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.
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.
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.