Donkey Kong Country [Game Review]

Video Game Review: Donkey Kong Country | Nintendo | SNES |

Title: Donkey Kong Country
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 
November 21, 1994
How we got the game: 
We have the game on the Nintendo SNES Classic

Donkey Kong Country probably makes up some of my earliest memories of video games. It was one of the few games that our older sister played, with her mostly in control of the player one controller, and it was a fun activity for me to join her in. Hearing that this game made it on the SNES Classic’s roster wasn’t a big surprise to me.

I remember watching Kris and our other sister play this when we were kids. If I remember correctly, I think our Dad might have played a couple of times as well. Whenever I played I was also Diddy and never did very well, but it was still fun nonetheless.gameplay

Donkey Kong Country had some simple gameplay in terms of the controls. The D-Pad allows you to move left or right through the levels, and you had your basic jump and run buttons as well. Along with speeding up, the Y button allows you to pick up items, like barrels, to toss at enemies. Both Donkey Kong and Diddy, the two playable characters, had similar controls, but Donkey Kong was stronger and Diddy was quicker.

Donkey Kong was able to defeat certain enemies while Diddy was useless against them. Meanwhile, Diddy was faster especially in the underwater levels. All the levels were well done, each world catering to different types of biomes, if you will, such as jungles, wintery scenes, caves and mines, and more. The levels are pretty straightforward though they can be tricky.

Throughout the levels, there were sometimes other animals that were allies of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. A speedy ostrich, a strong rhino, a flashlight-carrying parrot… They’re all helpful additions and fun to see. They’re included in the bonus stages, each one able to collect tokens to help bolster your life count after you collect three golden pieces in their shape to access the bonus stage. Other bonus stages are hidden throughout the levels, most helping you collect more bananas or extra life balloons.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Throughout some of the levels, there are hidden shortcuts as well. After completing a bonus stage, you’ll often get placed right back where you were or sometimes a little further into the level. There are some shortcuts that allow you to skip parts of the level – sometimes just about half of the level.

Some of our favorite shortcuts were the ones that allowed us to skip half of the level, haha! Donkey and Diddy weren’t the only Kongs in the game, considering they had half of their family playing important roles as well. Candy Kong was in charge of the save points and Funky Kong flew DK and Diddy to other worlds if need be. Cranky Kong gave out advice, if one deigned to ask him.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I would actually be interested in playing as them. I think that would be fun. (Super Smash with just the Kongs, anyone?) The map outside of the levels was straight forward, a Diddy or DK icon on the completed level showing off who was the one who

The graphics of Donkey Kong seem to have held up well throughout the years. Being over twenty years old, the designs of the levels and characters are still well done enough to make the game fun without being annoying or frustrating. Sure, there are the occasional glitches here or there while playing, but for the most part, the graphics were still nice and nostalgia-inducing.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
If anything, the glitches made us laugh. But yeah, the graphics have certainly held up well and I think the level designs were great and aesthetically pleasing.

The music is some of the best, in my opinion, for Nintendo games. Donkey Kong has some iconic music, and every tune matched the levels well.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
This is the kind of music that I hum to myself in the shower or randomly get stuck in my head! I absolutely love it and wish I had the soundtrack. The sound effects are also great. I love the sound of collecting the bananas or the klaptraps’ (the little crocodile guys) mouths chomping.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The banana horde has been taken! DK asks Diddy to keep an eye on the bananas, but he’s attacked and trapped inside a barrel. When DK comes back, he frees Diddy and then together they go off on a journey to get their bananas back.

…That’s it. The story is simple enough, prompting Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong traversing through multiple worlds to find King K. Rool, the fiend behind the banana hoard theft. Considering how many bananas are littered throughout the worlds, K. Rool didn’t do a very good job.


This is a game that we’ve gone back to once in a while, even if it’s purely for nostalgia reasons. There are a few modes to play — single-player, two-player cooperative, and two-player versus — when it comes to completing the levels and game, so that’s not too bad.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
We’ve come back to this game a couple of times within the past few years – we have it on the SNES Classic now, but we also have it on our Wii from the virtual console. It’ll definitely be a game we go back to again.

Donkey Kong Country gets…
5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Readers Comments (9)

  1. Have you played the second one? If you loved this one, then you are in for a treat with the sequel. I think it’s the greatest 2-D platformer ever.

  2. I feel Donkey Kong Country 2 also should’ve been on the SNES Classic. But this game I would have to say is my favorite SNES game hands down. The adventure is great, gameplay great, graphics great (for the time), and the music is great. I remember I got this game for Christmas in 1994. When I saw the commercial I instantly had to have it. Felt so proud when I beat it.

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