Review by Morag2005
"There are several great platformers that have truly defined the genre… and this is one of them."
Nintendo has recently adopted a policy of innovation. This is one game that shows off how incredible innovative games can really be. Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (DKJB) is a platformer that is controlled, not with the regular Gamecube controller, but with a set of bongo drums. Rather than play with a few subtle button clicks and joystick maneuvers, DKJB lets you pound and clap your way through 16 beautifully crafted two-dimesional kingdoms.
This is one area where possible buyers must be warned. If you buy this game expecting a detailed story full of surprise plot twists and drama, you will be very disappointed. DKJB has almost NO story. The general idea I was given from this game is that Donkey Kong randomly decided to get up and take over a few neighboring kingdoms. You may be wondering why I have rated story so high, considering that there isn't one. That is because this game does not need a story. There was not a single moment while playing this game where I paused to say Hmmm, why is Donkey Kong hunting for a giant orange in a frozen wasteland? Likely, it's the fact that while playing this game, nothing else seems to exist. This is the kind of game that you could happily play while you're neighbor's house burned to the group behind you. It is just THAT enthralling.
I, personally, don't believe that a game like this needs top notch graphics to make it great fun to play. However, anyone who does believe graphics are needed will not be disappointed. The graphics in this game have the same vibrant colors found in games like Super Mario Sunshine. DKJB boasts near-flawless character models with Donkey Kong himself looking better than ever before. The backgrounds that scroll along behind your rampaging ape are highly detailed and vary quite a bit from level to level. Whether you're trekking through a sandblasted desert or charging blindly through a frozen wasteland, the graphics in DKJB will impress even the most critical players.
DKJB has a great sound track that will bring back blissful memories of older Donkey Kong games. The sounds fit perfectly with the environments and can sound almost comical at times (such as while throwing an explosive pineapple at a deformed bird). All things considered, the sound is this game is very impressive although in your fit of bongo pounding, you will not have to time to slow down and listen very much.
This is where Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat really shines. In fact, the only thing limiting my rating is the fact that anything higher than 10/10 is just plain silly. As I mentioned earlier, this is the kind of game that sucks you in and spits you out ten hours later after one of the craziest gaming sessions you've ever experienced. Take great environments, well-chosen sounds and music and a controller that fits perfectly with what you are doing in the game and you have the most effective time killer known to man. Be warned, when I sit down to play this game for half an hour before studying for my test, I usually end up playing for several hours and failing the test (and not really regretting it). The only flaw in the gameplay is the length. While I wished that it could go on forever, this game ended after about ten hours. The replay value is almost never ending however, as it is just that much fun to smash those bongos. The only truly disappointing thing in this game is the small number of bosses. For sixteen kingdoms all consisting of two levels and a boss, there are only 5 bosses. The bosses begin to repeat themselves after you get to the 5th kingdom, and there are two nearly identical major bosses in the game. The bosses are so much fun to fight that you really don't worry too much about that fact, but while playing through for the second or third time, you will begin to wish the bosses were a bit more varied.
The controls are where all this innovation I've been talking about comes from. Bang the left bongo to run left, the right bongo to run right, hit them both to jump and clap to make Donkey Kong clap (which is used to set off or grab items and enemies). A detailed combo system makes this game incredibly deep as you try to do back flips, ground pounds and wall jumps without touching the ground to help rack up points. The controls are the part of DKJB that keep you coming back for more.
Overall Rating: 10/10
A truly innovative game that truly shows why 2D games can be just as fun, if not more fun than their three-dimensional counter parts. This game is well worth the $50(USD) that it costs to pick it up and will leave you begging for a sequel (I know I am). Renting this would simply waste the price of a rental as you will probably run to the nearest video game store as fast as humanly possible after you are forced to return it (with a rather large late fee most likely).
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/15/05
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