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Retro Game Review

'Donkey Kong Country' (SNES)

Who remembers this bastard King K. Rool throwing a crown at you?

One of me favourite game consoles of all time has to be the Super Nintendo. I remember many a night wasting hours at a time playing the console affectionately remembered as the SNES. Unfortunately, back then games weren't as cheap and could go for as much as 55 quid a pop in the UK. Fortunately, I was a child at the time which meant my parents were footing the bill, but it just goes to show how lucrative the video games business can be. My favourite game for the console has to be Rare's Donkey Kong Country where you played a gorilla trying to get back his banana hoard. It was a massively long platform game, which was challenging for a young audience. I was about age eight at the time I first played it, but tried it recently and struggled. I think I was actually better at platform games when I was younger, but a challenge is always the sign of a good game.

Don't bee long!

Diddy Kong navigates some jump ropes.

The game was massive and had you navigate a whole island of levels, which included jungles, mines, factories, and giant ships. The player was given the choice of two characters, which would give them a second chance if they were hit by a bad guy. The first was the famous Donkey Kong—a big gorilla who was already the star of his own game with Super Mario in the arcades. The second was his nephew Diddy Kong who was a new character to the series. Each had their own strengths and weaknesses, as Diddy was more agile, but Donkey relatively stronger. This strength allowed him to dispatch bigger enemies than Diddy who would laugh at the young chimp. There was also a variety of attacks the pair could do, which ranged from a roll, a cartwheel, or a hand slam. If you were really clever, you could slam a metal barrel off a wall and ride it against enemies.

Variety is the spice of life.

Donkey fighting a giant vulture who fires coconuts. I don't write this stuff.

What made it so groundbreaking for a platform game was the amount of variety included in it. Regular platform levels were filled with interactive novelties such as jump ropes, attack barrels, and cannons. It didn't stop there as various animal characters were available to ride from sword fish, ostriches, and rhinos, to name a few. The gameplay was complimented by additional character sections who established a vague story through text based conversations. Cranky Kong was Donkey's dad, I believe, who was supposed to be the original Donkey Kong from the first game. The boss battles at the end of each section were huge and added to the large scale the game had set for itself. Other characters included Candy Kong (Donkey's girlfriend) who saved your progress and Funky Kong who gave you a flight to replay past levels completed. Each location had a boss battle at the end to win back some of Donkey's banana hoard. There was Sonic-like bonus levels where you even got to play as some of the animal characters solo. Yet, unlike the Sonic games, these were merely bonus levels and were unessential to view the true ending of the game. It was a platform game on another level complimented by Alias and SGI technology to give it 3D backgrounds. It all paid off as well, as it was the Super Nintendo's third best selling title as nine million copies were sold worldwide.

The Verdict

Part of the UK Advertising Campaign in a Magazine

The game will keep you entertained for a while, but I wouldn't go spending a lot of money on it. That said, if you're a collector with money to waste, a cartridge can cost you between £25 to £50 on eBay. There's ways to use emulators on your Wii console, which now go for as little as £10 in a secondhand shop. If you're tech-savvy and like to tinker with your retro consoles, I believe this is the better path. I give the game three out of five; it'll give you that nostalgic feeling, but it is challenging so you may give up after a while.


3 out of 5

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