that there is a microphone on the Bongos that detects clapping. But, it’s not that smart. If you have the right-pitched voice, or make a sound with the right pitch, you can trip the sound sensor and mess up whoever is playing. Aside from that, the Bongos do a good job of adding to the fun in the game. There are two package types for the game: if you just want the game with no Bongos, it’s around 40 dollars; but if you want the Bongos included it’s 60 dollars.
The three biggest problems with Jungle Beat are the length of the game, the difficulty factor, and the fact that you start seeing the same bosses and levels over and over again. The game doesn’t take very long to finish, about five hours. And over these five hours you will start to see the same bosses and levels over and over again. Sure they may have a new twist or gimmick to them, but you see right through it and beat it just the same. The game is also super-easy. You may find yourself playing strait through and not dying once.
To access different “Kingdoms” (Which are each made up of two levels and a boss fight) you need to collect the right amount of bananas to fill up a tree and get as many as three crests. The number of crests you get depends on the number of bananas you collect throughout the game. This design works in the beginning but you quickly realize that you don’t need to collect too many bananas to get the minimum crest, which is all you need to unlock the next level. All in all, Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat is in the rental category. It controls nicely, it’s fun for a little while, but there isn’t a lot of replay value here.