Each month the Cinelinx staff will write a handful of articles covering a specified gaming-related topic, similar to our Movielinx series on the film side of things. These articles will be notified by the Gamerlinx banner. Gamerlinx is an exploration and discussion of our personal connections with video games. This month, we’re putting the focus solely on Nintendo’s gaming consoles, and exploring the best exclusive titles (throughout all generations both handheld and home console) to be released on their platforms. Join us in our discussion all month long, and share your thoughts with us!
I first played Donkey Kong Country 2 when I was very little. A childling. I initially remember thinking it was really cool that there was a playable female Kong. My young mind took note that female characters can be badass too. I mean, Donkey Kong was kidnapped and Dixie was a cool enough girlfriend to help Diddy rescue him! Where was Candy Kong? Flirting with Funky no doubt. Anyway. It was also cool that Donkey Kong was kept in the game, it’s just this time he’s our damsel.
Donkey Kong Country 2 isn’t just a flat out platformer. It can be if you want it to be, you aren’t obliged (as if) to chase down all of the collectable letters, Kremcoins, bonus levels, secret levels and snippets of game lore cleverly utilised in an in-game gameshow. But if you enjoy a game with more depth, DKC2 caters to that very need.
The game encourages and rewards you for exploration. Sometimes it can be a simple case of invisible bananas that are only revealed when you jump at an obscure area, leading you to more hidden goodies, sometimes it can be clever curiosity and a keen eye.
DKC2 isn’t exactly slow paced, infact it is rather frantic, so while you handle the challenge of being a Kremcoin hunting pro, you also have to navigate various obstacles and enemies simultaneously. Another dynamic is added to the gameplay through various levels when Diddy and Dixie gain an animal ally. Squitter the spider is particularly interesting, he can shoot webs which open up and become a platform and you can use them anywhere! Plus he’s a spider wearing trainers. I hate that snake though. Damn you Rattly.
To this day I still look at the scenery in DKC2 and swoon. Seeing such detail and imagination in a game of the mid 90’s was pretty “Rare” at this point. Donkey Kong Country 1 was one of the first games ever to use pre-rendered 3D graphics, it’s successor carrying the pioneering technology with it. The character’s idle animations seemed way ahead of their time, very expressive yet natural.
The beautiful visuals were matched by the soundtrack. Oh my glob. David Wise’s melodic and ever mood-shifting music took DKC2 from being great, REALLY great. His soundtrack evolves through the game with you, making the levels feel immersive and really setting the tone. Having such a talented musician with such great ability to produce and match a wide range of themes, completely makes me love DKC2 that much more.
Enemies in DKC are really great. In a lot of other games, even modern ones, enemy mobs are somewhat of an accessory to the game. Nameless. Just something that you kill. But I admire the level of detail put into the enemies in all of the Donkey Kong holy trinity. They have personality, or so it seems, and some of them make really funny noises when they die. (Sorry to be gross, but one time in adulthood I laughed so hard at someones fart because it sounded like one of those beetles (Click-Clacks) when you jump on them.)
I feel humour is something that is forgotten sometimes in games, but it is always a pretty important factor to me. The Donkey Kong games always managed to make me laugh, even if the humour was rather subtle.
When it comes down to it, I really just freaking love the Donkey Kong Country SNES series as a whole. The things I have said about Donkey Kong Country 2 can be applied to the two other games too, but DKC2 resonated with me more.
There are plenty of other SNES classics that were also great and deserve to be talked about (Battletoads you sexy game) but the Donkey Kong series, for me, outshines them all. I hope you have enjoyed the read and would love to hear about your favourite Nintendo exclusives too!