Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country

For the first time in Nintendo history, take control of Mario's former adversary as he travels through the island (with his nephew Diddy Kong) to recover his stolen banana hoard in this side-scrolling platformer from Rare (now Rareware).


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Donkey Kong Country (known in Japan as Super Donkey Kong) is a 2D platformer developed by Rareware and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on November 25, 1994.

Rare's first game after becoming a subsidiary of Nintendo, Donkey Kong Country is among the first games to fully utilize pre-rendered 3D graphics for its visuals. Players guide the titular gorilla (now with a new appearance) and his nephew, Diddy Kong, as they battle the Kremling forces (lead by the dreaded King K. Rool) and other hazardous creatures and traps to recover their stolen banana hoard. Along the way, they receive help from a variety of rideable animal friends (in similar vein to Yoshi in Super Mario World).

After release of the game, Rare developed three additional sequels (Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest in 1995, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! in 1996, and Donkey Kong 64 in 1999) and a spin-off Game Boy series (Donkey Kong Land). The series was later rebooted by Retro in 2010 (titled Donkey Kong Country Returns).

The original game itself was ported to the Game Boy Color on November 4, 2000 and the Game Boy Advance on June 9, 2003, each adding additional mini-games, unlockable concept art, and autosaving. It was also digitally re-released on the Virtual Console for the Wii on February 19, 2007, Wii U on February 26, 2015, and New Nintendo 3DS on March 24, 2016. A special "Competition Cartridge" version of the original game was developed for use with the Blockbuster World Video Game Championship II competition (alongside the Sega Genesis ports of NBA Jam Tournament Edition and Judge Dredd), featuring a five-minute run through some of the game's levels.


Donkey Kong riding on Rambi the Rhino, with Diddy Kong tailing behind.
Donkey Kong riding on Rambi the Rhino, with Diddy Kong tailing behind.

Compared to Mario's arsenal, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have rather few moves available to them at the core. They are capable simply of walking, running, performing a rolling attack, and jumping. However, Donkey Kong Country featured a strong level of interaction with the environment, which greatly multiplied the gameplay possibilities in the game: ropes could be swung on, bouncy tires could be rolled or jumped on, and a vast array of various barrels could be picked up, thrown, or busted on enemies' heads. Still other barrels, called barrel cannons or blast barrels, floated in midair and could be leapt into, upon which depending on the type of barrel, either pressing a button or immediately upon entry, the player is blasted out of the end of the barrel. Often times, these barrels moved or rotated along paths, creating timing exercises which must be mastered to progress in the game.

The primary method for dispatching enemies is to jump on them, or to toss barrels into them. Most enemies may also be put out of commission with a rolling attack as well, but some have defenses in this direction. While both Diddy Kong and Donkey Kong may appear on the screen at the same time, only one is actually controlled by the player; should the active character be injured, the inactive character will become playable. Should there be no inactive player, the player loses a life and must start the level over, either from the beginning or the midway checkpoint. Falling into pits results in instant death.

There are also animal buddies in the game, which are found in crates and which the active character may ride to gain access to special abilities. These animal buddies and their abilities are listed below in the characters section.

There are many secret areas in Donkey Kong Country, which may be found by blasting away walls with tough blows from barrels and rhinoceros horns, or jumping in spots above or below the screen to hidden barrels. These secret areas usually contain a chance to earn either extra lives or animal buddy tokens. Collecting three of the same type of animal buddy token will allow the player to play a different sort of bonus level, in which there is a set amount of time to gather as many tokens as the player can while playing as the animal buddy in question. Every 100 tokens collected results in one extra life earned. There are also hidden giant tokens in these levels which, upon collection, will split into many smaller tokens to be collected as well as doubling or even tripling the player's current token score.


The Kongs

Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong
One of the two primary protagonists, Donkey Kong is a large gorilla who is ideal for tackling larger enemies due to his greater mass and strength. In addition to his rolling attack, he also has an additional special attack if the player holds down on the directional pad and then press the attack button.
Diddy Kong
Diddy Kong
The other primary playable character, Diddy Kong is faster and more agile than Donkey Kong. His special attack is a cartwheel which can knock down bigger enemies where jumping on them does no harm.
Cranky Kong
Cranky Kong
Cranky Kong provides "advice" throughout the game to the player and the two younger Kongs. According to the story, Cranky Kong was actually Donkey Kong in the original arcade version of Donkey Kong. This would mean that the Donkey Kong the player controls now is essentially Donkey Kong Jr. from the original arcade games.
Candy Kong
Candy Kong
Candy Kong may be visited to save the game, and in the Game Boy Color version, provides Mini Games to obtain tokens.She serves as Donkey Kong's love interest.
Funky Kong
Funky Kong
Funky Kong allows the player to transfer between the worlds in the game.

The Good Guys

Enguarde the Swordfish
Enguarde the Swordfish
A fish who can swim underwater, Enguarde enables the Kongs to kill fish and bash into walls through a charging attack.
Expresso the Ostrich
Expresso the Ostrich
Expresso runs extremely fast, and can sustain limited flight, allowing the Kongs to glide much further through the air than they could do on their own. his tall legs allow him to run over small enemies without being hurt.
Rambi the Rhino
Rambi the Rhino
Rambi is large and heavy, making him unwieldy for platforming, but excellent for bowling over foes. He also has a charge attack.
Squawks the Parrot may not provide transportation for the Kongs as in later games; instead, the parrot holds a flashlight to illuminate the way for the player in dark levels.
Winky is capable of jumping extremely high. However, his awkward motion makes him rather imprecise for difficult platforming.

The Bad Guys

  • Army
  • Gnawty
  • Manky Kong
  • Mini-Necky
  • Necky
  • Slippa
  • Zinger

The Aquatic Bad Guys

  • Bitesize
  • Chomps
  • Chomps Jr.
  • Clambo
  • Croctopus
  • Squidge

The Kremlings

  • Klaptrap
  • Klump
  • Krash
  • Kritter
  • Krusha
  • Rockkroc

The Bosses

  • Very Gnawty
  • Master Necky
  • Queen B.
  • Really Gnawty
  • Dumb Drum
  • Master Necky Snr.
  • King K. Rool

Worlds and Levels

World Map
World Map

DKC has a total of 7 worlds and 40 levels. Listed below are the world names, with the level names indented underneath.

Kongo Jungle

  1. Jungle Hijinx
  2. Ropey Rampage
  3. Reptile Rumble
  4. Coral Capers
  5. Barrel Cannon Canyon
  6. Very Gnawty's Lair

Monkey Mines

  1. Winky's Walkway
  2. Mine Cart Carnage
  3. Bouncy Bonanza
  4. Stop & Go Station
  5. Millstone Mayhem
  6. Necky's Nuts

Vine Valley

  1. Vulture Culture
  2. Tree Top Town
  3. Forest Frenzy
  4. Temple Tempest
  5. Orang-Utan Gang
  6. Clam City
  7. Bumble B. Rumble

Gorilla Glacier

  1. Snow Barrel Blast
  2. Slip Slide Ride
  3. Ice Age Alley
  4. Croctopus Chase
  5. Torchlight Trouble
  6. Rope Bridge Rumble
  7. Really Gnawty Rampage

Kremkroc Industries Inc.

  1. Oil Drum Alley
  2. Trick Track Trek
  3. Elevator Antics
  4. Poison Pond
  5. Mine Cart Madness
  6. Blackout Basement
  7. Boss Dumb Drum

Chimp Caverns

  1. Tanked Up Trouble
  2. Manic Mincers
  3. Misty Mine
  4. Necky Nutmare (only in the Game Boy version)
  5. Loopy Lights
  6. Platform Perils
  7. Necky's Revenge

Gangplank Galleon

  1. Gangplank Galleon (K. Rool Battle)

Competition Cartridge

A version called "Donkey Kong Country: Competition Cartridge" was released within the same year as the original game's release. This was a very limited release for certain video game competitions during the 1990s such as the Blockbuster Video World Championship II in 1995.

This version of the game is quite different from the original as it is only playable for five minutes. Within that time limit, the player must gain as many points as possible. There is no title screen, save files, or world map in the game; the player instantly starts on the first level when the cartridge is inserted into the console. When one level is completed, the next level starts. The following levels that the game goes through is Jungle Hijinx, Reptile Rumble, Ropey Rampage, Coral Capers, Winky's Walkway, Bouncy Bonanza, Orang-Utan Gang, and Snow Barrel Blast. At the end of the 5 minutes, the game freezes at its current state in order to allow time for the referee of the competition to take note of the points.

Handheld Ports

A screenshot from the Game Boy Color version
A screenshot from the Game Boy Color version

A Game Boy Color port was released on November 4th, 2000. This is essentially the same game, except with some mini-games thrown in. Naturally, the graphics aren't as impressive as the SNES version and the game would begin to slow down to a crawl when there were more than a few sprites on screen at once, but was still considered a technological marvel being able to port a SNES game to Game Boy Color, with the core concepts being intact. There are a few other differences in the game, for example, only one character is on-screen at a time. Also, when an animal character is gained, Diddy or Donkey Kong will leave and the player gets to play as the animal as opposed to Diddy or Donkey Kong. The Game Boy Color version's music was mostly ported over from the 8bit soundtrack of Donkey Kong Land, although certain tracks had been switched around, such as DKL's water level music now being used for an ice cavern level.

The game featured an additional cave level in the Chimp Caverns world, Necky Nutmare. It also featured a scrapbook which the player could fill up by finding extra hidden items in the adventure before printing out the pages, as well as a few minigames: a fishing game with Funky Kong, a barrel- Kremling coconut-shooter with Cranky, as well as some small bonus games with Candy Kong since her save room was unnecessary now that the game autosaved after each level was completed.

Released on June 9th, 2003, Donkey Kong Country on the Game Boy Advance is a very faithful remake of the original. In this game the same various extras of the Game Boy Color version were added, such as the mini-games and scrapbook where the player had to find hidden scrapbook pieces throughout the game to unlock concept art. The player was also allowed to save after every level and was able to see their progress on each individual level as well (if they had found the KONG letters, bonus levels, and scrapbook pieces.) A "Hero" mode could also be unlocked by achieving at least a 90% completion rate. This was essentially a hard mode, where the player could only play as Diddy Kong in a yellow color swap suit. There were no D.K. barrels in this mode. The graphics in the Game Boy Advance version are a lot closer to the original than the Game Boy Color adaption, although some of the parralax backgrounds, map details and sprite resolutions have been downgraded, and the weather effects present in some levels from the original were taken out.


DK Jamz: The Original Donkey Kong Country Soundtrack
DK Jamz: The Original Donkey Kong Country Soundtrack
  1. Theme
  2. Simian Segue
  3. DK Island Swing
  4. Cranky's Theme
  5. Jungle Groove
  6. Cave Dweller Concert
  7. Bonus Room Blitz
  8. Aquatic Ambiance
  9. Candy's Love Song
  10. Bad Boss Boogie
  11. Mine Cart Madness
  12. Life in the Mines
  13. Voices of the Temple
  14. Forest Frenzy
  15. Treetop Rock
  16. Funky's Fugue
  17. Misty Menace
  18. Northern Hemispheres
  19. Ice Cave Chant
  20. Fear Factory
  21. Gang-Plank Galleon
  22. K-Rool's Cacophony
  23. The Credits Concerto
  24. Lose
  25. Win