I’ve fondly remembered DKC. I’ve rambled on like a madman about DKC 2. Now, it’s time to hit up the last one and bring this mini-series of Looking Back posts to a close. Just click that link and let’s get on with this silliness.
DKC3 was the last ‘traditional’ Donkey Kong game we’d see for quite some time. Part of me thinks that Rare knew this, as they may have been developing Donkey Kong 64 at the time, and decided to make this one stand out, just like DKC2 did for the original. Unfortunately, that may not have been the best choice…
Like the game before it, the old Kong is gone and replaced by a new one. However, the new Kong seems – to me at least – like an incredibly clunky Donkey Kong, as opposed to something new. Also like DKC2, this one took place in a whole different environment, which was more like the original game’s ‘themeless’ jungle isle. Except instead of a jungle, this appeared to take place in fantasy Canada or somesuch.
And, of course, we got a lot of old and new characters, which played a much larger role than in the previous games. Aside from the usual save points and mini-games and whatnot, you had the Brothers Bear, who ran shops and often sold or traded goods to you. Looking at it now, it seemed sort of forced… I mean, the other two games – while more linear in terms of level progression – got along just fine without quirky side characters giving you crap. Did I mention I don’t care for them that much?
The aesthetics didn’t stand out that much to me, either. It was pretty, but it lacked the creativity and atmosphere of the second game. The music was okay, but it couldn’t stand up against the pirate-y themes or stuff like Jungle Japes. The Brothers looked wonky, enemy designs were changed (sometimes for the better), and we had a whole new host of animal buddies… But it just didn’t feel right.
Maybe it’s because of my love of all things pirate-y that I loved DKC2 so much. Maybe I just don’t like the redwood/fantasy Canada feel of it. Maybe I just flat-out don’t like that feel at all, who knows? I didn’t like it in DKC3. I didn’t like it in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King’s Grizzly Hills. I don’t know, it just feels like something has changed so, so much about the series between the two games.
Keep in mind, for all its flaws, it’s still a good game. It’s not a great game and it’s sure as hell not a good sequel to DKC2, but… It deserves more credit than what I give it. So, with that, I’m going to finally wrap up this series that’s been a good two or so months in the making. If you haven’t played these games, do yourself a favor:
Go out. Play them. If ignoring everything I’ve said enriches the experience for you, then do that. This is a truly magnificent series even if I don’t like the third one that much. These are probably some of the best games of the era and you owe it to yourself to play them. Finally, I just want to thank each and every one of you who have put up with my inconsistent-as-sin updates, who keep coming back to read these things, and who have commented. To all of you folks out there, thanks for reading, and have a good’un.