A Thirteen-Year-Old's Venture into Retro Gaming Part 2: Donkey Kong Country

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Posted by barthvader25 (56 posts) -

Donkey Kong Country

My experience with the Donkey Kong Country series prior to playing the SNES original was limited to only playing Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii. This was the first game I purchased for the Super Nintendo for my rapidly expanding collection which has now doubled. I played this game on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and beat the game in about 3 and a half hours. It most likely took me a couple hours more due to my first save file being lost. In my time playing the game, I completed the main story and found 44% of the collectibles.


Developer: Rare

Publisher: Nintendo

Platforms: Super NES, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance

Release Date: 21 November 1994


Donkey Kong Country is a 2D platformer that was unanimously praised upon release for its vibrant and lively environments, character animations, and groundbreaking graphics. The player controls Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong through a series of levels each with their own gimmick or theme. The characters have different advantages, as Donkey Kong can defeat stronger enemies and has his signature hand slap move, while Diddy is smaller, faster, and can jump farther. Enemies each have their own strengths and weaknesses and different ways of being killed.

Jungle Hijinx, the very first level of the game
Jungle Hijinx, the very first level of the game

The game contains six worlds and the final boss fight for the Kongs, totaling at 40 levels, to adventure through with the goal of taking back their stolen bananas. Each world has a different theme that corresponds to an environment; some of these are expected to show up such as underwater, but there are a couple of very unique worlds such as the factory. Each level has four "KONG" letters, collectibles that can give you an extra life once you collect all of them. This mechanic is very similar to the Dragon Coins found in Super Mario World. Each level also has bonus rooms where you can find bananas, the primary collectibles which act the same way as coins in Mario, or other collectibles. The only problems that I had with the gameplay were some janky hit collision and some levels being too reliant on memorization.

As a gamer who has been accustomed to modern games his whole life, I was surprised at what the Super Nintendo was able to do. The fact that Rare managed to put pre-rendered 3D models on the 16 bit system was nothing short of incredible. The graphics alone were a big selling point that helped Nintendo stay relevant against competitors with advanced technology such as the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. Donkey Kong Country saved the Super Nintendo and for a while was their system seller. The lively backgrounds on each level gave the game its own unique personality and the models of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong each suggested to their personalities as well. In fact, Rare's redesign of Donkey Kong has been used in every game featuring him, including the Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart series. The lively background gave the game its own unique personality and it's not hard just to sit back and listen to some of David Wise's signature compositions such as Gangplank Galleon. Each level has a personality and its own twist on the platforming formula, whether it be being chased by Gnawtys on giant wheels or riding on a minecart.

This was my first Super Nintendo game and I was not disappointed. Although it does lack in story, it is just a platform game after all, its music, level design, and most of all its revolutionary visuals more than make up for any problems it had. The game always has a sense of adventure and constantly throws something new at you. Donkey Kong Country is one of the defining platformers for the Super NES and an essential for anyone with an interest in the console to pick up.

My final review score is: I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good platform game.

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#1 Posted by Justin258 (15693 posts) -

The big secret is that the second game is way better than the first.

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#2 Posted by aerithlives (37 posts) -

Good job with the review. Did you post it on the DKC Giant Bomb entry?

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#3 Posted by deckard (375 posts) -

Good review - when I was 13 I also played DKC for the first time, but that was when it was originally released!

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#4 Posted by barthvader25 (56 posts) -

Thanks guys! Yes, I did post it on the DKC Giant Bomb entry and I hope to write more reviews in the future! I am currently playing Super Mario World.

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#5 Posted by wollywoo (326 posts) -

Nice review. You are thirteen and you already sound like a professional. You are better than I was when I played around the time it came out - I think it took me many more hours to beat it. (That first snow level is a killer, especially since you can't even save after you've completed it.) It's one of my top ten games of all time.

Now play DKC2.

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#6 Posted by Captainwow883 (8 posts) -

Keep these reviews coming, man. I enjoyed that a lot!

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#7 Posted by Salbert (153 posts) -

Nice review.

Its sequel is even better.

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#8 Posted by WickedCobra03 (2314 posts) -

Good review! This game has kind of had a full on turn around in sentiment. People loved the game when it came out and now the popular opinion is that "no one likes the 90's look", and "the game controls poorly".

I personal!y think that this game holds jp, even if it has a little "product of its time" baked into the sentiment at this point.

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#9 Posted by GerbilsInSpace (148 posts) -

Fantastic review, thank you so much for sharing, I'll make sure to follow you so I can read more when you post!

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#10 Posted by carpe_dmt (121 posts) -

the fact that you were born in 2006 and you're 1000x more eloquent than me is really impressive, and also, makes me feel quite old and dumb. Great review!

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#11 Posted by bjklein (16 posts) -

That's great that you enjoyed playing DKC. As a few people have already mentioned, you should absolutely play the sequel. DKC 2: Diddy Kong's Quest is one of my favourite platformers of all time, an absolutely fantastic game.

What made you decide to start building a SNES collection?

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#12 Posted by Rubberchicken (212 posts) -

Nice review! Keep it up.

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#13 Posted by CrazyBagMan (1681 posts) -


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#14 Posted by Captain_Insano (3541 posts) -

Nice write up mate

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#15 Posted by barthvader25 (56 posts) -

Thank you everybody for all of the encouraging replies! I actually bought my SNES at AwesomeCon, DC's comic convention. My friend and I noticed a retro game store and they had Super Nintendos for only 55 dollars with cables and everything. I bought Donkey Kong Country and my friend got Mario World and Mario Kart. I recently just bought my second game for the system, Super Mario World. Thank you again everyone for all the positive feedback and replies.

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#16 Posted by PraiseDaSun (23 posts) -

Nice review! I wish you well on your journey through videogame history. DKC and their sequels are all great (and one of the best soundtracks of all time! It may not seem as evident as with the graphics, but the sound design was pushing the SNES capabilities big time as well!).

Hope you enjoy SMW too! I played it back in the 90s when I had my SNES and last year we played along with a friend though most of it and our impression was that it seemed like it didn't age a bit. The graphics are still nice to look at and the gameplay is just perfect.