Please remember, I'm giving reasons why it's not perfect, not reasons why it is horrible. It is a good game, and I'm not denying that.
Fair enough. I personally enjoy the difficulty and while all of the hidden levels can be a real pain in the ass, I am able to beat the main game without getting a game over. But I can understand why someone would be turned off by the difficulty, and can see that as a fair criticism.
With the absence of Donkey Kong though, I've got nothing. I never really cared about that aspect so I guess I never thought of that. On the other hand, I think Diddy and Dixie both compliment each other so well that I found myself not missing DK.
ba-weep-gra-na-weep-ninny-bong Hail to the king, baby
Any game I replayed more than once is worth naming here, at least in terms of entertainment (which is what really matters) those were near flawless. I almost never replay games, so the exceptions were really good. Those were: God of War 1 (I liked the 1st one more than the others, all of them are great, but the 1st was a true masterpiece, and the only game I replayed like 5 times, it never got old), Final Fantasy 10, Super Mario 64, and Contra 3. Others that were superb (but no replays) are Planescape Torment, Unreal Gold, Persona 3 FES, Burnout 3 Takedown, The Orange Box, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Bioshock, Area 51 (ps2), Doom 3 BFG, Chrono Cross, Zelda: Majora's Mask, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Metroid Prime, Golden Sun, DMC3:SE, God of War 2, Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, and Seiken Densetsu 3 (aka Secret of Mana 2).
"Think of the glass as half full rather than half empty."
Perfect games do not exist. When people say that certain games are "perfect" or "masterpieces" or whatever adjective you use for a game you like, it's never true.
Every game is flawed in some way, it's just a matter of if you can put up with the flaws or not. For some games it's easier because the flaws are infrequent or inconsequential. Some games it's harder because the flaws are too glaring or too offensive to get over.
A game you like is, more or less, a game where you can ignore the bad stuff and enjoy the good.
In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection.