Looking Back – Donkey Kong Country

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time. Donkey Kong Country is one of my favorite games of the era and also one of the best series on the SNES. I’ll be dividing this into three parts, just so each game gets its fair share of attention. So, hit the jump and let’s reminiscence together…

I want to say that I got this game the Christmas it came out, way back when in ’94. I distinctly recall seeing ads for it, though. They simply amazed me. “Graphics this good on the SNES? No way!” I also remember the VHS tape they sent out. Donkey Kong Country: Exposed was the title, and I swear I watched that thing a good hundred or so times. Then, whenever I got the game, I played it for the first time and was blown away…

First, they hit you with nostalgia. The old Donkey Kong from the arcade/NES days is sitting atop the girders with an old-time-y record player. Then it gets silly, which was perfect for this game. You were a gorilla (with a chimpanzee partner) going around and punching lizards who stole your bananas. Silly.

And he can ride a rhino. Also silly.

After watching the intro, I finally got around to playing the game. It was everything I’d hoped for. The animations were smooth, the controls were nice and tight. The music was brilliant and fit the jungle theme. Secrets were everywhere, even in places you’d think would surely kill you.

How many of you made your first move in the game by going back into DK’s house, just because you could? I certainly did, and even today I feel weird if I skip that extra life, even if I don’t really need it. What about losing that extra life because you wanted to check a pit for a barrel? Been there, too. I’ve been playing this game since it came out and I’m still discovering new stuff just by doing a bit of research for this post.

Anyone else try to go back in the Banana Cave after you beat the game?

Considering how much I love this game, it pains me to see what’s happened to Rare today. A lot of good people left that company, then Microsoft bought them in 2002. Then the founders left and… Well, their latest game was Kinect Sports. That’s a hell of a fall from their golden age in the mid-90s, huh?

However, for all the love I’ve been giving Donkey Kong Country, it’s certainly not the best in the series.  It has its flaws, and I’ve personally never beaten the game (my mother did, being an avid gamer back then), unlike my personal favorite. Thanks for reading, guys. Part two will be up roughly a week after this one, just so the front page isn’t cluttered with DKC stuff. Take it easy, and have a good’un.

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