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.

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Dead Letter Office

shovel

Great ideas pop up quite frequently among game designers; however, it is not surprising that most of them never see the light of the day. Sometimes the men who hold not the creative power, but the money – and consequently the ability to greenlight or shelve a project – don’t see any financial gains that could be squeezed out of a brilliant concept, on other occasions something goes awfully wrong between the stages of sketching and executing.

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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.

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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.

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Want To Break Free

More than a need or a wish, having another major Nintendo platformer focus on huge worlds and exploration would shake things a little bit and get the attention of both gamers and critics. Will any of the characters step up to the challenge? Will a brand new franchise be created to fill that empty space?

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The Big Four

Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and Metroid have established so many norms and concepts, and have done it for such a ridiculous amount of time, that they no longer determine the rules that need to be followed; they represent some of the most important guidelines to making a successful quality game. They are the bar with which platformers and adventure games will be compared when trying to assess the greatness of a new gaming franchise.

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