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SNES Games I Love #18: Donkey Kong Country

On 02/18/2020 at 08:10 AM by The Last Ninja

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Developer: Rare

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Platformer

Release: 1994

Currently available on: GBC, GBA, Wii U VC, New 3DS VC, SNES Classic Edition 

About the game: DKC is a platformer in which you control Donkey Kong and Diddy. Most enemies can be defeated by jumping on them or rolling into them, but you can also throw barrels. DKC sets itself apart from Mario games in many ways. Level design includes new features such as blasting from barrels, climbing vines, and riding animal companions. This game blew up upon release, becoming an instant classic, and was a major factor in Nintendo winning the console war against Sega. 

pic 1

Why I love it: I know you could make a good argument why DKC 2 or 3 are better than this one, but this is the one my family owned when I was a kid. Like everyone else, I was blown away by the graphics, and the gameplay here is very strong. DK and Diddy both handle a little differently, and I always preferred Diddy even though he was weaker. A lot of memorable levles stick out in my mind, such as the mine cart levels and the beautiful water levels. I think the difficulty level here is perfect, as it can be challenging, but never so difficult that you can't beat it with a little persistence. The music here is also excellent, some of the best on the console. DKC cemented Rare as a second-party Nintendo developer, which would continue through the N64 days. 



Cary Woodham

02/18/2020 at 09:42 AM

While I think it's a TINY bit overrated, DKC is still a great game.  The platforming is good, but the graphics and especially the SOUND just blew me away.  It still amazes me that the water music is coming from a SNES!

I got DKC for Christmas that year and the next summer I spent most of the time in Alabama visiting my mom and little brother Jeff, who lived out of state at the time.  Jeff was only like, one year old, and could barely talk.  He only knew a few words, like Da Da, Ma Ma, No, Cookie, etc.  But when I came over and showed him DKC for the first time, he just sat there staring at it for the longest time.  Then when mom came in the room, he looked at her, pointed at the TV, and started babbling 90 miles an hour!  Even though he couldn't talk much, we could tell he was telling us all about the game!  By the end of the summer, he learned how to say "Donkey Kong" so he could tell me that he wanted to play it.  That ended up being one of his first words!

The Last Ninja

02/19/2020 at 12:28 AM

lol I think DKC had a profound impact on a lot of kids, myself included (although I wasn't quite THAT young) 


02/18/2020 at 02:25 PM

While it sure looks dated now, I appreciate that Rare did not take Donkey Kong down the mascot route so popular at the time. Can you imagine angsty DK with a '90s 'tude? Ugh. Their restraint is laudable.

The Last Ninja

02/19/2020 at 12:29 AM

I don't know, DK has some serious 'tude during the opening lol


02/18/2020 at 11:15 PM

At the time it was too basic and straightforward of a platformer compared to where Super Mario had gone by then, so I wasn't a fan. But years later I gained an appreciation for focused, elegant game design, and this definitely has that.

The Last Ninja

02/19/2020 at 12:30 AM

Yeah, they didn't reinvent the wheel, but gameplay was solid and fun, and of course the graphics and sound were a big draw for everybody. 


02/19/2020 at 03:16 PM

I really liked that claymation type graphics in the game. It was a unique look at the time. And who doesn't want to ride a rhino and knock a whole lot of enemies off the trail with it. 

I also like the way diddy and DK can switch with a slap. Sometimes I played this game two-player. Oh and the barrels short cuts. After learning those, it was a blast to just skip whole areas. 

The Last Ninja

02/19/2020 at 11:31 PM

Yeah, there's a lot of cool features in the game, as you mentioned. I always really liked the variety of bonus levels, and finding bonus levels was always a surprise. 

Super Step Contributing Writer

02/21/2020 at 01:31 AM

I forget where I had to stop on my SNES Mini run, but this is a great if tense and frustrating (later on) game.

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