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Donkey Kong Country - Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Review

by: David Sanchez ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Donkey Kong Country is an awesome 2D platformer from the SNES era that really pushed that console's technical limits. It's charming, it's challenging, and it's a great deal of fun. It's easy to recommend this title to gamers of any kind.

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    One of the Best SNES Platformers - Donkey Kong Country Review

    Donkey Kong Country - Original Super Nintendo Box Art  

    In 1994, Nintendo and Rare teamed up to release Donkey Kong Country, a side-scrolling platformer for the Super Nintendo that offered gamers a nice level of challenge, a good deal of variety, and undeniable charm. The game went on to spawn various sequels, and gamers can download this Virtual Console title for only 800 Wii Points and relive all of the addictiveness that is Donkey Kong Country.

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    Donkey Kong Country Storyline

    King K. Rool is the main antagonist in Donkey Kong Country.  

    The plot in Donkey Kong Country stars the titular hero and his nephew, Diddy Kong, as they go after King K. Rool, who has stolen Donkey Kong’s beloved banana hoard. This is definitely not the stuff of legends, but it is a video game starring monkeys, after all, so you really can’t expect anything more conceptual.

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    Donkey Kong Country Gameplay

    Donkey Kong Country features clever platforming in each of its levels.  

    DK and Diddy must traverse through 40 different stages as they seek out King K. Rool. One of the cooler aspects of Donkey Kong Country is the game’s tag team system. You initially control DK as Diddy follows along behind him, but you can switch between the two characters at any time. DK is a lot stronger than Diddy and can take out bigger enemies with ease, while Diddy runs faster and jumps higher.

    The moment you play Donkey Kong Country, you immediately get a sense of the game’s variety. Aside from the game’s more basic platforming stages, there are also underwater levels, mine cart stages that require precise timing to jump over obstacles, and barrel blast stages. Here, DK and Diddy must jump into barrels, only to be shot out toward other barrels or onto the ground. These levels are challenging and require patience and perfect timing to clear.

    Animal sidekicks aid the Kongs throughout their quest. The duo can ride Rambi the Rhino and charge right through enemies. Expresso the Ostrich speeds through stages and can glide through the air. Enguarde the Swordfish helps the Kongs underwater and can swim freely through these stages. The aforementioned are just three of the game’s various animal sidekicks, and as you play Donkey Kong Country, you discover just how useful each of them is and how much fun and variety they add to the gameplay.

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    Graphics and Sound

    Mine cart stages change things up and add some nice variety to the platforming formula.  

    By 1994, the true power of the Super Nintendo had been discovered, and developers could really create graphically advanced titles. Donkey Kong Country’s visuals are some of the most impressive on the console, and this is due to the developers rendering everything in full 3D then compressing it into a 2D format. The result: a vibrant world full of highly textured backgrounds and nicely detailed character sprites.

    The sound design in the game is equally awesome, and as soon as you begin to play Donkey Kong Country, you can’t help but enjoy the game’s tropical soundtrack. The tracks range from quirky to soothing and are almost as varied as the gameplay. Enemies also make unique grunts, moans, and squawks, and the game’s heroes sound like real monkeys. A nice touch to a great sound presentation.

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    Lasting Value

    Animal friends are a nice touch, and it's fun uncovering secret areas and taking out enemies with the Kongs' buddies.  

    Donkey Kong Country is a decently sized quest that will take you a good amount of time to get through. Most of the game’s stages feature multiple hidden areas where DK and Diddy can collect bananas and extra lives, and hardcore completists will have to score every last inch of the game’s stages to find these bonus areas and achieve 101% completion (that’s right) of the game.

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    Donkey Kong Country Review - Overall Score

    The game features a nice overworld map for selecting stages and visiting previously cleared areas.  

    Donkey Kong Country is a must-play 2D platformer. Even though it launched in 1994, it still feels fresh and modern to this day and cements itself as one of the top Virtual Console downloads currently available to Wii owners. The game’s platforming is challenging, the visuals are slick, the sound design is enjoyable, and the plot—as goofy as it may be—is surprisingly delightful. If you don’t already own some version of this game, there’s no reason for you not to download and play Donkey Kong Country.

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