David Wise and Eveline Fischer, the composers for the Donkey Kong Country series, are the masters of ambiance. Open your ears, I’ve found a musician on a mission to restore the series tracks to their uncompressed glory. If you love the originals, you’re in for a treat.
The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so.
We are one full week into The Games That Define Us, and it had been an incredible journey so far! Thank you to all the readers and contributors who are making this amazing event a reality! We truly appreciate your support.
Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.
Today’s blogger has such a big personality, I’m going to keep things brief and not hog the spotlight. You know him, you love him, it’s Justin from TWOTALL4UFOOL’s Gaming & More! He’s been a great blog friend for a while now, and he always keeps you entertained with his enthusiasm. We’re grateful to have him here, but once you’re done you should check out these recent posts on his blog:
Without further delay, take it away Justin with one of my favorite games on the SNES!
– Matthew, Normal Happenings
For you and yours!
Game: Donkey Kong Country
Release Date: November 21, 1994
This had to be the best Christmas gift I ever received as a kid. If I could go back in time, I would just want to watch younger me having a blast with Donkey Kong Country.
Blogging live to you and yours! It’s your boy TWOTALL4UFOOL!
It was probably summer when I first saw the commercial — sometime in 1994, though I have forgotten the exact month. By then I would have had my Super NES for about three years. I either got it at launch, or if not, definitely my seventh birthday shortly after launch — sometime in 1991. Since having it I was having fun with the games I had. Some I had asked for. Other games were given to me as a gift. And then, of course, the rental games I would play on it from Blockbuster Video. Whatever game I was playing on it I made the best of. But even at a young age I knew some games were definitely better than others. And to be honest when I look back on it I feel the Super NES was just on an even plateau with the Sega Genesis until I saw this commercial. This game was going to change everything! Take a look below.
After seeing that commercial, I knew that had to be the next game I got for my Super NES. I didn’t know how or when I was going to get it, but I knew that had to be my next game for this console. I instantly fell in love with the game and I didn’t even have it. I didn’t even know too much about Donkey Kong to tell you the truth. I knew that he was the main villain in the Donkey Kong arcade game and that there was GameBoy version of that game that game that came out earlier in the year. And I also knew a character by the name of Donkey Kong Jr. was playable in Super Mario Kart. So I had an idea of who Donkey Kong was, I just didn’t know the whole back story at the time.
This had to be the only game I ever wanted instantly after watching a TV commercial for it! I just wanted it. I didn’t want to rent it. I didn’t want to read reviews on it. I just wanted the box so I could rip that thing open and start playing it and read the instruction booklet before I went to bed. I think the commercial did everything in terms of selling me on the game.
Where you gonna find it?
Not on Sega!
Not on 32x Adapters!
Not on CD-Rom!
It’s only for Super NES!
And if you look at those graphics. During that time, those had to be some of the sweetest graphics I had ever seen. Another thing that sold me on the game after watching the commercial. I was blown away by the commercial to say the least. And I was thrilled that it was only for the Super NES! It was a direct shot at Sega, I feel, because it didn’t need any CD adapter or 32x adapter to play a game of this caliber. All you needed was Super NES.
Now if I had gotten this game for my tenth birthday that would make this the perfect story. But since the game came out November 21st (19 days after my birthday) I had to wait a little bit longer. Instead, I got it for Christmas. This had to be the best Christmas gift I ever received as a kid. If I could go back in time, I would just want to watch younger me having a blast with Donkey Kong Country. I knew beating the game would be no easy task, but if I could beat Super Mario World I knew I had a chance at beating this game.
For those of you have never played Donkey Kong Country, here is how the game works. It’s a platformer similar to a Mario game. Donkey Kong can either jump or do a roll at his enemies for them to be defeated. However this won’t work on all enemies. For more complicated enemies, you can throw barrels at them and they can be defeated. Speaking of barrels, if you come across a DK Barrel, you’ll get your sidekick Diddy Kong. You can switch between the two as you please. Diddy Kong can also jump on enemies and do cartwheels, knocking enemies out. Going through the level, if you got hit once that would be it. But if you have both Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong whoever you are controlling will run off then you take over as the other. There are multiple DK barrels throughout the level so you would have a chance to get your Kong buddy before beating the level.
You start out with 5 lives, with the opportunity to get more for every 100 bananas, finding DK Balloons, or reaching bonus levels within each level. Reaching Candy Kong would be the only way to save your game. Funky Kong will allow you to go back to worlds that you had already beaten. And Cranky Kong gives you “helpful” advice on how to get through the game. You also have animal buddies that help you throughout the adventure as well. They are in certain levels throughout the game and can also be used in various bonus levels. At the end of each world you face a boss, and after you get through the six worlds, you fight the main villain in the game — King K. Rool, leader of the Kremlings.
Now, when I started the first world that was nothing out of the ordinary. I was able to pass the first level and first world with flying colors. It was when I got to the second world is where the trouble began. Mine Cart Carnage was the first level I struggled with during this game. That level is fun, but not an easy task in the slightest. It takes perfect timing to spell KONG, jump over all the carts, and not get hit by Kremlings in other carts coming right at you. The Stop & Go Station was another unique level. The concept that you couldn’t kill those baddies at all — you could only go by them when the barrel light was on stop — was something very unique and had never been done in any video game at the time.
Moving on the more memorable levels in the game: when I reached the fourth world (Gorilla Glacier), the level Snow Barrel Blast was so complicated. Not only was it slippery because of the ice, but thick snow coming down in that level makes it impossible to see. The other level in that world that I remember well had to be Torchlight Trouble. This is the only level where Squawks the Parrot made an appearance by holding the torchlight for you to see. Moving on to the fifth world, Kremkroc Industries, I went through some of the hardest levels the game had to offer. Elevator Antics, Mine Cart Madness and arguably the hardest level in the game, Poison Pond. I had met kids who had quit the game because they couldn’t pass Poison Pond. It is a complicated level, but your animal buddy Enguarde the Swordfish makes it a bit less complicated.
In the sixth and final world, Chimp Caverns, there is a level called Loopy Lights. It’s similar to the Stop & Go Station where you have to keep the lights on in the level. Another one that frustrated me quite a bit was Platform Perils. This is the last level you do before fighting that world boss. Looking back at the most of these levels, they each have a unique stipulation. You didn’t really see that too much in other platformers during that time, such as Mario or Sonic games game. Donkey Kong Country sure broke barriers, and I feel rewrote the rules on what a good platformer video game looks like.
Fighting King K. Rool wasn’t easy. Besides throwing his crown at you, you had to time his jumps and be in the right place at the right time or you were a goner. I remember when I first thought I beat him and then the credits rolled and after the credits were done rolling he got back up and just killed me out of nowhere. That was so wrong! But I stayed patient and calm and eventually defeated him. What can I say? That game was a wild ride — one that I never get tired of playing.
Here is how this game defines me. It came out during the prime of my childhood. I saw a commercial for it. I didn’t read reviews, or rent it. I just saw it, asked for the game, got it, and beat it! It took me a while to beat it but it eventually happened. I never looked at video games the same again after beating Donkey Kong Country. It helped me realize that all video games are beatable (with the exception of sports games, I guess). It helped me look at some of the games I had played previously and had never beaten. One of those games was Super Mario Bros. 3., which I would eventually go on to beat in the Super Mario All-Stars compilation. And I don’t think I would’ve had the smarts to get through that game without getting through Donkey Kong Country first.
Overall, I couldn’t think of a better game that defines me and my video game playing skills than Donkey Kong Country. It is one of my all time favorites. When it came out, there was no game like it, and I don’t think there will ever be another game like it. The only sequel I feel comes close is Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. That game could arguably be better in overall gameplay than the original. There’s only one thing that’s missing, though: Donkey Kong. We love you Dixie, but I feel they could’ve found some way to make Donkey Kong playable. And I still think it’s a robbery that game wasn’t on the SNES Classic Edition. But Nintendo knows they would’ve messed up if they didn’t include the first game on there. If you haven’t played Donkey Kong Country, I highly encourage you to do so. And think of your boy as you play!
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