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So they're finally here, performing for you
If you know the words, you can join in, too
Put your hands together, if you want to clap
As we take you through this monkey rap!
Hunh!
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Donkey Kong 64 is a 3D platformer produced by Rare and Nintendo for the Nintendo 64, released in 1999. It is the fourth main game in the Donkey Kong Country series, and the last Donkey Kong game that Rare made before parting ways with Nintendo to join Microsoft. In it, Donkey Kong and a team of his friends—Diddy Kong, Lanky Kong, Tiny Kong, and Chunky Kong—must stop King K. Rool and his Kremlings from building the Blast-O-Matic, a gigantic laser cannon with the power to destroy Donkey Kong Island.

The game resembles other platformers of its day, like Super Mario 64 and especially Banjo-Kazooie, in that it's mainly about exploring large nonlinear levels, fighting enemies, and picking up collectibles. Lots and lots of collectibles. Each of the five playable Kongs has five Golden Bananas and one hundred regular bananas to find in each level; the former open the way to other levels, whereas the latter open the way to each level's boss. Once all seven bosses are defeated, the path to the final gauntlet—and King K. Rool—is opened.

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One of the biggest differences between Donkey Kong 64 and its spiritual predecessor is the decreased emphasis on running errands for NPCs. Most Golden Bananas are found by winning mini-games or solving simple puzzles (most of which involve hitting switches with the correct characters). Other members of the Kong family, like Cranky Kong and Funky Kong, help out by equipping the heroes with new moves, weapons, hints, and more.

Donkey Kong 64 is one of two Nintendo 64 games that require the Expansion Pak to run (the other being The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask). The higher-ups mandated that Donkey Kong 64 be a Tech Demo Game for the Expansion Pak and the marketing stated that the game was simply too big to work on the base N64 hardware, though there was an urban legend circulating around the Internet that the Expansion Pak somehow prevented a game-breaking bug that caused random crashes, forcing Rare and Nintendo to ship the Pak with the game at a considerable expense.

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According to the July 2012 issue of the magazine Nintendo Gamer, Hiroyuki Takahashi (the president of Camelot Ltd., which produced the Mario Golf and Mario Tennis series) has expressed interest in making a sequel to this game. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen.

In 2015, the game was officially confirmed to see its long-awaited re-release on the Wii U's Virtual Console service, following years of fan speculation that the game may never see a release due to rights issues regarding the Jetpac minigame.note 


Ooooooh, the Tropes!:

  • Abnormal Ammo: All get orange grenades. Overlaps with Edible Ammunition for all playable characters except Tiny:
    • Donkey Kong - Coconuts (rifle)
    • Diddy Kong - Peanuts (pistols)
    • Lanky Kong - Grapes (Blow Gun)
    • Tiny Kong - Feathers (crossbow)
    • Chunky Kong - Pineapples (bazooka)
    • Funky Kong - The Boot
    • Hidden Character Krusha gets Oranges (Grenade Launcher)
    • Some minigamesnote  have you firing watermelons, but only in "Teetering Turtle Trouble" are they actually eaten.

  • Action Girl: Tiny Kong.
  • Adaptational Badass: Klumps went from low-level Mooks in Donkey Kong Country whose only differentiating quality from the average Kritter was being immune to Diddy's jump attack to Elite Mooks who are immune to most forms of damage and can throw deadly orange grenades.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Donkey Kong's thoughts are rendered in Hulk Speak here despite him being shown to be capable of normal speech in all previous games. Particularly strange as he is given much more human-like animations and movements in this game.
  • Alliterative Name: As a hallmark of the series, it sure couldn't be left out here. Just check out the names of the areas, for instance:
  • Amusing Injuries: The final boss fight is a long string of these in the form of a boxing match with five rounds.
    • The first phase, Donkey Kong launches himself at K. Rool from a barrel.
    • The second phase, Diddy Kong uses a jetpack to fly up high and shoot at the lighting fixtures, causing spotlights to fall on K. Rool's head. The fourth time it happens, he can't pull it off on his own.
    • The third phase, K. Rool still has a spotlight stuck on his head, blinding him. Lanky Kong drops banana peels on the floor, then tricks K. Rool into tripping on it. Four times.
    • The fourth phase, K. Rool starts off by ground pounding the floor until his butt hurts. While he cringes, Tiny Kong enters through a hole in his shoe and shoots feathers at his toes until he loses his balance and falls over. Eventually he's tickled so much he's temporarily knocked out.
    • The fifth phase, Chunky Kong grows into a giant, and K. Rool tries to charge at Chunky, only to get countered by a haymaker.
    • Finally, after the fight, Funky Kong fires a boot from a rocket launcher at K. Rool's rear end while Candy Kong pretends to flirt with him; this launches K. Rool into the room where he imprisoned K. Lumsy, and... well, we don't get to see what happens, but it sounds unpleasant.
  • Animated Outtakes: Your reward for 100% Completion is a video of the characters auditioning for the next entry in the series on the then-upcoming "Dolphin". (Or you can look it up on YouTube.)
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: In this game, Donkey Kong tiptoes, walks, and runs like a human, but otherwise stands and acts like a gorilla.
  • Artistic License – Music: Two of the playable characters' instruments don't sound like their real life counterparts. Donkey Kong's bongos are much more melodic than real bongos, but it's particularly egregious with Chunky Kong's triangle. It actually makes the sound of a celesta, a completely different instrument!
  • Background Music Override: Hideout Helm's climactic theme keeps on playing even when using the Tag Barrel or Transformation Barrels. The only time it stops is if you pause the game, or during Hideout Helm's minigames (which have their own, different theme anyway).
  • Badass Adorable: Tiny Kong definitely qualifies for this. Diddy Kong also qualifies to a certain degree.
  • Badass in Distress: All the Kongs except Donkey this time around, and they offer playable assistance when you free them early on.
  • Bad Boss: K. Rool yells at his minions and forces his technicians to work non-stop on his doomsday weapon under threat of being eaten by klaptraps.
  • Bamboo Technology:
    • The Kongs' weapons are made out of wood.
    • K. Rool has some kind of surveillance system that enables him to monitor the Kongs' movements all throughout the island. It's seemingly made entirely out of barrels, and rather surreally displays the individuals currently being observed within a gigantic barrel rather than in their actual location.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: They really call it Kritter-in-a-sheet. Fans called it the "Old-Fashioned Ghost" because it looks and sounds hilariously outdated and unconvincing, which was the point all along.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Creepy Castle, a decrepit location where the Kongs explore haunted rooms and halls, as well as hazy dark caves.
  • Big Eater: Troff the pig and Scoff the hippo, although the former leaves the eating to the latter. His excuse is that he ate so much he can't reach the key to the boss door.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Almost all the interior areas, whether the level lobbies in the DK Isles overworld or the various buildings in the levels themselves, are much bigger than their exteriors would lead you to believe. The exterior of the island where K. Lumsy is imprisoned, for instance, is smaller than K. Lumsy himself.
  • The Big Guy: Chunky Kong.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio:
  • Black Sheep: K. Lumsy, the only Kremling to be jailed because of his abnormal size and threat to his big bro's plans.
  • Blackout Basement:
    • One small area in Jungle Japes is a homage to this.
    • The interiors of Gloomy Galleon's sunken ships are lit by fish with flashlights that swim behind you.
  • Blatant Lies: The microphone announcer at the tail end of the game says that the judges will act in a fair and unbiased manner. This claim is... a tad exaggerated, to say the least.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: For a Donkey Kong Country game, this game is very light on barrels to grab and throw (reserving them for bonus stages and bosses). However, every boss in the game that can be damaged by a barrel throw has an unlimited number of TNT barrels in their arena. It wouldn't even be possible to hurt Army Dillo and Dogadon if they didn't expose themselves constantly by taunting you. The non-barrel examples are Puftoss, who sits in the center of electric pylons that shock it several times over the course of its fight, and King Kut Out, who confronts you at a castle tower equipped with cannons that you can use to launch yourself into it. The only ones who avert it are Mad Jack, because he can't help the location of the fight (he was thrown there from a higher area of the factory), and K. Rool himself, whose choice of arena contributed exactly one of the props used to damage him (the lights Diddy drops on his head), with all the others appearing from out of nowhere.
  • Boss Remix: All the boss themes (except K. Rool's) take their respective level's leitmotif and escalate it to epic proportions. K. Rool's boss theme is actually an intense version of his own leitmotif.
  • Butt-Monkey: Chunky (more apparent during the DK Rap where he keeps screwing up). K. Rool, too, in the final boss battle.
  • The Caligula: King K. Rool.
  • Camera Screw: Basically any time you need to make a precise jump (Frantic Factory and Creepy Castle come to mind), expect to spend ten seconds lining up the camera.
  • Canis Latinicus: The "scientific" names of the Kongs' special abilities. To name a few:
    • Simian Slam (Buttus Bashium)
      • Super Simian Slam (Big Buttus Bashium)
      • Super Duper Simian Slam (Bigga Buttus Bashium)
    • Baboon Blast (Barrelum Perilous)
    • Monkeyport (Warpum Craftious)
    • Chimpy Charge (Hurtus Cranium)
  • Canon Immigrant: Several elements from the Donkey Kong Country cartoon:
    • Crystal Coconuts, though there was only one in the show.
    • Cranky Kong's role as a mad scientist also originated from the show.
    • Klap-Traps now have "dentures". If you try to beat them by jumping, their teeth still come after you.
  • Carry a Big Stick: The Kosha enemies follow this trope's name to the letter by carrying really big clubs.
  • Cash Gate: B. Locker, who hates his job of keeping you out of the levels until you have enough golden bananas.
  • Chiaroscuro: A lot of the game takes place in abandoned areas or caverns with dim lighting.
  • The Chick: Tiny Kong.
  • Choke Point Geography: Justified by the locations of the levels being fairly well-hidden, until K. Lumsy dislodges a seemingly innocent boulder or jostles a door open.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • Donkey Kong - Yellow
    • Diddy Kong - Red
    • Lanky Kong - Blue
    • Tiny Kong - Purple
    • Chunky Kong - Green
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The seal in Gloomy Galleon speeds off before you have the chance to get going and literally teleports in front of you at one point if you're ahead.
    • The Beetle also does this in the race with Lanky in Crystal Caves. The Beetle is placed a few feet in front of Lanky and speeds off before Lanky has a chance to get into his barrel to be able to catch up with the Beetle.
  • Continuity Nod: Gloomy Galleon has a ton of nods to Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. The sunken ship with the rooms you can swim into? It's the one and only Gangplank Galleon, as seen by the several Kaptain K. Rool portraits and even his logbook inside.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Several areas of this game have lava where they probably shouldn't. The "lobby" to Crystal Caves, an ice cave, has lava at one end. The second battle against Dogadon takes place inside a lava-surrounded arena inside a tree. Also, it's unclear if that green stuff in Creepy Castle is Palette Swapped lava, or acid. And the lava in one section of that temple in Angry Aztec with the llama acts just like the quicksand in the main level.
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": If you lose a round at any point during the final battle, Cranky's attempt to encourage you not to give up ends with this.
  • Creepy Doll: Mad Jack combines this with Monster Clown, and the music only adds to the creep factor.
  • Crosshair Aware: The Krack-Shot Kroc, who only appears if you fail to complete a challenge in the time alotted.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: K. Rool's surveillance system displays the people he watches as if inside a giant barrel. In one cutscene, two Kritters are chasing Lanky, and Lanky just walks up the walls on his hands, something he is unable to do in regular gameplay.
  • Dark Reprise: Waiting in Troff and Scoff's room after opening the boss door will treat you to a darker version of the Fungi Forest theme. Somewhat interesting since you will hear this version in at least three such rooms before you even reach Fungi Forest.
  • Darth Vader Clone: King K. Rool speaks like Vader and has Vader Breath. He also has a ship with a huge gun (the Blast-O-Matic, not the Death Star), and he threatens his minions (with Klaptraps, not the Force choke).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cranky Kong.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If the watermelon bar is depleted, the character will reappear in a close area to where they lost. Hideout Helm is the exception.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Once you hit King Kut-Out three times, he loses his left arm. Hit him three more times and his right arm falls off. Three more after that and his head falls off, ending the battle.
  • Disconnected Side Area:
    • Tiny has a lot of those, actually, due to her abilities to shrink and teleport allowing her to get inside otherwise sealed-off rooms. The most notable example of this is the platform with the giant Kosha in Crystal Caves.
    • There are a few instances where a particular Kong needs to reach a certain area to obtain a Golden Banana or Blueprint, but is unable to do so through their own ability, meaning that another Kong who is able to reach said area will have to go there and activate a teleporting pad for the right Kong to use. Usually it's Tiny who has to scout ahead.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Candy Kong does this to K. Rool while Funky sneaks up behind him with a boot-bazooka. It also happens to some Kremlings in the complete ending.
  • Dumb Muscle: Donkey and Chunky.
  • Dynamic Akimbo: Whenever Tiny's hands aren't in use, they're resting on her hips. In fact, she opts to exclusively use her feet to attack with so she doesn't have to take her hands off of her hips.
  • Easter Egg: DK has a poster of a dolphin in his bedroom. "Dolphin" was the much-publicized working title of the Nintendo GameCube.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Candy, Funky, and K. Lumsy join in on the Final Boss after Chunky's section, with Candy distracting K. Rool, Funky literally kicking his ass with a boot bazooka, and K. Lumsy getting some well-deserved vengeance after K. Rool falls into K. Lumsy's prison.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Klumps (fat pink Kremling Soldiers) are immune to basic attacks and stomps. At the start of the game, the only move the Kongs can defeat them with is a thrown Orange, though Hunky Chunky, the Charged Attack granted by the Queen Banana Fairy, and a Kong's musical instrument can eventually be used to dispatch them.
    • Kasplats (muscular blue Kremlings who hold Snide's blueprints) are not as immune to basic attacks, but are still fairly strong compared to the normal mooks; such attacks will knock them down, but will never take them out on the first hit. However, hitting them again when they get back up will usually take them out.
    • Koshas (small Kremlings in viking attire who hold spiked clubs three times their own size) are one of the few enemies to deal more than a quarter-melon's worth of health, doing half a melon with their clubs. They're even stronger than Klumps, being able to deflect Oranges with the club if it isn't stuck in the ground. Beyond that, they're immune to and weak to the same things as Klumps.
  • Embedded Precursor: The original arcade version of the original Donkey Kong (from Nintendo) and Jetpac (from Rare, then known as ACG/Ultimate); and it's actually required to complete both to complete DK64.
  • Enemy Posturing:
    • Army-Dillo, the first boss, can only be attacked when he comes out of his shell just to laugh at you. That's your cue to hit him with the exploding barrel that he was courteous enough to leave in the middle of the stage for you.
    • The final battle against King K. Rool has the five Kongs taking turns fighting him in a boxing ring. When it's Donkey Kong's turnnote , you have to jump into a Barrel Cannon, wait for K. Rool to start waving to the crowd, and nail him.
  • Eternal Engine: Frantic Factory mashes this up with Toy Time. There are a few rooms involving the machinery of the factory, such as elevators, conveyor belts, pipes and pistons, and a number of the collectibles within these rooms require you to platform around these aspects.
  • Everything Fades: All of the enemies fade in and out when you beat them.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Unless you're a Kremling.
  • Evil Living Flames: Flames are enemies resembling balls of fire with feet and sunglasses. They only appear in one level where where Lanky Kong has to fight them off while they try to reach a barrel of TNT and make it explode, with the walking fireballs cackling when get close to the explosives.
  • Fake Longevity: To greatly stretch out the gameplay time, there is loads of backtracking necessary to get 100% Completion. Particularly since many of the collectibles can only be taken by a certain Kong and you can only switch Kongs at designated Tag Barrels, so you'll be running back and forth between these barrels a lot.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The giant Kosha of Crystal Caves can be easily defeated by your shockwave or instrument attack, just like any regular Kosha.
  • Fartillery: Chunky Kong's special attack from the Banana Fairy involves him making a massive burp.
  • Final-Exam Boss: King K. Rool's fight involves all of the Kongs, as well as various elements of all their movesets.
  • Five-Man Band: The playable Kongs.
  • Foreshadowing: When you first meet Snide, he says that the blueprints "might just buy you some valuable time." They end up doing just that in Hideout Helm; each blueprint you turn in stalls the Blast-O-Matic for a minute, giving you extra time to shut it down for good.
  • Floating Continent: Creepy Castle is floating in the sky.
  • Free Sample Plot Coupon: K. Rool orders his minions to steal the Golden Bananas from DK's Banana Hoard so he's distracted finding them while K. Rool buys time to repair the Blast-O-Matic and use it to destroy DK Isles. To make matters worse, the worlds where the Bananas were placed are guarded by B. Locker, who won't allow the Kongs to enter if they don't have the necessary amount of Golden Bananas. Fortunately, the first world (Jungle Japes) only requires one Golden Banana, which can be collected easily when the lobby leading to the world's entrance is opened.
  • Fungus Humongous: Fungi Forest, which has a big mushroom that you can go inside, but not that many mushrooms overall.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • A late-game bug can cause the mechanical fish to become nearly impossible to beat. This bug can be worked around by disabling the Sniper scope while the fan is spinning; however, this bug is so obscure that most people won't know to do this.
    • According to former Rare developer Shawn Pile, a bug which would cause the game to randomly crash was the primary reason that the game required the Expansion Pak, as the developers couldn't find a way to remove the bug otherwise. Even with the Pak enabled, the game can still occasionally lock up, it just takes about 10 hours without powering off the game, which was unlikely on the original console (but happens rather more frequently with emulation and Virtual Console).
  • Gainaxing: Actually present on Candy Kong during a few cutscenes (most noticeable during the ending).
  • Gangplank Galleon: Gloomy Galleon, unsurprisingly. As noted under Continuity Nod, the level even features the Trope Namer's ship, though sunken since its first appearance.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • K. Lumsy, a colossal Kong-sympathizer Kremling. Also Dumb Muscle.
    • Chunky, bordering on parody. He carries a bazooka and is stronger than DK, yet he plays the triangle and is afraid of heights. Also, put the controller down and watch his Idle Animation.
  • Get Out!: Played for horror rather than how this trope usually works. In the Angry Aztec temple (and later in the Creepy Castle greenhouse), once you beat the golden banana mini-game, suddenly Kroc shouts "GET OUT!" in a deep demonic voice, you see a target on your back with a countdown timer, and it zaps you if time runs out. In Crystal Caves, you're given ONE second in the cabins to leave if the light hits you (and very rarely do you actually escape in time). Thankfully, if you fail, you're not sent to the start of the level, but to the entrance of the cabin.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There are 200 Golden Bananas (Plot Coupons), 3500 regular Bananas (required to access each level's boss; there are 100 bananas for each of the five Kongs on each of the seven Levels), 40 Banana Medals (required to access a mini-game with a prize required to beat the game, obtainable only by collecting at least 75 regular Bananas per character in each world (except Hideout Helm, where they are instead acquired by beating the minigames)), 20 Banana Fairies (which boost your carrying capacity for Crystal Coconuts and unlock the secret 201st Rareware Golden Banana if you collect them all), 40 Blueprints (increases the time limit of the final level's Timed Mission and can be exchanged for Golden Bananas, 5 in each level with the lobbies on DK Isle acting in place of Hideout Helm for the eighth), 10 Battle Crowns (needed to open the door to K. Rool on the last level), 8 Boss Keys (required to open the way to the final battle), and countless Banana Coins (currency to obtain new skills, which include 3 potions per Kong and three potions (the Simian Slam and its subsequent upgrades) for all Kongs, a weapon for each Kong and its subsequent upgrades, and a musical instrument for each Kong and its subsequent upgrades), among others. There's also the Nintendo Coin and Rareware Coin, which are vital to the game's completion and only attainable by beating in-game arcade games (one being the aforementioned game unlocked by the Banana Medals, and the other being hidden in the third level, Frantic Factory, which must be beaten twice to obtain it (the first time rewards you with a Golden Banana instead)), and the Bananaportals that let you warp from place to place on each level. Over two decades later, this remains the most collectibles in any video game ever!
    Cranky Kong: I knew they'd have to have something like this. The Kongs will be so weighed down with all the garbage they have to collect, I can't see them getting past the second level.
  • Grand Finale: Became this in retrospect for the original Donkey Kong Country games made by Rare. King K. Rool and the Kremlings make their final appearance in the series. Later games made by Retro Studios feature new settings and villains.
  • Green Hill Zone: While Jungle Japes and Fungi Forest fit this trope to an extent, the truest example would be the area where you start the game where DK's treehouse is.
  • Guns Akimbo: Diddy Kong and his signature Peanut Popguns.
  • Hammerspace: Where do the Kongs keep their guns? Diddy, for one, manages to store two handguns the size of his head somewhere while wearing just a hat and shirt.
  • Heli-Critter: Tiny Kong, just like Dixie.
  • Helium Speech: When you use Lanky Kong's Baboon Balloon ability, after he inflates, he lets out a "Woohoo!" that's even more high-pitched than his normal voice.
  • Herding Mission: The Bonus Game "Beaver Bother" involves taking control of a Klaptrap to snap at beavers and frighten enough of them into a hole in the center of the room before time runs out.
  • Hints Are for Losers: The back of the instruction manual has Cranky Kong poke fun at the Hints sections usually put in the back of game manuals by refusing to give you any hints.
    "Tough luck kid. I've been told to keep my mouth shut, as they want to keep all the good stuff for a money-making strategy guide. I'm sure some of it will appear on the newfangled 'internet' thing as well, so I suggest you take a look-see there. You could also ask your friends, assuming of course you've got any. If all else fails, you'll just have to play better."
  • Hub Level: The DK Isles and K. Rool's ship, both of which contain four levels apiece.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: Averted. Whenever Tiny needs a ride from Squawks, she has to shrink herself down first.
  • Human Cannonball: Numerous wooden cannons are found in the game, and the Kongs can use them to reach new heights.
  • 100% Completion: Goes up to 101%, like the first Donkey Kong Country.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Health is represented by watermelons, divided into four slices. You start with one whole watermelon, and buy two more over the course of the game. Health is frequently regained by touching watermelon slices, which are dropped by some enemies and also found in certain boxes.
  • Idle Animation
    • Donkey Kong: Swats at and accidentally eats a fly.
    • Diddy Kong: Plays with an orange.
    • Lanky Kong: Juggles and piles three oranges, then launches them into the air to catch them in his mouth, where they suddenly disappear.
    • Tiny Kong: Juggles one orange grenade and puts it away.
    • Chunky Kong: Sees butterflies and lets them land on him, then he scares them away. He may also do a Primal Chestpound.
    • A few of the enemies have these too. Klumps, for example, will take out a green Orange Grenade, eat it, and let out a large burp.
  • Interface Screw: When Chunky boards the sailing ship on the Gloomy Galleon level to get his Golden Banana there, this happens after his dance. The screen wavers wildly, he leans back with his arms down (while walking), and the directional controls are reversed (implying seasickness).
  • Jaw Drop: One Kremling in the 101% ending performs this upon seeing Candy Kong and the Queen Banana Fairy lying down in a seductive manner. His friend closes his mouth for him, only for it to fall right back open.
  • Jungle Japes: The Trope Namer is the first level of the game, a fairly straightforward area with trees and vines to climb and swing from, as well as a few mossy caves.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: For being so darn-right silly, Lanky Kong takes it.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Sometimes you have to beat every enemy inside a certain room in order to have golden bananas, switches, or bonus barrels show up. A few times, doors are unlocked as well.
  • Kill It with Fire: Four of the five level bosses in this game spit or throw fireballs at you, including a giant pufferfish. King Kut Out is the exception, instead using lasers (which Mad Jack will switch to mid-battle).
  • The Lancer: Diddy Kong.
  • Laughing Mad: Mad Jack. His actual laugh is a quack, but the mad laughter is embedded into the music.
  • The Leader: Donkey Kong. It's right there in the DK Rap:
    DK Rap: He's the leader of the bunch, you know him well...
  • Left Stuck After Attack: If a Kosha tries to attack a Kong with an overhead spiky club swing, it'll end up stuck in the floor and the Kosha will try to pull it back out. The attacked Kong can then use explosive oranges to defeat it while it's incapable of reflecting them.
  • Legacy Character: As always, Cranky Kong is the Donkey Kong from the original arcade game.
  • Leitmotif: Every level has one, including the Hub Level. The majority of the music within subareas of worlds (including the themes of the bosses) is just arrangements of the music played in the main part of the level.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: The music falters when the Kremlings have engine trouble in the intro. Percussive Maintenance gets the machine started again and the music back in tune.
  • Lighthouse Point: Gloomy Galleon has one that you can go into for three Golden Bananas.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Funky Kong delivers the coup de grâce to King K. Rool by way of a rocket-propelled boot bazooka aimed directly at the crocodile's ass.
  • Live Item: The Banana Fairies, which flutter around and need to be captured by photo.
  • Lost Woods: Fungi Forest, a colorful forest filled with grassy areas and fungi. It's relatively peaceful during daytime, but when night falls, it earns a more sinister vibe, filled with spooky enemies and having limited visibility.
  • Lovable Coward:
    • Chunky. On the character selection screen, highlight anyone else and he'll start to taunt the camera; roll over to him, though, and he'll freak out and try desperately to convince you to pick Tiny instead. When you highlight a different character, he'll go "whew!".
    • Made all the funnier if you decide to unlock Chunky before unlocking Tiny, note  so Chunky tries to convince you to pick a character that isn't there.
  • Mad Scientist: Cranky Kong makes all the weird potions the Kongs use for their special moves.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: On one hand, King Kut Out is a cardboard cut out of King K. Rool that was improvised to be a boss. On the other hand, its laser eye beams and its absurdly fast teleportation abilities later in the fight are beyond the abilities of normal cardboard and a pair of dumb Kritters; the lasers could possibly be explained by some sort of hidden cannons, but the rapid movement defies the laws of physics.
  • Mayincatec: Angry Aztec
  • Mini-Boss: The game has a few of these, like the Giant Toy Monster in Frantic Factory and the Giant Spider in Fungi Forest.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: The entire reason why K. Rool had K. Lumsy imprisoned.
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: There's a multiplayer mode that can be decently fun, but is otherwise barebones (compared to later Rare releases like Banjo-Tooie or Conker's Bad Fur Day). Cranky lampshades it in the manual:
    Cranky: It's true, I'm afraid. They've gone and included one of those awful multiplayer modes that seem to be all the fashion these days. This means you and some whippersnappers can huddle round your flickering screen and play a few games that I reckon were thrown in at the last minute and will be average at best.
  • Money for Nothing: There's a finite amount of coins in the game, but there's still waaaaay more then you'll ever need.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Candy Kong. Even K. Rool goes nuts over her. The fact that her dialogue (sounds like it) contains a lot of innuendo contributes. Her theme song in her store supports this even more.
  • No Fair Cheating: Using any Gameshark code in this game will cause DK to spasm uncontrollably throughout the game. Even in the opening. Also, your cartridge will be permanently damaged if you save. To such a level that you cannot pick up any items and you drop dead from taking a single hit.
  • Nostalgia Filter: As expected of the character, Cranky reminisces about how much better games were in his day.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Wrinkly Kong doesn't let a little thing like death stop her from helping the Kongs throughout the game.
  • Obvious Beta: Largely averted, but it does have a few cracks:
    • You can swim through walls, dive under islands, and walk around in voids without any cheating device if you manipulate the first-person view. Beaver Bother's mechanics are also quite unpolished.
    • Especially notorious is Hunky Chunky, who can clip through almost anything.
  • Oh, Crap!: When you finally infiltrate Hideout Helm, King K. Rool freaks out and tells his men to fire up the machine that’s meant to destroy DK Isles. Even when the head mechanic tells him that the machine needs more time and could kill everyone, K. Rool is so worried about the Kongs approaching him that he disregards the concerns and pleas for more time.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Creepy Castle, as evidenced by you shooting yourself into the clouds to get there, as well as the bottomless pit below the level itself.
  • Over 100% Completion: Keeping with the trend started in Donkey Kong Country, this game goes up to 101% for obtaining all of the major collectibles: Golden Bananas (201), Banana Medals (40), Banana Fairies (20), and Battle Crowns (10).
  • Percussive Maintenance: During the intro cutscene, one of the Kremling technicians uses this to fix the Blast-O-Matic.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Generally averted, but Hideout Helm's Banana Medals (which must be manually picked up after completing each section of disabling the Blast-o-Matic) will disappear once you finish Hideout Helm. Failure to pick them up also makes getting 101% completion impossible, so be wary.
  • Pickup Hierarchy:
    • Primary: The Golden Bananas. There's 201 of them across the game, recollecting them after their theft is the Kongs' main goal, and they're the Plot Coupon required to access new levels by meeting B. Locker's toll and getting him to move out of the way (tolls range from just one for the first stage, Jungle Japes, to 100 for the final level, Hideout Helm).
    • Secondary:
      • Banana Medals. There are 40 of them, one for each Kong across the eight main worlds (none exist in the hub world due to its lack of normal Bananas). These are rewarded for collecting 75 Bananas out of 100 in every world but the last, Hideout Helm; in that level, they exist as physical pickups that you can grab. Only 15 of them are required to unlock Cranky Kong's special reward, which grants access to the Rareware Coin; the other 25 are only required for 101% completion.
      • Banana Fairies. 20 of them are present throughout the adventure; four in the hub world and two in every level. Collecting them has them increase the Kongs' carrying capacity for Crystal Coconuts and Banana Camera Film by one per fairy, and collecting them also unlocks bonus content on the main menu, ranging from a cutscene Replay Mode at two to infinite consumables for all 20. Rescuing all 20 Banana Fairies grants access to the Rareware Golden Banana, a secret Golden Banana that bumps their total up to 201.
      • Blueprints. 40 exist throughout the game; 5 each are in the hub world and every level except for Hideout Helm, held by color-coded Kasplats. Each Blueprint given to Snide gets you a Golden Banana and an extra minute added to Hideout Helm's base time of just 10 minutes.
    • Tertiary:
      • Banana Coins. These are scattered fairly generously throughout the game, so generously that despite there being a total of 974, only 160 can be spent by the end. There are two types, normal color-coded coins that only one Kong can collect which give one coin, and the rainbow-colored 5-Banana Coins hidden under DK Dirt Piles, which give five coins to all five Kongs. These are required to buy upgrades from Cranky, Funky, and Candy, and two are also spent on the Donkey Kong machine; one on your first attempt at it, and one after getting the Golden Banana from it.
      • Bananas. 3500 of them exist in the game, 100 for each Kong in every level but DK Isles and Hideout Helm. Some are used as a Follow the Money indicator, while others are hidden in areas that require a bit of platforming or puzzle-solving to reach. They exist as individual bananas worth one, banana bunches worth five, and Banana Balloons that award ten when popped. Bananas provide Banana Medals when a Kong collects 75 of their specific Bananas in a stage, and are given to Troff 'N' Scoff to unlock the bosses. Collecting all 100 for a Kong is not required for completion, but is indicated by a short musical sting upon doing so.
    • Extra:
      • Battle Arena Crowns. There are 10 in the game, given as rewards for beating the Battle Arenas; 2 in the hub world, and 1 in each of the main levels. Collecting one unlocks multiplayer, and a total of four are needed to unlock a door in Hideout Helm. The remaining six only contribute to reaching 101% completion.
      • The Nintendo and Rareware Coins. Only one of each exist, both obtained through playing an Embedded Precursor. The Nintendo Coin is awarded for completing round 2 of the original Donkey Kong in Frantic Factory, while the Rareware Coin appears as a random drop in Jetpac after scoring 5000 points. These only unlock the final door in Hideout Helm, which contains two Banana Fairies (which can be captured from outside the room) and the final Boss Key, which means that by extension, they're required to complete the game 101%. invoked
  • Pokémon Speak: In gameplay, the Kasplats only say their name, though they seem to be perfectly capable of speaking in the game's cutscenes.
  • Pose of Supplication: Chunky Kong begged the giant, fire-breathing Dogadon for mercy to no avail. What followed was... well, let's just say it must have hurt a lot (for Dogadon, that is).
  • The Power of Rock: Playing the Kongs' musical instruments will typically defeat all Kremlings and baddies within earshot; there are very few exceptions to this rule.
  • Power-Up Mount: Averted. Rambi and Engarde appear as transformations of Donkey and Lanky respectively in Jungle Japes and Gloomy Galleon and are not directly ridden. Squawks is reduced to only being able to pick up Tiny in scripted sequences if she is shrunken down using Mini Monkey.
  • Precision F-Strike: During the rap, one line says that Chunky's "one hell of a guy".
  • Punny Name:
    • King K. Rool, as always, is a pun on "cruel", which is certainly indicated by his Bad Boss tendencies.
    • K. Lumsy, the sole Kremling who doesn't hate the Kongs (and was locked up for it), is a joke on "clumsy". Once he's freed from the cage he lives up to this name by taking down King K. Rool's airship by complete accident while tripping.
    • B. Locker, indeed, blocks access to the worlds of the game until you bring him enough Golden Bananas to get him to leave.
  • Racing Minigame: There's at least one per world except in Jungle Japes (which only has a minecart stage) and Hideout Helm. The race against the beetle in Angry Aztec and Crystal Caves, against the toy car in Frantic Factory and Creepy Castle, against a seal in Gloomy Galleon, and against a rabbit in Fungi Forest. It was no surprise, considering that the series had already spun off a whole stand-alone racing game.
  • Recurring Boss: Army Dillo and Dogadon are both fought twice. Both of the former's bouts are against Donkey Kong.
  • Replay Mode: The game enables this feature after the player starts retrieving Banana Fairies by taking a picture shot at them. After retrieving two Fairies, the player can replay the unlocked cutscenes of the game. With six, the two Embedded Precursors that reward the player with the Rareware and Nintendo coins (Jetpac and Donkey Kong) in the main game can be replayed.note  With ten, it's possible to replay the boss fights.
  • Required Secondary Powers: It's been suggested that the act of You Have Researched Breathing is because of Cranky giving these instead. Below are a few examples.
    • The levers being too rusty for DK to pull without Herculean strength.
    • Chunky gaining the same strength, as said haymakers can punch down metal fences.
    • Lanky gaining enough strength and stamina to be able to not just handstand, but handstand for as long as he wants.
    • Diddy gaining a thick-enough skull (and a shrunken enough brain) to use the charging headbutt without a concussion.
  • Ret-Canon: Cranky Kong mixing potions like in the CGI cartoon.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Any name that isn't alliterative will rhyme (Strong Kong, Hunky Chunky). And sometimes even that! (Stash Snatch)
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • After you defeat King Kut-Out, the two Kremlings that were behind the wall look at each other for a moment before running off.
    • A Kasplat tries to do this to the Kremling Krew in the Creepy Castle intro cutscene. He doesn't make it, apparently.
    • Once you disable K. Rool's machine, he attempts to make a getaway in an emergency vehicle. Once you get the final key to K. Lumsy's cage, K. Rool's escape will be thwarted.
  • Secret Character: Krusha, a recurring mook from the Donkey Kong Country games who is otherwise absent in this installment, can be unlocked as a multiplayer character when a file rescues 15 Banana Fairies. He's slow but strong similarly to Chunky, but has a fast-moving sliding punch and an Orange Grenade Launcher.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The second world, Angry Aztec. Though the sand doesn't suck the Kongs in, they're hot enough to inflict damage upon them.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One area in Gloomy Galleon has you climbing up a tower using platforms that move in and out — the first part of this climb follows exactly the same pattern of moving and stationary platforms as Super Mario 64 did in Whomp's Fortress.
    • In Donkey's phase of the final fight against K. Rool, after you launch at him via barrel cannons set up around the ring, K. Rool points to the side of his head with his boxing glove the exact same way Evander Holyfield did after Mike Tyson bit off part of his ear, also in the ring.
  • Slide Level: Angry Aztec and Crystal Caves both have a subarea where you race a beetle down a slope. The latter alternates between sliding and running segments.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Some areas of Crystal Caves contain igloos, and there's also an ice castle. The rest of the world is just an Underground Level.
  • The Smart Guy: Lanky, as an example of The Trickster.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Tiny's the only girl out of the five playable characters.
  • Soft Water: If the characters fall from a high place, they will get hurt if they land on floor. However, nothing will happen to them if they fall over water.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Any golden banana that doesn't involve a mini-game barrel is usually this. Sometimes they overlap.
  • The Song Remains the Same: The DK Rap does not even have the benefit of Japanese subtitles.
  • Spider Swarm: The spider mini-boss will send groups of smaller spiders (possibly its children) after Tiny Kong.
  • Spirit Advisor: The ghost of Wrinkly Kong will give you tips on getting some Golden Bananas.
  • Spiritual Successor: This game owes Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie big time for its existence. It even uses the same engine and soundfont as the latter.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Mad Jack's voice samples are duck quacks taken from the Hollywood Edge Cartoon Trax library, which themselves were taken from archival recordings of Donald Duck by his original voice actor, Clarence Nash.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Pretty strange that this trope would show up when you consider that this game is based on Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, which both have oxygen meters. As do the spiritual follow-ups Banjo-Tooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and every 3D Mario game from Super Mario Sunshine onwards (until Super Mario 3D Land); plus the actual followups created by Retro Studios (in one of which the Kongs can't swim at all). Even stranger is that the protagonists of this game are monkeys and apes, a group of species that are generally afraid of water in Real Life.note 
  • Super Title 64 Advance: It's Donkey Kong on the N64.
  • Surfer Dude: Funky Kong combines his surfer persona with a drill sergeant's.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: King K. Rool says this in one between level cinematic.
    K. Rool: (Head-shaking Face Palm) I'm surrounded by fools!
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Tiny and Chunky for Dixie and Kiddy. Cranky Kong lampshades the similarity between Tiny and Dixie in the manual, saying that he keeps thinking that Tiny is Dixie. Tiny is Dixie's little sister while Chunky is Kiddy's big brother.
    • Also the Banana Fairies for the Banana Birds in DKC3.
    • In addition, Lanky Kong looks like a silly version of the earlier orangutan Manky Kong. They even have rhyming names.
  • Theme Tune Rap: The "DK Rap". Composer Grant Kirkhope would like to make it perfectly clear that the rap was supposed to sound really lame.
  • Third-Person Person: Donkey Kong speaks like this here, nearly verging into Hulk Speak. Chunky also talks this way.
  • Throw a Barrel at It: Surprisingly, there aren't many barrels you can throw in this game, especially compared to the DKC games. They're mostly reserved for mini-games and boss fights.
  • Timed Mission: Many Golden Bananas involve switches that only remain active for a period of time, and all minigames are timed (though sometimes you have to survive out the timer, rather than accomplish a goal). The most notable example, however, is deactivating the Blast-O-Matic at Hideout Helm, which you have a timer of anywhere from 10 to 50 minutes to accomplish. Then there's the Kremling sniper in certain puzzle rooms, one of which has a timer of one second.
  • Time Keeps On Ticking: As just mentioned, shutting down the Blast-O-Matic at Hideout Helm. Cutscenes, unskippable animations, minigames, messing up and having to redo a portion, nothing short of outright pressing start to pause the game will halt it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Funky Kong, the AMMO store owner. Surfer Dude turned badass. At the end, while Candy Kong distracts K. Rool, Funky kicks his ass (literally) by shooting a giant boot out of a gun.
  • Toy Time: Frantic Factory, the Kremlings'... toy factory. Though it has more in common with your typical factory area than with a toy factory.
  • Tree Trunk Tour: Fungi Forest has a strange variant with a Fungus Humongous as well as a more standard one with a tree stump that Tiny can enter.
  • Unblockable Attack: The firewall Dogadon throws at Chunky at one point during their boss battle. The only way to dodge it is by hanging on the edges of the battle arena or perfectly timing a backflip.
  • Underground Level: Crystal Caves. It features some Slippy-Slidey Ice World elements, such as an igloo and an Ice Palace, but it's mostly rock and crystal.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Not even counting the various races and slides, over half the Golden Bananas have to be earned from Bonus Barrels, which transport you to Bonus Stages, many of which don't even feature you directly controlling the Kongs.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: In the opening sequence to Hideout Helm, King K. Rool orders his minions to activate the Blast-O-Matic, ignoring his engineers' insistence that the machine hasn't been properly tested and could backfire and destroy them all. While K. Rool's decision is extremely reckless, it's actually justified in this context since the Kongs are breaking into the Kremlings' base of operations literally at that very moment; there is literally no more time for preparations or fine-tuning. K. Rool's only two options at that point are to proceed straight to endgame regardless of the risks, or to watch his Evil Plan be torn to pieces.
  • Unique Enemy: There are a few: Ruler, Super Block, Book, Flame, Bat, Tomato, and Oyster.
  • Use Your Head:
    • Diddy's Chimpy Charge ability.
    • Once you get the Super Duper Simian Slam, Donkey Kong and Lanky Kong will smash their heads on the ground in their Ground Pound.
  • Vader Breath: King K. Rool.
  • Variable Mix: The song that plays in the Tag Barrel changes depending on who the light is hanging above.
  • Video Game Flight: Diddy Kong can fly with Rocketbarrels — a jetpack made out of wooden barrels fueled by magical coconut-shaped crystals.
  • White Void Room: The 101% completion bonus movie takes place in one, with Cranky holding auditions for a future game there.
  • Worm in an Apple: A worm is a minor character who resides in a large green apple (with a door and window, almost like a house) in Fungi Forest.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Donkey Kong needs a potion before he learns how to pull a lever, Lanky needs one before he can do handstands, Diddy needs one before he can perform a charging headbutt, and Chunky needs a potion in order to throw a haymaker.
  • Younger Than They Look: According to the German Donkey Kong 64 website, Chunky Kong is actually "still young in years" despite being the largest of the Kongs.

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