Back in 1994 the war between the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis was in full swing. Nintendo wanted something that would blow the competition out of the water and they hired a talented but at that time relatively unknown British developer to handle the mammoth task. As many of you probably know that developer was Rare, the company that would go on to create the games that account for 96% of nostalgia in 20 - 30 year old gamers. In the early 90s, when the Super Nintendo was first launched, Rare didnt put out many games (they focused mostly on the Battletoads franchise), but instead put much of their resources into growing their technology. This left them one of the most technologically advanced developers around and when Nintendo was looking for something that could knock Segas socks off, Rare answered the call. Nintendo was so impressed by their 3D CGI technology that they purchased a 49% stake in Rare and made them a second party developer. When given access to Nintendos library of IPs, Rare chose to revive the Donkey Kong franchise, thus Donkey Kong Country, the second best selling game on the SNES, was born.
Donkey Kong Country was very unique in its visual style. From a technical standpoint it functions exactly the same as other SNES games, all the action happens in a 2D plane and all the characters and backgrounds are 2D sprites. However they used their impressive 3D CG technology to render each background and each frame of animation, resulting in a game that looks convincingly 3D and blew my 7 year old mind. The visuals of Donkey Kong Country were astounding at the time and it remains a beautiful game even by todays standards, but that alone doesnt make this game a classic. The gameplay is extremely tight, both the controls and the level design are top notch. Rare manages to take the very simple controls of running and jumping and create some very compelling gameplay, never having to resort to some Grandia style level segment to spice things up. But enough of me rambling about how great this game is, why dont I just show you?
The Story So Far...
Its been years since the events of the original Donkey Kong arcade game and the Donkey Kong of this game is actually the grandson of the original, who for the sake of clarity now goes by the name Cranky Kong. Donkey Kong was enjoying a pretty sweet life on Donkey Kong Island when the evil King K. Rool showed up and stole Donkey Kongs bananas!
Thats pretty much it. King K. Rool stole your bananas and now Donkey Kong and his nephew Diddy Kong have to get them back. Its time to hit the beat and track down some missing bananas!
Episode 01 - A Solid Start
Episode 02 - Minecart Levels
Episode 03 - Sword Face
Episode 04 - Chill Music
Episode 05 - The Ice Caves
Episode 06 - Winky Level
Episode 07 - Skillz
Episode 08 - Underwater Madness
Episode 09 - Fuel Shortage
Episode 10 - Turn Off the Dark
Episode 11 - Alden Kills Drew
Episode 12 (Finale) - The Kredits
Hes uh big? I dunno, hes a big, laid back ape that likes bananas. Theres really not much more to it than that. This game keeps things simple, but thats not necessarily a bad thing.
Diddy Kong is Donkey Kongs plucky sidekick and nephew. Again, not really much more to it than that. He also likes bananas and wants to get them back.
Candy Kong is Donkey Kongs girlfriend and resident save point master. If you want to save your game, you gotta give Candy Kong a visit.
She also kinda creeps me out
Funky Kong is the raddest ape this side of Donkey Kong Island. He's a bit of a tinkerer and a super chill bro. He prefers to provide support from the sidelines while Donkey and Diddy do all the heavy lifting. You can use his makeshift airplanes to travel back to worlds you've already beaten. A dude this sick deserves an equally rad theme song.
Cranky Kong was once called Donkey Kong, way back in the 80s. He was the villain and titular character of the arcade game Donkey Kong and has since taken a backseat role in the adventure. He offers words of wisdom to his son? Grandson? (Most games DK is the grandson of Donkey Kong, but in Donkey Kong 64 he is said to be the son of Cranky Kong Man I dont know, I didnt study ape anthropology).
King K. Rool is a crocodile and he wants bananas. For some reason. I think he just hates Donkey Kong. For some reason.