Donkey Kong Country Returns but will the Kremlings?


 It's about time!
I could hardly describe my excitement at what I saw when getting home from a busy day at work. Donkey Kong Country, my childhood success story and addiction was returning. Nintendo had blown my mind successfully. Teeming with nostalgic enthusiasm, upon watching the quick reveal trailer and various gameplay demonstrations, this DKC aficionado was both pleased and worried at the result.
 

Donkey Kong Country and its successors on the SNES are widely considered some of the best platformers to ever grace a console. While family friendly and overly silly, there’s a deep connection to the game that’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s the genius of the level design, the beautiful soundtrack by David Wise, or the collectibles that keep you coming back long after you’ve cleared the game. Whatever keeps bringing you back, the Kremling infested islands are a magical place few games have managed to replicate.

That’s my first issue.

Where are the Kremlings? The K. Rools are a requirement to any evil plot as is their assortment of funky cohorts and angry animals. In the gameplay videos, you see Donkey and Diddy Kong racing around jumping on the heads of frogs and punching these weird tiki-monsters. Not once did we see any footage of a crocodile-like enemy. What gives Retro? Sure, Rare may have departed for Microsoft and their Kinect thing-a-majig, but you can’t abandon the iconic enemy of the series. It’s heresy.

 Pirate ships are always welcome.


I’m also a little concerned about Koins. Yes, Koins. DKC2: Diddy’s Kong Quest created bonus koins as well as DK coins. If you managed to collect them all you were treated to secret stages in a “Lost World” environment which also contained the one true ending to the game. The third game also followed this approach to great success and I’d love to see DKCR do it too. Even if DKCR goes with the standard bonus barrel approach of the first game, that’d be fine. But no matter what, this game needs to have bonus rooms to be viable. It’s a must!


On a more positive view, the new visual style fits the series perfectly and the levels look to have the same exciting versatility as its predecessors. Riding a mine cart as the level is being blasted apart by cataclysmic volcanic activity was exactly what I wanted to see. That and threading the needle through a massive enemy octopus pretty much confirms that Retro is no slouch when it comes to level design.

 Visual style? Check!
     
Retro is a fantastic studio and I have high hopes for the game in their capable and meticulous hands. But being such a devoted DKC fan, I do hope they’ll look to the old titles for some help. One can only look past so much before faults become apparent.


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6 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by infestedandy

 It's about time!
I could hardly describe my excitement at what I saw when getting home from a busy day at work. Donkey Kong Country, my childhood success story and addiction was returning. Nintendo had blown my mind successfully. Teeming with nostalgic enthusiasm, upon watching the quick reveal trailer and various gameplay demonstrations, this DKC aficionado was both pleased and worried at the result.
 

Donkey Kong Country and its successors on the SNES are widely considered some of the best platformers to ever grace a console. While family friendly and overly silly, there’s a deep connection to the game that’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s the genius of the level design, the beautiful soundtrack by David Wise, or the collectibles that keep you coming back long after you’ve cleared the game. Whatever keeps bringing you back, the Kremling infested islands are a magical place few games have managed to replicate.

That’s my first issue.

Where are the Kremlings? The K. Rools are a requirement to any evil plot as is their assortment of funky cohorts and angry animals. In the gameplay videos, you see Donkey and Diddy Kong racing around jumping on the heads of frogs and punching these weird tiki-monsters. Not once did we see any footage of a crocodile-like enemy. What gives Retro? Sure, Rare may have departed for Microsoft and their Kinect thing-a-majig, but you can’t abandon the iconic enemy of the series. It’s heresy.

 Pirate ships are always welcome.


I’m also a little concerned about Koins. Yes, Koins. DKC2: Diddy’s Kong Quest created bonus koins as well as DK coins. If you managed to collect them all you were treated to secret stages in a “Lost World” environment which also contained the one true ending to the game. The third game also followed this approach to great success and I’d love to see DKCR do it too. Even if DKCR goes with the standard bonus barrel approach of the first game, that’d be fine. But no matter what, this game needs to have bonus rooms to be viable. It’s a must!


On a more positive view, the new visual style fits the series perfectly and the levels look to have the same exciting versatility as its predecessors. Riding a mine cart as the level is being blasted apart by cataclysmic volcanic activity was exactly what I wanted to see. That and threading the needle through a massive enemy octopus pretty much confirms that Retro is no slouch when it comes to level design.

 Visual style? Check!
     
Retro is a fantastic studio and I have high hopes for the game in their capable and meticulous hands. But being such a devoted DKC fan, I do hope they’ll look to the old titles for some help. One can only look past so much before faults become apparent.


Enjoyed the article? Follow me on Twitter!

Posted by jmr1500

Donkey Kong Country was the first game I ever played. I loved it, and still love it to this day. Couldn't have been happier to see it come back the way it did. 
 
I see what you're saying about the Kremlings but I think its good that they're mixing things up enemy-wise, fighting K. Rool at the end of each game got a bit tiresome for me, and I like the new enemy designs shown in the trailer. Also, there's at least a couple times when DK collects some "koins" in the trailer.
 
I feel like Retro is in a damned if they do, damned if they don't situation. If they don't change anything they'll get shit for not innovating, if they do change they'll get complaints from "purists" (who will buy the game regardless). From what very little they've shown of it they've kept the things that truly matter DK, Diddy, the music and the gameplay while adding some fresh elements.

Posted by ArclightBorealis

I think looking at it, none of the kremling's features, from a gameplay standpoint, where necessarily unique. There are tons of hulking enemies that can only be defeated by the big character (Krusha only able to be killed by DK), or Kremlings that hop back and forth. Their moves aren't anything special. Just that people only remember them as DK's first real adversaries.
Could the Tiki's have moves and attacks unique to them? I doubt it personally, but it's not that important in the end, I think.
 
In some of the interviews with Retro Studios, Micheal Kelbough said that at the start of the project, the team began replaying the original games for the first few weeks to get into the mindset of what made the games fun to play. And by the looks of it, they definetely know what should go into a level that is part of the gameplay. They got the main stars, DK and Diddy, with some new moves and actual co-op. They've got the controls and gameplay. Familiar elements like mine carts and barrel cannons, plus some collectables strewn throught the stages, like the K-O-N-G letters, as well as 5 jigsaw pieces (seeing as this was a revival of a series made by Rare, I kinda chuckled). And of course, there were coins. Maybe not the traditional "koin" that goes towards the Lost World, but certainly a collectable. Maybe it is for the Lost World, who knows. We'll have to see
 
I'm certainly confident in Retro Studios. They've got their heart and soul into this project, and just to keep my excitement going, I'm gonna get back to replaying the original games.

Posted by infestedandy
@Alaska_Gamer:  I think your points are solid. Retro is making this game work and I seriously hope it plays as good as it looks. It's always hard though, to let something that's always been there just wash away. That's how I feel about the Kremlings.
 
Maybe they weren't doing the most amazing moves out there, but they're iconic and a part of the series' roots. Bob-ombs in the Mario games just waddle around and blow themselves up and it's a requirement to have them around. What they do may not appear to be great, but it's the little things you come to appreciate when it's all over.
Posted by ryanlaser

For me, the lack of Kremlings is the first strike against Donkey Kong Country Returns. I think they, as well as the other DKC baddies, were (mostly) truly unique enemies that had a great personality (who could forget the sound effects that they emitted as you jumped on their heads). And I know I'll definately miss the parade of baddies at the end of the game. 

Posted by BitterAlmond
@jmr1500 said:
" Donkey Kong Country was the first game I ever played. I loved it, and still love it to this day. Couldn't have been happier to see it come back the way it did.   
Exact same here.