Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 6+
Posted: February 7th, 2004
By: Webmaster-Josh
Donkey Kong Country is one of Rareware's greatest works. But does it stand the test of time and prove itself worthy of
other great platformers on the GBA? Hang around and read the full review!

Rare's Stereo sounding game is very well executed. You miss so much sound without headphones. Try playing nine levels
with the headphones on. It is creepy-the way those levels were meant to be. And since we're on the subject of music, the
music is pretty good, but there aren't too many samples. I also felt that they are too long; most of us won't be playing each
level long enough to hear every bit of the song. I guess it's good that way because slow people can hear all of it.
The sound effects are also pretty good; little critters running around and partial voice samples (mainly grunts and stuff).
There are some new ones, but they're just basic. I do think that the volume for this game is loud. You can turn it down,
but it is a little annoying. When you're playing Candy's Dance Studio, you can mainly hear the music and sound effects,
but hardly hear the voice. I think some of the music choices for that game were a bit weird, too. The good thing is that I
scored this above average, because this game is too short to give anything lower than a 8.2.

The control is pretty good, but I think that the differences between Diddy and Donkey Kong aren't explained well. Most
players will prefer Donkey Kong. The play style is similar to classic Sonic games. You control one as the other trails
behind. They are also sort of like health because if you lose Donkey, you'll control Diddy. Pressing L will switch
characters. I sometimes wish that Donkey and Diddy were both the same since Donkey is ultimately better.
A lot of this game was based off of Super Mario World, and control is very similar. A is jump, B is run. Through each
levels are four tokens that are extra (like Yoshi coins). These are easier to find than the Yoshi coins, but also challenging
in some cases. I actually don't like these, because they are in a certain order and you feel like going back and getting
them. Then you realize it's not even worth it. So overall, the control is basic (no camera control). It does the job, but could
have been improved a lot.

Like Super Mario World, I'm not comparing to present, but rather 10 years ago,
when this was first made. I was stunned. However, there are some changes. The
second level doesn't have a thunderstorm and there's more levels where it's
dumbed down like this. The misty mine level is almost too misty to see. That may
be the point, but it's very frustrating. To save this from a lower score were the little
extras, like little critters that are in the land you walk on and because a lot of it
was held up and still looks great. The extra mini-games are solid and show pretty
well, except the resolution could have been higher. Much improved over the GBC
version and definitely a strong point of this game!

There's only about 30 levels. Although some are long, others are short. All of them include four KONG tokens (one of
each letter). This game feels like a failed attempt to have as much levels as Mario World. There are two mini-games.
Candy's Dance Studio challenges you to time your button presses and dance well. There's no direct choice in being Diddy
or Donkey Kong, but the game is rather fun. You wish there was more to dance to, though. Funky's Fishing is fun; you
use a hook and lower it and try to get as much fish at once to bring up to your boat. Bigger combos mean extra time to get
fish. These two mini-games are good additions, but not nearly as good as Rareware could have gotten it. At least they are
multiplayer, as long as you can find somebody else with DKC.
The DK attack mode challenges you to beat each level that you've played in one minute. Since for some that's not possible,
you'll have to pick more time scattered about the levels to increase your time. If you fall or run out of time, you lose. If
you die, but don't fall, you'll lose about 22 seconds. Usually that means you won't be able to beat the level in time, but you
can still try. The score calculations seem honest and it's fun to see what you can get and what your rank is!
In addition, there's also a photo album to fill up. Collect special cameras laying around levels to fill up the album. Some
are out in the open, while others are in hard-to-find places. Even after all of the extras, there's little reason to keep
playing once you've beaten the game. It is fun to try to beat the game 100%, but you won't want to unless you really like
this game. 30+ levels isn't enough to satisfy when Mario World gives you 70+ and secret exits in some of the levels.

There's hardly much to say about design, except that I feel this is stealing Mario World. There's the introduction to Diddy
in the series as a playable character (Luigi), there's four tokens to collect (based on five Dragon coins) and the enemies
are all too familiar. The enemies are also fairly easy and repetitive because of that. One thing that is better (and worse) is
the graphics, which definitely helps the game's score.
There is more speech and the characters have personality, but since there isn't too much speech, the person who you'll
really only like is Cranky Kong. Despite all of the downs and a bad storyline, you do feel satisfied playing through all the
levels. You do get that special sense of Rare's work into yourself when playing. And this game leads up to the soon-to-be
sequel. I recommend borrowing from someone or renting this first because not everyone will like this, but otherwise,
you'll find an enjoyable game while it lasts.





Final Words

This is Rare's first GBA game and first Nintendo game since Rare's sale to Microsoft. Although they may not develop GCN
games, they will be creating GBA games, and by remaking this, I'd say they are off to a good start. It's going to be rocky,
but this is proof that Rare has potential on the GBA and can get better!