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Donkey Kong Country

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The title screen
The title screen

The first in the Donkey Kong Country series of video games, Donkey Kong Country is a classic side-scrolling platformer featuring Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. Among the first games to fully utilize pre-rendered 3D graphics for its sprite-based system, the game and subsequent was notable both for its particular brand of action platforming and its impressive, lush visuals. The game was developed by Rare and published by Nintendo.

A version called "Donkey Kong Country: Competition Cartridge" was released within the same year as the original game's release.  This was a very limited release for certain video game competitions during the 1990s such as the Blockbuster Video World Championship II in 1995.

This version of the game is quite different from the original as it is only playable for five minutes. Within that time limit, the player must gain as many points as possible. There is no title screen, save files, or world map in the game; the player instantly starts on the first level when the cartridge is inserted into the console.  When one level is completed, the next level starts. The following levels that the game goes through is Jungle Hijinx, Reptile Rumble, Ropey Rampage, Coral Capers, Winky's Walkway, Bouncy Bonanza, Orang-Utan Gang, and Snow Barrel Blast. At the end of the 5 minutes, the game freezes at its current state in order to allow time for the referee of the competition to take note of the points.

A screenshot from the Game Boy Color version
A screenshot from the Game Boy Color version
A Game Boy Color port was released on November 4th, 2000. This is essentially the same game, except with some mini-games thrown in. Naturally, the graphics aren't as impressive as the SNES version. There are a few other differences in the game, for example, only one character is onscreen at a time. Also, when an animal character is gained, Diddy or Donkey Kong will leave and the player gets to play as the animal as opposed to Diddy or Donkey Kong.

Released on June 9th, 2003, Donkey Kong Country on the Game Boy Advance is a very faithful remake of the original. In this game various extras were added, such as mini-games and a scrapbook where you had to find hidden scrapbook pieces throughout the game to unlock concept art. The player was also allowed to save after every level, and was able to see their progress on each individual level as well (if they had found the KONG letters, bonus levels, and scrapbook pieces.) A "Hero" could also be unlocked by achieving at least a 90% completion rate. This was essentially a hard mode, where you could only play as Diddy Kong in a yellow color swap suit. There were no D.K. barrels in this mode. The graphics in the Game Boy Advance version are very close to the originals, except for some minor differences (weather and day/night changes within a level were taken out.)

The Wii Virtual Console version of Donkey Kong Country is completely identical to the original. It was released in the U.S. on February 19th, 2007.


The game's storyline was characteristically sparse, in keeping with most games of the time period. Essentially, Donkey Kong's banana hoard has been stolen by King K. Rool, who has appeared on a ship with his Kremlings. Along with Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong must fight through several worlds to King K. Rool's ship to fight him and recover his bananas. Other Kong members also help Donkey and Diddy along the way.

Donkey Kong riding on a rhino
Donkey Kong riding on a rhino

Compared to Mario's arsenal, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have rather few moves available to them at the core. They are capable simply of walking, running, performing a rolling attack, and jumping. However, Donkey Kong Country featured a strong level of interaction with the environment, which greatly multiplied the gameplay possibilities in the game: ropes could be swung on, bouncy tires could be rolled or jumped on, and a vast array of various barrels could be picked up, thrown, or busted on enemies' heads. Still other barrels floated in midair and could be leapt into, upon which depending on the type of barrel, either pressing a button or immediately upon entry, the player is blasted out of the end of the barrel. Often times, these barrels moved or rotated along paths, creating timing exercises which must be mastered to progress in the game.

The primary method for dispatching enemies is to jump on them, or to toss barrels into them. Most enemies may also be put out of commission with a rolling attack as well, but some have defenses in this direction. While both Diddy Kong and Donkey Kong may appear on the screen at the same time, only one is actually controlled by the player; should the active character be injured, the inactive character will become playable. Should there be no inactive player, the player loses a life and must start the level over, either from the beginning or the midway checkpoint. Falling into pits results in instant death.

There are also animal buddies in the game, which are found in crates and which the active character may ride to gain access to special abilities. These animal buddies and their abilities are listed below in the characters section.

There are many secret areas in Donkey Kong Country, which may be found by blasting away walls with TNT, or jumping in spots above or below the screen to hidden barrels. These secret areas usually contain a chance to earn either extra lives or animal buddy tokens. Collecting three of the same type of animal buddy token will allow the player to play a bonus level, in which there is a set amount of time to gather as many tokens as the player can while playing as the animal buddy in question--every 100 tokens collected results in one extra life earned.


Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong

One of the two primary protagonists, Donkey Kong is a large gorilla who is ideal for tackling larger enemies due to his greater mass and strength. In addition to his rolling attack, he also has an additional special attack if you hold down on the directional pad and then press the attack button.

Diddy Kong
Diddy Kong

Diddy Kong

The other primary playable character, Diddy Kong is faster and more agile than Donkey Kong. His special attack is a cartwheel which can knock down bigger enemies where jumping on them does no harm.

Cranky Kong
Cranky Kong
Cranky Kong

Cranky Kong provides "advice" throughout the game to the player and the two younger Kongs. According to the story, Cranky Kong was actually Donkey Kong in the original arcade version of Donkey Kong. This would mean that the Donkey Kong you play as now is essentially Donkey Kong Jr. from the original arcade games.

Candy Kong
Candy Kong

Candy Kong

Candy Kong may be visited to save the game. She serves as Donkey Kong's love interest.

Funky Kong
Funky Kong
Funky Kong

Funky Kong allows the player to transfer between the worlds in the game.


Enguarde the Swordfish

A fish who can swim underwater, Enguarde enables the Kongs to kill fish and bash into walls through a charging attack.

Expresso the Ostrich

Expresso runs extremely fast, and can sustain limited flight, allowing the Kongs to glide much further through the air than they could do on their own.


Rambi the Rhino

Rambi is large and heavy, making him unwieldy for platforming, but excellent for bowling over foes. He also has a charge attack.

Squawks the Parrot

Squawks the Parrot may not provide transportation for the Kongs as in later games; instead, the parrot holds a flashlight to illuminate the way for the player in dark levels.


Winky the Frog

Winky is capable of jumping extremely high. However, his awkward motion makes him rather imprecise for difficult platforming.

Worlds and Levels

DKChas a total of 7 worlds and 40 levels. Listed below are the world names,with the level names indented underneath.

Kongo Jungle
World Map
World Map

  1. Jungle Hijinx
  2. Ropey Rampage
  3. Reptile Rumble
  4. Coral Capers
  5. Barrel Cannon Canyon
  6. Very Gnawty's Lair

Monkey Mines

  1. Winky's Walkway
  2. Mine Cart Carnage
  3. Bouncy Bonanza
  4. Stop & Go Station
  5. Millstone Mayhem
  6. Necky's Nuts

Vine Valley

  1. Vulture Culture
  2. Tree Top Town
  3. Forest Frenzy
  4. Temple Tempest
  5. Orang-Utan Gang
  6. Clam City
  7. Bumble B. Rumble

Gorilla Glacier

  1. Snow Barrel Blast
  2. Slip Slide Ride
  3. Ice Age Alley
  4. Croctopus Chase
  5. Torchlight Trouble
  6. Rope Bridge Rumble
  7. Really Gnawty Rampage

Kremkroc Industries Inc.

  1. Oil Drum Alley
  2. Trick Track Trek
  3. Elevator Antics
  4. Poison Pond
  5. Mine Cart Madness
  6. Blackout Basement
  7. Boss Dumb Drum

Chimp Caverns

  1. Tanked Up Trouble
  2. Manic Mincers
  3. Misty Mine
  4. Loopy Lights
  5. Platform Perils
  6. Necky's Revenge

Gangplank Galleon

  1. Gangplank Galleon (K. Rool Battle)

Jungle Jamz

The musical score for Donkey Kong Country was very popular and was known for being one of the most sophisticated soundtracks at the time. Nintendo later released a soundtrack for the game under the name of "Jungle Jamz." Here are the tracks that appeared on that CD.
  1. Theme
  2. Simian Segue
  3. DK Island Swing
  4. Cranky's Theme
  5. Jungle Groove
  6. Cave Dweller Concert
  7. Bonus Room Blitz
  8. Aquatic Ambiance
  9. Candy's Love Song
  10. Bad Boss Boogie
  11. Mine Cart Madness
  12. Life in the Mines
  13. Voices of the Temple
  14. Forest Frenzy
  15. Treetop Rock
  16. Funky's Fugue
  17. Misty Menace
  18. Northern Hemispheres
  19. Ice Cave Chant
  20. Fear Factory
  21. Gang-Plank Galleon
  22. K-Rool's Cacophony
  23. The Credits Concerto
  24. Lose
  25. Win