Five Things: Donkey Kong Country

The following is an opinion article and should be treated as such.5 Things Donkey KongGreetings Source Gaming fans! Now, if you’ve ever owned a Nintendo console, chances are that you will have played at least one of the main-line Donkey Kong games. With the exception of the Gamecube (which saw spinoff games centered around a dedicated bongo controller), Donkey Kong has seen high profile releases on every major home console that Nintendo has ever released. More often than not, to overwhelming critical and commercial success, among the elite of each respective system.

He’s often unsung and under appreciated by the big N, but Donkey Kong is among the pantheon of gaming icons, always bankable, and a proven star. Well known for his 2D and 3D platforming games, the most recent of which; Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a certifiable masterpiece. It almost goes without saying that we will get another Donkey Kong Country game sooner rather than later. With that in mind, these are 5 things that I would like to see in the next Donkey Kong game!

  1. The Kremlings:

It’s probably best to get this one out of the way first. It’s completely understandable that Retro Studios would want to put their stamp on the Donkey Kong franchise with their own set of villains. While they didn’t reach their full potential with the Tikis from Donkey Kong Country Returns, they deserved another stab at it. Thankfully, they pulled off a memorable and enjoyable enemy group with the Snowmads in Tropical Freeze. More often than not it’s a great strategy to avoid becoming repetitive, and it increases the depth of characters you’ll find in a given franchise. Even Mario games have seen the attention shift away from Bowser on occasion.

Now that they’ve successfully accomplished this feat. It’s time to take a dip back into the realm of the familiar. The fans have been extremely vocal about wanting to take the fight back to the Kremlings and their King, and Retro Studios thankfully seem to be behind it. It’s finally time to for this epic feud to resume.

  1. New characters:

One of Tropical Freeze’s strong points was its innovation in level design, this was in-part facilitated by the addition of new playable characters with different abilities. Often some prizes could only be obtained by using abilities that were unique to specific character. For example, Cranky Kong’s pogo ability could be used to brave some spiky floors that neither Diddy nor
would be able to overcome.

This is something that should be expanded on. Donkey Kong has a plethora of prior characters to draw from, and while we unfortunately aren’t likely to see poor old Kiddy Kong brought in any time soon, it wouldn’t be too unreasonable to think that my beloved Lanky could reappear. He in particular expresses some rather unique abilities in DK64, such as inflating himself, or being able to run up steep slopes. These things are good examples of interesting new challenges for players to overcome in the next game. I also like the idea of introducing new faces, though I don’t want DK to head into the “just add a new character in every new game” mentality that has plagued the Sonic The Hedgehog for some time.

  1. Animal Buddies.

Animal buddies are perhaps the most underutilised aspect carried over from the classic Rare-made DK games. We’ve of course had Rambi-centric levels pop up in Returns and Tropical Freeze, but that’s about it. There’s so much untapped potential here, not just for our all our old favorites like Enguarde, Expresso and Squitter, but for brand new allies!

Animal buddies are too much of an integral part of Donkey Kong to take the backseat that they’ve taken in the past two titles.

  1. amiibo:

Ever since amiibo figures first burst on to the scene, they’ve taken Nintendo fans by storm. More and more we’re seeing high profile releases that support already released Amiibo, and in many cases come with their very own line.

While we unfortunately don’t have Dixie Kong or King K. Rool Amiibo yet after their omissions from the latest Smash Bros., that shouldn’t stop a dedicated Donkey Kong Amiibo line from getting these beloved characters in the hands of the fans. With the likes of Kirby, Animal Crossing and Splatoon getting Amiibo lines, perhaps we can hope to see a comprehensive DK one!

  1. Grant Kirkhope.

I love David Wise’s music. I love Grant Kirkhope’s music. For decades now, both musicians have blessed our ears with the kinds of musical nuggets of bliss that wake us up at night and are too catchy to allow us to get back to sleep. Take a page out of the book of Yooka-Laylee and use both.

Now, I’m not saying I want another DK rap. But I do want another DK rap.

Do you agree with these choices? What would you like to see in the next Donkey Kong Country game? Sound off in the comments below!

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    1. Ignoring the meme around his DK Rap verse, I think he’d be interesting. In DK 64, he could walk up step slopes by handstanding and walking up them that way. Perhaps in a DKC title he could be different by standing on steep parts of a level normally while other characters can’t, and perhaps having a little more reach for various things using his long arms. His disadvantage could be that his jump is the lowest.

      1. I feel it would be less “overrepped” as you put it, and more that as he was a primary creator/designer for the project in question, there’s much less oversight needed to implement elements from his work and thus it’s a lot easier for him to put more of it in Smash.

        That’s why there’s a goodly amount of content from stuff he’s worked on, there’s one less stage of communication and negotiation to work with. This doesn’t dispel the notion of bias completely, but as he likes putting as much as he can into the projects he directs, it’s kind of natural there’d be strong representation of the things he needs less clearance/permissions for.

        If he didn’t direct KI:U or otherwise have a strong hand in its development, we would have had less of it in Smash simply because of the back and forth needed with the people who did in this theoretical scenario. That takes a lot of time, especially if the other creator is more stringent about portrayal and movements.

  1. Part of Donkey Kong Country identity is the ambiental like music from David Wise, while someone could maybe pull it off, I don’t think it would be really too cool to have a Grant Kirkhope ost if it was goofy and cartoony sounding, it worked in DK64 because it was not Country, it was a Banjo and Kazooie like game, Wise’s music are part of the DKC immersion in my opinion.

  2. I was probably one of the few who wasn’t bothered by the Tikis, or that the Kremlings weren’t in either Retro Studios DKC game. I just didn’t see anything wrong with having new foes for a change. That said I definitely agree if there’s one more DKC game made by Retro they should make the villains the Kremlings this time around. What did Retro say exactly? Last I recall they said they wanted to do their own thing which is why they had new villains, which unfortunately was sorta contradicted when most of the attack’s Lord Fredrik uses are borrowed from K Rool.

    I’m up for new playable characters. I guess it sorta goes against what he does, but I’d like to see Funky Kong playable as another “big” character (so he’d be one you play as directly like DK, rather than an assist like Diddy, Dixie and Cranky). Don’t know what he’d do differently though. Also with him playable you’d need someone else to run the item shop, and I think that would be suitable for Tiny Kong or Candy Kong (who needs a redesign pronto; her current design is atrocious). Lanky’s pretty much a meme, but I can picture him in a DKC game. Would he be an assist or a big character?

    The lack of Animal Buddies besides Rambi was one of my three complaints about Donkey Kong Country Returns (the other two were no underwater levels, which they thankfully did add in Tropical Freeze, and how there’s no platforming levels in caves; they were all minecart or rocket barrel levels). Add Enguarde and Squitter like you said, and have Squawks be more than a mere item. Maybe Expresso and Winky can come back to. I don’t think we need to add any new ones though; there’s many to choose from already.

    I think any hope for a DKC amiibo range died with DK and Diddy being part of the Mario range instead. Between that and the Smash range I can’t really see them making a third kind of DK and Diddy amiibo (hell, techincally there’s already three for DK with the Skylanders one), and if K Rool can’t even be acknowledged in Smash beyond a mere trophy, I can’t see Nintendo caring enough to give him an amiibo. Changing the topic, what would they be used for in the new DKC? I really hate how there’s content locked behind amiibos in some games (yes, even cosmetic stuff like costumes), so I can’t really say I’m keen on the prospect.

    As for Grant Kirkhope music… that’d have to be a “No” from me. It worked in DK64 because it was basically a Banjo-Kazooie game, that that style of music really doesn’t suit the DKC games. The music in DKC is very atmospheric and ambient, and Grant’s style of DK music would clash with that. It doesn’t have to be all David Wise music (after all, look at DKCR’s new music), but it’s gotta be something that fits.

  3. I honestly doubt there will be a comprehensive amiibo series release with a new DK title – Nintendo seems all too keen on lumping Donkey Kong and his Kong Kin in with the Mario series – as even Diddy has a Mario series amiibo.

    If there IS amiibo support for the next DKC, I can really only think Donkey and Diddy will get any sense of special treatment – as the Mario series seems to be the generic series for Mario and related characters.

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