Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Look to the Past: Games of the Years 1994 - Donkey Kong Country


Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

It really is a shame that Rare no longer has control over the Donkey Kong license. Nowadays the once-memorable gorilla spends his hours starring in bad kart racers and getting cameos in good kart racers; but back in 1994, he was king of the jungle.  Lots and lots of barrels, bananas and... my alliteration has failed me, so lets go with mine carts. Lots of barrels, bananas and mine carts inhabited the well-designed levels of Donkey Kong Country, and it brought a new take to the platformer world with good looks to spare. "An Incredible 3-D Adventure in The Kingdom of Kong!" proudly advertised the box art; and it wasn't far off from the mark. While still sprite-based, the game did use pre-rendered 3D graphics, which alone amounts to a certain legacy. Luckily the gameplay was also ridiculously refined, so you have only yourself to blame if you lose every one of your red life balloons (unless, of course, an underwater level did you in; that's understandable).

A gorilla riding a rhinoceros charging a beaver! It's a real jungle out there! 

I know I tend to promote music a lot, but this time I really, really mean it: Donkey Kong Country's music was uber-fantastic, or I'm a monkey's uncle! Oh, wordplay... the two of us get along well. Some songs even feature samples of monkey noises for percussion! Extremely good stuff. Even with the established and popular Mario and Sonic out there, Donkey Kong proved that he can make his own room in a crowded genre of heavy-hitters. And it's not only the platformers that DK bested; major contenders such as Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and Final Fantasy VI were forced to give way. And yes, I'm sorry Final Fantasy fans; whether or not you debate this to the grave, I'm not giving up my monkeys. Not even for an army of moogles. Ah yes, if only Donkey Kong could climb out of the empty banana hoard of despair and climb the palm tree of success once more...

Hm? What's that...?

Wait... what?

Retro Studios is making WHAT?

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