| |

Donkey Kong Country Review

Developer: Rare Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: May 14, 1994 Also On: GBA

Every system of any significance has a few games for which it is known. For the SNES, the most obvious candidate would be Super Mario World, but, up there on the list beside it would stand Donkey Kong Country. Although not the creator of the Donkey Kong character, Rare managed to take him from his simplistic roots and indulge him in a platformer series worthy of a major Nintendo icon. Donkey Kong Country, then, is a platformer worthy of a place in the collection of anybody who has an SNES. Allow me to tell you why.

Disclosure: We may earn a commission from links on this page

The graphics in this game are done very well. This game is to Super Mario World what Super Mario World was to NES games. Great care and effort went into the graphical elements in this game, and it shows. Everything looks as realistic and environmentally-appropriate as can reasonably be expected for an SNES game released when this game was. There are few if any graphical flaws in this game. To put it succintly, Rare did a spectacular job with the graphics.

The sound is likewise done well. The sound of a barrel breaking sounds reasonably close to real for SNES standards, and the other sound effects are likewise done well. And it would be impossible for me to find the words to describe the music. Much of the music from this game has become as classic as the music in the first game in the Mario, Zelda, and Metriod franchises, and for good reason. It has the same catchiness and classic feel to it, and it is entertaining to listen to. This is almost the type of game that could be just as entertaining to watch other people play just to hear the music, it’s that good.

On the gameplay front, Rare went to some great pains to separate Donkey Kong Country from the Mario series, much more than just changing over to a jungle locale. Instead of having mushrooms and fire flowers, Donkey Kong can find barrels with another monkey friend inside (Diddy I think, but I’m not familiar enough with the Donkey Kong franchise to know) to gain his extra hit. He also can roll through enemies to kill them in addition to being able to jump on them. He even has the ability, based on his earlier games, to throw barrels at his enemies when he can find them.

In addition to the traditional platformer elements that had been seen in games up to that time, you have the addition of barrels that Donkey Kong can be shot out of, the ability to ride in a minecart, and animals that Donkey Kong can ride on, among other things. These things may seem commonplace today, because they are, but many of them were pioneered or brought into their own by Donkey Kong Country.

On the other hand, some elements have been drawn from Mario, such as the ability to kill enemies by jumping on them. The coins have been replaced by bananas, but the concept is the same, even down to there being bunches of bananas that can be found instead of coin blocks. Still, these elements are coalesced appropriately into the Donkey Kong universe, and they help the finished product result in a truly great game.

Donkey Kong Country is a reasonably lengthy game for the time when it came out. And it is a good enough game that it would be worth going back to replay once in a while even after you’ve beaten it. It even boasts both a competitive and a cooperative multiplayer mode, although I had nobody to test them out with, so I am not qualified to comment on their quality.

What then is the conclusion? What conclusion could there be but that anybody who is a fan of the SNES needs to have this game? If you don’t have an SNES, there are ports of this game on the GBC and the GBA, and I’d bet it will be on the Wii for download one of these days as well. Whatever the method, if you are a fan of platformers, you owe it to yourself to try this game.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.7
Written by Martin Review Guide