Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (SNES)

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Introduction

Kaptain K. Rool — He’s be dethroned I guess, has kidnapped Donkey Kong and taken him to Krocodile Isle– an island that has mysteriously appeared off the coast of Donkey Kong Island. Diddy and his girlfriend Dixie must adventure to Krocodile Isle and save Donkey and defeat K. Rool and his new pirate groove (And pirate crew.).

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I think that K. Rool’s pirate theme is the best of his themes, and it brings the best costume.

Development

Sorry all you crazy cats out there. I couldn’t find any information about the development of Donkey Kong Country 2. It was released a year after Donkey Kong Country 1, almost to the day. 1995 was the year before the Nintendo 64 would be released, at this point Nintendo was still focused on the SNES. The Nintendo 64 would usher Nintendo into the world of 3D games.

It was released in the same year as Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness (PC and Playstation), Comix Zone (Sega Genesis), Twisted Metal (Playstation), and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (PC) [That’s a helluva year for gaming. It’s just hard to imagine that all these games were being released at the same time.]

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 Sorry guys, nothing more to see here.

Nostalgia

Donkey Kong Country 2 is one of the first games I can think of that presents a female character that is yards better than her male counterpart. As a platformer, the game is all about mobility. The more mobile a character is, the better. And I think that Dixie’s helicopter hair twirl is the most useful thing in the game. It’s essentially gliding, it can make jumps easier, hitting enemies less timing intensive, help avoid enemies and attacks, and extend the players jump– so far that Dixie can skip whole levels with it. I was always playing Dixie if she was available.

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 Dixie’s design is pretty solid, but I don’t understand why EVERYTHING she wears needs to be pink.

 Gameplay

Donkey Kong Country 2 takes all the aspects of the original and makes them better, what a good sequel should do. The game has a story now. The story of the original being: K Rool has stolen Donkey’s banana hoard because reasons, go beat him up. That’s just a weak hook overall. This time Diddy and Dixie are trying to save Donkey–  a character that its audience has come to love over the first game.

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Donkey looks determined in this image but I just realized that his head is stuck in the bars.

The goal of each level is to reach its end, sounds simple. Jump over pits, jump on or avoid enemies, and reach the target with the flag post next to it. Reach the end of the world and fight a boss. The bosses in this game are decently challenging, but not frustratingly hard. They can be pretty intimidating though, like a giant disembodied Cutlass and a giant Wasp

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It’s a wasp that’s twice the size of a parrot. Run, dear god, run for you lives.

Along the way there are bonus barrels that launch our dear heroes toward a bonus challenge like defeating a bunch of enemies, finding the goal, or collecting a bunch of stars. Completing these challenges will earn you a Gold Dubloon. These can be used to pay Klubba, which unlocks a series of quite difficult levels that in turn unlock the super secret final boss and the hidden ending. Also hidden, are DK hero coins that have been hidden by Cranky Kong to test his great nephew. A true hero would be able to collect all these things, but I settle for being a regular hero– by which I mean to say that I’ve never found all this stuff.

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I highly recommend that you pay Klubba’s toll.

The Gush

The art for this game is really good. I think it’s a great improvement on the original.

Crocisle

This is Crocodile Isle, tell me this doesn’t look like a cool place to explore.

This place has got a haunted forest, a volcano, a beehive surrounded amusement park, and a castle on the top of it. This is one of the coolest environments ever.

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Amusement parks in my videogames? YES!

 

Every level introduces something new and different to play with. From horizontal wind drafts to vertical wind drafts, new animal buddies like Squitter the Spider and Rattely the Snake, Animal Buddy only levels, hot air balloons, vertical based levels, and a race. Each level introduces something new enough to keep it interesting but familiar enough to get a hold of easily.

This game is also a completionist’s delight. Do you love finding all the secrets in games? Then this game will scratch that itch. The completion of this game is not just measured by secret areas found, like in Donkey Kong Country 1. It’s measured by exploring and finding hard to reach locations and beating a world of more difficult levels. Although I haven’t found all these locations, it’s always fun to discover a new one.

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Find everything and you’ll find yourself in the Kremling’s fabled Lost World.

 

The music from this game is incredible. I still remember how pumped the opening music got me, I would wait until it was all done before I went to the main menu. A lot of the music gets remixed in ever musical style that exists, Stickerbrush Symphony (Original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J67nkzoJ_2M) has been remixed more times than I can count. This game released its soundtrack and it’s easy to see why.

The Kvetch

Diddy’s special ability that’s supposed to match Dixie’s incredible hair twirl is his cartwheel jump. When Diddy attacks forward he executes a DEADLY cartwheel, and that’s fine, but if he continues the cartwheel off of a platform he can initiate a jump. If you haven’t played the game then I bet that doesn’t make much sense. This is because it doesn’t make sense. Diddy can jump in mid air during a cartwheel if he cartwheels off of a platform. I don’t know how I was supposed to figure that out as a kid. Dixie spinning around and using her hair to slow her descent, makes sense in a cartoon, makes sense in a videogame. Diddy jumping in midair breaks the rules of the game, why should it work? I know it’s an important move, but that’s what steams me more. It’s vital to know and not evident or intuitive.

So Dixie and Diddy are dating. They both share the last name Kong. They’re relationships is incestuous. I’m going to assume Kong is just the designated name for their species or something, or she’s a 12th cousin thrice removed or something– or whatever the most distant relation she can possibly be. I’m going to keep thinking this…

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…Otherwise, someone get me the brain bleach.

 

The Verdict

I might be super nostalgic for Donkey Kong Country 2 but it’s only because this game has held up so well. It’s one of the few games I haven’t played to completion and I ain’t even mad.

Next Week: Crash Bandicoot for the Playstation

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