Donkey Kong Country trilogy

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Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of the Donkey Kong Country Trilogy for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by Alex79uk »

Outside of Mario, the Donkey Kong Country trilogy really is as good as platform games ever got. I've been a big fan of the series since release, and recently replayed the first game. It's as fun as it ever was, and genuinely challenging in places. The visuals are gorgeous, the soundtrack is killer, the level design superb and the jump physics are spot on. This really is a series that has stood the test of time, and I honestly think people will still be enjoying the games long after we are all gone. The series has a great cast of characters, and it was a really brave decision to change the lead star of each game. How many games outside of JRPGs can you think of that do that? There are a few, but not too many!

Some works just go down in history. Sgt Peppers, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Citizen Kane, 1984 and Donkey Kong Country. Just fantastic games that will live forever.

THREE WORD REVIEW: They're just brilliant.


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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by Jobobonobo »

DKC: I remember being entranced by the screenshots when I seen this in gaming magazines. Surely the humble SNES couldn’t produce this? The pseudo 3D look to the graphics back in the mid 90s really made the original DKC look like it came from the future. But DKC was more than just looks. It combined the tight level design of Mario with a more speed focused approach to going through the levels. While you can certainly blaze through a Mario level if you are good enough, the use of mechanics such as the roll jump, bouncy tires, mine carts and blast barrels really made this a much faster paced title and even to this day, mastering a level feels extremely satisfying. Accompanying this action is the wonderful score of David Wise, who did an exemplary job of setting the unique atmosphere this series is known for. While the graphics may not have aged as sublimely as the likes of Yoshi’s Island, the music is absolutely timeless. This game did a fantastic job of reinventing the big gorilla and defined him for a new generation. One of the true greats of the SNES era.

DKC 2: This game really fixed the few issues the original DKC had. Bosses were actually worthy opponents and both protagonists were nippier which made for more challenging and intricate platforming. It also improved greatly on the strengths of the original such as music, level design and animal buddies. Squitter and his webs alone made for some truly fun platforming moments. However, I never actually finished this game. The original DKC had its moments but this game can really be brutal at times, you need to be very aware of what is coming up next and one misstep can end you. Needing bonus coins to save your progress also did not make things any less anxiety inducing. I never got past Toxic Tower, it was just too stressful for me. A fantastic but ruthless follow up.

DKC 3: The black sheep of the trilogy but still a solid little game. While I agree with others that the soundtrack is nowhere near as good as the first two, the overall atmosphere is still a joy with its feel of a summer camp adventure. Using vehicles to get around the world map and the use of overworld puzzles was an interesting twist on the formula and made it into a bigger quest than what people might have expected at the time. Levels themselves were bursting with creative ideas such as escaping a giant saw while climbing a redwood, keeping a predatory fish fed so he leaves you alone, navigating a factory while avoiding the crosshairs of a sniper, the list goes on. Kiddy himself was maybe the Poochie of the series with his gormless face and irritating tantrums when he lost a life but his presence is not enough to condemn this game to the forgotten, under-looked fate it has received. No Donkey, no Diddy, no David Wise but this was a fun, experimental end to a trilogy of platformers that transformed Rare into a true household name for gamers the world over.

Three word review: Animal buddies rock

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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by Simonsloth »

Playing a series without any kind of nostalgia means I am probably a harsher critic than most with some history with the game.

Being brief I didn’t really like any of these games. The jumping and movement seemed woolly, the cart sections were incredibly unfair and some of the levels like toxic tower punished your slow pace earlier in the level thus requiring perfection throughout which I am not blessed with. It also seemed like such a ludicrous difficulty spike. I did feel in general that the game was not paced well and had several hard levels which would have better placed at the end of the game.

The cart sections in particular required memory rather than skill as you almost always had to jump before the obstacle came onto the screen. Even the final boss is often off the side of the screen so you have to jump over his attacks without any frame of reference aside from learning through repetition. I don’t mind being punished for my mistakes but when I have to play a level 60-70 times in order to learn when to jump to avoid an off screen obstacle it grates more than a little.

I did enjoy the music and the little musical solo at the end of each level was a nice reward in itself. The underwater sections were some of the best levels as even though your movement is slow so are the obstacles which meant skill and timing came to the fore rather than luck and memory.
The fact that underwater levels, a notorious low point in most games were my favourite is emblematic of my feelings towards this trilogy.

Apologies to Rare and Donkey Kong fans but this trilogy just isn’t for me.

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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by paleAvenger »

I always thought that when I played Donkey Kong Land 2 for the Gameboy, it was a straight port of the second Donkey Kong Country game. But I’ve since read that it’s actually a conversion with completely different level designs. I put dozens of hours into Land 2 during family vacations and road trips in grade school, and can still hear some of the absolutely stellar music tracks in my head to this day, 20 years later (the main title screen was a particular standout).

I hope I get a chance to experience the actual SNES version someday, because Diddy and Dixie's adventures were a real staple of my childhood.

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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by Magical_Isopod »

I'll do a really short commentary here, because there's not much to say - these games are great!

DKC: This is the only one I don't own, and I honestly find it to be the weakest of the three. I never played this game when it was new, and I played it for the first time long after 2 and 3. It has some mechanical jank to it, the graphics aren't quite as crisp as the next entries, and it just never hooked me.

DKC2: My first experience with this game was sometime around the year 2000, when a babysitter loaned us a few SNES games. He was fired for stealing from us not much long after, but he never asked for his games back, so... Things work out in the end, eh? I distinctly remember our copy had no label, and it always felt like this bootleg thing. It wasn't, it was a real cart, but even as kids, my brother and I were adamant about keeping games in pristine shape. I have very fond memories of one particular summer - probably around 2000 or 2001 - where we had no internet due to some infrastructure work in our town, and my brother and I played through this game, in our townhouse basement, during a very hot year. We spent several weeks stuck in that Swamp world, but we did end up beating the whole game. Somehow.

DKC3: Not quite as good as DKC2, as this one always felt a little more cartoonish to me, but I really loved just how much secret content in this game. I usually don't like collectathon elements in games, but it's done so well and so cleverly here that without a guide, you wouldn't even know a true ending exists. I really like this game for that -- at the time, being 12 or 13 years old, it felt so very cryptic, like I was part of some secret society seeing a part of the game I wasn't meant to see.

Overall, I really love the DKC games, but mostly just 2 and 3. For me, DKC2 is one of the absolute best platformers ever made, and DKC3 is just "very good". The first one is kind of dull compared to its successors, but it does have its moments.

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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by Suits »

I've only actually seriously played the first game and not really ever got any further than a few hours into the other two entries. So I can only really speak with any sort of experience about the first game.

I last 101%'d it a few years back, so I'm speaking from memory here.

Firstly, it still looks fantastic on a CRT. The soundtrack is still magical.

People still gush about it now and look where Grant Kirkhope is today. ***mistake, I got this wrong, lol, it was David Wise**

I appreciate the simplicity of it, the sound, the visuals and the feel on your thumbs.

The controls could be tighter I think. They do feel a bit woolly at times, especially when you need precise actions on the ice levels. I do think this game is best played at pace though and the controls feel better and much more at home when played like that I think.

The screen framing (FOV), should be better. Not sure if this is a hardware bottleneck rather than a design oversight but at times, I'd just wish the screen would center itself better around the Kongs, too many times I wished for a better view of what was either coming up, above or below me. Fighting King K. Rool I found this frustrating on the cannon ball run when KKR was on the left. That said, I got through it without too much trouble, it was just something that I noticed.

Frame rate is pretty solid but there were a few times when I was going back for the bonus areas and looking about, that I noticed some slowdown. Although swinging through the levels initially, I didn't notice anything. Odd.

This isn't my favourite game, or something I think is perfect but I certainly do enjoy any time spent with it.

This is a massive nostalgia kick for me, so its hard to be too critical on it.

A good game for the industry, an important game for me.

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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by duskvstweak »

I remember seeing a demo station for the first Donkey Kong Country. My mom had taken me and my two younger siblings to get Christmas photos taken and we were at that department store all day. I remember, after, her saying that we were the best behaved we had ever been for that long. It's because of that demo. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that game. That first level was impressive enough but then it switched to night? And then the rain started to fall and lightning flashed? For my young eyes, this was as atmospheric as anything I had ever seen. The thought of those first few levels and David Wise's soundtrack still give me a sort of shiver when I think back to it.

We eventually rented Donkey Kong Country...and then bought a copy. My mother and I teamed up to beat the game, often leaving the SNES on, game paused mid-level, as we had to leave the house from time to time. Those barrel missions drove us nuts and the levels of the ever increasing blizzard amazed me, for sure, but also terrified me with every slippery movement.

When I was very young and first playing video games back on the NES with the first Mario games, and then Super Mario World, Kart, and Street Fighter II, my mom was my team-mate with these games. I probably only beat some of these games when I did because she helped. This is especially true for the first Donkey Kong Country game.

But, with Donkey Kong Country 2, she started getting motion sickness on the early levels. And then, when games went 3D, she was completely out (that first person perspective flight of Navi in Ocarina of Time almost killed her). So, Donkey Kong Country 2 was left to me, alone. It was a daunting experience, for sure. The melancholy tone was stronger this time around. David Wise's score was on point to make young gamers get introspective. Whereas the first game had you running through levels, the second game always felt like you were climbing out of levels, just trying to break to the surface. Water levels were less serene and more dangerous, with scary, tense music. It could make someone feel lonely and trapped. Personally, the loneliness of the game was strengthened by me no longer having my gaming teammate as a child. When I was alone in those mines, I was really alone.

I beat the game, full of pride and relief. It was tough, I hated those Squitter levels and those thorns always felt too large to avoid. But, it was important as the first truly tough game that I completed alone. It's a sad branching point in my life. It gave me the confidence and knowledge to go forth and conquer future games. But, my mom and I would never really play video games together again, something that goes back to some of my earliest memories. We'll often talk about those older games fondly, but I wouldn't have minded a few more memories.

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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by sheeldz »

As a kid that never had a SNES, the lands of Super Mario and Starwing always seemed great, but I had Sonic, so who cared really.

But Donkey Kong Country was different. I found it to be one of the best things I'd ever seen, and then one of the best games I'd ever played, and at every high-school lunch time we'd play a few levels, passing the controller when you died. I found the maddening mine cart levels to be the designs and the gameplay that stuck the most, but it was the music that left an indellible mark. I'd loved the sound of the Mega Drive - Streets of Rage being an obvious classic Mega Drive crunch - but David Wise's soundtrack, especially on the water levels, are stunning.

It wasn't until years later when a friend gave me a (whisper it) RetroPie I discovered that my wife, a long time sufferer of my gaming fandom, had 101%ed Donkey Kong Country. We fired it up, thinking to my self there was no-way this story was true, and then she pointed out every cave, every K-O-N-G, every single animal medal... what a surprise. It remains her only videogame she has played to death.

This was the only game series to make me feel regret for not having a Mega Drive.

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Re: 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by Toon Scottoon »

I don’t know how we did it. I just remember that during 3 consecutive Christmas holidays my little brother, his best friend, and I sat on our landing and beat these games in Co-Op mode deploying some sort of elaborate controller passing system. It couldn’t have been easy, what with the odd man out always cheering so hard for the other player to misfire a barrel cannon or bump into a spasming crocodile. Replaying the second game twenty-five years later I find myself still death gripping the controller, sweat forming on my palms just like in the old days.

Time may not have impacted my sweat glands, or my love of the Kong, Kritter, and Krocodile cast, but it has changed my point-of-view on the graphics, which impressed me then and repulse me now, and the music, which I was indifferent to then, but I adore now. Not something I’ll go back to, but not something I’ll ever forget.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (28.9.19) - 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by Cixel Syd »

I feel like The series had things that really set it apart, like throwing enemies, throwing barrels, and riding pets. I grew up with my older brother playing the Sega Genesis together. Playing as Tales in the second sonic and hedgehog felt very natural to me as a seven year old. When playing donkey Kong, the monkeys in the jungle really brought that world to life, but not being able to defeat K Rool as a team kinda made it a little disappointing.

I still love all the games, especially the music and the memories. Thats why I think Donkey Kong Country Returns nailed it with their co-op.

Really looking forward to the podcast.

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Spider’s so strong

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (28.9.19) - 389: Donkey Kong Country trilogy

Post by Mr Ixolite »

I came late to Donkey Kong Country. As a 2D Nintendo platformer it should’ve been right up my alley, but despite several spirited attempts, I’ve never been able to get invested in the trilogy. Ironically, I think the visuals may have been a big part of it. What once looked cutting edge now gave the game a grubby and weirdly artificial sheen, as if you were playing in a fuzzy diorama, which I’m not sure was the intent. The characters are certainly iconic, but after years of playing other platformers the enemies and environments seemed rather bland. Overall, I couldn’t help but yearn for some simple, clean sprites.

The presentation may also have bled into some of my gameplay grievances; I was often unable to accurately judge enemy hitboxes or the placement of ledges, and as a result would often careen headfirst into enemies or pits. As someone raised on the tightly defined Mega Man school of platforming Donkey Kong felt lumbering and awkward to control, and I couldn’t reliably perform critical moves like tyre-bouncing or roll-jumping off ledges (The logistics of the latter still baffle me to this day).

All this said I’m still inclined to give DKC 2 another go for the simple fact that it adds Dixie Kong and her superior aerial maneuverability, which alleviates a lot of my control problems. I’m honestly not sure why you would ever play as anyone else.

Also, the music is really, really good.

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