Saturday, June 4, 2011

Retro-Review Friday: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

Retro-Review Friday is a weekly series where I discuss a (typically older) game that I have had experience with. Be aware that these are heavily biased reviews, and you should consult your local physician before taking any advice given herein.
The Title Screen. What did you expect?
Today's game is Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest for the SNES. This game is the sequel to the wonderful SNES game, Donkey Kong Country. In this game, you play as Diddy Kong, and his girlfriend, Dixie Kong in their quest to rescue Donkey Kong, who has been captured by the evil King K. Rool. Read on past the break for the full impressions.
It's just plain not fair to talk about Donkey Kong Country 2 without making some comparisons to its predecessor. Donkey Your buddy, Ramby the Kremling bashing rhinoKong Country was an amazing game. Using pre-rendered graphics that were converted into sprites, Donkey Kong Country achieved some of the most amazing visual effects seen up to that point on the SNES. Compared to previous games, it was almost like a generational leap in graphical quality, and people loved it. The game was also a serviceable platformer with some fun things, like rideable pets and mine cart levels. The worlds were imaginative and unique, and execution was nearly flawless.

With that groundwork laid, all that DKC2 needed to be in order to be successful was basically a nice quality level pack for the first. Apparently, however, Rare wasn't content with that, so they decided to mix things up a bit, with mixed success.

Watch out for bees! They're pretty scary!The first thing you'll notice when starting the game is that instead of the Donkey/Diddy combo from the first game, you're playing as Diddy and Dixie. The ability to have two characters at the same time adds a nice yin-yang element for the game, and makes co-op a lot of fun. In the first game you can swap between a heavy character who can defeat large enemies, and a lighter, more agile character who can run fast and jump high. In this game, however, the heavy-hitter has been replaced with a very slow girl character who can do a helicopter style move to fall slowly, making vertical sections easier. I'm not saying one is necessarily better than the other, but it's definitely a trade-off that not everyone will appreciate.

This game introduced new collectibles, in the form of coins. There are three types of coins: banana coins, Krem-coins, and DK Coins. Banana coins are used to purchase things from the various Kongs scattered about the overworld areas, for things like fast-travel from Funky Kong, hints for Cranky Kong, or saving your Dixie Kong: Slow and awkward, but she can hovergame with Wrinkly Kong (yes, it costs coins to save). The Krem-coins are used to bribe a large Kremling named Klubba in order to get to a secret world with bonus levels. The DK coins... Well, there's one in each level, but as far as I can tell the only thing they do is keep Cranky Kong from razzing you at the end of the game if you collect them all.

The actual gameplay and levels are very similar to the first game, and this is a very good thing. Levels are paced well and appropriately difficult. Secrets are well hidden, but are findable for anyone who has experience with these things (hint: going backward and jumping high at the beginning of levels will find a non-trivial portion of the secrets).

Sometimes the platforming sections can be tricky, but the real trouble comes in levels with a lot of vertical sections. When you fall down on a level that doubles back over itself vertically (or triples, or quadruples, and so on) you will not immediately die, as in most games, but you will actually fall down to the area below. Sometimes this can be annoying if you repeatedly miss a tricky jump.

All of this combines to make an incredibly delicious cake donut of a game. It's a crumbly, delicious pastry of a game, but if you don't like maple frosting it might not be your thing.


  • Great level design
  • Fun bosses
  • You ride in mine carts that look like crazy buck-toothed rabbit-mice
  • Animal friends are fun, especially the snake
  • Donuts

Do not want

  • Sometimes it's a little tough
  • Vertical shaft levels suck
  • Costs coins to save? Seriously?

Overall score:

12/15 Krem-coins
It’s pretty good, but has some occasional annoying things that detract from the overall experience. And seriously? You want to charge me in-game currency to save? Laaaame.


  1. We just wont mention the 3rd one. *shudders*

  2. As bad as the third one started, I still want to give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that it picks up later. Unfortunately, I couldn't steel myself to play it long enough to find out.