Posted: April 9th, 2006
By: Webmaster-Josh
Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 10+
Donkey Konga 2 continues the frantic drum banging with all new songs, mini-games and the
same core gameplay. But is the same core gameplay all that great to start? Read this full review!
Sound

For the Donkey Konga series, or any music game like this, it makes sense to focus on scoring high in this category-sound.
There's still no Dolby surround sound, but once again, there's practically no way to utilize it. Like the last game, Stereo
sound is simply to help clarify the sound a little bit. Even that is underutilized. And once again, all of the songs are
licensed. However, they are re-recorded for whatever reason. Even these 'cover-ups' are pretty good, except for a few.
"Born Too Slow" is one that wasn't re-recorded very well.
"Born Too Slow"? In a Donkey Konga game? But I thought the song choices were terrible? Well not any more! In fact,
the songs choices are very good this time around. Not only are all these songs pretty good, there's also a little variety with
the age in which they range. Now it doesn't go all the way back to the 1930's, but there are a few old ones. The fact that
they focused on more modern songs shows that Nintendo is listening to the demographics. Donkey Konga may have been
good for kids, but this is the version I was waiting for.
In case you didn't notice, this game is rated T. However, there's not really any nasty word to be heard. Just a few mild
expletives, and when you're drumming away you won't notice. If there was any harsh language, like there should be in
"It's Been a While" they cut it out. There's also 34 songs this time around, or at least that's how much I counted. I think
last time there was just under 30, so there's also a few more to go around. I really couldn't pick out any songs that were
annoying, but once again, one has their own tastes. I think this is a great selection, and you'll actually feel motivated to
beat those drums this time around. Even the Donkey Konga theme is improvised. Overall, this is a big improvement.
Control

This is another case of deja vu. This game controls exactly the same as Donkey Konga. I hate to skimp on this section, but
there really is no improvement in the game's controls. There are a few other differences in presentation, though. The
menu screens actually describe what they are before you click on them. You can also save your high score with a badge.
The badge is like an avatar of a Donkey Kong character that simply stands for a person who got that high score.
There are two mini-games that control pretty well, and these can be played for more badges. I now use a Mario badge. The
game is also better at picking up on whether you were really trying to hit that note, or just randomly hitting the drums.
For example, if you constantly pressed both buttons in, you'd pretty much get every single note. This game prevents you
from doing that in a sense-you won't get the full points if you do that. And the last improvement is that the game is
explained a little more. Dixie Kong will occasionally give you notes regarding modes and cool tricks. It's pretty helpful.
The game is still a big marketing ploy to get people to buy a bunch of bongos. At least they include one so if you've bought
the previous one, or Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, you might have a few more for friends. It's still a problem, and the
controller is not a good substitute. You really have to play this with bongos, and at $30 apiece, it's a rip-off. So the minor
improvements are good, but I still hate the whole scheme of things when it comes to marketing.
Graphics

The last game's graphics were not even close to what they
should have been. The last time around, the backgrounds were
simple pictures. Now the backgrounds are actual designed
levels, in which a camera pans around. It's really cool, and
those designs are very well done. That actually gives the game
a chance to have some 3D to it, and it holds up well, with no
framerate problems.
The actual circles that flow across the screen are also a little
easier to notice. The words that appear above them are
actually readable this time. There's also the usual animations
flying around, but at least with the levels it looks cooler. The
animations actually fit the level, too. The only downside is that
there are only a few levels, and you really won't be spending
too much time looking at them, since their in the background.
That's too bad, because some of them are really good. In fact,
what's really impressive is that there's also day and night
settings and extra effects that associate with these animations.
Overall, I am more impressed by the graphics this time around
Replay

Donkey Konga was filled with tons of stuff to do. The only problem was that if you didn't like the game, you probably
wouldn't be playing it for a while. The same goes here, but with better songs choices, and more variety, you're sure to keep
playing. One new mode that was added is called Beat-Mix. If you score a Gold DK (which means you did excellent
drumming on that song) you unlock the Beat-Mix version of that song. All the beats are in the same spot, but they mixed
up the beats to make it more challenging. This is extremely cool idea which is basically like any extra story mode you can
think of. It basically doubles the replay value.
That's not to mention the two new mini-games which can help you unlock badges. And the badges are just for show, but it
can be fun unlocking all of them. I also love the few games that allow connection between other games. All past drum sets
that you bought from Donkey Konga are available on this game, provided you use the same Memory Card with the
Donkey Konga save file. It's really cool that you can import those drum sets. There's also a few new ones to check out.
And of course the endless multiplayer options are a great way to get more out of the game, if you can. There's even a
mode that allows you to sit back and listen to songs, and beat to these songs at your leisure. This Freestyle Mode seems
pointless, and while there are no objectives, it's actually pretty cool to see the backgrounds and beat the way you want to
the songs. Donkey Konga felt like a complete package, but the sequel does so well at creating a whole new package and
really capitalizes on what we expect from a sequel-more replay value. This game goes over the top with what you can do,
and will definitely last you a long time.
Design

While Donkey Konga appealed for kids, it was still a decently designed game. It had it there, it just needed something
extra to make it a little more worthwhile. I think the choice of songs this time around is what gives this game that
something that it needed. Even if you don't care for the songs, the truth is that this is a better designed game. Like I said
in replay, this feels more like a complete package than the first one did.
This game has more variety. Instead of just beating to songs, you have mini-games that actually involve the concept of the
game. The last game's mini-games were almost random mini-games that they just threw in there. The mini-games not
only feel appropriate, they're fun to play. The presentation is also much better. Everything is explained more, and there's
a little less confusion.
Overall, this just feels like a better game. It doesn't do anything excellent, but it does provide the variety that we deserved
out of the first game. This game grew up in the songs and in design, and it's easy to tell Namco knew what they needed to
improve. I am very satisfied with this game, much more than the first. This game is still marketing, and it can be
annoying lugging the bongs around. Knowing that I'm bringing Donkey Konga 2 to a friend's house makes me feel a little
better about Nintendo making these oversized peripherals that look as if Nintendo doesn't know how to copy Dance Dance
Revolution. If that's all you've played in this genre, you're missing out. Donkey Konga set the stage for what drumming
could be, but Donkey Konga 2 makes the best use of them, and the design is a great aspect of this game.
Scores
Sound

8.3
Control

8.1
Graphics

8.0
Replay

9.3
Design

8.6
8.5
Final Words

Donkey Konga 2 really improved over Donkey Konga, and the difference in scores proves it. When I said I needed a more
mature Donkey Konga, I didn't think they would actually give it to me. The improvement itself over the first is enough to
highly recommend this game. This is one of few sequels that does everything better, but I guess that isn't hard when the
first one didn't quite hit the mark. If you can still find this in stores, it's worth a purchase. Just make sure you have
bongos, or you'll miss out on the easy and fun way to play this game.