Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble

That wish to be bigger and to stand out is certainly the hidden theme of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble. It is easy to understand why, back in 1996, the game was seen as a drop following two titles that left big marks in the minds of gamers all around the world. Hindsight, however, reveals an adventure that although not as excellent as that of Donkey Kong Country 2, for it boasts a lesser – yet excellent – soundtrack and fails to reach the same level-design excellence, shines pretty brightly in the hall of the best platformers of its generation. By understanding that its prequel did not leave much room for improvement, it spends a big amount of its running time trying to find ways to excel, and it comes out of it with an impressive overworld, a fantastic challenge, and a stunning collection of inventive stages that use all tools the franchise had established in magnificent and original ways. As a result, even if the timing of its release may have harmed it, the years that have passed ever since have allowed Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble to emerge as a giant of the platforming genre.

Full Post

Donkey Kong Country

That does not, obviously, mean Donkey Kong Country is a bad game. It is, actually, a major finding; a discovery of a universe of gameplay possibilities that, before it, simply did not exist. It transformed Donkey Kong from a usually mindless villain into a hero of his own vast and rich world, and it constructed an adventure that ranks among the Super Nintendo’s best platformers. The fact it comes out rather bruised from a comparison to all its sequels speaks more about their stunning quality than about Donkey Kong Country itself. Its gameplay has been improved; its visuals have been taken to higher heights; and its soundtrack, of very unique instrumentation and tone, has inspired much better ones. However, its birth paved the way to a historic franchise that is an integral part of the gaming vocabulary, and the resulting adventure is – by all means – still a fantastic and enjoyable gameplay experience, even if other Donkey Kong Country games end up amounting to packages that are more complete, well-balanced, and creative. It is, after all, only natural, because they have all had a pretty spectacular base upon which to build; and it was here that those original pillars were put in place.

Full Post

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

Yet, there is just no way around it: Donkey Kong Country 2 is one the, if not the, best sidescrolling platformers of all time. It checks all requirements with style: it has a great amount of extra content, a daunting but fair level of difficulty, unforgettable enemies that are fondly remembered until this very day, good boss battles, clever mechanics and creative levels that make full use of them. What takes it over the top, though, are its haunting atmosphere that combines cartoonish inspirations with a dark quest of urgent nature and a soundtrack for the ages. Donkey Kong Country 2 proved that, more than mere competition for the plumber, Rareware had the capacity to craft games to top Nintendo’s best efforts.

Full Post

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

In the end, the game, unsurprisingly, is not Donkey Kong Country 2: the masterpiece it will naturally be matched against when Nintendo fans look back on the history of the franchise a few years down the line. Yet, if there is one title out there that can put up a fight on that one-sided battle for the sidescrolling crown, Tropical Freeze might be it. It is a struggle that is only decided by the tiniest details, because this sequel manages to be immensely challenging, invariably creative, and fully packed with content.

Full Post

Going Bananas

Although its music and graphics are fantastic, the star here is the level design and tight controls, and if the game wants to be compared to Diddy Kong’s Quest down the line, that is exactly the direction it should take as it slips the knife in between its teeth to accept the challenge from Rare’s 1995 timeless masterpiece.

Full Post