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Donkey Kong Country

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Donkey Kong Country 2

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Donkey Kong Country 3

Page 4:
Donkey Kong Land

Page 5:
Donkey Kong 64

Page 6:
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Page 7:
Donkey Kong Country Returns

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Donkey Kong Land / Super Donkey Kong GB (スーパードンキーコング GB) – Game Boy (1995)

American Game Boy Cover

Donkey Kong Land was the first Donkey Kong Country game on a handheld system. It looks very similar to the first Donkey Kong Country, but is actually a completely different game with some similar levels, themes, and enemies. Most of the music consists of remixed versions of tunes from the first Donkey Kong Country, but made fit for the Game Boy. It came in a yellow cartridge, instead of the Game Boy's standard gray, a cool little bonus that would also be used on the next two Donkey Kong Land games and Donkey Kong 64.

Donkey Kong Land's story involves Cranky Kong challenging Donkey and Diddy to make it through an 8-bit game, a partial jab at how games have been getting easier and easier since the 8-bit days. Cranky gets King K.Rool to steal all of Donkey Kong's bananas again and makes Donkey and Diddy go through four completely new worlds to collect their bananas and beat up a lot of kremlings along the way.

One of the main differences between this portable version and its big brother is, of course, the monochrome graphics. Rather than redrawing them, it looks like the developers took the color graphics, reduced them to the four shades on the system's palette. As a result, they look overly busy compared to the typical Game Boy title. Furthermore, the camera is extremely zoomed in due to the low resolution, which makes action feel cramped and a bit jerky. All three Donkey Kong Land games have this problem, and though it can be a bit frustrating at times, it doesn't completely ruin the experience. Game saving, however, is handled very poorly. In order to save a game, you have to collect all four KONG letters as you go through a level. Sometimes they're hidden pretty well, making things more frustrating than they should be. It would have been nice to have clear save points every so often.

Some other strange changes include making the extra lives measured in hearts at the bottom of the screen, Kongs teleporting away instead of following each other when you have both of them, and the animal helpers being reduced down to Rambi the Rhino and Expresso the Ostrich. Bonus games are changed too. You can collect Kong Coins throughout levels and secret rooms. They're used for the bonus game, which has you collecting more Kong Coins for extra lives.

There are four worlds, the first one being on snowy mountains and a pirate ship, the second being mostly underwater and on a beach, the third being in caves and rocky mountains, and the fourth is a huge city. The city is notable because the instruction manual implies that it's where Cranky Kong (who according to Donkey Kong mythos is the original Donkey Kong) fought Mario on a construction site. The bosses are a bit different, as none of them are behemoths that take up a quarter of the screen like in the console games. Even though they are not nearly as intimidating, they show a surprising amount of creativity and are all unique to the series. The final boss is the only exception, as it is a simplified version of King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country.

Donkey Kong Land also has a few completely new level designs, obstacles, and enemies to throw around. During one level, you go through cliffs full of jagged rocks. As you go, rocks fall out of holes and try to crush you. There is nothing like this in the first Donkey Kong Country and it shows that a good amount of creativity went into the levels. Another obstacle that is exclusive to this game is the Swirlwind, a tornado that will hurt you if you run into it, but can be bounced on like a tire and will follow you to let you continue bouncing on it.

David Wise and Graeme Norgate converted some of the music from the SNES game, and added a number of new tracks. While obviously the Game Boy couldn't replicate the sampled music, they still put the Game Boy chip to excellent use, with some catchy tunes that manage to capture the wonderous atmosphere with much less powerful hardware.

With all the cool and new things here, there is one very unwelcome glitch that is sadly present in all three Donkey Kong Land games. The game's scrolling lags sometimes when you're falling and can sometimes lag enough that the game thinks you fell down a bottomless pit if you fall off screen. It doesn't affect the difficulty too much, but it does make some parts of the game more frustrating than they should be. Rare was nice enough to build levels so that you can get around easy enough without running into the glitch too much. If you can put up with the glitch and play by the level's rules instead of trying to look for shortcuts, it isn't too bad, though. As the Donkey Kong Land series goes the glitch becomes less apparent and less of a problem, but they're still persistent. Oh well.

Donkey Kong Land is supported by the Super Game Boy and has color added to it when used with it. The color is also present when playing on a Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance. It was also released in Japan under the name Super Donkey Kong GB.

Donkey Kong Land was adapted into a paperback book called Rumble In The Jungle. It featured notable appearances by various enemies that were exclusive to Donkey Kong Land. The book was written with children in mind, and was pretty fun if you were a kid growing up when Donkey Kong was big. It was written by Michael Teitelbaum. Michael Teitelbaum also wrote book adaptations for the first Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 2.

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Donkey Kong Land (Game Boy)

Donkey Kong Land (Game Boy)

Donkey Kong Land (Game Boy)

Donkey Kong Land (Game Boy)

Donkey Kong Land (Game Boy)


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Donkey Kong Land 2 / Donkey Kong Land: Diddy's Kong Quest (ドンキーコングランド) – Game Boy (1996)

American Game Boy Cover

The second Donkey Kong Land is different from the first in many ways. While the first one was for the most part, its own game, Donkey Kong Land 2 is a remake of Donkey Kong Country 2, but sized down to fit into a Game Boy cartridge. Many of the levels are very similar to their console counterparts, but with some things cut and different music.

Many of the problems with the first Donkey Kong Land have been fixed or at least toned down for the sequel. Saving no longer requires you to collect all four KONG letters in a level. Instead you only need to collect two banana coins in any level and spend them to save the game at Kong College. It's the same way saving is handled in Donkey Kong Country 2. Also, the camera's movement is a lot smoother, though it's still pretty jerky in some levels.

Most of Donkey Kong Land 2's levels are altered versions of Donkey Kong Country 2's levels refitted to the Game Boy. The difficulty has been lowered immensely. A couple of the hardest levels, Castle Crush and Haunted Hall, are gone completely. Castle Crush was replaced with an easier level, Danger Dungeon. This was because the technique Rare used to make the level unique, a constantly rising floor, was apparently too much for the Game Boy to handle. Haunted Hall was replaced with the laughably easy level Crazy Coaster. Worlds 2 and 3, Crocodile Cauldron and Krem Quay, have been smooshed together into one world, the boss of world 3 being cut in favor of the boss of world 2. In all fairness, the boss of world 2, a giant sword that shoots fire, is one of the better bosses in the series, so including him over the world 3 boss was probably a good idea.

Diddy and Dixie lose a key move too. In the console version, you can press the A button to put one monkey on the other monkey's shoulders. You could then press Y to have them hurl each other. This was useful for making tough jumps or taking out powerful enemies. Since only one Kong can be onscreen at a time, this ability had to be cut. A few other extra features are gone too. You can't talk to Cranky for hints, Swanky Kong is gone altogether, and The Lost World is only accessible once you collect 47 Krem Coins. In the console version, you could buy each individual level of The Lost World piece by piece.

Donkey Kong Land 2 is impressive as far as Game Boy games go, but it has its share of down sides too. Deep down it's a port and not its own game. While the first Donkey Kong Land did have its problems, it felt like a new and unique game. Donkey Kong Land 2 is a bit more of a downsized version of Donkey Kong Country 2. It's status as more of a port than a standalone game diminishes the experience and makes it feel less original than its predecessor. Unless you really love handheld platformers or have to play every Donkey Kong Country game, the console version is a lot better in terms of both controls and presentation.

Another notable thing about this game is that it was the very first title Lee Schuneman designed for Rare. He would later go on and direct more games for Nintendo and Rare, his last one being Star Fox Adventures on the Gamecube. After that, Lee Schuneman worked for Rare under Microsoft and helped produce Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo: Elements of Power.

Donkey Kong Land 2 was released in Japan as Donkey Kong Land: Diddy's Kong Quest. Diddy's Kong Quest was the same subtitle as Donkey Kong Country 2, making it even more apparent that Donkey Kong Land 2 was supposed to be very close to the console version.

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Donkey Kong Land 2 (Game Boy)

Donkey Kong Land 2 (Game Boy)

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Donkey Kong Land III / Donkey Kong GB Dinky Kong and Dixie Kong (ドンキーコングGB・ディンキーコング&ディクシーコング) – Game Boy, Game Boy Color (1997)

Game Boy Cover

The third Donkey Kong Land had two releases, one for regular Game Boy and the other for Game Boy Color that was exclusive to Japan. Unlike Donkey Kong Land 2, Donkey Kong Land III has many completely new levels and worlds. While they are similar to Donkey Kong Country 3's levels, they are different enough for Donkey Kong Land III to feel like its own game instead of a downsized port. Like the two DKL games before it, it came in a yellow cartridge and is enhanced for the Super Game Boy.

Many of the new levels are a lot less gimmicky than Donkey Kong Country 3's, which can be both a good and bad thing. On one hand, the levels feel a lot more challenging and test your platforming skills more, but on the other, many of them tend to blend together because there is not a lot to set them apart anymore.

Even though many of the levels are new, the bosses are mostly the same. The ones being used are Barbos, Bleak, Arich, KAOS, and Baron K. Roolenstein. Notably, Bleak, a gigantic snowman that you fight in a kind of rail shooter segment in Donkey Kong Country 3, is now fought in 2D, resulting in a completely different fight. A few other things are changed too. Like before, the Kongs have lost their ability to throw each other due to no two Kongs being onscreen at the same time. The elephant can no longer hold barrels and has unlimited water, making elephant segments much easier than in the console version. Parry the parallel bird is missing altogether. On the overworld, you only have one bear instead of several. He gives you hints, lets you use his teleporter for a price, and hosts a minigame that lets you unlock various items needed to complete the game. The banana birds have been cut entirely.

There are six worlds, the last one being The Lost World. They're completely new worlds with similar themes to many of the levels in Donkey Kong Country 3. Notably, one of the new levels is called Miller Instinct, a play on Killer Instinct, Rare's fighting game series, which was incredibly popular at the time.

After you unlock The Lost World, defeat the final boss, and collect every item in the game, you unlock Time Trial. Time Trial has you go through certain levels and beat specific times. It's a pretty cool concept that is not in any other Donkey Kong game before it.

Donkey Kong Land III was a very late release for the Game Boy. In Japan, a port was made for the Game Boy Color, released in 2000, called Donkey Kong GB: Dinky Kong and Dixie Kong. There are some minor changes aside from the game being entirely in Japanese. The world maps don't look as good, the title screen is different, and the game moves a little bit faster. The faster game speed helps alleviate the scrolling glitch, which was first seen in the first Donkey Kong Land. It's not completely removed, but it is noticeably less obtrusive. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same game.

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Donkey Kong Land 3 (Game Boy)

Donkey Kong Land 3 (Game Boy)

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<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Donkey Kong Country

Page 2:
Donkey Kong Country 2

Page 3:
Donkey Kong Country 3

Page 4:
Donkey Kong Land

Page 5:
Donkey Kong 64

Page 6:
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Page 7:
Donkey Kong Country Returns

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