After the massive success of Donkey Kong County a sequel starring his nephew Diddy was put straight into development, a choice to remove Donkey Kong as a playable character may seem odd but it is a decision that helped expand the DKC universe and the Kong Family Tree. The game was created by Rare Ware for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and was released in 1995.
After the events of Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong is relaxing on a beach while Funky Kong is surfing the waves. Cranky Kong is not happy with Donkey Kong Keeping his guard down when he should be working, stating that he never stopped throwing barrels or kidnapping maidens back in his day. Donkey ignores Cranky’s words and falls asleep on his chair deep into the night.
Diddy Kong in the mean time has gained a love interest in another young Monkey named Dixie Kong, later on they both head to the beach where they discover a broken chair and a note which reads “Hah-arrrrh! We have got the big monkey! If you want him back, you scurvy dogs, you’ll have to hand over the banana hoard! Kaptain K. Rool”. Cranky does actually suggest handing over the Banana horde but after himself and Donkey worked so hard to get it back last time Diddy decides to take on K. Rool again alongside his new girlfriend Dixie.
The gameplay here is quite different when compared the original, the standard 2.5d platforming is the same, the goal is still to get from start to finish in each stage. There are still Kong letters and Banana’s you can collect to gain more lives and apart from some new enemies the platforming is very much the same as before.
The animal companions are different, the only returning animals are the Rhino and the Sword Fish, we now also get a parrot who can fly and shoot eggs, a spider who can shoot webs and build platforms and a snake who can bounce really high.
Out of all of these the parrot is by far the animal companion needed the most and the game has sections dedicated to the parrot. The spider was very useful as well especially for climbing up inaccessible areas, unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy using the snake and he was mostly useless minus two stages.
Apart from the companions, the actual stages do have new challenges mixed into them to make this game much more difficult than the first, the barrels now allow you to fully rotate them to allow more freedom in where they fire you and other segments such as the hot air balloons in the image above need to be traversed very carefully to make sure you don’t get hurt, this becomes particularly challenging when the lava below is not the only obstacle you need to avoid.
The bonus areas are completely different here as they act as either small challenges unlocked by finding secrets in levels or entire new stages which can bought by a brutish Kremling named Klubba using Kong Coins.
The challenges are a lot of fun and its cool to see different missions that have to be taken on with various skills. if you finish one of these you will unlock a Kong Coin.
The secret area I never got to see because unfortunately I didn’t perform all to well in my playthrough and by the time that I beat the final boss I had to managed to collect only one measly coin which wasn’t even enough to unlock the first secret level but none the less it is pretty amazing to see such attention to detail and replay value in a game from 1995.
The boss fights in the game are all fantastic and some of the best I have seen in any of the DKC games so far, I really liked that they were all different in how they attacked and took damage, it was also really challenging for some fights which required some platforming alongside the battle. The new backgrounds for each fight are a really nice touch as well instead of just using the same background like they did in the original game.
As I have mentioned this game is five times more difficult than its predecessor, you now can only save your game in an area for free once so simply saving between levels is not really an option, because of this the developers added a pretty challenging quiz area in some worlds, here you pay a fee to answer questions about the game and if you are correct you will gain lives, if not you just wind up losing coins so you do need to be careful.
The music was once again composed by David Wise and is very good but it not quite as great as it was before, the original game has such iconic music and it works so well, I won’t go into too much details as I have already reviewed that game but the tracks are recognisable and memorable. I’m not saying they aren’t in DKC 2 but none of them have got that great hook nor are any of them really that fantastic that you could listen to them and say “yeah that’s from DKC 2” maybe you feel different but for me while this soundtrack is good it is also lacking when compared to what came before.
Donkey Kong Country 2 is a game I have wanted to play for a very long time, I guess the idea of not playing as Donkey Kong put me off but now I realise that I was stupid because I think I like this one a little bit better than the first.
This game took Donkey Kong Country and expanded upon it in the best ways possible, you now have the return of Diddy Kong who plays the same as before but now you can also play as Dixie who has the ability glide making some gaps much easier for her to cross, she was particularly useful for avoiding the canon fire of K.Rool’s final form as well.
The new bonus stages were a nice addition and the overall challenge of the game while difficult is still fair, the soundtrack while not as good is still really well composed and the only real issues with this game are some of the controls being a bit sensitive especially during the flying and trickier platforming sections also having to pay to save the game while adding to the challenge was going a little overboard as the game would have still been difficult without that extra barrier.
DKC 2 was a lot of fun even though I did tear my hair out a little bit but it is definitely a game I will play again and deserves a rating of 9.6/10 … bring on DKC 3 whenever I get my hands on that one as I cant wait to dig deeper into this bananarific franchise !
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