Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (1995) Review

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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Donkey Kong Country (1994) Review

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Donkey Kong Country is a 2.5D plat-former that was developed by Rare Ware for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the game came to be after Rare Ware played around with silicon graphics. It was the first game in the Donkey Kong Franchise to not be directed by Shigeru Miyamoto however he was involved with the games development.

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The plot of the game is explained over four pages of the games original manual, the plot is very well written and is a humorous but atmospheric way to get players in the best mood for the game to come, to briefly break the plot down Diddy Kong was guarding Donkey Kongs Banana Horde when he was attacked by a group of King K Rool’s Kremlings before being stuffed into a barrel, the next morning after noticing Diddy’s absence and the lack of Banana’s in his collection Donkey Kong runs into the Jungle to rescue his nephew Diddy and get his Banana’s back.

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The game is an action plat-former where you play as both of the Monkeys, this also allows 2 player simultaneous game-play. In levels players can collect banana’s and Kong letters to earn more lives.

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There are various animal friends hidden in some levels which allow the monkeys to easily take out tougher enemies and find secret passages, another use of animals in the game is when you collect three matching golden animal statues,  this will open a bonus area where you can quickly add larger quantities of lives.

The two main monkeys each play the same but have different strengths Diddy Kong is lighter than Donkey Kong and is better at getting through tight spaces, Donkey Kong is much larger and a little slower but his extra weight allows him to take out armoured enemies with ease.

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There are many different types of levels in the game and all of them are very well made, the two that stood out the most to me were the water levels and the mine carts.

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These are in my opinion the most challenging in the game both require quick reactions and well timed movements, I normally hate water levels in games but I really like these ones they have great atmospheric music and they don’t tire out your thumb as much as over games water stages do, if you ride the fish you can actually go through most of these stages without any repetitive tapping as well.

I like the mine cart stages because they give off quite an adrenaline rush due to the high speeds that you travel on the mine cart and the fast reactions you need to survive, these stages leave you feeling very satisfied when you finally manage to beat them.

The only other stages that really stand out in this game are the light stages where you need to keep turning on lights to see your way through the levels, there are only a few of these but they are very difficult.

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Between worlds you can pay visits to Cranky Kong who will both insult you and also provide you hints on secrets in some of the stages.

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The boss fights are not very inspired, they all get hurt the same way and apart from one or two of them they are not that memorable, this is not including the final boss which is great.

The games soundtrack is one of the most beloved video game soundtracks of all time, the music is extremely well done and fits the tone and atmosphere of the game perfectly. It uses various nature sounds and music styles to make the music fit perfectly into the jungle environment and its hard to give it justice in words alone but composers David Wise and Eveline Fisher made most of the music for the game and deserve their place in video game history.

Donkey Kong Country is an amazing game, it is known to be one of the best games on the Super Nintendo and you can see why, I would argue that it isn’t perfect though one thing that bugged me was that they mapped the roll move with the same button as sprint and this caused me to roll off of edges more times than necessary and I found some areas hard to see properly due to the realism in the visuals. Don’t get me wrong the graphics are really impressive and they suit the game very well I just wish at times they were a little bit brighter, apart from these two things the game is flawless, it controls well, looks and sounds beautiful and is overall one of the best video games of all time 9.4/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Donkey Kong Country for the SNES

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