Sunday, January 16, 2011

Playing The Classics: Donkey Kong Country: Vol 2

-- Part One --

So I assure you readers out there that I have been playing games lately, and Donkey Kong Country has been one of them. I just haven't played enough to really write more, until now.

One thing I really want to comment on with this game is the annoying save feature. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate it has one at all and beggars can't be choosers, but... the save feature is completely convoluted. I play X amount of levels, only to come across Dixie Kong, who is in the middle of a world. Then I come across Funky who has his nifty ship. But if I don't make it past the boss and a few more levels, then I can't save again. It seems pointless. But wait! I can use Funky to go to a previous land to save at that Dixie... that fixes it all doesn't it? Well, no. That's even more convoluted because then if you lose all your lives, you have to go back to that save point and then make your way back to the level you wanted. It just eats up extra time and is initially confusing and is ridiculously pointless. I don't know if this changed for the second or third sequels but I'm glad Retro did away with it.

Anyhow, as I furthered my way through I came across some mine cart action. I found this to be quite fun but significantly lacking in the detection aspect. Jumps I know I should have made, didn't make it. Also, the level design was kind of boring. Still, I was happy to see them and I enjoy the fact that these aspects have been a part of the series since the first one.

I don't mean to bitch some more but in relation to the save point thing, the whole map is just clunky. It reminds me of a badly done Super Mario Bros. 3 or something. Not being able to go from world to world without a boss fight or Funky is unnecessary to me. If someone would like to explain to me why this was a design choice, I'd be happy to be enlightened. I guess one thing that is nice is seeing Funky himself. While his function is kind of pointless, I like that he's there. I just wish I didn't need him to be mobile.

Eventually I made it to a forest world. There were quite a few barrel challenges which were both a little annoying and a little enjoyable. I really liked how the levels themselves looked. Being up in the treetops seems natural for Donkey Kong and his pal Diddy. One level I played had orangutans throwing barrels at me... seemed like a nice nod to the original Donkey Kong game but way to go back on your species jerks. I find it a little hard to aim the spinning barrels in those challenges but I get by eventually. In the first snow level titled, Snow Barrel Blast, I had another set of those barrels ahead of me. I kept messing up until just a moment ago when I accidentally fired myself towards the pit below only to be caught by a hidden barrel. This barrel not only shot me along the bottom, into a ton of bananas and the final KONG letter G, but it shot me to the rest of the level. I love when games have little secrets like this. It was a nice surprise that gave me a little more fire in my belly to continue forth.

And so I shall, with the next installment.

Read Part 3


  1. I have to agree about many aspects of DKC being too convoluted. I remember the sequel as being much better designed, but I don't recall if they fixed that particular aspect of it. I only recall having to pay coins to save... ugh.

    You like seeing Funky Kong? He's always looked to me like DK with sunglasses, I don't like the design.

    The treetop levels in DKC always reminded me of Return of the Jedi, for obvious reasons.

  2. Yeah I do like Funky to a point. My first encounter with him was with Mario Kart Wii, and he's alright. I just like his "out there" personality. The tree top levels are reminiscent of Return of the Jedi. They're pretty tricky too in a good way, unlike those blasted snow levels.

  3. I loved all of the DKC games, and I'm glad you're playing the first one, after playing DKCR. However, now you're playing them in reverse, so just as anything, you are "down-stepping" in a way. DKCR was amazingly done, and so the originals don't live up to that, exactly. However, it is the nostalgia of the games, and it was the one that started it all. On your note here:
    "Not being able to go from world to world without a boss fight or Funky is unnecessary to me. If someone would like to explain to me why this was a design choice, I'd be happy to be enlightened. "
    My idea of this [all just opinion] is that it's supposed to be a "one-way road", Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong's adventures through to find their banana hoarde that has been stolen. You're not meant to be flying from random stage to random stage, however this is a very common thing in games nowadays. It's the idea of the classic games, also, how they're divided, which is the same way they did it in DKCR, "forest, volcano, cliff, etc.", they tended to be separated by terrain, and have similar levels within. I don't like how the save point is in the middle either, I found this frustrating for difficult boss battles, however my least favorite part with this is towards the end, when you get to the "factory" looking world, and the first couple levels are quite difficult (well, I haven't played this in a few years, but they were when I played it) - and so not having that save point there, I was stuck on the first level in that world, unable to go anywhere, and fearing for dying and having to redo a boss.
    So, I agree and I disagree. :P

  4. Great point Heather. That makes sense. It very well could have been like that for design reasons. I guess I'll have to stay a little frustrated but still accept that's just how they did things. I can't blame them for their artistic design and how one progresses through a game is indeed part of that overall design. I appreciate your thoughts here!