Donkey Kong Country Review
Nintendo Wii U Virtual Console
Back in the early 80’s Donkey Kong was one of the first huge gaming icons to be created. He was freaking everywhere! People just loved Donkey Kong and his original arcade adventure is still considered to be one of the best arcade games of all time. These days Donkey Kong is one of the mainstays in the Nintendo library. Not only with his own games, but also in things like the Mario Kart, Mario Party and Super Smash Bros series. RARE would release Donkey Kong Country in 1994 on the Super Nintendo and it would mark the start of a fantastic trilogy of games.
Released a few months ago on the Nintendo Wii U C Virtual Console, The Donkey Kong trilogy still holds up very well to this day and I thought I would have a look at the very first game in the series.
Graphics & Presentation
Back in 1994 before the game was released there was rumor that this could actually be leaked footage from Nintendo’s next gaming console! That is how impressive and cutting edge the Silicon Graphics powered visuals of the game were. This was just an incredible looking game and people all over the world were mind blown that a game could look this good. At the time consoles like the 3DO, CDi and Atari Jaguar were trying to show they were the next generation of consoles. But Donkey Kong Country proved that the Super Nintendo still could produce amazing looking games that those “newer” and “powerful” consoles could only dream of!
These days, Donkey Kong Country still holds up very well. Donkey Kong, Diddy and the whole world this game is set in has a ton of personality. It’s all the little things that add up to make this such a charming game. Things like the way Rambi The Rhino will pant like a dog when he is standing still, the way the snow starts to get heavier and heavier in one of the levels and the goofy little laugh of Very Gnawty. While the Silicon Graphics may not be as awe inspiring as they were back in 1994, Donkey Kong Country still just oozes personality and charm in a way most modern platformers could only dream of. And the soundtrack was just incredible! I really think that the soundtrack to this game is one of the best on the console. And even now the song from the first stage is used in other Donkey Kong games……. And even some other Nintendo games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.
Some people say that Donkey Kong Country is something of a shallow gaming experience, but I actually think that is very harsh and even now 20 years later, Donkey Kong Country is a lot of fun. Back when the game was released I remember one of the things people were not happy about was the amount of levels. Now Donkey Kong Country does have a vast number of levels set of different worlds, but the developers claimed the game had over 90 levels…….. but this was including all the little mini levels that could be found inside the normal levels. While really in the grand scheme of things not a huge deal it did rub a few people up the wrong way, but I think the game was much fun to play that people just wished there was even more levels to take DK and Diddy through!
The actual game play of Donkey Kong Country sees you needing to help Donkey Kong and Diddy get all their bananas back from the Kremlins who have stolen them all. Each world has numerous stages and then an end of level boss. Donkey Kong can do a cannonball roll and jump on larger enemies heads. Diddy has a longer jump and can zip through levels with his cartwheel. You can take two hits per level and if say DK is hit then you will then take control of Diddy. But if you only have one Kong and you are hit, you lose a life. There are barrels in each level that contain either Diddy or DK. So if you are Diddy and you find a barrel it will have DK inside. You can switch between the two on the fly with the touch of the select button.
Each level will require you to get to the end point, but along the way you can collect bananas to get an extra life, KONG tokens that also gain an extra life and also animal tokens. The animal tokens will let you do a bonus level where you control either Rambi The Rhino, Winky The Frog, Expresso The Ostrich and Enguarde The Swordfish. These animal characters could also be found in the levels where DK and Diddy could then ride them. Some levels also had hidden sections where you could score more bananas, extra life’s and even animal tokens. Some levels mix things up by having the Kong’s have to swim or ride on a mine cart or make use of barrels to get around. There is actually a lot of variety in the game play of Donkey Kong Country and even all these years later it is a very fun game play experience.
The Nintendo Wii U already has a very strong library of games (yes it actually does!) and the Virtual Console is like the cherry on the cake. The original Donkey Kong Country is just as much fun today as it was all those years ago and if you have a Wii U then I cannot recommend this game highly enough. For the price of admission, you are getting a truly awesome game.