Review by Psycho Penguin

"Another innovative platformer from the masterminds at Rare"

Donkey Kong Country was released by the gaming giants Nintendo and Rare back in 1995 for the Super Nintendo. And what a release it was. Much was made of a special CGI processor used to make the game, which in turn produced stunning graphical effects which weren't supposed to happen on the Super Nintendo. Much hype was laid out for the game based on the special graphics of the game alone, and the game went on to sell huge amount of copies, based on the Donkey Kong name, the fun gameplay it delivered, the hype, and of course, those special graphics.

The game is so much fun to play, and is definitely an all time classic game, but it is more than just pretty graphics. Think of it as a book with a pretty cover. You may like the cover, but think of all the wonderful content that is inside of it. If you rate the book based on its cover, you are being unfair to it, because the real content is inside. Think of Donkey Koung Country's graphics as the cover, and the gameplay as the content inside the book. There is so much more to this game than just pretty graphics, despite the fact I still liked the graphics very much.

There isn't much of a storyline to this game at heart, but I will do my best to describe the basic storyline as to why you are actually playing this game. You are Donkey Kong, making a long-awaited return to the video game world after spending some time in the arcades some time ago. He is accompanied by his little friend, Diddy Kong, and together they must reclaim
their banana hoard, which has been stolen by King. K. Rool and his band of baddies. So, basically, you are going after King K. Kool to get back your banana board. Why you just don't buy a new one is beyond me. The storyline is pretty good, although it does not develop much throughout the game. However, this isn't a role playing game, so I am not going to be mad too much.

The graphics in this game, like I said before, are well done and use a special processor. The charcater and enemy designs are well done, and the backgrounds have a 3D look to them. The CGI processor station did wonders for this game, as the graphics are some of the best ever on the Super Nintendo, and are even better than similar efforts of PSX games!! Yes, the graphics in the game are really that good, and they definitely attracted the most attention to the game.

The hype was all with the graphics, and for good reason. The backgrounds in the game are well varied and some of the best I have ever seen in a Super Nintendo game. One of the things I like most about the backgrounds featured in the game is the simple fact of how varied they are. One stage you are in an arctic chill freeze zone, the next stage you are in an adandoned mine complete with mine carts and flickering lights. The variety of backgrounds in the game is definitely a sight to behold.

The character and enemy designs in the game are also very well done. I especially liked the enemy and boss designs in the game, as every enemy in the game was well designed. There is always an enemy in a game that has been repeated or strikes me as odd, but I did not find any of those enemies in this game, which is a true testament to how good the enemy designs really are. Then there are the character designs, which are also classic, ranging from the bitter old Cranky Kong to the high flying Diddy Kong. And Donkey Kong looks a lot better then he ever did in those arcade games, that's for sure.

The music is well done and very unique. Each stage has a well orchrestrated tune that fits the uniqueness of each stage perfectly. I really liked the variety of music in the game, and as I have already mentioned, each stage has mucis featured which fits the feeling of the stage perfectly, which I have always considered to be a testament as to how good the music in the game really is. So, Donkey Kong Country definitely features great music, and I especially liked some of the music featured later in the game. One music piece I did not like was the music that played when you died, it just did not sound as good as I would have liked, and it soon got really annoying, especially if you kept on dying a lot (not saying I have, of course).

The sound effects are also very understandable, and are very well done. The sound of a bouncing tire and other sounds are perfectly sounded. The sound effects were pretty well varied and sounded exactly like they should. For instance, the bouncing tires sound just like the sound you would expect, they sound like a tire after you bounce on it a few times! So, the sound effects are definitely pretty realistic, and I really liked a majority of the sound effects in the game. Some of the sound effects featured in the game could have been improved a little, in my opinion, but overall they were still pretty solid.

Control in the game is solid, to say the least. I really enjoyed the control in this game, as everything was so easy to pull off. This is a good thing because you would think that with so much different stuff being possible, like being able to pull off moves and stuff, that the control would be difficult in some places. But this was not the case, and that is a testament as to how good the control in this game really is. The control was really suited for the Super Nintendo controller, because the game took full advantage of every button the controller had.

Donkey Kong Country is totally different than the Donkey Kong games before it. While the previous Donkey Kong games were puzzle oriented, this game is more of an action/adventure side scroller with platform and some role playing game elements. The game has a world map, and many different things to do on the world map ranging from a save station to a special place where you can get tips from the Cranky Kong dude himself. The game definitely features great gameplay.

There is so much different stuff to do in this game that it is simply incredible. At heart, this game is nothing more than a Mario-style platformer. But once you sit down and really start getting into it, you will realize that the game is so much more than just another Mario ripoff. Hell, some would go as far as to say that this game is better than any Mario game. While I wouldn't go as far as saying that (I still like a lot of the games in the Mario series more than this one) I still say that this is a fantastic game.

One of the best things about Donkey Kong Country is the variety of stages that the game features. The variety of stages is truly a sight to behold, and it is one of the reasons that some would claim this to be better than any game in the Mario series (again, not my personal opinion). The simple fact that you can go from a stage where you turn on and off lights to stop enemies in their tracks (my personal favorite, because sometimes you need to freeze enemies to make jumps from one platform to another) to stages where you rumble through tracks on a mine cart is unbelievable. The stages in this game are really fun to play through, and isn't that all that really matters?

The game also features a lot of innovations. The map feature in the game, where you go from one stage to another in a sort of non-linear way, isn't exactly what I would call innovative, but you can open up hidden areas there to get closer to the ultimate goal of 100 percent. Donkey Kong himself also has some new moves. He can now throw barrels at enemies, while Diddy Kong can hold on to them via his hair. However, Diddy Kong has more spped than Donkey, which means he can travel across vines quicker. You can switch your active character constantly, as long as you have two characters available. Using DK boxes allow you to regain your lost friend if you lose him.

You can even play this game on two player mode, either against each other or with each other. I find it more fun to play against each other. Some other things to note about this game: you collect bananas, which are sort of like coins in Mario and rings in Sonic. If you collect 100 bananas, you get an extra life. You can open up secret areas in stages which allow you to collect more bananas if you feel the need to get even more than you already have. You can also get animal helpers, each animal helper has a certain ability, for instance the bird flies and the rhino rams his horns into enemies.

This game has a lot of replay value because it counts off a percentage of how much you got down, so you'll probably want to play until you hit 100%. The game has a lots of secrets which add to the replayability. You will want to keep on playing this game until you open up every secret, because the game does keep track of your percentage throughout the game. So, you will definitely want to keep playing in order to get that sense of completion. There is nothing worse than playing through a game for a few hours without totally completing it. These facts will all lead up to one thing: great replay value.

The challenge is easy for the first few worlds then the game gets very challenging. Some of the stages in the game are almost impossible to complete after a while. I really felt that the game could have been more challenging early on, because it just didn't seem that challenging. Of course, the game soon did a complete 360 turn on me and soon got pretty challenging. I couldn't even complete some of the later stages in the game for days. That is just a testament to the quality of the challenge in the game, it is balanced perfectly.

Donkey Kong Country may have the best graphics on the Super Nintendo, but it also has the gameplay and fun factor to back it up. Thankgully Nintendo and Rare didnt focus all their attention on the graphics, and made sure the gameplay was up to par. Thank THEM by buying this game! This is truly one of the better Super Nintendo games released, although I still like part two more. This game is better than part 3, in my opinion, however.

Good Points
-The graphics in the game are pretty good. </extreme understatement>
-The music and sound effects are awesome.
-The control is perfectly suited for the Super Nintendo controller.
-The variety of stages in the game is definitely top-notch.
-The gameplay is very fun.

Not So Good Points
-After you beat the game completely, you may not play it much again.
-This is not the only game in the series, so there is a chance you will play the other ones more.
-There is a tad bit of graphical breakup present.
-Some of the bosses are pretty unintelligent, to say the least.

I Run Down the Ratings.... DaLadiesMan style!
Storyline - 8.3/10
Graphics - 9.8/10
Music - 9.2/10
Sound Effects - 9.3/10
Control - 9.2/10
Gameplay - 9.3/10
Replay Value - Above Average
Challenge - Above Average
Worth a Purchase? - Definitely.
Overall - 9.2/10

The Last Line: This is truly one of the all time great Super Nintendo games, and it has helped establish Rare as the true powerhouse that it is today, the game is well worth your hard earned money.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/05/00, Updated 07/16/01

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