I recently finished “Donkey Kong Country Returns”. It took about a week, but I kind of rushed so I could get to some new Playstation 2 games I recently got. So naughty.
Anyway, I was very excited that they finally made a Donkey Kong Country game again. Poor Donkey Kong hasn’t had many good games ever since Rareware stopped making them about 10 years ago or so. What I believe to be the last decent Donkey Kong game before this one is “Donkey Kong 64”, but the very best are “DK Country 1” and “DKC2” (3 was not quite as great), made around 1994 and 1995, I believe. But, as I said, after “DK64”, Rareware started working for Microsoft rather than Nintendo and could no longer make Donkey Kong games. Oh, what a dark day that was.
But, enough of that, even though this important information will no doubt end up in history textbooks someday. You’re welcome for the lesson. Finally, along came “DKC Returns”, made by Retro Studios, who used to make Metroid (I don’t know if they still do). I wondered if they could make a game to rival the originals, and alas, they did! Oh, happy day! DK fans rejoice!
So as you can tell, this game was a delight. It is very fun, with lovely graphics. The backgrounds are so detailed. The game is side-scrolling like the originals, and Donkey can now do a ground pound to stun enemies, break things, etc. and blow on things like dandelion fluff and candles to get items and put out the fire on flaming enemies. When you get Diddy, he rides on DK’s back and uses his jetpack to help you jump farther. You can also collect puzzle pieces to unlock things like concept art, which is fun. I unlocked very few so far. And instead of one hit per Kong, it’s two hits each before you die. Despite this, the game was still quite a challenge, but you can use Super Guide to get you through areas you simply can’t do. (I only used it for small bits twice, never a whole level.)
There are also some songs from the original games, which filled me with much glee. My favorite song is the factory music from “DKC 1”. There are still mine cart levels, too,TreeTopTown, a factory, the jungle. Two of the animal friends returned, as well, Rambi the rhino and Squawks the parrot. You can still ride Rambi and go on a destructive rampage, but Squawks just helps you find puzzle pieces now. He used to carry you around, which didn’t make sense how a large parrot could tote around a gorilla and a chimp and shoot yellow things that looked like cheetohs but weren’t from his mouth, but still.
The Kremlings, Donkey’s banana-stealing crocodile enemies throughout all of the original DKC games and DK64, plus a few newer ones, did not return, but were replaced by banana-stealing tikis. I would’ve preferred the Kremlings, but the tikis are actually a fine replacement. They can also apparently hypnotize people (well, animals), except not Donkey for some reason. How convenient.
Still no mini sheep. What’s going on?! The tikis are cute, though. My favorite is the one that you see in the first cut scene in the game and is on the right side of the cover.
Now I have some questions about Donkey Kong and his bananas. He lives in a jungle where you would think banana trees must be quite abundant, so why do people keep stealing his bananas and not just pick their own? And why does Donkey go on these dangerous quests just to get back his bananas when he, too, could just pick his own again and start a new hoard? Why does he even need a banana hoard? It’s more than he can eat. Is he greedy? Does he have a mental disorder? Is he someday going to end up on that “Buried Alive” TV show about hoarders? Does his disorder stress out DK’s friends and family like it does to people in real life? Are they enablers or do they, too, think that hoarding bananas in a jungle is a normal thing to do? Last of all, is it normal for me to attempt a deep psychological analysis of a fictional ape? We may never know.
By the way, my picture of Xigbar is done. He’s on the Fan Art page, if you want to check it out….
Edit: Forget to mention, Mr. Game makes a small appearance in this game. I won’t tell you where, but watch out for him….