Friday, March 18, 2011
Playing The Classics: Donkey Kong Country: Vol 3
The nature of this game with its funky (no pun intended) save feature and level select feature, mixed with this blogger now back in school trying to earn a new degree, makes it challenging to continue through it. The game is entertaining enough as I've said but it's just hard to get motivated to use the precious little free time I have on a game where I'll have to replay significant chunks of levels if I don't make it to the next Candy location. That said, I finally made my way back into a groove with it, despite an exam on the horizon.
I am enjoying the theme of the Industries levels. However in the second level of that world, I came across a moving-platform style level that's reminiscent of those from Super Mario World. I had a bit of an issue with these however because of a somewhat minor programming decision. Donkey Kong (or Diddy if you're leading with DK) will always follow the lead player. So when I'm riding these platforms, it's hard to realize I'm not falling off or overshooting my jump when the secondary player is moving without me even doing anything. Simply when a platform changes direction, my characters shift and it's like a minor illusion. Then I came to a point where the platform lowered onto a vulture that spits rocks. I let it ride down, assuming I'd be killing it, but nope, it goes through the platform and kills Diddy. Thats some great video game logic... Then when the track was over, I felt like the platform was going to fall so I jumped but I ill-time it. So I corrected and landed back on the platform, only to roll off the other side. Give me a break. That break came in the form of the next level before the save point, Elevator Antics. It was the right kind of challenge but I didn't have to die a billion times to make it through. A well done level.
In Blackout Basement... I was torn. On the one hand it was quite challenging and for that I saw its value. On the other hand, how annoying is it that a level is in the dark half of the time as if I was starting to blackout while playing? I think what's interesting to note as a comparison with Donkey Kong Country Returns is my post-level desire. What I mean by this is that, when I beat DKCR, I was very ready to go back in for more and replay levels. Even the really tough ones were levels I salivated for. However, with Donkey Kong Country I find myself trying to get past a level, then having no desire to return. I don't know if the levels aren't as memorable or if the controls are still just a bit peculiar for me but I definitely see a difference.
The time span between writing the above portion of this and writing the below portion has been weeks. School has attacked my free time and so I haven't been able to finish this game yet. Finally though I aim to do so, in one final post about the game. I just played my way through Tanked Up Trouble and Manic Mincers, which were challenging but do able. I feel like though, that I want this game to be over already. I hate to say that about such a beloved game, and while I am having fun, there is just something about this game that I want to be over. Maybe I want the stress of the save feature gone most. I have having to retread my steps in order to successfully start from where I once was. For example, how right now I have to finish those two levels again because I used my final life at that new level with all the smog and snakes. It's enough to pull a rage quit. If I lose more than two lives in Tanked Up Trouble it makes no sense to use the rest. I should just lost them all and start fresh. I think what frustrates me most isn't so much the sometimes awkward character control, but the lack of definition in the platforms and the feet on which my monkeys stand on.
Platform Perils.... what an appropriate name, for a fun level! Finally something challenging but fun. Tons of jumping but it's not ridiculous. You know how to do it, but can you succeed? I really enjoyed this level, despite dying a few times. Finally I made it onto a boat. Admittedly I said to myself, "another world? really?" But I was optimistic for the fact that it was on a ship. Then I realized quick it was the final boss battle. I loved the music, which was familiar from playing in the past (whether it was DKCR or DKC I don't recall). K.Rool is easily the best boss battle of the game. It took a few tries until finally I knocked his ass out. ... or so I thought ... the kredits began to roll and suddenly, as I was looking at this very screen, I was jumped by that fat reptilian jerk. So I died, and tried again. This time knowing better.
When I finally beat him after his tricky move, I appreciated the coronary he apparently had. Though all the characters in this game kind of sound like they're having some kind of physical release... Then came the very Rareware thing to do and show me all the enemies. I actually generally like this sort of thing. Having the squids chase the shark and then back again was kind of funny. I do appreciate that despite the Kremlings kind of had inspiration from the original Klap Traps from the original Donkey Kong game.
All in all, after the credits rolled and the start screen returned, I felt like it was a generally fun game. My finish percentage was 48% and a play time of 2:14. Seemed a lot longer... haha. I know there's tons of letters and secrets to be found but that's just not for me. I did appreciate the blast from the past and a look into where the roots of the banana tree that is Donkey Kong Country Returns came from. I hear the sequel is even better than the first though. Perhaps I'll have to try that in time.