One of my favorite series from the olden days was Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, a trilogy that spanned from 1994-1996 (remember back when games from a series were released yearly?). My favorite game of the series, and of the SNES in general, was Donkey Kong Country 2. It was super fun. You got to play as Diddy and Dixie on the island home of the naughty Kremlings. And there were pirates. What could possibly be better than that? Nothing. And now I present you with my top ten songs from one of my favorite games of all time. Continue reading The Top Songs from DKC2
Just recently, I noticed that I had a bunch of posts for top songs that had been sitting around on my computer, feeling quite neglected indeed, so I thought I’d better dust them off and get them posted. One series that needed some musical love is the Donkey Kong Country series on the Super Nintendo. This series sported some awesome gameplay, the best graphics the old SNES had to offer, and some pretty nifty, neato music. That’s right, it was nifty and neato. So behold, my favorite songs from the original Donkey Kong Country! Continue reading The Top Songs from DKC
I had trouble getting into the first Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii, but with the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, I decided to give the series one, final chance, and I take it all back. Retro Studios has done a wonderful job bringing Donkey Kong back, and the music is just one of the many areas they have succeeded. So below, I have listed my top five songs from the newest Donkey Kong Country on the Wii U. Continue reading Top Songs from DKC: Tropical Freeze
As you may very well be aware of, I have complained a good deal about the fairly recent Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii. It’s way too hard, I feel silly shaking the controller around (though, I do with all Wii games, so that’s nothing new), and it lacks the feel and the charm of the original Super Nintendo games. Due to all this unhappiness I felt towards the game, I had my doubts about getting the sequel on the Wii U, Tropical Freeze, but I had some money to spare and decided to give it a chance. And I am now forced to eat my words.
Now, I don’t really need to get into tons of detail about this game. It’s a simple concept, as it’s a platformer. We know what those are. And many of us have played Donkey Kong. It’s a platformer involving lots of apes and a monkey (Diddy is the only monkey I know of). And so I’d just like to focus this post on what this game does so right and why I finally believe Retro Studios has done a commendable job bringing back a series from 20 years ago that I used to adore. I will always have a special place in my heart for the original games on the SNES and will always feel they are far better, but any gamer that has been playing for more than a few years knows how strong nostalgia can be. And I accept that I can’t always compare games to those I loved many years ago. Continue reading The Duck Apologizes to Retro Studios
“Banjo-Kazooie” and “Donkey Kong 64” are two games I really enjoy for the N64, and My Two Caps discusses the good and bad aspects of both. An interesting read.
Sana requested a post in which I tell you guys about what I like in video games and what’s not my cup of tea. Sounds fun. Thanks for the idea! Here I go!
The things I like are pretty obvious. Of course, a game must be fun, but what makes some games stand out from others is when they have a good story and good characters. These are pretty important. That’s why I love games from the Kingdom Hearts and Jak and Daxter series so much. Good stories, awesome characters. And lots of fun. The cut scenes are often as much fun as the game. They get a very special place in my heart. Like a nice apartment. With a view. Because I can’t fit houses in my heart. I still, of course, like games that don’t have good plots, or plots at all, such as those from the Mario or Donkey Kong series because they are still fun and creative. They are just not quite as special to me. But, still special. They get a slightly less nice apartment in my heart.
Good graphics and music are always nice, but not super important. Good, or at least, not bad dialogue helps, too. Other things that make me happy are when you have a lot of places to explore, items to collect, new moves to learn, which is why I like Metroid games better than Halo, even though both are awesome. In Metroid, you get upgraded weapons and moves as you play and can collect things to upgrade your health and missile capacity. Plus, there are many places to explore. Unique ideas are fun, too. In “Okami”, for example, you drew things with a brush, which was neat.
I also like when you can save often enough, don’t have to redo a lot when you die, and can skip cut scenes. “Kingdom Hearts”, for example, made you rewatch cut scenes, and it was annoying. Square Enix must have realized how annoying it was because you get to skip them now. I also like when games are a challenge, but not ridiculous. I hate absurdly hard games.
Specifically, my favorite games are platformers, RPG’s, and other such things with action or exploring or whatever.
Now for the things I hate. These are the things that will cause me to sell or not even buy a game. One is dirtiness. Some games think that because they’re rated M, they need to have as many bad things as they’re allowed. When I was looking at new games for the XBox 360, the only games that looked good were rated M, so I checked the back, and they had things I didn’t want. So I’m not even going to try them. What’s nice about the Halo series is all they have is violence and a little bit of swearing. Being rated M, they could have more, but there is no dirty things and minimal swearing. In fact, “Halo: Reach” doesn’t even have swearing. I’m proud of you, Bungie. On the other end of the spectrum, I don’t like super corny games. I can only handle a small amount of corn.
I was also kept from getting a game because I heard it had a limited number of saves. That would be so annoying. I also hate it in games when you can’t save at all.
I also hate bad controls, like when the camera won’t obey you or you can’t control it at all, and you often die just because you can’t see where you’re going. I also hate that “Sonic and the Secret Rings” is only hard because the controls are so bad. They tried something new, where Sonic is always moving, and you tilt the Wii remote left or right to go left or right, forward to speed up, and back to slow down. I think you can make Sonic stop, but it’s hard. I feel like I have very little control over him. It’s very aggravating.
This next thing is tolerable or horrible, depending on what game it is. I don’t like when games have battles start randomly. Most games, you can see the enemies and choose if you want to fight. In games like “Final Fantasy X” and “Quest 64”, you never know when a battle may start because you can’t see any enemies. You’re just walking, and then suddenly you have to fight things and can’t easily get away. In the former game, though, it’s a good game so it doesn’t bother me as much, but the latter is already not a great game, and this is pretty much the worst part of it.
Also, like I said, I hate super hard games. I really hate them. It’s bad enough that the final bosses of “Vexx” and “Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep” are insane, but when a whole game is a chore… No way. I also hate having to do stupid things or you can’t move on, such as beating the super annoying “Donkey Kong Arcade” in “Donkey Kong 64” not once, but twice, in order to get a necessary item. I also hate when you must fight zillions of enemies or when they take super long to kill. All this fuels the duck’s feathery rage.
The types of games I dislike are sports, really simple games like pinball or Pacman, and fighting games that aren’t “Super Smash Brothers” and racing games other than “Jak X” or “F-Zero”.
And now, the things that simply disappoint me. For one thing, when things don’t feel complete. In the 2006 version of “Sonic the Hedgehog”, it was a good game, but they left some things unfinished. For example, things would fall in the water without a splash. Such a simple thing to fix. I felt like they sold the game before they were completely done with it.
I am also disappointed by bad graphics and bad music, but that’s not a big deal. I am saddened when games are too short, especially good ones.
I also don’t like bad dialogue and skimpy outfits. Too skimpy, and this nears the Bad. I also don’t like when you get to the end of the game and aren’t allowed to return to previous areas, like in “Okami” and “Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier”. I don’t mind when it’s a kind of game where there’s nothing to collect, but in these, there is, and I couldn’t go back for what I missed.
I also don’t like when they think they’re too cool. I’m talking to you, Sonic. And the characters in “Jak X”. I don’t think they were as obnoxious in the previous games….
Well, there you go.
An Opinionated Duck
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….
I think too much. But, I don’t know if it’s in a good way. You see, I couldn’t solve a mystery if my life depended on it, but I do think of things few others would. Mainly, this shows up in video games. I come up with questions the creators never thought anyone would care about. They may not have even thought of these things in the first place. Why? Because they’re not important, and yet I ponder them anyway. So I made a list of some of the silly things I’ve thought of. Let’s see if any of you guys can solve these mysteries.
1. First of all, and this is one of the most bothersome. It is so mysterious that it competes with the question of why Yoda from Star Wars talks so weird. Well, maybe not, but here it is. Tell me now, who is the mother of Bowser’s kids? You know, from the Mario games. Who could it possibly be? They just throw in some Bowser spawn with no explanation, way back in Super Mario World, I think. What female turtle beast had those kids? Where is she now? Huh? It is so simple, and yet we will probably never know!
2. F-Zero, a racing game, appears to have some racetracks over cities. I’m pretty sure at least one does. How unsafe! If there is a crash, and there are, these vehicles that can go upwards of 400 km/h are going to come screaming towards the surface like tiny, but still horrifying meteors. Every time you go over the side in that game, do you think of all the carnage caused, lives that were lost, buildings destroyed, etc. by your recklessness? No. No, you probably don’t.
3. Now this one’s a bit more obscure, so I’ll explain. In Hunter: The Reckoning, there are certain people that can see the dead. Apparently, things look normal until someone witnesses a death, and then they can suddenly see the world for what it really is. Gasp, zombies walk among us, and we didn’t even know! But, how does that work? It makes sense from the hunters’ point of view, but what about those unable to see the horrors around them? Do they see seemingly ordinary people shuffling about, awkwardly trying to attack others with their normal-appearing, but actually rotten, zombie limbs? What about the gargoyles? Do they look like regular humans to most people? Do they not notice when these statues just go missing one day? It’s bugged me. It shouldn’t, but it does.
4. There’s also something in Final Fantasy XIII that I don’t understand. You should probably skip this if you don’t want spoilers (well, not big spoilers, but still). Anyway, for those of you who haven’t played, it’s probably very confusing, but I’ll keep it simple. Some powerful creatures called the Fal’Cie can make humans into L’Cie, who are forced to complete a Focus within a certain amount of time, or they’ll turn into a monster called a Cieth. I am made to believe that all humans died off on Pulse (a planet, I guess) quite a while back. Maybe I’m wrong. But, if not, I don’t understand something. All those unlucky Cieth, after being Cieth for a while, turn into Cieth Stones and are forever tormented with the thought that they failed their Focus. It seems they were charged with killing tough creatures throughout Pulse, which your characters can then go defeat. But, that brings me to my question. How are these creatures still alive and in the same location all this time? After all these years, you’d think the creatures would be dead, or at least, would have walked somewhere else. But, that’s just me.
5. Now, this one’s a spoiler for Jak II, so don’t read if you don’t want…spoilers. Anyway, this is something also very confusing, and it has to do with time travel. Yeah, that’s already confusing in itself, but there’s another issue I have. When Jak, the main character, was a child, he was sent back to the past to be kept safe. This is the time frame of the first game, during which the bad guys, Gol and Maia, set out to flood the world with Dark Eco (which is a very bad thing) and take over the world. But, since it was Jak that stopped them, wouldn’t they have taken over the world before it ever got to the time period where Jak was born in the first place? You would think that this would keep Jak from being born in the future, and thus prevent him from being sent to the past, where he defeats the two. Without Jak to stop them originally, they would have taken over already and Jak may never have been born and sent back to the stop them! How could this be?!
I’m also bothered by the minor fact that they say Diddy of Donkey Kong is a chimp, even though he’s not because chimps don’t have tails. At least, I don’t think so. Anyway…
I’m not crazy.
An Over-Analytical Duck
Anyone ever heard of the 100 theme challenge? It can be for writing or art (maybe anything, really), and there are 100 words or phrases that you use for inspiration. I did it for art a little over two years ago, before I started making pictures on Photoshop. It was fun, but I did all fan art and started to hurry through it. Very silly thing to do. But, if done properly, methinks it could really help someone with creative ideas. Open some metaphorical doors in the mind.
Perhaps I should try it again. I was considering using it to inspire some little stories, and maybe those stories could turn into bigger things. Maybe it’ll even help with the novel I currently have occasionally simmering in my mind. Don’t know yet, but I am at least pretty sure this challenge can help me come up with ideas I might never have thought of otherwise. Hooray for inspiration!
Anyway, I don’t really like most of the pictures I did, but there were a few decent things that came from the challenge:
For #8. Innocence, I drew Meta Knight threatening Kirby, while clueless Kirby offers him a flower. Cute, I guess.
For #12. Insanity, I drew ZiM in his old man costume screaming at the sight of the Madness Dog.
For #27. Foreign, I drew ZiM on the street holding a sign that says, “I sure am a foreign kid who loves Earth!” (It would make sense if you saw the show. Because ZiM’s an alien… Never mind.)
And #64. Mutitasking, ZiM is stealing a classmate’s brain while taking a test. (Again, you have to see the show. Specifically the episode where he steals classmates’ organs. “Dark Harvest”, I think.)
Wow, a lot of Invader ZiM stuff. Mostly, there was Invader ZiM, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Rayman, Banjo-Kazooie, and Kingdom Hearts. Like I said, all fan art. And they sound really lame when I explain them. I really need to do better next time, if there is a next time. …I wonder if someone could use the themes for creative snacks. It’s the #58. Kick in the Head snack! Now it’s the #97. Safety First snack!
The Duck Times 100
I’ve worked sporadically (that’s right, I said sporadically) on drawing my whole life, but never as much as I do now. I remember it as if it was a while ago. Apparently I even drew things when I was very young, but what I’ve seen from my babyhood are horrific, nightmarish things. What was going through my pea-sized mind? Who knows, because I don’t remember that far back.
The earliest I do remember right now was drawing all these silly Donkey Kong and Banjo-Kazooie characters because it’s what I liked at the time (and still do) and because I saw fan art of the characters on the Internet. I wanted to draw things like the fan art, but I eventually gave up when they kept turning out unsatisfactory. What sort of quality can you expect from a child, but I had high expectations. And so I gave up. I know, silly thing to do, and I wish I hadn’t.
But anyway, that’s not the end to my un-inspirational tale. No, as I said before, I realized, gosh, golly oh crap (forgive my swearing), but I really wanted to learn how to draw. Like, really. So, like I mentioned before, I started just copying pictures. I copied concept art and some screenshots from games, mainly from Jak and Daxter and Kingdom Hearts. It didn’t start off great, but I improved. A lot. My copies were becoming near perfect to the originals. And I tried my hand at colored pencils, too. Started looking rather good after a bit of practice. I was quite proud of myself.
So one day, a few months shy of four years ago, I decided enough copying! I wanted to draw my own things! I started drawing humans (Kingdom Hearts characters, mostly) sometimes in my notebook. Terrible things. But, when I started drawing in my new little sketch pad, it felt official, so I started drawing more and more often. The drawings still weren’t good yet, but I finally improved as far as I could for the time being and went on to draw a whole variety of things. And then about a year and a half ago, I realized once again I wasn’t getting anywhere anymore, so I started making pictures to draw on Photoshop. I started sketching with an actual purpose in mind. And now, I can finally draw decent people, and I’m working on getting better. The hard work certainly paid off, and I just recently figured out how to draw a whole bunch more expressions, too.
So I guess it’s never too late to start something you care about. And I got this photo reference book recently, so watch out world! The duck doesn’t need to do poses in front of the mirror much anymore! Some of those poses were hard to hold. And draw at the same time. Ow!
Oh, and I’m on sketch pad #12 now. In case you were wondering. And I added a picture to the top today. It’s the Ducky! Yay!
The Duck that Draws, Indeed