Donkey Kong Country

This game blew my mind back in 1994. Stunning graphics and music to go with a great game. The stunning soundtrack was composed by three, yes three, people – Dave Wise, Eveline Fischer and Robin Beanland. For my money Donkey Kong Country contains some of the best music heard on the SNES.

The Game

Donkey Kong is back with a new sidekick, Diddy Kong, in a crazy island adventure! Challenged by the crazed tribe of reptilian Kremlings, they endeavor to get back their stolen banana horde! Armed with lightning-quick moves, chest-pounding muscle and awesome aerial acrobatics, our duo is ready to face their cunning adversaries. With the help of Donkey Kong’s quirky family and his wild animal mounts, they squabble and scamper their way through the unending monkey mayhem.

Critical Reaction

It’s funny that as you move forward through the years the ability to find reviews for certain systems gets quite tricky. Given how easy it is to track down reviews for the ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64 you’d think that somewhere online there’d be a repository of SNES & Megadrive reviews.

My Thoughts

I knew this game was going to be a winner when I first heard about it, after all it was coming from Rare who’d been known as Ultimate when they made games for the ZX Spectrum and other 8Bit computers. Many people would say the game was just a simple platform game with flashy graphics and in some ways these people were correct.

Yes on the surface it is a simple platformer with flashy graphics but there is more depth to the game than many people were willing to give Rare credit for.

First off is the multi-player aspect of the game. Two players can play together one as Donkey Kong and the other as Diddy Kong and this works quite nicely especially if both people are experienced at the game. In single player mode you do need to use both Donkey & Diddy but you have the ability to swap between who you are controlling.

Next we have the animal helpers – throughout the levels you will come across various animal helpers that you can ride on, such as a Rhino, Ostrich, Swordfish and a Parrot. While the level can usually be completed without needing these helpers they can help you access sections of the level that would be inaccessible without them – hidden areas, bonus items etc

Graphically the levels are really good and well varied and the runaway mine cart sections are great fun. But it’s the soundtrack that really stands out for me. It is stunning with some very varied tracks that really add to the game as the enhance the atmosphere really well and work as stand along pieces that you could listen to for hours.

The Music

I’ve picked my favourite piece from the soundtrack, the calm and soothing Aquatic Ambience by Dave Wise. Enjoy.

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About Phendrena

I am a 38 year old fan of classic computer gaming from the 80's era in Britain, mainly the Sinclair ZX Spectrum & Commodore 64 home computers. My musical tastes are varied but my main passion is Video Game Music. I have a 3 year old son with my partner and we also have a beagle called Ben and a Goldfish whose name varies depending on what mood my son is in!! I have a Dell XPS laptop and a HTC HD7 Windows Phone and my partner has a Nokia Lumia 800. I have two blogs: retrovgm.wordpress.com & daveswp7blog.wordpress.com

8 responses »

  1. I’d go in a different direction for favorite track, but it’s damn near impossible to argue with the soundtrack as a whole. Very solid stuff.

    • Phendrena says:

      What blew me away with Aquatic Ambience is how different it was compared to the music from the previous levels. It just so chilled and the composition is amazing more than any other piece in the game it really dragged me in to the underwater world.

  2. LainaLain says:

    Aquatic Ambience was the best on the soundtrack. It presented that feeling of being underwater so well. You really felt like you were under there. I think I posted about this song before on my blog. David Wise is extremely talented and he truly holds the key to my childhood.

  3. Yes, the Aquatic Ambience tune is great. Very atmospheric and drags you into the game. That said, I must admit that Donkey Kong Country is one of my all-time favourite platform games. Played it mostly in multi-player and it was fun every time. Now that I’m sitting here listening to the tune, I feel the urge to play this classic game again. ;)

    I agree with you about the mine cart levels.. those are awesome, but tricky. I don’t think my reflexes are as good today as they was back then, but time will show. :D

    • Phendrena says:

      Completing the game 110% was an amazing thing to do as some of the hidden secrets were, well, very well hidden. I was gutted when i accidentally erased the game when I was entering the ‘Darby Day’ code to access the music test screen!!

      One of my top platform games too, i much preferred it to Mario – Mario was and still is amazing but DKC ouzed atmosphere that just dragged you in.

      The sequels were fun too but the original was the best. I’ll get around to DKC Returns on the Wii at somepoint… :)

    • Phendrena says:

      I always enjoyed it more than the Mario games or the other platformers out there. The game oozes atmosphere, the soundtrack is brilliant, the backgrounds detailed and colourful and the characters were great. All in all it combines to make a superbly playable game, tough in places, and really hard to complete to 110% – I was delighted when I finally did it!! I was also gutted when I accidentally erased the saved game when I trying to enter the ‘darby day’ code to access the soundtest menu!!

      • Loosing such a save game sucks. :(

        I’m actually going to play the game again soon. I’m setting up an emulation front-end on my old laptop, so that I can run old games on the TV in the living-room. Will be fun!

  4. […] For my first piece in this special feature I am going to start with my last blog entry; Donkey Kong Country – Aquatic Ambience. […]

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