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Video Game: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Don't be cranky, Metroid Prime fans; this is the COOLEST Country yet!

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a Wii U platform game produced by Nintendo and Retro Studios, a sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns, and the fifth side-scrolling Donkey Kong Country game.

The Snowmads, a horde of rampaging Vikings from the frigid northern seas, invade DK Island and kick the Kongs out of their home—and on Donkey Kong's birthday, no less. Donkey, Diddy, Dixie, and Cranky must then trek across six different islands to reclaim their turf (and undo the magic spell that's turned it into an icy tundra).

Previous Donkey Kong Country composer David Wise returns to the series to compose the soundtrack for the game, replacing Kenji Yamamoto from Returns. On December 2nd, 2013, the game's updated boxart revealed the long-rumored fourth playable character: Cranky Kong, Promoted to Playable for the first time in the series. His previous Returns role as the shopkeeper is now filled by Funky Kong.


Tropes featured in Tropical Freeze include:

  • Acrofatic: Lord Fredrik is so obese his belly jiggles and bounces with his every movement, and yet he can dodge rapidly, run quickly, and leap great distances with apparently little effort.
  • Airborne Mook: Owl Snomads.
  • Aquatic Mook: Various fish and sharks.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Cranky's pogo cane is able to harm Snomads with helmets, which would otherwise protect them or even hurt Kongs who jump on them.
  • 2D: Tropical Freeze expands on what Returns did by adding curving paths and Camera Perspective Switch during segments like barrel cannon sequences. Certain Minecart Madness levels also involve jumping back and forth between parallel rails.
  • A Load of Bull: One of the new enemies is Buffaloafer, a Cape Buffalo.
  • Abnormal Ammo: One of the enemies is a penguin archer who fires fish as projectiles. Diddy can still use his Peanut Popguns, of course, and Dixie gains a gumball gun.
    • Edible Ammunition
    • Cranky, on the other hand, throws false teeth.
    • Lord Frederick's horn fires out spikeballs and ice dragons.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Pompy's theme, Bashmaster's theme, and even Lord Frederick all have killer, intense metal music as their battle themes.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Naturally, as barrel cannon sequences return; in a unique twist, certain segments will provide a Camera Perspective Switch. Rocket barrel segments return as well.
  • Badass Grandpa: Despite his old age, Cranky has no problem keeping up with the younger Kongs.
  • Band Land: 2-3, Horn Top Hop, has you getting lifted by the air coming out of large horns.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The boss of Juicy Jungle is a gigantic polar bear Snomad wielding a hammer as big as he is. His somewhat more realistic design, compared to the other characters, makes him look downright brutal. Check him out here.
  • Big Bad: The leader of the Snowmads, Lord Frederick.
  • Bioluminescence is Cool: Just about every living thing in the Under the Sea levels is bioluminescent.
  • Blow You Away: The Snowmad leader's horn blows the Kongs off their island before freezing it.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: The initial E3 2013 trailers and gameplay footage frequently used the Jungle Hijinx theme, DK Island Swing, with the implication that it would be used in the opening Lost Mangrove levels. But later footage revealed that the Lost Mangrove levels would instead feature a new piece of music, which seems to indicate that DK Island Swing was used more to hype up the fans. It's instead used in the secret K levels, unlocked by getting every KONG letter in each world.
  • The Bus Came Back: Dixie Kong returns as the third playable character alongside DK, Diddy and Cranky. Funky Kong is also back to take over Cranky's previous role as the shopkeeper.
    • A single type of enemy from the original trilogy (Puftup, the pufferfish from DKC2) returns in Sea Breeze Cove, appearing in Amiss Abyss, Irate Eight, and Shoal Atoll. He's been pretty heavily redesigned, but according to some supplementary material such as the official player's guide, that's really him.
  • Call Back: The first level begins with the player having to shake the controller before the gameplay begins for real, just like in the first level of the previous game.
  • Can't Drop The Hero: In single player, as in Returns, while you can have a partner on your back you're always playing DK by default. Unless you're playing Hard Mode.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Early on, you can hand slap to turn on a bunch of TVs. They have the US and Japanese title screens for Donkey Kong Country Returns
  • Check Point Starvation: The K levels, as per usual. 4-B also qualifies, being the only regular level without checkpoints. The three levels in World 7, Secret Seclusion, also fit. Every level in Hard Mode also becomes this.
  • Circus of Fear: Where you fight Pompy, the Presumptious.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In addition to the red balloons, you can go to Funky's shop to buy the green balloon from the Nintendo 3DS port of Returns and a brand new blue balloon that extends your Oxygen Meter. DK Barrels also change color to indicate while Kong is within.
  • Competitive Balance: The four characters, when separated.
    • Jack of All Stats: Donkey Kong, who has no real advantages but no real flaws.
    • Fragile Speedster: Diddy Kong, who moves fast but is hard to control (especially underwater).
  • Mighty Glacier: Cranky Kong, who has not 1, or 2, but 3 attacks (not counting Goomba Stomping): his denture popgun (that functions like Diddy's), his roll, and his deadly Ground Pound attack with his cane that defeats almost all enemies and lets him hop on spikes. But he is also the slowest of the crew.
  • Continuity Nod: World 6, Donkey Kong Island, is filled with them for players of Returns.
    • In the first water area of the first level, diving completely underwater plays a updated remix of the water levels from Donkey Kong Country 1.
    • In the secret exit of 1-3 Canopy Chaos. You can find Cranky's Victrola from the intro to the original DKC and even plays the same tune.
  • Cool Old Guy: Cranky Kong.
  • Death Mountain: Autumn Heights. Instead of being rocky, these mountains have a forested, Bavarian flavor.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Lost Mangroves. A swampy island filled with shipwrecks and crashed planes.
  • Drop the Hammer: Bashmaster, the boss of Juicy Jungle, wields a giant hammer. It even generates ice shockwaves when he brings it down.
  • Easter Egg: In the plane at the beginning of Mangrove Cove, one can find a set of televisions that display the menu screen from Donkey Kong Country Returns if they are turned on.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The third world boss is a ninja baboon that can split into three and throw bombs.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Tucks, Tuff Tucks, and Painguins. They make up the bulk of the Snomad army, so maybe things aren't really better.
  • Fake Longevity: As with the previous game, the extra mode (the ironically named "hard" mode in this case) must be completed just to get the remaining concept art.
  • Fat Bastard: Lord Frederick, the Snomad king. He uses his weight to his advantage in the boss battle against him.
  • Feather Flechettes: Used very often by Skowl.
  • Five-Bad Band: The Snomad bosses.
    • Big Bad: Lord Frederick.
    • The Dragon: Bashmaster, the penultimate boss.
    • The Brute: Pompy and Fugu, both massive guys who are primarily physical fighters.
    • Evil Genius: Skowl, who mostly fights with magic.
    • Dark Chick: Ba-Boom, the smallest boss who fights with weird ninja powers.
  • Giant Mook: every Snomad enemy has one, minus the walruses, each one of them requires to be jumped on three times.
  • Green Hill Zone: Bright Savannah. African-flavored.
  • Ground Pound: Cranky Kong can do this with his cane, letting him Goomba Stomp enemies and bounce off spiky surfaces that would damage the other three Kongs.
  • Gusty Glade: A particularly extreme example in Bright Savannah, where you have to escape a giant tornado.
  • Hailfire Peaks:
  • Hair-Raising Hare: Rabbits make up part of the Snomads.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The bosses are no pussovers and are quite challenging, especially the last one. However, you will lose far more lives in the levels.
  • Heavily Armored Mook/Shield Mook: Various Snowads that wear helmets and wield shields require more hits to defeat.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Bramble Scramble.
  • Helicopter Hair: Just as Diddy can provide DK with a boost via his Jetpack, Dixie can do this for DK with her hair. It also works as a propeller underwater against strong currents.
  • The Hero's Birthday: The Snomad attack happens on Donkey Kong's birthday. May count as a Significant Reference Date, as 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Donkey Kong Country series.
  • He's Back: David Wise, the composer of the original DKC trilogy, returns to compose for this game. He has since left Rare (the developers of the original trilogy, as well as Donkey Kong 64), and is now independent.
  • Horny Vikings: The Snomads.
  • Instrument of Murder: Lord Frederick's horn, which can expand in size to fire out spikeballs as well as ice dragons.
  • Kaizo Trap: Indeed, a few of the levels will pull this on you if you don't jump for the barrel quick enough.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook:
    • Snomads with horned helmets cannot be jumped on, but a roll will kill them.
    • Snomads with spears cannot be rolled into from the front, but can be jumped on.
    • Then there are Snomads with both horned helmets AND spears, which must be hit from behind. There's also a variant with a 2-sided club which can only be rolled into when he raises it to attack you.
  • Idle Animation: DK breaks out a 3DS if you make him sit still long enough. See Shout-Out.
  • Level Ate: World 5, in a fruit fashion. Overlaps with Eternal Engine for one level. The last level and Boss Battle also overlap with Slippy-Slidey Ice World, featuring a mix between regular ice, frozen fruits, and popsicles (with that last one becoming important for setting up the boss fight).
  • Limit Break: The Kong Pow. Collecting bananas gradually fills a gauge on the HUD that, when full, allows the Kongs to transform all onscreen enemies into extra lives, recovery hearts, or Banana Coins. It takes two characters to pull off the move, though, so Donkey Kong is out of luck if he's by himself.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The famous Stickerbrush Symphony theme returns, but only plays at the beginning and end of a Rocket Barrel stage.
  • Mercy Mode: Averted. The Super Guide from the previous game is absent.
  • Mythology Gag: Dixie's gumball gun is a sly reference to her Idle Animation (chewing bubblegum) in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. One of her idle animations is an air guitar, referencing her victory animation in Donkey Kong Country 2.
    • Cranky's gramophone, as seen in the original Donkey Kong Country intro cutscene, can be spotted in Windmill Hill, near a secret exit only Cranky can reach.
  • Nintendo Hard: Later stages show no mercy. You will die a lot.
  • No Flow in CGI: According to producer Kensuke Tanabe, the developers decided to take advantage of the Wii U's power by averting this, despite highly increased development time. The E3 2013 reveal of the game saw Satoru Iwata making a special point of calling attention to DK's new fur physics.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Much like the previous game, upon defeating a boss, you're treated to a little mini game where Donkey Kong beats the boss to a pulp before sending them flying with a Twinkle In The Sky.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The juice making factory in Juicy Jungle has unguarded tanks, exposed juicer blades, and animals swimming in the juice.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Donkey Kong Island, where every level is themed on one of the area settings that were found on DK Island in Returns, but frozen over.
    • Bramble Scramble, named after the level of the same name from Donkey Kong Country 2.
  • Ominous Owl: Skowl, the boss of Autumn Heights, as well the Owl Snomads.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Now Averted with the Rocket Barrel and Minecart, which now take two hits (three if you bought a Crash Guard), and can also be healed if you pick up a heart.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The leader of the Snomads uses a magic horn to summon / control a gigantic ice dragon. The dragon's icy breath freezes over Donkey Kong Island, turning it into a more suitable home for the Snomads.
  • Oxygen Meter: The Kongs can be seen making use of Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles in swimming segments.
  • Power-Up Mount: Rambi the rhino returns to fulfill his usual role.
  • Promoted to Playable: Cranky Kong, of all people. After boasting about his gaming skills for years, it looks like the old curmudgeon finally has to put his money where his mouth is.
  • Puffer Fish: The fourth world boss, Fugu the Frightening, uses its sucking and blowing powers against the Kongs, and can also turn into an underwater wrecking ball.
  • Punny Name: The Snowmads.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Lots of them in the cave levels, especially Rodent Ruckus.
  • Rule of Three: The walrus and giant owl enemies need to be jumped on three times to defeat.
    • Each boss has three phases, and almost all of them need to be hit three times to enter the next phase or defeat them if it's the last.
  • Rhino Rampage: Rambi, of course.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds in the first game were pretty darn good and the extra power the Wii U provides just makes them look even better.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Cranky Kong's gameplay style involves using his cane as a pogo stick. Sound familiar?
    • One of the savannah levels takes place in the middle of a parade full of papercraft animals extremely similar to those from The Lion King Broadway musical. The music is also very Lion King-esque.
    • In Busted Bayou, you can see Samus's spaceship among the crashed aircraft in the background. Fitting, given that Retro Studios also developed the Metroid Prime series and previously hid Crocomire's skull and some fossilized baby Leviathans in Donkey Kong Country Returns.
    • Funky's planes have the Funky's Stadium logo on them (previously seen in Mario Kart Wii).
    • A subtle reference to the fact that Cranky Kong is the original arcade Donkey Kong: His CK barrels have the same font and color scheme as the title of Donkey Kong '94.
    • During DK's Idle Animation of him playing a 3DS, you can actually hear sounds from certain other 3DS games play.
    • Funky Kong's description of the Crash Guard: "Vehicle Trouble? It's dangerous to go alone — take one of these!"
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Donkey Kong Island, because of what the Snowmads did to it.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Dixie Kong.
  • Spin Attack: Along with Rolling Attack on land, the Kongs can spin underwater to attack enemies.
  • The Spiny: Snomads with horned helmets will hurt you if you jump on them. Ditto goes for owls on fire and those flaming porcupines in the Savannah levels. Cranky's pogo cane bypasses the horns and allows him to kill them, but the fire enemies will still hurt him.
  • The Team
  • Sudden Name Change: The checkpoint pig, originally known only as "Tutorial Pig" in Donkey Kong Country Returns, is given the much more memorable name Professor Chops.
  • Temple of Doom: The Brutal Bonus Levels you unlock for collecting all of the KONG letters in a given world, just like in Returns.
  • Threatening Shark: Sharks return from the previous game, but with the addition of swimming, they will now pursue Kongs if they are in the same body of water.
  • Truth in Television: While it seems kinda strange that some of the cave levels in the second world have giant blocks and wheels of cheese in them, some varieties of cheeses are actually aged in caves.
  • Turns Red: All the bosses do this, but Bashmaster literally turns purple as he is closer to defeat. Justified because you keep dunking him in the purple juice every time you hit him.
  • Under the Sea: Sea Breeze Cove. Underwater levels make a comeback after Returns opted for Super Drowning Skills instead.
  • Variable Mix: A more relaxing, atmospheric version of a level's theme will play when you are underwater. In addition, a large amount of stages add more instruments as you go along.
    • World 2-6 (Wing Ding) has two versions of the track for when you're on the ground and zip-lining along the vines.
    • World 4-4 (Irate Eight) has four tracks plaything throughout the level. One at the beginning, one while underwater, a remix of Lockjaw's Locker, and a tense theme played while being chased by the octopus.
    • Mountain Mania and Frantic Fields gain extra drums when you're riding Rambi.
  • Wolfpack Boss: Ba-boom, who splits into three individual baboons that attack you. Subverted by the last phase, where you can only hurt the one that isn't a "ghost".

Cranky Kong: Bah! You kids and your high-definition video games. Back in my day, we didn't have any definition!

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