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Donkey Kong Country

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Donkey Kong Country
DKC SNES cover.jpg
Front box art for the original Super Nintendo version
Developer(s) Rareware
Publisher Nintendo
Release date(s) SNES
November 26, 1994 (JP)
November 25, 1994 (NA)
November 24, 1994 (EU)
Game Boy Color
January 21, 2001 (JP)
November 4, 2000 (NA)
November 17, 2000 (EU)
Game Boy Advance
December 12, 2003 (JP)
June 9, 2003 (NA)
June 6, 2003 (EU)
Wii Virtual Console
December 12, 2006 (JP)
February 19, 2007 (NA)
December 8, 2006 (EU)
Genre(s) Platformer
Modes Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: Everyone
Console(s) Super Nintendo, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Virtual Console (Wii, Wii U, 3DS)

Donkey Kong Country is a game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System developed by Rare and released in 1994. It was Rare's first Donkey Kong game and was renowned for its use of pre-rendered graphics.

The game stars both Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. Donkey Kong is a descendant of the original character from the arcade games, now named Cranky Kong, that had been out of the spotlight since his last starring role in Donkey Kong 3. Donkey Kong Country pays tribute to the arcade games in some areas: the concept of DK using barrels as weapons, Oil Drums which burn and produce enemies, and elevator platforms (seen in the level Elevator Antics).

The game spawned two direct sequels in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble. The game and its sequels themselves had a series of companion games released for the Game Boy, the Donkey Kong Land series.

Donkey Kong Country received two remakes. The first one came out for Game Boy Color in 2000, and sported additional content such as mini-games, Game Boy Printer compatibility, and an additional level called Necky's Nutmare. The second remake was released in 2003 for Game Boy Advance, and it had enhanced graphics and sound, a Diddy-only mode, and new mini-games.


The game played much like typical platforming games of the day. One noticeable difference was the inclusion of two characters: Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. Each Kong could take a hit, and once both were gone, a life was lost. The two had different abilities and strengths; Donkey could slap the ground and unveil secrets, as well as defeat stronger enemies, while Diddy was faster and more athletic. The player could switch between them via a "tag" that would be reused throughout the series. Donkey is best used in Caves, because there are stronger enemies in caves (according to the manual). Diddy is best for "acrobatic" levels.

There were six worlds: Kongo Jungle, Monkey Mines, Vine Valley, Gorilla Glacier, Kremkroc Industries, Inc., and Chimp Caverns. The final level takes place on Gangplank Galleon. Due to the game's graphical abilities, the levels could look quite different from each other, with one being a snowstorm-ridden mountain, and another being a dangerous factory. The Kongs' goal was to get to the end of the level, while collecting bananas (100 would give an extra life), Extra Life Balloons, or Animal Tokens, which would send them to an Animal Buddy themed bonus level. As with Mario, they could beat typical enemies simply by jumping on them. The Kongs can also throw barrels at them, slap the ground to turn enemies into a banana or roll to knock them out. There were normal barrels, partner or DK Barrels (which had a missing partner inside), Steel Kegs which could bounce off walls and be ridden on and TNT Barrels which destroy enemies with a powerful explosion. A prevalent part of the game were barrel cannon courses, where the player had to navigate the Kongs through cannon-like blast barrels.

In this game, five Animal Buddies helped the Kongs:

  • Rambi the Rhino: A powerful Animal Buddy who could charge enemies and destroy hidden walls.
  • Expresso the Ostrich: An Animal Buddy who could "glide" by attempting to fly and run very fast, but could not jump on enemies.
  • Enguarde the Swordfish: An Animal Buddy (obviously only in water areas) who could charge and skewer enemies with his bill.
  • Winky the Frog: A powerful Animal Buddy who could jump very high, and defeat Zingers and other enemies the Kongs cannot touch by jumping on them.
  • Squawks the Parrot: An Animal Buddy who only appeared in Torchlight Trouble and could not be ridden. He held a lantern so the Kongs could get through the pitch-black level.

Three other Kongs help Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong along their way. Cranky Kong (a Kong in his '80s), Donkey's grumpy father, would offer advice amidst his ranting about the glory days of video gaming. (It was revealed in the instruction manual that Cranky Kong is actually the original, arcade, DK who fought against Mario) Funky Kong, a "surfer dude" offered the Kongs a ride in his Jet Barrel, allowing them to revisit worlds. Candy Kong, Donkey Kong's girlfriend, offered a Save Barrel that allowed the player to save their progress and view their statistics.

Hidden among the levels were Bonus Levels. They could be in hidden barrels or behind weak walls. Some Bonus Levels are free-range, allowing a player to collect bananas or other items, but most were mini-games and offered a prize if won. Finding all the bonus levels changed the ending of the game very slightly.