Posted: February 6th, 2005
By: Webmaster-Josh
Donkey Konga finally puts Nintendo into the music craze market! The big party
game of 2004 included a DK bongo drum, showing off Nintendo's newest GCN
peripheral. Do Namco and Nintendo have the beat?
Sound

This is one of few games where sound is probably the most important part of the game. If the sound is bad in a music
game, like this, then how can the rest of the game be good? Well for starters, there is no Dolby support, but there would
probably be no way to make that useful, since all you do is watch circles go by and beat to them. For that matter, you
probably don't even need Stereo. Then again, the sound wouldn't be as clear. And it is a pretty clear game. Since you'll
probably be beating to the bongo drum loudly, this game almost requires you to turn the volume up. Of course, then you'll
be greeted a very loud and annoying "Donkey.....Konga" voice at the startup.
Anyway, the music choices are actually not so good. Who really wants to beat to "You Can't Hurry Love"? Nintendo only
got permission to reuse the songs, so they are not the actual versions. This will make purists unhappy, but they are so
close to sounding real, that when you are beating away, you won't notice. It is nice to hear some oldies, but I just want to
hear them, not beat to them. There's only a couple that are worth beating to, like "We Will Rock You" and "The
Loco-Motion" to name a few. After a while, you'll adjust. But in the end, you'll wish there were different choices.
There's also few sound effects. The only way to change the sound effects is to buy new drum sets, which creates different
noises. Once again, there are few that are worth listening to. I would just stick to the bongo drums, and you could turn it
off all together, if you wanted to. There are a lot of songs, and you can try different combinations of sets and songs. When
it boils down to it, I'm really only focused on the sound in this game, and it isn't too good. There are too many songs I'd
rather not listen to, and some that I could keep playing. My only hope is that Japan actually got some decent songs to beat
to. It still doesn't help us out here.
Control

This game can't get much simpler than beating the bongo drums and clapping. No seriously, that's all you do in this game.
I should probably stop talking about control here, but there's more to it. A controller can be substituted for bongo drums,
and there are three control styles to choose from. One involves the entire left side of the controller being Left, the entire
right side being Right and L, R and Z for Clap. Well, pressing the Control Pad for Left is rather frustrating, and while you
have tons of buttons for Right, you have only three for Clap. The way you position your hands for this one makes it hard
to clap. So this one is a dud.
The second scheme is simple. L for Left, R for Right and A, B, X, Y, or C Stick for Clap. Try pressing L and R fast for
those moments when you need to. This is also a failure. Finally, there's another simple one. Type C involves Y for Left, X
for Right and A for Clap. This seems simple, but try pressing X and Y together quickly...and without bumping A. It's not
Nintendo's fault that their controller is that way...well actually it is. I think B should be Left, A should be Right and Z for
Clap. Well, even that isn't so easy. But it's not my job.
It leads me to believe that Nintendo wants you to by more bongo sets. Well of course they do, they want money. I don't
think I'm being too brash to say that. They only cost $30! The good thing is regardless of what you are using, menu
selecting is pretty easy. If you don't know how to go back, then you might get stuck (B for controller, hold Left and Right
together for bongo). It's the main game that counts, though. If you only play this game with the bongo set, then you'll be
fine.
Graphics

This is a simple game with simple graphics. The animations are
terrible SNES-style and the drawings are too basic. The good thing
is that framerate is never slow, and the resolution is very high.
The backgrounds are kind of cool, but basically any college game
designer could easily do this game in a couple days. It may go along
with the style, but there is so much opportunity for this game to
shine. You won't be looking at the other stuff, though, and it is not
distracting, although some animations are unnecessary. Only
people watching players will get something out of those. The
graphics aren't terrible, but way underutilized.
Replay

If you can stand this game, there's actually a lot to do. There are difficulty levels, which always pleases me. The difficulty
is actually very accurate, as Monkey is very easy, Chimp is challenging, but not too hard, and Gorilla is very hard. Within
those difficulties are easier and harder songs, so it really adjusts to keep people busy. The average song is three minutes
and there's around forty songs, so that's a little less than two hours. Considering you'll be playing some over again to beat
them, there's probably three hours of play for each difficulty, and probably five for Gorilla, as they are hard. There's also
three arcade games that keep track of your high scores. So overall, there's about 13 hours.
That's not to mention that you could also try to get a Gold on every song in each difficulty level. There's also hours more
in the multiplayer modes. The only problem is that, you'll easily lose interest unless everyone has bongos. The other thing
I don't like is that there is no real unlockables. Instead, you buy everything, such as drum sets and mini-games. The songs
for the Gorilla difficulty also must be purchased. The incentive to complete stuff is lost, but it is still fun to play every
song. Overall, there is a lot to do, but it could have been improved.
Design

It was a stretch for Nintendo to go along with producing this game, but now GCN is viewed a little differently. Now GCN
has its own music game. When the Dance Dance Revolution competition is fierce, Nintendo tries its own. Well, I can't say
it went well. These songs would be fine for DDR, but even then some would be bad choices. DDR focuses more on techno,
while this focuses on hits ranging back to the 1930s! I just feel that some songs are out of place.
The other thing is that the whole idea of beating to a game feels more like an excuse for Nintendo to bring back one of its
more popular franchises, Donkey Kong. This whole game feels like a marketing device, maybe even for future releases
like Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. That's not a bad thing, but it really hurts serious gamers looking for a decent game. Kids
will beg for this game, but it won't be worth it for the older ones.
This game is addicting, but to an extent. It's fun at first, but it just drags along pretending to be enjoyable. This game has
potential, but really only for people with enough bongo drums to satisfy four people. The multiplayer mode is pretty
decent, but hardly anyone will have four bongo drums unless all your friends own this game. The other good thing is that
the bongo drums are included for the same price, but extra bongos are not cheap. They are also big, and it's not fun
lugging it around. So the bongo drums are underutilized, and the game is a failed attempt. It is still fun for a while, but
overall it fails to deliver a spectacular party game.
Scores
Sound

6.8
Control

7.8
Graphics

7.0
Replay

8.7
Design

7.2
7.5
Final Words

A game with a lot of potential has fallen through, but it's not so bad. This is just something I can't believe an older gamer
would like to keep playing. It just gets so annoying after a while. It's fun at first, but it just drags into a mess. If you
picked out certain songs this game would be excellent, but you'd still have to find a bunch more good songs to make it
worthwhile. If you want a long game, then this is good, but everything else is just above average. This is a great buy for
kids, and there's even a couple children's songs like "Bingo". Older gamers may want to look elsewhere.
Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 7+