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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!
Huh!
DK! Donkey Kong!

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 activating 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.

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.

Following years of fan speculation that the game may never see a re-release due to rights issues regarding the Jetpac minigame, and possibly the original source code, the game became available on the Wii U's Virtual Console service in April 2015.


Ooooooh, the Tropes!:

  • 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.
  • 100% Completion: The game is particularly infamous for the amount of effort required to get 101%. There's a total of 201 Golden Bananas for you to collect, and 3500 regular bananas scattered throughout the levels. Add all the other collectables such as Battle Crowns (10), Banana Fairies (20), Banana Medals (40, though you do get each of them automatically once every 75 regular bananas of a particular color) and Blueprints (40, which net 40 of the 201 Golden Bananas) and you have a game that'll last you at least 40 hours if you want to find everything, possibly even longer. Fortunately, the game only requires slightly over half the total of collectibles (and, in the case of certain collectibles like the Battle Crowns and Banana Medals, less than half) to finish the game, as the reward for reaching 101% is optional.
  • 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 Bomb: Puftoss will release speedy Puftups that will chase Lanky until hitting him, or until exploding due to time running out. 64 also inverts the trope in one sidequest where a rabbit is tied to a crate of explosives, and several living flames will walk onto him to make him explode; the objective is to prevent this during a time limit.
  • 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.
  • Agony of the Feet: Tinys round for the final boss involves her shrinking down and going into K. Rools shoe to shoot his toes.
  • 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:
  • All There in the Manual: The Gnawties are only referred to by that name in the manual. Every other source (the game, the official strategy guides and Nintendo's Banana Guide) refers to them as Beavers.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: Hideout Helm, the last regular world, starts like a standard area (albeit borrowing the aesthetics and presentation of Frantic Factory). But as the Kongs advance through it, they find setpieces and obstacles that were characteristic in previous worlds (such as slopes only Lanky can cross, small corridors only Tiny can cross, etc.), and are once again testing their learned abilities. Then, when the Kongs reach the central room and have to disable the individual sources of energy feeding the Blast-o-Matic, they proceed to play Bonus Barrel minigames (shaped like oil barrels with K. Rool's face) placed at the sides of said energy sources; many of these minigames are based on those of the wooden DK Bonus Barrels found in the standard worlds, though others are based on miscellaneous tasks the Kongs used to do to earn Golden Bananas. And to ensure the player has mastered the game at this point, the entire mission must be done under a time limit, or else it's Game Over.
  • 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 slipping on them. 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 repeatedly by haymakers.
    • 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 Boss: The castle boss is a wooden mockup of K. Rool held behind the castle's parapets. The only way to attack it is by launching your Kongs out of a barrel cannon.
  • Background Music Override:
    • When racing the beetle in Crystal Caves, the race's music overrides the theme that normally plays when Lanky uses Orangstand Sprint.
    • 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, during Hideout Helm's minigames (which have their own, different theme anyway) or during the Battle Arena gauntlet.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: Cranky Kong narrates the manual for the game. When you get to the section on Gloomy Galleon, he says "you'll find a hulking structure that's a bit dim and doesn't work. Yes, I know you already know about Chunky, but this is also true of an eerie lighthouse."
  • Bamboo Technology:
    • The Kongs' weapons are made out of wood.
    • Diddy Kong has rocket boosters and a gun, made out of wood. How the rocket doesn't ignite the wood is ignored.
    • 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.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The game introduces the Flipflapsnote .
  • Battle Theme Music: The game gives each boss a battle theme based on the level where it's found. There is also a general battle theme for the minibosses (except the Giant Spider from Fungi Forest, which gets its own theme based on Fungi Forest itself).
  • Beanstalk Parody: Getting one of Tiny Kong's golden bananas in Fungi Forest involves obtaining a magic bean from one area of the world and then planting it in another. The bean immediately grows into a giant talking beanstalk which gives Tiny a golden banana that she grabs using her Mini Monkey ability.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: The Kritter-in-a-sheet, an enemy which appears in Creepy Castle. Fans called it the "Old-Fashioned Ghost" because it looks and sounds hilariously outdated and unconvincing, which was the point all along.
  • Bee Afraid: Zingers return and come in three versions: one that appears in DK Isles and the earlier levels and only attacks by charging at the Kongs, another that appears in the other levels and drops explosive green oranges, and a mechanical version found in Frantic Factory that is similar to the later Zingers but usually takes two hits to destroy.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The game has Creepy Castle and the night-time version of Fungi Forest. The former is a decrepit location where the Kongs explore haunted rooms and halls, as well as hazy dark caves; the latter retains the forest aesthetic seen during daytime but gives it a much creepier atmosphere when night falls, which is also reflected in the music. In both levels, the Kongs can find Kremlings disguised as ghosts, though they're easy to defeat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Fungi Forest features a pitch-black warehouse, where Diddy has to play his instrument in order to summon a lamp-toting Squawks to light up the vicinity.
  • 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.
  • Bonus Stage: The game calls the Bonus Barrel minigames "bonus stages", though functionally they are just minigames. Completing one yields a Golden Banana as reward. Hideout Helm has something of an Evil Counterpart in the form of ones resembling oil drums with K. Rool's face on them that you must beat to deactivate the Blast-O-Matic.
  • Bonus Stage Collectables: The DK Coins are shining yellow-colored coins with the letters DK colored red. In the standard bonus stages, you have to collect all DK Coins available in order to win and get a Golden Banana, but they come in a relatively low number (usually 10 at most) so the collection is straightforward; in a Racing Minigame or a Minecart Madness stage, you'll need many more of them (usually 50) but they come in higher numbers so you can miss some and still reach the threshold before the end. The caveat in the races is that, even if you reach first place, you won't receive the disputed Golden Banana if you failed to get the necessary amount of DK Coins (and Collision Damage is penalized by making you lose three coins per hit, which makes the races against the Beetle very difficult).
  • 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 Arena Urgency: Midway through the second fight against Dogadon in Fungi Forest, he throws a hissy fit and stamps repeatedly on the platform you're fighting on. In response, it starts to sink into the lava. If you're too slow to finish the battle, you're toast. Literally.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Koshas are immune to almost all attacks, wield gigantic spiked clubs that can deal twice the normal damage with just one hit, and in Crystal Caves a giant one causes level-wide tremors that make debris and stalactites fall all over the place.
  • Boss Remix: All the boss themes prior to K. Rool take their respective level's leitmotif and escalate it to epic proportions. K. Rool's boss theme is an intense version of his own leitmotif, with some parts of DK Isles included.
  • Bullfight Boss: During Chunky's turn in the final boss fight, when the boss charges at Chunky, he has to counter by winding up a Primate Punch so that it hits them right as they're in his face; this requires good timing, or else the boss will punch him instead.
  • Butt-Monkey: Chunky (more apparent during the DK Rap where he keeps screwing up). K. Rool, too, in the final boss battle.
  • 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.
    • Klaptraps now have "dentures". If you try to beat them by jumping, their teeth still come after you.
    • A possible explaination for Krusha being unlockable in multiplayer when he appears nowhere else in the game, being a reference to Krusha being a main character in the show.
  • 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.
  • Chaos Architecture: Donkey Kong Island went through some minor changes between Donkey Kong Country and this game, being a bit scaled down and empty due to technical limitations but still clearly the same island.
  • Character Select Forcing: The game only has five playable characters, but you need to switch them out constantly. The game has thousands (that's not an exaggeration—there are 3,500 bananas across the levels) of collectibles to find, and 700 of them can only be claimed by a particular Kong; furthermore, you can only switch in certain locations, as opposed to whenever you want. The game gets downright nasty about it in the later worlds, deliberately leaving a few Kong-specific bananas or coins in areas designed for other characters (for example, in Creepy Castle, the player must hit a switch as Diddy, run back to a Tag Barrel, change to Tiny Kong, run inside a now-opened door, and use Tiny's teleportation move to reach an otherwise inaccessible area).
  • Cheat Code: At any world entrance lobby after Jungle Japes, pressing Up, Down, Left, and Right on the + Control Pad while near B. Locker will allow him to discreetly let you enter the world at a fraction of the required number of Golden Bananas collected, complete with unique dialogue for each world. In the case of Hideout Helm, however, in addition to entering the cheat you need to have Chunky use a Primate Punch on him to visibly reduce the number shown on him.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Entering a new area within a world counts as a checkpoint, so it's normally not an issue. However, in Hideout Helm, because there are no indoor areas, you'll be sent to the beginning if you run out of health anywhere outside the Battle Arena. The time limit (which will be determined depending on how many blueprints were collected over the course of the game) further complicates this, because if you do die the time limit will not reset; and if it runs out it will not only send the player back to the start as well, but also will reset all the progress done. The trope only stops being an issue after you complete the world's mission, as it will eliminate the time limit and, after a bit more progress, you'll finally find a warp panel to connect it to the one from the start and thus enable the world's only shortcut.
  • Chiaroscuro: A lot of the game takes place in abandoned areas or caverns with dim lighting.
  • 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.
  • Clamshells as Mouths: A Tiny Kong-based mission in Gloomy Galleon involves helping a mermaid getting her lost pearls back, as the Kremlings stole them and hid them inside of clams. Said clams have angry eyes on their upper shell, and even a large set of teeth. They open their mouths in a repetitive fashion, requiring a shrunken Tiny to fetch the pearls while avoiding being crushed by their teeth.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each of the Kongs have color-coded bananas scattered throughout each world.
    • Donkey Kong - Yellow
    • Diddy Kong - Red
    • Lanky Kong - Blue
    • Tiny Kong - Purple
    • Chunky Kong - Green
  • Company Cameo:
    • The small arches leading to Tiny Kong's racing mission in Frantic Factory have Rareware's golden R in the middle of them.
    • The secret 201st Golden Banana, hidden in a room next to the Banana Fairy Queen's throne room, has a Rareware sticker on it. (The other 200 Golden Bananas spread throughout the game instead have stickers with the Nintendo 64 logo on them.)
    • Two major collectibles that are required to reach the Final Boss are the Nintendo Coin, which has the N64 logo on it, and the Rareware Coin, emblazoned with the company's golden "R" logo (unlike the Rareware Golden Banana, it doesn't have the blue box surrounding it). Both items are hidden in Embedded Precursors of games made by the companies earlier; Nintendo's is rewarded for completing round 2 of Donkey Kong, while Rare's randomly spawns as a pickup when you earn 5000 or more points in Jetpac, a game made by Rare back when they were known as Ultimate Play The Game.
    • The final boss battle is a boxing match stated to be "brought to you this evening by Rare and Nintendo in association with K. Rool Enterprises."
  • Composite Character: The Klaptraps found in this game are an In Name Only variant, sharing their designs and dog-like behavior with the Krimp enemies from Donkey Kong Country 3. It's especially obvious with the purple Klaptraps.
  • Company Cross References: Candy's Music Shop contains Banjo's banjo, Kazooie's kazoo, and Mumbo Jumbo's xylophone from the opening sequence of Banjo-Kazooie off to the side, bearing the Cobweb of Disuse.
  • 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 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.
  • Crocodile Tears: While not present in the game, K. Rool does this in the manual intro where he pretends to cry to motivate his soldiers to distract the Kongs from interfering with the Blast-o-Matic.
  • Crosshair Aware: The Krack-Shot Kroc, who only appears if you fail to complete a challenge in the time allotted.
  • Crystal Landscape: Crystal Caves is a large, intricate cavern with crystallized walls in many areas. It transitions into Slippy-Slidey Ice World in the frontier areas.
  • 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.
  • Deadly Walls: A part in Crystal Caves has a version of this. You have to move through walls of brambles in a spiral shape to reach the prize in the center. Hitting the walls at all takes off one of your three life watermelons (essentially hitting you for 4HP). Sounds simple, except the bramble walls spin back and forth, making it a great feat to get in and out without dying. And you do the maze as DK, who has a pretty large hitbox, and that its possible to accidentally access it before the third watermelon is acquired.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cranky Kong continues his cantankerous snarking and fourth wall breaking, even directly ripping on the developers in the manual.
  • 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.
  • Denser and Wackier: The game takes the series' already wacky elements into a new level. Before the game begins, you are treated to a slapstick-filled rap number that introduces the Kongs. Lanky Kong in particular has sillier abilities such as inflating himself to reach high places. In addition to expected places such as Jungle Japes and Gloomy Galleon, there's also Frantic Factory with its Living Toys and the majority of Fungi Forest.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Gloomy Galleon, the fourth world, has a large number of wrecked ships. One of them, notably, is the Gangplank Galleon from the first two Country games.
  • 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.
  • Disney Villain Death: Mad Jack, once he is defeated and the platform he is standing on falls out from under him.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Candy Kong does this to K. Rool while Funky sneaks up behind him with a boot-bazooka.
    • In the 101% ending, this happens to a Kremling who can only Jaw Drop at what he sees.
  • 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.
    • There are renmants of a Hint System that forcefully quits certain levels with a single vague and somewhat demeaning message from Squawks telling the player to look somewhere else or get some help. However, this requires performing certain actions 1501 times or running around for 4 hours. Simply idlying will not trigger the message.
  • Edible Ammunition: Except for Tiny Kong, all of the playable Kong's weapons launch things such as coconuts (Donkey), peanuts (Diddy), grapes (Lanky), and pineapples (Chunky). There are also explosive oranges used by Kongs and Kremlings alike. Some of the minigames consist of shooting at targets with watermelons.
  • 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.
  • Evil Living Flames: Flames are enemies resembling balls of fire with feet and sunglasses. They only appear in one level where where Chunky 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.
  • Falling Damage: Damage by falling happens whenever a Kong falls from a great height, via losing a quarter of a melon.
  • Fartillery: Chunky Kong's special attack from the Banana Fairy Princess involves him unleashing a massive burp.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: The level Fungi Forest can be played at day as well as night. At the start there is a clockwork with two buttons. The one currently pressed tells the current time. Whenever the other button is pressed, the time of day moves 12 hours forward. This is important because there are places that can only be accessed at certain hours.
  • Final Dungeon Preview: A cutscene showing the interior of Hideout Helm occurs each time a new level is entered.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The final battle against King K. Rool is a five-round boxing match, and in each round a specific Kong has to make use of their unique abilities to incapacitate K. Rool. Notably, the final round, which corresponds to Chunky, requires the use of all of his specialized skills just to hit K. Rool once, and he has to repeat the tactic a total of four times.
  • Final Solution: The game's plot is about the Kongs stopping King K. Rool from using his newly-built Blast-o-Matic to destroy their island with them on it. If you save and quit, you are shown a cutscene of him ready to fire, cutting away just before he does. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would go on to have this serve as his Final Smash, and they don't bother cutting away from the ensuing explosion.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: The game has a camera that allows you to "capture" banana fairies for inventory upgrades.
  • Five-Man Band: The playable Kongs.
  • Follow the Money: The game takes this to a new level by having different colors of bananas - one color for each playable character, which can only be collected by the matching character. The bananas end up not only outlining paths, but also indicating which character you have to use for each area.
  • 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 - and you must get at least one to even theoretically be able to pull it off; 10 minutes is impossible without using glitches.
  • Floating Continent: Creepy Castle is floating in the sky.
  • Four Is Death: The final boss has five phases, and in each one, you need to hit him four times to win. Taken further in the fourth phase, where you have to enter the boss's shoe four times to shoot his four toes, and the fourth toe takes four hits.
  • 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 has five major areas. One of them houses a gigantic mushroom you have to explore from the inside. Parts of the level are also littered with fungi that act like trampolines.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • If you enter the mechanical fish in Gloomy Galleon after having bought the Sniper Scope for your gun from Funky, make sure you turn the scope off before starting the timed challenge. Having it on causes so much lag that it becomes literally impossible to destroy the targets inside the fish before time runs out.
    • In the final area of the game, the Banana Medals exist as physical collectibles you can pick up. In the American version, if you complete the Timed Mission in the area without picking up the Banana Medals, they permanently vanish from the game, rendering it impossible to get 101% completion.
    • An infamous rumor is that right after the game had gone gold and final testing was being done on consumer consoles, a devastating memory leak was discovered that crashed the game after 20 minutes or so or normal play. Claims were that this leak was fixed by shoving the Expansion Pak in, and that this is the only reason it's required. However, this story is apocryphal. The Expansion Pak was used for the dynamic lighting. No memory leak - after 20 minutes, 4 hours, or any other amount of time, has ever been reliably documented. One of the main developers for the game has explicitly confirmed this in multiple interviews. There was a critical bug near the end of development, but it was patched. The Expansion Pak being included with the game had nothing to do with any bug, Rare had been told by Nintendo to use it very early into development.
  • Game Within a Game: There are two minigames to obtain the Rareware and the Nintendo Coins. Cranky offers to let you play Jetpac as a example of the good past times in videogames, once you collect 15 Banana Medals. The other game is the original Donkey Kong, in the form of an arcade machine in Frantic Factory. These are not optional, however; you have to play through both of these Nintendo Hard games to get into the room that houses the final Boss Key, and thus to unlock the final boss fight.
  • Gangplank Galleon: Gloomy Galleon, a cove containing wrecked pirate ships, as well as a seafaring one that can be called to port by activating the lighthouse. Interestingly, the sunken ship appears to be the Trope Naming Gangplank Galleon from the first Donkey Kong Country.
  • Gasshole:
    • One of Chunky Kong's most powerful attacks is a giant belch that, in the form of a circular green shockwave, kills any enemy it hits, including some that can't be defeated in any other way.
    • Scoff the Hippo also counts; no matter how many bananas you feed him at once, even if it's just one, he finishes with a belch big enough to shake the camera.
  • 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.
  • Ghostly Animals:
    • Parodied with most of the "ghost" enemies, which are actually just Kremlings dressed in bedsheets.
    • Wrinkly Kong passed away some time before the events of this game, and would go on to appear as a ghost in subsequent games.
    • There's a ghostly crocodile-type creature in Donkey Kong's Creepy Castle minecart, known only as the "resident demon".
  • Giant Hands of Doom: The ghostly skeleton crocodile found in Creepy Castle consists only of a floating head and a pair of hands, using the latter to swipe and punch at Donkey Kong as he rides down the rails.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The heroes and villains seem to be on good terms with each other in the 101% ending, having auditioned together. At one point Donkey Kong and King K. Rool can be seen playing pattycake with each other, and a sketch has Dogadon try to hide behind Diddy when a Gnawty scares him.
  • 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.
  • Ground Pound: The Simian Slam, and its subsequent upgrades the Super Simian Slam and Super Duper Simian Slam, have the Kongs pause in midair before slamming into the ground. While effective as an attack, its primary use is to activate switches and pound objects into the floor. Some bosses also have this within their attack repertoires (and due to their size, it comes along with Shockwave Stomp).
  • Ground Punch: Donkey Kong's charged attack has him spin in a circle and slam the ground with both fists, launching a massive shockwave.
  • Guns Akimbo: Diddy Kong and his signature Peanut Popguns.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The game features a level called "Crystal Caves": An Underground Level with some Slippy-Slidey Ice World elements (namely frozen log cabins and igloos). Also, Angry Aztec features a good mix of Shifting Sand Land and Temple of Doom.
  • 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.
  • Happy Dance: A Kong will always dance enthusiastically after collecting a Golden Banana or a Boss Key, though each of them as a different animation for this.
  • Hedge Maze: Lanky Kong has to navigate one located in a greenhouse in the Creepy Castle area to get a few normal bananas, one of his Golden Bananas, and, once that's done, spawn an Arena Pad.
  • Helicopter Hair: Tiny Kong, just like Dixie, can glide using her hair. In Tiny's case, it's her Girlish Pigtails.
  • 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.
  • Heart Container: Candy Kong, along with giving instrument upgrades, occasionally gives your characters extra watermelons to give them more health (one full watermelon is 4 HP, and you can get two additional watermelons).
  • 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 that 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."
  • Hint System: The lobby areas preceding the game's worlds have each five wooden gates from which Wrinkly's ghost will pop out, giving a hint related to what one of the Kongs has to do to earn a Golden Banana (or in one case, defeat a boss).
  • Homing Projectile: A big beeping missile with a face is used by the upgraded Army Dillo during his boss rematch in Crystal Caves. The Kongs can also find limited amounts of Homing Ammo for their guns, but they must visit Funky Kong in Fungi Forest to learn how to use them.
  • Hopeless Auditionees: The 101% ending is a series of characters from this game auditioning for a role in a Nintendo GameCube game. Cranky Kong never gives the okay to anyone, and occasionally calls "next!" before a character can get a few seconds into their performance.
  • Hub Level: DK Isles. There are eight main worlds, four of which (Jungle Japes, Angry Aztec, Fungi Forest and Crystal Caves) are accessed within Donkey Kong's island and the other four (Frantic Factory, Gloomy Galleon, Creepy Castle and Hideout Helm) are within the large Kremling ship. Also present are the artificial island where K. Lumsy is held captive (freeing him is required to unlock the Final Boss) and the natural island where the Banana Fairy queen lives.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ice Palace: There's a small ice castle within Crystal Caves. The front entrance leads to a tile swap minigame, while the upper entrance leads to a sliding race.
  • 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.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: The level Frantic Factory has conveyor belts in some sections. One of them adds trash compactors as well, so the only one who can go through them is the eponymous character when he's using the invincibility barrel ability.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: One of the abilities Tiny can learn allows her to shrink her size once she gets into a special barrel marked with her face. With her reduced size, she can get into holes and small areas, and on occasion Sqwaks can take her into a high spot (that obviously isn't possible with Tiny's standard size).
  • Inflating Body Gag: Once Lanky Kong learns the Baboon Balloon ability, he can inflate his body to each high places, and as he does so a comical fanfare plays. He can only do this ability if he stands onto a round pad showing his face, however.
  • 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).
    • A Mini-Boss in Fungi Forest is a giant spider (that only Tiny can fight) who shoots globs of webbing which can reverse the controls or freeze Tiny.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The eponymous character can become invincible by entering the proper magical barrel. It requires Crystal Coconuts, though.
  • Invisibility:
    • The third boss (Mad Jack) turns invisible when he's on the brink of defeat. He can still be spotted by his shadow, but the invisibility will also make it move much quicker, so Tiny has to move constantly to avoid being crushed and wait until the boss prepares the next attack so she can proceed to hit him one last time (with an energy field activated through a switch).
    • Chunky Kong can learn an ability (Gorilla Gone) that allows him to turn his body invisible (though his clothes can still be seen) in order to make certain things appear, though he needs to stand onto a pad showing his face to use it.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: In a game where Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, dying gets you expelled to the area's lobby on DK Island/to a cave entrance on the island. However, pausing the game and selecting "Quit Game" from the menu will eventually take you to the title screen, but first, you are shown a cutscene where King K. Rool presses a button on his throne, and a fully operational Blast-O-Matic begins charging up, pointed directly at the island, accompanied by impending doom music and letters superimposed over the outside shot, spelling "GAME OVER". The exact same thing happens when you run out of time in Hideout Helm.
  • Jaw Drop: One Kremling in the 101% ending performs this upon seeing Candy Kong and the Gloomy Galleon Mermaid lying down in a seductive manner. His friend closes his mouth for him, only for it to fall right back open.
  • Jet Pack: Diddy Kong has a wooden Rocketbarrel in this game. He can use it when he hops onto his designated Kong Barrel, and can fly for as long as he has Crystal Coconuts left (though in certain challenges as well as during the Final Boss battle the number of that item is unlimited, for the sake of convenience).
  • 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.
  • King Mook: The game has Puftoss (to the pufferfish-like Puftups) and Army Dillo (to the Army, despite the enemy not appearing in the game, though it was going to).
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Klumps are immune to physical strikes from all but Chunky Kong in his giant form. The only ways to kill them are with Magic Music or throwing explosive oranges.
  • Laughing Mad: Mad Jack. His actual laugh is a quack, but the mad laughter is embedded into the music.
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: The reuses the idea from Donkey Kong Country 2 of boiling hot water that needs to be spat in by an animal to cool it down. The actual lava in Donkey Kong 64, found in the same temple even, is instant death, even if the character does just fall through it like water.
  • Law of 100: Unlike its 2D predecessors, the game doesn't use bananas for lives (the game doesn't have lives at all, since they were scrapped during the development process). There are exactly 100 bananas for each character in each world, but only 75 are needed in each case to earn a Banana Medal. The remaining 25 are purely optional (getting #100 will net you a completion audio jingle, but that's it). Their main use is to open the door to boss of the world they are collected in, by feeding them to a hippo, who will weight down a platform that boosts his buddy up so he can unlock the lock and open the door.
  • 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.
    • Listen carefully to the music that plays during K. Rool's cutscenes (parts of the story introduction, world introduction cutscenes, and the game over sequence). This motif also appears in the final showdown with K. Rool, now played extra loud on brass instruments.
  • 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: One of the two exterior areas of Gloomy Galleon has a large lighthouse. Donkey Kong can activate it by pulling a lever at the top of the interior, hailing a ship which contains more Golden Bananas into the cove.
  • Lightswitch Surprise: When Lanky enter Puftoss' arena, he notices a round silhouette and upon turning on his boat's light, the boss roars at him.
  • 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.
  • The 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. It is also the biggest world in the game, featuring special regions like a Fungus Humongous area with an exceptionally tall mushroom, and a Forest of Perpetual Autumn where a friendly rabbit can be raced against.
  • 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.
  • Macro Zone: Tiny Kong has shrinking as her special ability and at least one of her Golden Bananas in each level involves this ability, whether it be a race against a remote controlled car or entering a door to an otherwise normal room that is really small for no reason.
  • Mad Scientist: Cranky Kong makes all the weird potions the Kongs use for their special moves.
  • Marathon Boss: King K. Rool is particularly infamous for this. A five-phase long fight that lasts about 15 minutes and has no checkpoints. The precise timing required to beat his final phase means that it's very likely to lose right at the end and have to start all over again.
  • Marathon Level: All levels have a gigantic size with lots of things to do in them, but Fungi Forest stands out for having five major areas, and each of them has to be explored during day as well as during night.
  • 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, with a llama in the middle of a tropical jungle in an island with no mountain high enough to match those of the former Aztec domains in historical Mexico. The level itself is mostly a desert. While Mexico does have coastal dunes, llamas reside in the mountains that are nothing like the Aztec themed desert of the work at hand.
  • Mechanical Insects: Mecha-Zingers are robotic versions of Zingers that inhabit Frantic Factory and also briefly appear in a mini-game in Hideout Helm. They drop orange grenades and must be shot with a weapon two times to be defeated, except for Chunky's pineapple launcher, which is twice as powerful.
  • Mini-Boss: The game has a few of these, like the Giant Toy Monster in Frantic Factory and the Giant Spider in Fungi Forest. Many others are groups of enemies that team up to try to defeat the Kongs.
  • 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.
  • Missing Secret: The game has a number of these — the most prominent being Cranky's mention of a secret level named Great Girder Grapple in the game's instruction booklet, which fans have hunted for for years. This is most likely a joke reference to the original Donkey Kong game, which is a crucial element of this game. Another example is the barn with the entrance to Fungi Forest; the room contains a number of doors in its loft, but one of them never opens. Before deciding on infinite lives, Rare intended to hide a 1-Up balloon behind this door.
  • A Molten Date with Death: Dogadon is defeated this way twice by Diddy and Chunky, both using explosive barrels to knock him into the lava pit below. However, the same can also happen to the Kongs too, especially Chunky if he does not defeat him in time before the platform completely sinks into the lava, resulting in instant death. Most other lava pits in the game will instantly kill the player if they fall in and respawn them at the beginning of the room they're in, unless DK's Strong Kong ability is active.
  • Money for Nothing: There's nearly a thousand coins in the game, but by the end you'll have spent only 160 of them.
  • Mood Whiplash: The game does this opposite directions:
    • The penultimate world is Creepy Castle, a haunted building that lives up to its name with its spooky atmosphere, soundtrack and features. But when you reach the boss, the Kremlings don't have anyone to entrust the area's Boss Key, so they build a giant cardboard cut-out of King K. Rool. And it shoots lasers. And they gave it a goofy voice, and it faints when it loses an arm.
    • The last standard world, Hideout Helm, does away with the cheery mood and tone of the rest of the game. K. Rool orders the destruction of DK Isles, and the world's entire mission to prevent that is tied to a time limit that gives a bigger sense of urgency. The music gives a more serious vibe, and applies Background Music Override to cheery tracks like those when changing a Kong character in a Tag Barrel or using a special Barrel ability. The minigames' bonus music is also less comical than the normal version. In comparison, even the Final Boss battle against K. Rool (which takes place in DK Isles) has more humor than this world.
  • 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.
  • Multiple Endings: The game has a Segmented Ending in that, if you collect less than 100%, you just get the credits with a bit of aftermath behind it. If you collect 100%, you get to watch the credits, and K. Lumsy swimming with the Kongs on his stomach and chest. If you get 101%, however, you get the credits, K. Lumsy's swim, and fake Hilarious Outtakes.
  • Musical Assassin: Each character can obtain a musical instrument that can be used as a limited-ammo special attack to destroy nearby enemies (Donkey Kong has bongos, possibly inspiring his Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, while Diddy, Lanky, Tiny, and Chunky have an electric guitar, trombone, saxophone, and triangle, respectively).
  • Night of the Living Mooks: In Creepy Castle and the nighttime version of Fungi Forest, an undead skeleton based on the Kremling (Bones) appears. These enemies can resist several attacks before being defeated, but they can be defeated easily by throwing an explosive orange at them or playing one of Candy's instruments.
  • Nocturnal Mooks: Fungi Forest has certain enemies, like Boneses and some mooks dressing like ghosts, that only appear at night, to replace daytime-exclusive enemies.
  • 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.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Quitting the game will trigger a cutscene where K. Rool prepares the Blast-o-Matic to destroy DK Isles. This cutscene will also occur if you run out of time in Hideout Helm. After the Blast-o-Matic is disabled for good, quitting the game won't trigger the scene anymore, and the game will simply take you back to the title screen.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The game features Frantic Factory, a toy factory, complete with wind-up crocodile robots, killer dominoes, dice, blocks, and rulers. Not a very safe workplace, but it's to be expected from the Kremlings.
  • 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.
  • Offscreen Crash: One of the bits in the 101% ending has Tiny Kong whirl offscreen with her Ponytail Twirl before slamming into something.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When you finally infiltrate Hideout Helm, King K. Rool freaks out and tells his men to fire up the machine thats 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.
    • At the end of Tinys round during the Final Boss fight, the Kritters running the boxing bell give each other a worried glance when they break it.
  • 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.
  • One-Hit Kill: The game features some dark places with searchlights that try to illuminate your character. If it happens, you'll have one second to escape before Krack-Shot Kroc's sniper shot kills you instantly.
  • 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).
  • Painful Pointy Pufferfish: Puftups make a appearance in this game, where they act more like hazards than enemies, remaining stationary and exploding like aquatic mines if approached by a Kong. A King Mook specimen called Pufftoss appears as the boss of Gloomy Galleon.
  • Palmtree Panic: DK Isles features this type of setting as a backseat in all islands except K. Rool's (as it's purely mechanical, thus being Eternal Engine instead).
  • Pass Through the Rings: The game contains three such challenges. Two of them can be a slight hassle as you have to do so with Diddy's jetpack which can be slightly difficult to use (but you can always use hover). The other one is a boss fight in Gloomy Galleon where you have to use a boat (like the one in that same level's Racing Minigame) while avoiding shockwaves and fireballs.
  • Percussive Maintenance: During the intro cutscene, one of the Kremling technicians uses this to fix the Blast-o-Matic.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Generally averted in the Japanese and European versions of the game, but in the North American version, 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 itself. Failure to pick them up also makes getting 101% completion impossible, so be wary.
  • Pickup Hierarchy:
    • Primary: The Golden Bananas. There are 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 the first time you play its second loop.
      • 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%.
  • Platform-Activated Ability:
    • One of the abilities each Kong can learn from Cranky requires standing onto a blue pad showing their face so it can be used. Without learning that ability, the pad will be transparent and useless: Donkey's pad launches him to the skies, in which he can travel across Blast Barrels in search of a Golden Banana, Bonus Stage minigame, or a star-shaped emblem that triggers a special event in the current level. Diddy's pad allows him to use his tail as a coil to jump very high. Tiny's pad teleports her to a part of the level no other Kong can access. Lanky's pad inflates his body so he can hover upward and reach a high spot. And Chunky's pad gives him temporary Invisibility to make certain objects and assets appear.
    • While the instruments the Kongs receive from Candy can be normally played to create a sound wave that defeats all surrounding enemies, their most prominent use is while the Kongs stand on purple-colored pads that show the drawing of the instrument that has to be played while the Kong in question stands onto the pad: Bongo drums for Donkey, electric guitar for Diddy, saxophone for Tiny, trombone for Lanky, and triangle for Chunky. When the music is played, the pads trigger some sort of event, usually making something open (thus combining this trope with Songs in the Key of Lock).
  • Platform Battle: Mad Jack is fought in an arena of 16 large platforms, arranged in a grid. The platforms aren't too small, but Tiny Kong must constantly jump from one to another to avoid being flattened by the boss chasing after her.
  • Playing 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).
  • Pokmon Speak: In gameplay, the Kasplats only say their name, though they seem to be perfectly capable of speaking in the game's cutscenes.
  • Plot Coupon:
    • 201 Golden Bananas, with 25 available per level: Four bananas per each of the five Kongs, plus one per Kong from "Blueprints", which themselves are also Plot Coupons due to not only being traded for Golden Bananas sometime after collection, but also for their usefulness to gain extra time during the Timed Mission of the final world. The special 201st Banana is obtained after rescuing all Banana Fairies in the worlds. A minimum of 100 is required to clear the game.
    • There are also "DK Coins", which feature heavily in minigames and races. While not traded directly, the races / minecart sections require a certain number of these to be in your possession by the end of the section to receive the Golden Banana; so even if you win the race or make it out alive through the minecart ride, you won't be rewarded if you don't have enough coins.
  • Portal Endpoint Resemblance: The lobbies leading to the 8 levels look like the levels themselves. The Angry Aztec entrance looks like a sandy temple, the Frantic Factory entrance looks like a room in a factory, Crystal Caves is accessed from an icy cave, and so on.
  • 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 Enguarde 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.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • Mad Jack's arena has switches that electrify the platforms. When he stops attacking, Tiny has to press the switch that stands on a platform whose color matches that of the platform where the boss is resting to electrocute him; if she presses the wrong button, she will be electrocuted instead.
    • Pufftoss from Gloomy Galleon can only be harmed when Lanky completes a boating course across star-shaped rings to activate lightning rods for each hit.
    • The final battle against King K. Rool is a hilarious 5-round boxing match, with a different Kong fighting him each round and a different tactic needed to beat him. Over the course of the battle, you'll end up shooting the spotlights above the arena so they'll fall on him, tricking him into slipping on giant banana peels, and shrinking down so you can enter a hole in his shoes and beat up his toes.
  • Race Against the Clock:
    • If you collected all the blueprints in the game, Snide will give you fifty minutes to fully disable K. Rools Blast-O-Matic. You first need to enter Hideout Helm with three different Kongs and then you need to complete certain tasks as all five characters in order to save DK Isles. The tough part is that even when youre changing Kongs, the timer on the bottom of the screen is still ticking down so you need to work fast.
    • In the final boss fight, you have multiple three-minute rounds against K. Rool and you have to defeat him in the three-minute limit or else youll have to start the round over again.
  • 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: Two of the bosses, Army Dillo and Dogadon, are fought twice each, their rematches giving more powerful and harder battles. Army Dillo is challenged in both fights by Donkey Kong, while Dogadon is challenged by Diddy in the first and by Chunky in the second.
  • 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. Snide also lets you replay a few of the barrel minigames after you return all 40 blueprints.
  • 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.
  • Respawning Enemies: After you defeat an enemy, it will respawn later thanks to an aura represented with purple-colored stars.
  • Retaliation Mode: Each time Army Dillo is hit by an explosive barrel, he'll start rolling through the battle arena to hurt Donkey Kong. In the second fight, he also performs a Shockwave Stomp or more.
  • 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)
  • Rocket Ride: There are two missions involving Diddy Kong using his rocketbarrel to pass through a series of rings. They're quite hard, but at least the rocket's magical fuel (Crystal Coconuts) is unlimited in these cases.
  • Rolling Attack: Donkey Kong, like in the first Country game, has an attack where he rolls on the ground, done by crouching while moving and then pressing the attack button.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Whenever a Kong gives Snide a blueprint, the latter character activates a sequence of contraptions, with each one triggering the next, that eventually drops a Golden Banana for the Kong to collect; the assets vary depending on the world. Snide was the one who designed the structure of K. Rool's Blast-O-Matic and also knows how to delay its activation during the final level, so it's not surprising.
  • Rule of Three: Each of the playable Kongs can learn up to three skills from Cranky Kong's potions: A traditional move that can be performed with an easy combination of button presses, a special move involving the use of a Kong-identified floor pad, and another special move involving the use of a Kong-identified barrel which uses Crystal Coconuts as fuel. In turn, Cranky is one of the three non-playable Kongs who teach abilities to the playable ones; the other two are Funky Kong (who specializes in weaponry) and Candy Kong (who specializes in musical instruments).
  • 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.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: King K. Rool hires a weasel named Snide to build a superweapon called the Blast-o-Matic that will allow him to destroy Kong Isle. However, he grows increasingly paranoid that Snide will betray him, and decides to kick him off the team. How does Snide respond? He defects to the Kongs and ultimately helps them disable the very superweapon he created.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • The rematch against Dogadon, who is then challenged by Chunky, has two phases: The first is just a harder version of its first boss fight (against Diddy), while the second has Dogadon stomp the floor to make it gradually sink into the lava and force Chunky to grow big with his enlarge ability and hit the boss directly.
    • The final battle is a five-round boxing match with K. Rool, with each round featuring a different playable character.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The second world, Angry Aztec. Though the sands don't suck the Kongs in, they're hot enough to inflict damage upon them.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Army Dillo (only in the Crystal Caves rematch), Dogadon (only in the Fungi Forest rematch), Puftoss and King K. Rool all have this in their arsenal of attacks (the waves' respective colors are green, red, blue and again green); the Kasplats have shockwaves color-coded to whose blueprint piece they guard; even the Kongs themselves can do it (without the jumping part) once you've learned how.
  • Shooting Gallery: Several Bonus Barrel minigames consist of shooting targets and reaching a certain score before the time limit expires. Examples include Krazy Kong Klamor (shoot at the Golden Banana and not the Kongs; their positions change when lights go out), Peril Path Panic (shoot at Klaptraps to stun them and allow the Banana Fairies to reach the other side), Searchlight Seek (shoot at roaming Klaptraps with a scope with limited visibility), Kremling Kosh (shoot at Kremlings who pop out of wooden barrels) and Teetering Turtle Trouble (shoot melons to feed snakes and help them keep the turtles in their tails spinning without falling down).
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the DK Rap, Lanky Kong's verse begins with the lines "He has no style, he has no grace; this Kong has a funny face", referencing a similar set of lines from the Madonna song "Vogue":
      They had style, they had grace
      Rita Hayworth gave good face
    • 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.
  • "Simon Says" Mini-Game: One of Lanky Kong's golden bananas is earned this way in the Frantic Factory level, requiring him to Ground Pound the multicolored notes on a piano.
  • 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 solid ground. However, nothing will happen to them if they fall into 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.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography: The game begins with Jungle Japes and Shifting Sand Land as the first levels, with Underground Level + Slippy-Slidey Ice World and Big Boo's Haunt + Big Fancy Castle as the last ones before the location of K. Rool, Hideout Helm.
  • Spider Swarm: The spider mini-boss will send groups of smaller spiders (possibly its children) after Tiny Kong.
  • Spikes of Doom: Crystal Caves has a very difficult section where the eponymous character has to reach the center of an icy maze whose walls are completely spiked, in order to reach a Golden Banana. As soon as he enters, the structure starts spinning.
  • Spin Attack: Many characters use these.
    • The third hit of Diddy's normal attack combo has him spin to hit with his tail in a circle around him. His aerial attack also has him spin around.
    • When Lanky attacks while moving, he spins with his arms outstretched before clapping them above his head.
    • Chunky's attack while moving has him spin in a circle with his arms out, though not quite at the level of Lanky's arms.
    • Diddy, Lanky, and Tiny all spin around when unleashing their Charged Attack. Diddy spins around with his tail out, Lanky stands on his head and spins with his arms out, and Tiny whirls around on one foot.
  • Spirit Advisor: The ghost of Wrinkly Kong will give you tips on getting some Golden Bananas.
  • Springy Spores: Fungi Forest's mushrooms work this way, and are useful to climb onto the much bigger mushroom present.
  • Sprint Shoes: Lanky Kong can learn an ability that allows him to use a magic barrel that turns his standard Orangstand move (walking upside down with his hands) into Orangsprint (walking upside down with his hands very quickly).
  • Stalked by the Bell: Inside some buildings, there's a disembodied voice that growls "Get Out!", followed by a crosshair (seemingly aimed by Kroc from Dixie Kong's Double Trouble) appearing over the player. When this happens, a timer appears, indicating how long they have to leave before Kroc blasts them with a sniper shot. Sometimes, the crosshair appears because the player stepped into a spotlight or did something else wrong; in those instances, the timer has one second on it and the shot depletes all health. Better hope you're right next to the door.
  • 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, at least until Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze). 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 in which Lanky Kong makes fools out of a couple of Kritters.
    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. Officially, Tiny is Dixie's little sister while Chunky is Kiddy's big brother.
    • The Banana Fairies for the Banana Birds in DKC3, a fellow sentient banana-themed Live Item which you rescue many of during gameplay.
    • Lanky Kong looks like a silly version of DKC1's orangutan enemy Manky Kong. They even have rhyming names.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • Army Dillo would be undefeatable if he didn't reveal his face to laugh at Donkey Kong while letting DK throw TNT barrels at him.
    • When fighting King K. Rool with Tiny Kong, he will repeatedly butt-slam the arena to cause shockwaves. Eventually, his butt gets too sore to keep doing it and he moans in pain for a while, leaving him wide open to attack.
  • Teleportation: The Bananaports are floor pads that serve this purpose. As the Kongs explore a level, they can find number-coded pads that activate upon contact. When two pads marked with the same number are activated, any Kong can stand onto either of them and teleport to the other by pressing Z. There are five pairs of Bananaports in each standard world, including the Hub Level but excluding Hideout Helm (which has only one pair). The game also features floor pads marked with Tiny Kong's face, and both are technically active already. The catch is that only Tiny can use them, and only after Cranky teaches her how to use them in the sixth world.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Every world (including the Hub Level) has an audio theme that is reused in different ways for its different sections.
  • 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.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Dogadon eventually becomes one of these in his second appearance — take too long to kill it after it starts to make the platform sink, and eventually the lava will kill you. The Final Boss is a more direct example; it's set up as a boxing fight in which the player has 12 timed rounds (3 minutes apiece) in which to K.O. King K. Rool. K. Rool has five "forms" (tactics) one for each of the playable Kongs to battle and the defeat of one form will cause the fight to move on to the next round, bringing in the next Kong (and recharging the player's health). But if a round's timer expires before K. Rool's current stratagem has been beaten, the next round will begin with the player fighting the same form as before, with as much health as he had as the previous round ended; K. Rool, on the other hand, will be fully healed. If all 12 rounds pass before the player has beaten all five tactics, the player loses the fight, regardless of his or her remaining health.
  • Title In: The first time you enter a world, a supporting character's hangout area or shop, and every time you access a bonus minigame (excluding those of the prologue and Hideout Helm) or Battle Arena challenge, the game will proceed to write the location's name with yellow letters (also having green and orange hues), with the writing done via purple sparks. In the case of a world's name, an Establishing Shot is used as well.
  • 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: There's a level in a toy factory, Frantic Factory. It is much creepier than your average toy level, as it not only has living evil toys but also a gigantic jack-in-the-box monster that serves as the level's boss. It is notable for having an arcade machine from which Donkey Kong can play the 1981 video game starred by his grandfather (as the villain).
  • Triangles Are the Worst Instrument: Chunky Kong's instrument is a simple triangle in contrast to the more involved instruments the rest of the Kongs have.
  • 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.
  • Undead Counterpart: Krossbones are skeletal versions of Kritters that show up in Fungi Forest at night and Creepy Castle (where it's Always Night).
  • Underground Level: Crystal Caves, which combines this with Slippy-Slidey Ice World. From time to time, a larger-than-usual Kosha (a Kremling that attacks with a spiky mace) located in the topmost territory will hit the ground to make the entire level tremble and make some spikes fall down, potentially harming the Kongs. It's possible to locate this scoundrel and defeat it to stop the quakes, but it requires a non-obvious procedure.
  • Under the Sea: The (huge) underwater portions of Gloomy Galleon, in which Lanky can transform into Enguarde the Swordfish to swim more efficiently. The sunken ships are explorable, though they're so dark that they need light from a nearby creature. There's also a large treasure chest Tiny can access by shrinking and entering through the keyhole; getting there is necessary to retrieve some pearls for a mermaid.
  • 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.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • If you choose to save in the middle of Hideout Helm, you will return to find one of the Banana Medals can't be collected. You need all the Banana Medals to see the entire ending. Before YouTube, this was one nasty glitch.
    • One of Diddy's Golden Bananas in Gloomy Galleon requires you to enter a mechanical fish and shoot out three lights on its heart (which are blocked by a propeller that spins/stops on a set pattern) within a time limit of 90 seconds. This is normally a fairly easy one to get. However, if you decide to go for it only after getting the Sniper Scope upgrade from Funky, it becomes exponentially harder due to a bug that makes the propeller spin longer than normal. A common strategy to circumvent this is to exploit a glitch that allows you to hit lights that are being covered, but this is difficult to do and doesn't always work. An alternative, glitchless method can be seen here.
    • As this YouTube video shows, if you collect no blueprints at all during the game, Hideout Helm is impossible to beat without glitches. 11 minutes is possible to make with near-perfect play, but even then, the person who made that video only had about 7 seconds left on the clock when they completed it.
  • Unique Enemy: There are a few: Ruler, Super Block, Book, Flame, Bat, aka Flipflap, Tomato, and Oyster.
  • Upgraded Boss: The boss fights of Fungi Forest and Crystal Caves are rematches against Dogadon from Angry Aztec and Army Dillo from Jungle Japes respectively, both utilizing new attacks against you. Dogadon now creates a Shockwave Stomp when going to throw an exploding barrel at him, a near-unavoidable fire wall, and an additional phase where he makes the platform slowly sink into the lava below, requiring Chunky to defeat him within a limited time. Army Dillo obtains a pair of thrusters that allow him to fly and unleash a Shockwave Stomp, and a giant cannon on his back that fires a homing missile when on the ground and a barrage of Fireballs when in the air.
  • 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.
  • Vague Hit Points: The second half of the rematch against Dogadon has Chunky briefly turn gigantic to punch Dogadon to defeat him before Chunky's platform sinks into the lava. However, there is nothing resembling a health bar for Dogadon during this phase, making it stressful, given that there's a time limit and invisible progress.
  • Variable Mix:
    • The song that plays in the Tag Barrel changes depending on who the light is hanging above.
    • The main hub theme has variations depending on whether or not you're near DK Island, near the Kremlings' fortress or in one of the level hubs. Even if your character is not in an area where the music changes in a level, if you do something that triggers an event in such an area, the music will change as the camera enters that area. There's also a more minor version with the music in the tag barrel, where it switches out instruments depending on which Kong is currently highlighted.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Hideout Helm is the last major world, and is accessed by entering the mouth of K. Rool's Island (which only opens when when almost all Boss Keys are used in K. Lumsy's jailnote ). It consists of disabling the large energy machine to prevent K. Rool from destroying DK Isles, but there's a time limit whose duration will depend on how many blueprints you retrieved. Interestingly, even after you succeed in your mission, K. Rool isn't fought here because he plans to escape before he's found; you even manage to grab the last Boss Key (provided that you have the required items) without any boss fight. K. Rool is only fought after you free K. Lumsy, in DK Isles.
  • Video Game Flight: Diddy has Rocket Barrels, but they're powered by Crystal Coconuts. Run out, and he'll go plummeting to the ground. Plus there are certain areas which inexplicably forbid flying. Fly into one of these areas and you'll get a "NO" sign with a bizarre, incredibly startling evil laugh and Diddy will come down regardless of his crystal coconuts. All the powerups have these restrictions.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After having his plans foiled again and the Kongs humiliating him in his own ring, King K. Rool spends Chunkys round roaring in anger and launching himself off the ropes trying to do damage to the final Kong. Once defeated by Chunky, K. Rool acts like a Sore Loser and tries to attack Chunky when his back is turned.
  • Warp Whistle: The game offers you up to five pairs of warp pads in both the overworld and the levels themselves, each pair labelled with a number. There are even warp pads exclusive to Tiny Kong — they have Tiny's face on them, and you only earn the ability to use them when you pay a visit to Cranky Kong in Crystal Caves and get the potion required to use them.
  • Waterfront Boss Battle: In Gloomy Galleon's boss battle, Lanky Kong goes against a giant pufferfish named Puftoss inside a closed-off cove area - thus, Lanky and the boss stay in the water for the duration of the fight. To damage Puftoss, Lanky has to motor around in a boat and pass through multiple rings to raise electrical pylons that surround and zap the fish, while it shoots fireballs and sends shockwaves at Lanky.
  • White Void Room: The 101% completion bonus movie takes place in one, with Cranky holding auditions for a future game there.
  • Wolfpack Boss: Most Mini-Boss battles in the game are of this type. Namely, in specific areas of Jungle Japes, Angry Aztec, Fungi Forest and Creepy Castle, the present Kong has to defeat a group of usually-regular enemies to claim the Golden Banana they're guarding. The exceptions are the Giant Spider (also in Fungi Forest, fought by Tiny), and the Toy Monster (in Frantic Factory, fought by Chunky).
  • 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. Subverted in that its more likely that they give the Required Secondary Powers necessary to use said moves safely or effectively.
  • 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.
  • Your Size May Vary: K. Rool initially appears the same height as he did in the Country games during cinematics, then suddenly appears twice as large in the last fight.

 
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The DK Rap

Arguably one of the most famous pieces of music ever made for The Fifth Generation of Console Video Games, the DK Rap establishes Donkey kong and his crew for the player.

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