Kiddy Kong is one for Donkey Kong, given that he plays almost exactly the same as Donkey Kong and the justification for his inclusion is that Donkey Kong was easily captured, AGAIN, no longer being playable in the game where his name is in the title, AGAIN.
Quite a few people were pissed that Rambi the Rhino was replaced by Ellie the Elephant. If you don't understand why, play through a level with Ellie that has rats in it and see for yourself. note She runs away from the rats whenever she gets near them against the player's control, which turns levels you play as her into an annoying set of barrel puzzles. Rambi was enjoyable to play by prospect of being incredibly destructive and fearless, which is completely turned around for Ellie in these levels.
Part of the song "Nuts and Bolts", which is played in the factory levels, sounds similar to Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir".
The GBA version of "Rockface Rumble" bears a resemblance to "Sweet Home Alabama".
That One Level: Just like the first two Donkey Kong Country games, this game isn't without them.
Ripsaw Rage and Kong-Fused Cliffs for being true auto-scrolling levels when the first game had none (The second one had Castle Crush), and Buzzer Barrage for it being far too easy to ram into a Kopter that was juuust off-screen thanks to their unusual behavior of not despawning when they go far enough off screen (granted they would be broken without it).
Lightning Look-Out! has lightning strikes that come just one step ahead in the direction that you're going, as if it's predicting your movements. There is a warning flash before each one, but too soon before; you need super-fast reflexes to respond whenever you can (and sometimes you can't). Don't even try hiding in the water either - you will get electrocuted.
The second-to-last level, Koindozer Klamber, isn't particularly nice either, especially if you've lost Dixie at any point. The Koins will very quickly chase you and knock you forward into a pit, and there's nothing you can do if you get pushed so much as once. Beating the level requires you to make extremely precise jumps onto Koin's shields, which is harder than it sounds — any further than the very centre will get you pushed into a pit. They also happen to be placed on tiny, barely reachable platforms. Enjoy!
Stampede Sprint in Krematoa requires you to escort an out of control running Ellie to the end of the level while Parry the Parallel Bird flies overhead. If you want 100% Completion, the Escort Mission has no room for error, because if Parry gets hit, he's lost for the level (and so is his Bonus Barrel), unless you restart. Oh, there's a bunch of goddamned Buzzes around the level. Have fun!
Rocket Rush, also in Krematoa as well as the last level of the entire game, is a hectic level, where if you run out of fuel, the rocket explodes, costing you a life. The second half of the level is essentially memorizing when to avoid the rock formations with absolutely fast reflexes. Did you get stuck by one? You're likely going to lose a life. Meanwhile, the GBA version features several changes; the second half actually gives you fuel barrels...but as if to make up for it, the only checkpoint of the level is removed, and the first half no longer gives the bottom of the rocket invincibility against the Buzzes, making parts of it require insanely precise timing and movement.
The racing minigame with the Turbo Ski in the GBA version (well, more That One Minigame than That One Level). All of the minigames added to the GBA version are annoying, but this one is especially bad. You have to do 3 laps around a fairly long track with the Turbo Ski, and hitting either the Kremling boats who are racing you or any of the walls decreases your health meter (and you often can't even tell when it's registering you hitting a wall, because it doesn't play a sound effect for it). If that runs out, you sink and fail the minigame. And you will fail. Many, many times.
Tough Act to Follow: After its predecessor set a very high bar standard, it was no surprise this trope would happen. Not to mention the game came out literally two months after Super Mario 64 wowed the video game industry. DKC3 ended up getting hit hard with the Popularity Polynomial.