When it comes to the Super Nintendo’s extensive library of classics like Super Mario World, A Link to the Past and Super Metroid, there is one true gem which stands out against the rest, Donkey Kong Country. Created by the cult classic developer Rare, Donkey Kong Country launched on the system back in 1994. We see the word revolutionary plastered on every game these days from Call of Duty to Guitar Hero, but back in 1994 Donkey Kong Country was the poster child for innovating in videogaming.
What makes this game so revolutionary though? Its immensely challenging platforming gameplay, its tight controls, the amazingly atmospheric musical score or its pseudo-realistic graphics? To you modern gamers Donkey Kong Country probably looks like a cheap attempt to render 3D graphics, but to us born and raised by the good old Super Nintendo, these graphics are beautiful. To simplify things here, Donkey Kong Country was the Crysis of 1994.
The fact that Donkey Kong Country’s visuals could be displayed on a Super Nintendo is a miracle when you keep in mind that this was a 16 bit system. The game was a pivotal moment during the infamous console war between Nintendo and Sega too. Sega was trying to pump life into the their rapidly failing Megadrive with the Sega CD and 32X add-ons, yet neither could come close to creating a masterpiece like this one.
To you modern gamers Donkey Kong Country probably looks like a cheap attempt to render 3D graphics, but to us born and raised by the good old Super Nintendo, these graphics are beautiful.
The story may not have been anything for the box office, but King K. Rool’s heinous theft of Donkey Kong’s stash of bananas is what sent us on this amazing adventure. From swinging from vines, swimming in the deepest of oceans and riding a treacherous mine cart to the superb ending battle with K. Rool, there were no dull moments in this painfully hard quest. We were also joined by the latest member of the Kong family, Diddy Kong, Donkey’s son and trusted sidekick. I must warn anyone who fancies playing this game that it’s pretty challenging. It’s got that very trial and error type of gameplay, which entices the player to keep on trying due to the believability that no obstacle is too hard to cross.
It would be a crime to discuss this game without mentioning its absolutely fantastic soundtrack. Composed by industry legend, David Wise, the soundtrack is what creates such a fantastically wonderful atmosphere in the game. From the opening levels groovy and funky Jungle Hijinx, to the beautifully inspiring Aquatic Ambiance leading up to the final battles music against King K. Rool. A song which starts like an upbeat sea shanty suddenly turning dark and unsettling really highlights the intensity of the boss battle. Every track adds to the ambience of each level and is perfectly arranged for the mood at hand.
Donkey Kong Country is most definitely in my top 5 favourite games list and I couldn’t recommend it enough for anyone who is a fan of platformers or retro games in general. It’s downloadable on the Wii U pretty cheaply nowadays, so go ahead and please do yourself a favour by picking this one up. It remains as relevant as ever and there’s never been a better time to head back to
Donkey Kong Country!