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One of Gaming's Greatest Sequels

  • Jun 30, 2010
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In 1994, Donkey Kong Country took the gaming world by storm with the release showing us just how pretty a game could be... and how fun.  It became a success.  By the end of its short life, Donkey Kong Country sold over 8 million copies worldwide, at one point even being packaged with the Super Nintendo.  So what was Developer RARE and Nintendo going to do for an encore?  Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.  Nearly everything that may have been a bit annoying about the first game was fixed.  What gamers were treated to was a sequel that blew its predecessor out of the water and was filled with lots of challenges secrets and even two endings.  For the Super Nintendo, Donkey Kong Country 2 was a marvelous gift.

The original Donkey Kong Country had Donkey and Diddy out to save the family bananas.  Apparently after suffering his loss, Kaptain K. Rool decided to come back and kidnap Donkey Kong.  It's up to Diddy to go and save his best friend.  Only he needs some help in order to do it, and so he's bringing along his girlfriend Dixie Kong for the ride.  The adventure that Diddy and Dixie go on is much more fluent and filled with a lot more dangers than the first game.  Ultimately what makes it better isn't exactly that there's more to do but that the levels are that much better designed. 

There are seven worlds to go through in Donkey Kong Country 2.  Your adventure begins on Kaptain K. Rool's ship.  You'll then cross the lava filled caves of Crocodile Cauldron, and then then swamps of Krem Quay and through the islands Krazy Kremland and shortly after that the Ghostly Woods.  Finally you'll go to K. Rool's Keep and later the Flying Croc Copter after a set of events take place.  Each world is filled with it's own set of levels, as well as some of the Kong family to help you along the way.  There's Cranky Kong who offers tips on specific levels (that are mostly useless), Wrinkly Kong who will save your progress at her Kong Kollege.  Then there's Funky Kong who allows you to fly a plane to any previous world you've visited.  Lastly there's Swanky Kong and he's mostly there to ask you trivia questions and will reward you with lives upon completing each trivia round.

These Kong's are in every world, usually breaking up most of the traveling between each level.  But to use each of their services you'll have to find tokens scattered throughout each level which can be exchanged to buy the services they provide (including to save your game, but complaining about this is rather silly seeing as how the banana tokens are quite liberally scattered).  This works for Donkey Kong Country 2. 

The levels themselves are very well designed.  This is, for the most part, standard platforming.  You'll begin at one end of the level and make your way to the other end to find the exit.  In Donkey Kong Country 2 it's an end of level target that holds a prize for those who hit it long enough. 

The design itself is simple.  It's the challenges in getting through the levels that can be tough.  The first world is pretty straightforward but once you get to Crocodile Cauldron things go up a notch.  The stuff that Diddy and Dixie go through is much more amusing to behold.  In one level, for instance, you've got to glide across lava on a hot air balloon making sure that you hover over specific places to keep it inflated.  In another you need the help of a fish to light the way for you.  Roller coaster rides, a deadly castle... the thrills throughout the game keep coming.  There's never really a dull moment.

The levels are also all full of goodies.  Each of Donkey Kong Country 2's levels (save for the epic boss fights) have bonus rooms.  Some levels have one others have two and rarely a level may have three.  Finding them and completing the challenge within awards you with a Kremkoin.  There are 75 in total and finding them all is the only way that you'll ever be able to do everything that Donkey Kong Country 2 has to offer.  It's how you'll find the secret Lost World (and each level cost 15 Kremkoins to access) and how you'll eventually discover the true ending to Donkey Kong Country 2.  It's amusing.  When I played the first Donkey Kong Country, I wondered what the point of all the bonus rooms was.  They were nice in terms of allowing gamers to explore, but I didn't like the idea of doing them for absolutely no reason.  I wasn't motivated to find everything through this method.  Donkey Kong Country 2 ensures that if you want to see everything the game has to offer, you'll have to explore every nook and cranny.

In each level there are also Hero Coins scattered.  These coins have a giant DK on them and there is one in each of the standard stages.  There are 40 in all (at least on the Super Nintendo, there are over 60 in the GBA reissue).  This is worth nothing more than bragging rights, really, but at least you can feel a better sense of accomplishment for finding them. 

It'll probably take you less than five hours to complete Donkey Kong Country 2 and do everything.  If you insist on going through just for the standard ending, it's not much.  There's lots of replay and a lot of challenges but it's pretty basic.  Nowadays a five hour game would draw criticism.  For the SNES days... this was actually considered quite long for a Non-RPG.  And there was plenty to do.  Donkey Kong Country 2 is mostly pivotal because it was just that much of a step above its predecessor.  The action and the adventure hardly slows down throughout the adventure. 

The big thing about the original Donkey Kong Country at the time of its release was graphics.  Here it's actually something of the same thing, except it's slightly more detailed.  There's a bit more on screen, but Donkey Kong Country 2 goes for a darker atmosphere overall.  The levels are darker and even the music goes for a darker more adventurous tone.  Simply put, it's not just prettier than the first one, but visually more absorbing.  There are also a few slight ante ups that make this a bit more absorbing visually.  The first is that there are just all around more details.  Even little ones such as steam or smoke rising from defeated enemies in the lava levels, the ripple effects in the swamps of Krem Quay or the beautiful art background in the bramble levels.  For a Super Nintendo game it's hard not to be wowed by just how much could be processed in one cartridge.  For gamers who were actually active in 1995 it might still be an impressive feat given the technological limitations of these older consoles.  The music is even better with some of the most memorable tunes the franchise has ever had.  It's just a well designed game.

In the end, Donkey Kong Country 2 may actually be the best of the series, sporting some of the most game-changing moments in the trilogy by really bringing the franchise to places that the first didn't lead us to believe it would go.  Hidden goodies, hidden worlds and expertly designed levels make Donkey Kong Country 2 well beyond it's predecessor. 

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June 30, 2010
Ah, now this is what I'm talking about! Classic gaming at its best. Another great review write-up!
More Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's... reviews
review by . September 27, 2010
Damn Dirty...Little Apes!
In 1994, Donkey Kong Country came out in conjunction with Rare and with it's impressive rendered 3D style graphics, sweet sounds and platforming, it was a huge hit.  It took a forgotten Nintendo character who was a villian, made him the hero of a platformer and gave him a sidekick to do battle against the Evil Commander K Rool, the Bowser to Donkey Kong's Mario.  K Rool had his army of Kremlings and have made off with Donkey Kong's Banannas.  It was a decent game with …
Quick Tip by . September 26, 2010
Lots to explore in this solid and superior sequel to the original Kongs quest but damn if they didn't go out of they're way to make a platformer tough.
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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InDonkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, the second installment of this superb series, you wage battle against Kaptain K. Rool and his vast army of Kremlings. The incredible Advanced Computer Modeling (ACM) graphics in this game have been specially optimized for the Game Boy. If you play this game with the Super Game Boy accessory for the Super NES, you'll have access to specially selected color palettes and custom border graphics.

As the story begins, K. Rool has kidnapped Donkey Kong, and he's demanding the entire Banana Hoard as ransom. It's up to Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong to rescue their kidnapped pal. A wild assortment of friendly animals like Rambi the Rhino, Squitter the Spider, Squawks the Parrot, Rattly the Rattlesnake, and Enguarde the Swordfish help the two little monkeys in their adventurous mission through over 40 levels. Each exciting area is filled with special traps, hidden items, and dastardly Kremlings.

People who have played Donkey Kong Country 2 on the Super NES will recognize many of the elements of this game. For example, Diddy Kong can do his signature cartwheel, and Dixie Kong can do her helicopter hair spin. And, you'll need to collect Kremcoins to be able to pass Klubba's Kiosk and get on to the Lost World. But, unlike the game's Super NES counterpart, one character cannot throw the other, and it's only a one-player game. Of course, you can always pause the game and hand it to a friend if you want some two-player...
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Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Rare Ltd.
Release Date: November 1995

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