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Video Game / Donkey Kong Country

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Donkey Kong Country, originally released in 1994, is the first game in the Donkey Kong Country series. Donkey Kong and his sidekick Diddy Kong travel across Donkey Kong Island to get back their stolen banana hoard from the Kremlings, an army of anthropomorphic crocodiles led by King K. Rool.

The best-selling game for the SNES not to be developed by Nintendo, and the third-best-selling overallnote , with over 9 million units sold. At the time of its release it became the fastest-selling game ever made up to that point.note  Shortly after its release, the game received a follow-up on the original Game Boy in the form of Donkey Kong Land, which would become the first game in its respective series.


It was followed a year later by Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.

Tropes used:

  • Accordion to Most Sailors: "Gangplank Galleon" opens with an accordion jig to suit the battle aboard a pirate ship.
  • Acrofatic: King K. Rool, despite his very tubby and cumbersome appearance, is actually quite athletic. He's quick on his feet and is able to leap long distances.
  • Adipose Rex: King K. Rool. (Adipose T. Rex, even: he's also a tyrant lizard.)
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Some of the temple-themed levels feature Gnawties in giant stone wheels, which chase after DK and Diddy until stopping in an alcove. The underwater stage Croctopus Chase uses pursuing Croctopuses instead. Neither is technically a one-hit kill, but they're as dangerous as anything else since you can only ever take just two hits before dying.
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  • Agitated Item Stomping: Diddy stomps on his hat whenever he loses a bonus game.
  • All There in the Manual: The plot of the game is almost entirely in the manual; the only hint in-game that there's foul play going on is when DK or Diddy enter the cave in their treehouse where they hoard their bananas, which elicits a sad response from them when they find out it's empty. Cutscenes were added to the Game Boy Advance port to give an in-game explanation of the plot.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game puts an exclamation mark next to a level whose bonus areas have all been found, so that the player won't waste time backtracking to make sure they got every secret.
    • On top of that, the game has an Instant-Win Condition when it comes to finding secrets; the player only has to find the rooms, not win their challenges or even finish the level for them to count for your percentage. This makes backtracking for the secret rooms much easier, since you can just find the missing secret and then kill yourself to exit the level to save time. Except of course for that one bonus level hidden within a bonus level.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • While wild monkeys and apes do enjoy fruit, bananas usually aren't a regular part of their diet, and they certainly don't hoard them, much less to the ludicrous degree DK does. Wild monkeys born in the Americas and Africa (settings similar to where DK and Diddy live) didn't even have access to bananas (native to Indomalaya) until the trees were planted there by humans. Amusingly, crocodilians (like K. Rool and his Kremlings) do enjoy sweet fruit as a snack in spite of being carnivores.
    • Apes can't swim either, mainly due to lacking instinctual behaviors that would enable it — though, like humans, they could learn how to swim, at least theoretically. Most would still sink like stones due being less bony and having a lower fat to lean tissue ratio, which the swimming mechanics in no way reflect.
  • Battle Theme Music: Every normal boss shares "Bad Boss Boogie". King K. Rool gets one that shares a name with his stage, "Gang-Plank Galleon".
  • Big Bad: The ruler of the Kremlings, King K. Rool. No gimmicks or personas (unlike the sequels), he's the big bad king guy.
  • Blackout Basement:
  • Boss-Only Level: Every boss is situated in its own level at the end of each world. Gang-Plank Galleon stands out, as it's placed on the world select map but takes you right to the fight with K. Rool when selected.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Jungle Hijinxs (1-1) marks the musical debut of "DK Island Swing", which would become the iconic theme song of the entire series.
  • Breakout Character: Diddy Kong, DK's little buddy and sidekick who would become the protagonist of the direct sequel, star in his own spinoff and even become a series mainstay alongside Donkey Kong in the multiplayer Super Mario Bros. spinoffs.
  • Breakout Villain: The debut of King K. Rool, who would become Donkey Kong's own Arch-Enemy and the Big Bad of the Donkey Kong Country games.
  • The Chick: Candy Kong, the only female in the game. She can save your progress.
  • Clamshells as Mouths: The game has a clam enemy called "Clambo" who has eyes and a tongue inside a shell that has a top and bottom half as its mouth.
  • Classic Cheat Code: At the save file menu:
    • B, A, R, R, A, L (Barrel) — Grants 50 lives upon starting or loading a file.
    • Down, Y, Down, Down, Y (DYDDY -> Diddy) — Instant access to the animal bonus stages.
    • Down, A, R, B, Y, Down, A, Y (Darby Day) — Sound Test. Change songs with Select.
    • B, A, Down, B, A, Down, Down, Y (Bad Buddy) — Allows either player to switch in two-player co-op, not just the active player.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The Donkey Kong Country Competition Cartridge, a very rare authorized romhack of the game that was distributed for the Powerfest '94 and Blockbuster World Video Game Championships II competitions. The entire game has a 5 minute time limit, and the farthest you can possibly get is Croctopus Chase, where the game freezes after you complete it, since the goal is to get as many points as possible instead of finishing it. The two player modes and save feature are disablednote , and the Animal Tokens are removed, making it impossible to access the bonus stages without cheating.
  • Crystal Landscape: Slip Slide Ride, level 4-2.
  • Dual Boss: In the GBA port, Necky's Revenge has Master Necky and Master Necky Snr. teaming up. In other versions, it's just the latter.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • This game is starkly pared down compared to the latter two. In addition to having the animal-buddy-token bonuses unseen in any other installments, the first Donkey Kong Country game lacks hero coins and a secret world. Also, unlike all later games, which force you to win each bonus challenge to win every bonus prize, the first game simply expects you to find all the bonuses in order to get 100% Completion. Likewise, this game lacks Bonus Stage Collectables, whereas later games would use them to entice the player in unlocking hidden content.
    • Bonus rounds that are entered through barrel cannons use the regular automatic ones instead of having a "B" marking as in later games, and a higher ratio of bonus rounds are found by entering gaps in walls which usually need to be broken open.
    • In this game, the only time you control Animal Friends without the Kongs riding them is in the Animal Token bonus stages. DKC2 introduced barrels that transform you into the Animal Friend shown on them, which appear frequently throughout both normal and bonus stages in addition to the Animal Friends found in crates. This also means that the first game has no levels primarily designed for the abilities of the Animal Friends (save for Expresso and Enguarde's bonus stages), while the later games, by virtue of allowing you to control an Animal Friend without the possibility of losing them, include levels that are designed around what they can do.
    • The setting is also the most restrained of the series. While the characters are anthropomorphic and one boss appears to be a living oil drum, you'll find no ghosts, robots, banana birds, or sentient Tiki masks in this game.
    • The "lose life" music is identical for every level (and no music plays at all if you fall in a pit), whereas the second and third games had different arrangements depending on the setting of the level. There is no "level complete" fanfare in the level itself; it plays on the map instead, and is the same for every level.
    • Candy Kong is only in the first game, absent entirely in the second and third installments (at least in the original SNES versions; she has cameos in the GBA ports).
    • There is no goal post at the end of a level; you just run through an opening and it fades out to the world map.
    • This is the only game besides Donkey Kong 64 where the main villains have no unifying theme (whereas the other games have pirate, industrial, tiki, and viking themes) besides being crocodiles. In general, there are a lot fewer Kremling enemies here than in later games, with most of the enemies being hostile wildlife; starting in Diddy's Kong Quest, Kremlings would appear more often and with more varieties.
    • Among the game's enemies are orangutans known as Manky Kongs, stated to be "Kong rejects". This is the only time another Kong would be an enemy in a Donkey Kong Country game (Jungle Beat, a separate game, has Kong bosses), and the next orangutan to appear in the series is Lanky Kong, a definite good guy.
    • Squawks shows up in only one level and isn't a playable animal buddy, instead just following and holding a flashlight; he's also much smaller than normal. He becomes playable in the next two games and has a general supporting role for the rest of the series.
    • The scenery, while still very pretty to look at, is a bit basic in the details compared to the sequels.
    • While the sequels would have secret worlds and alternate endings, the first game did not have a hidden world and there was only one ending. The only effect reaching 101% completion has is changing one of Cranky Kong's line in the ending.
    • The mini-games were quite a different beast compared to the sequels. The games consisted of a life balloon shuffling in barrels, stomping on Klap Traps to gain bananas, spelling names, and collecting items like bananas, lives, and Kong letters. There were also mini-games where you controlled the animal buddies and gathered as many tokens as you could for lives. The sequels would use completely different mini-games.
    • DK Coins and currency didn't exist in the first game.
    • The text used for level names was a generic white font. The sequels would use the stylized yellow font while the white font was kept for NPC text.
    • The K-O-N-G letters were smaller and sparkle here, while in the later games they're a little bigger and spin vertically (and shrink to the same size as in the first game upon being collected).
  • Easy Level Trick: Stop and Go Station has you constantly flicking timed switches in order to not be attacked by a whole cave full of invincible enemies (which temporarily fall asleep when the switch is tripped). It's considered one of the harder levels in the game because of this, although a shortcut leading to just before the end of the stage exists, simply by going left and back into the entrance immediately at the start.
  • Elite Mooks: The Krushas. Donkey Kong is the only one who can defeat them. Diddy can't do anything to them. The Grey Krushas, however, can't be beaten without Barrels.
  • Eternal Engine: Kremkroc Industries, Inc., the fifth world. It contains all of the factory-themed levels.
  • Excuse Plot: The Kremlings steal Donkey Kong's beloved Banana Hoard. Why? Who cares? DK has an excuse to go on an adventure to cave their skulls in. This was averted in the GBA port, however.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When you beat Kongo Jungle, a pirate ship appears in the waters on the left side of the world map. Every time you beat a world, it gets closer to the island, ultimately culminating in the Kongs boarding it to fight King K. Rool.
    • The final showdown against K. Rool is fought on a pirate ship. The next game would turn this into the enemies' new motif.
    • World 5 has an industrial gimmick; DKC3 makes the villain an evil machine and makes the enemies more technology-based, including buzzsaw bees and bazooka-wielding Kremlings.
  • Flawless Victory: Completing the final Barrel Cannon sequence in Snow Barrel Blast as fast as possible rewards you with a blue 3-up balloon.note 
  • Flunky Boss: One of Dumb Drum's two attacks is dropping increasingly lethal enemy types into the arena.
  • Follow the Money: Bananas are often used as hints to where the bonus stages are; in some areas, they spell out letters suggesting a specific controller button to press. Chances are that if grabbing that banana will be hazardous to your health, it may be prepping you for a Leap of Faith.
  • For the Evulz: It seems the only reason K. Rool had his troops steal DK's banana hoard, aside from possibly food, was simply to steal it. It was suggested by the developers later that he may have done it to try to starve the Kongs to death. It makes sense considering World 5, Kremkroc Industries. K. Rool wants the resources (oil, gas, and charcoal) of the island for his own.
  • Fragile Speedster: Diddy is this out of the two main heroes. He can jump higher than Donkey Kong and is harder to hit, but he's also weaker and can't take some of the tougher enemies out as efficiently as Donkey Kong can.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • There are a multitude of glitches that allow you to do eccentric things with barrels. In particular, there's a peculiar glitch where if the player throws a DK barrel, pauses, and leaves the level before the barrel hits the ground, and then dies in another level without doing so above a bottomless pit, the character gets stuck on the ground for no reason instead of exiting the level, requiring one to reset the game. A variation of the glitch involving one dying above a pit can create even more crazy effects, including allowing DK and Diddy to change colour, as well as transforming the Kong sprites into one of their animal buddies.
    • Using the level skip glitch lets you bypass the first two and a half regions, but you won't be able to go back to them until you complete the rest of the game.
  • Game Mod: An official one, the Donkey Kong Country Competition Cartridge, was made as part of a Blockbuster video game competition. 2,500 copies were made, and after the contest ended, Nintendo Power mailed copies to subscribers. To date, it’s one of the rarest video games ever made.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: If you enter the cave near DK's house at the beginning of 1-1, you'll see the Banana Hoard is missing, complete with DK looking disappointed as the "Bonus Game Lose theme" plays. After beating K.Rool the first time, Donkey Kong reclaims the Banana Hoard, and upon returning to the cave you'll see the hoard returned to its rightful place, this time with DK congratulating you while the "Boss Victory" fanfare plays.
  • Gangplank Galleon: The Trope Namer is King K. Rool's pirate ship, the "Gang-Plank Galleon" (spelled that way in this game only). The Final Boss level is set here; the scenery includes the deck, mast, and ocean, cannonballs are used by K. Rool to attack, and the music begins like a sea shanty.
  • The Goomba: The Gnawties, which do nothing but move forward and can be killed with a hand-slap, jump, or roll/cartwheel. The Kritters themselves are pretty weak, too, though they have variants that are trickier due to jumping around frequently. Slippas, despite being based on the dangerous coral snake, are also very easy to defeat.
  • Guide Dang It!: Good luck finding all of the bonus areas on your own. For example, one of these bonus rooms is hidden inside another bonus room. You have to get the worst result from a roulette minigame, which spawns a barrel that can be used to smash open a wall before the bonus ends.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The bosses in this game are rather straightforward compared to those of subsequent games.
  • Improbable Weapon User: King K. Rool demonstrates this by throwing his crown at you, which also functions like a boomerang.
  • Increasingly Lethal Enemy: A couple of bonus rooms feature Klaptraps that take more hits than any other enemy in the game. They start out moving very slowly, but every time they get jumped on, they spit out a collectible and start moving faster until they're defeated.
  • Instructive Level Design: The game has no tutorial or HUD (other than the number of bananas you have), so it relies purely on visual clues and the player's own intuition for guidance instead:
    • Before you even press start, the games introduction shows Cranky throwing a barrel at DK, which is a move you'll frequently use throughout the game. The select screen with the multiplayer options hints to the player that you can control Diddy as well as Donkey, as well as the fact that you can switch between the two when you have them together.
    • When you start the first level, the very first thing you see is DK rolling out of his treehouse, which clues in the player that this is one of his attacks — and a Gnawty is directly ahead and will kill you in one hit on collision, so the player either has to jump or roll to attack, and will likely try out the latter, which may also clue in the player that the game has a run button. A player will also learn from this that rolling into enemies can cause you to gain momentum from hitting them, especially if you roll into rows of enemies at once later in it. Doing a traditional Goomba Stomp on enemies will help a player take notice of items lurking around the palm trees, telling the player that they can explore off the beaten path. Grabbing a barrel and throwing it also gives you Diddy, and getting hit causes DK to run off, tipping off the player that having a partner grants an extra hit point. The level also anticipates that you'll hop right onto Rambi and start running ahead, which will lead to the player ramming through a wall and discovering the first of many bonus areas in the game. This is meant to tip off the player that the game has many more secrets to find. In fact, as soon as you complete the first bonus room, Rambi will fall right on the ground and reveal a secret hidden in a patch of dirt the ground, giving the player a hint that not only will there be more than one secret room in the level, but that there's another secret room right next to that spot you fell on.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The Rock Krocs in Stop and Go Station. You can only stop their movement temporarily. In the Japanese and GBA versions, they can be killed by DK's hand slap once they stop.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: In the SNES manual, the story begins this way. The game doesn't bring this up though, and the first stage is set during a sunny afternoon.
  • Jungle Japes: Kongo Jungle, the first world of the game, has a tropical jungle theme.
  • Jungle Jazz: "Jungle Hijinx", which starts out with tribal drums and ambient jungle sounds, leading up to a swingy tune.
  • Kaizo Trap: Don't let your guard down at the end of "Mine Cart Carnage", because one last Kremling comes careening at you right before the exit.
  • King Koopa Copy: King K. Rool is one of the more prominent examples. He’s a large, bulky crocodile who is the unquestioned leader of the Kremling Krew.
  • King Mook: The bosses in this game are just bigger, badder renditions of common enemies you see in the game, except Dumb Drum, which is just a bigger, badder rendition of an enemy-spawning oil can.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook:
    • Klaptraps' large, biting jaws make it a bad idea to roll into them from the front. That said, they're still weak enough to be defeated any other way, including rolling into them from behind.
    • Klumps are immune to Diddy's weaker jumps, due to their helmets. However, Donkey Kong can defeat them with a stomp, and both Kongs can take them out with a roll.
    • Blue Krushas laugh off Diddy's stomps and both Kongs' rolls. DK's stomp is strong enough to defeat them, though.
    • Gray Krushas are even stronger than blue ones. None of the Kongs' standard attacks will faze them, and only barrels can take them out.
  • The Lancer: Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong's sidekick.
  • Law of 100: A hundred bananas earns you an extra life. In the Animal Friend bonus stages, a hundred tokens also earns an extra life, though unlike the bananas these are exclusive to the bonus stages and any leftovers aren't kept after you leave.
  • The Leader: Donkey Kong, the title character.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Of all things, Chimp Caverns becomes this in the Gameboy Advance port. The previously dark, watery appearance of the area's map is replaced with a cavern filled with red light and a cracked, glowing floor.
  • Lizard Folk: The Kremlings are anthropomorphic crocodiles.
  • The Lost Woods: Vine Valley, the third world, mostly consists of forested levels.
  • Mighty Glacier: Donkey Kong is this out of the two main heroes. He can't jump as high as Diddy and is easier to hit, but his strength allows him to stomp enemies Diddy has a harder time with and throw barrels farther.
  • Minecart Madness: The Trope Namer is here with a few levels based on this in Monkey Mines and Chimp Caverns. In these levels, The Kongs ride a minecart across a broken minecart track while avoiding head-on obstacles and jerk Kremlings (appropriately named "Krash") riding in their own minecarts.
  • Mook Maker: The Oil Drums continually spit out weak enemies, typically Slippas. Dumb Drum escalates this to a boss, as its attack strategy is sending enemies at you.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: In the extremely unlikely event that you allow the platform to get too far away from you in Tanked Up Trouble, the game will automatically play Diddy or Donkey's Bonus failure animation, a life will be docked from you, and you'll go back to the level select screen as if you'd otherwise died normally.
  • Not Your Daddy's X: The instruction manual says that the titular character "is not your father's Donkey Kong!" This is literally true, as the Donkey Kong from the arcade games is now Cranky Kong, this Donkey Kong's grandfather.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Either of the Kongs will go down in one hit from any attack or collision with an enemy. If another Kong is following you, they'll take over, but otherwise you lose a life.
  • Power-Up Food: Downplayed. Bananas don't do anything special on their own, but collecting 100 of them grants you an extra life.
  • Pre-Final Boss: Since King K. Rool doesn't get his own world here (his boss stage being on the island's main map otherwise used to travel between worlds), Master Necky Snr. (or in the GBA port, Master Necky and Master Necky Snr.), the boss of Chimp Caverns, the final world, ends up being this.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Rock Krocs.
  • Scenery Porn: For its time, the game was relatively gorgeous looking with plenty of pleasant backgrounds on the eyes such as the jungle levels, the ice cave, the forest levels, and the water levels.
  • Sequence Breaking: There's a glitch on the first map screen that allows you to bypass huge chunks of the game; on the world map of Kongo Jungle, rapidly pressing the A Button while Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are moving on the dotted path between levels may cause the player to be teleported to the middle of the level Orang-utan Gang, all the way in Vine Valley. In the same level, there's another glitch that allows you to skip ahead to Manic Mincers in the final world, Chimp Caverns. Note however that this only works in the original version of the game; the glitch was fixed in a subsequent revision of the SNES game and its ports.
  • Shout-Out: The whole look of the treetop stages is nicked straight from the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Gorilla Glacier, the fourth world, contains all of the game's snow and ice levels, including its only ice cavern.
  • The Smart Guy: Cranky Kong, the elderly Grumpy Old Monkey that gives out advice and tips.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Slippas are low-lying coral snakes that move quickly along the ground, but they are simple to defeat.
  • Spelling Bonus:
    • Every level has the letters K, O, N, and G in them. Collecting them all grants an extra life, but doesn't count for completion percentage. Misty Mine has an interesting take on this: all four K-O-N-G letters are in a single bonus area.
    • Some bonus rooms require you to hit letters in roulette barrels to spell out KONG to get an item. Others have free-floating letters spinning in a circle, and you have to touch the flashing ones in order to spell out things like the Animal Friends' names, or the company names RARE and NINTENDO, for a reward. The secret bonus-area-within-a-bonus-area requires you to hit the spinning letters in "DONKEY" in the correct order for a 1-Up, then do the same with "KONG" for a 2-Up, and finally with "COUNTRY" for a 3-Up.
  • The Spiny: This game has two types. There are Zingers who are the standard spiny, immune to everything but barrels, but this game also introduces the Klaptrap, a low-lying Kremling with large snapping jaws, which makes it immune to the Kongs' frontal attacks.
  • Surprise Creepy: The infamous Game Over screen can come across as this. You're enjoying an upbeat, lighthearted game, only to lose your last life and get a depressing image of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong beat up over a black background. The music sounds depressing, too.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: King K. Rool is only vulnerable to being bopped on the head, but the only thing protecting this one weak spot is his spiky crown, so what does he do? Throw his crown as an attack.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The Kredits that roll after "defeating" King K. Rool end with "The End?". It's not, as the croc gets back up and continues the fight after they finish.
  • Timed Mission: Tanked-Up Trouble requires you to pick up fuel drums to refill your railed platform's fuel, which depletes over time. If the platform is allowed to run out of fuel, it will fall off, and you will die even if you get to safe groundnote .
  • Totally Radical: Funky's dialog.
  • Tree Top Town: The Trope Namer is a level in Vine Valley that takes place among several platforms and houses situated high up on trees. A couple other levels share the same theme.
  • Underground Level: Monkey Mines and Chimp Caverns are the underground-themed worlds, but this type of level is spread throughout the whole game in the form of cave levels, mine levels, and walkway levels.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • Rock Krocs are exclusive to Stop & Go Station as part of the level gimmick.
    • Gray Krushas only appear in Platform Perils.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: The story in the manual says that the Kremlings stole the Banana Hoard because they are a good source of nutrition.
  • Victory Fakeout: Subverted. The fake credits are blatantly fake. King K. Rool's battle music continues to play, K. Rool and his Kremlings' names are used instead of the developers' names, and all the roles begin with "K".
  • Vile Vulture: The debut of the vulture enemy, the Necky, who serves as the Airborne Mook of the Kremling Krew. Neckies simply fly around, trying to get in the Kongs' way. There are also smaller versions called Mini-Neckies, that hover in place while spitting projectiles. Finally, there are grounded Neckies that stand in one spot and throw nuts around. Master Necky is a very large Necky who serves as a boss in Monkey Mines, and a re-colored version, Master Necky Snr, is the boss of Chimp Caverns.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Some of the secrets and collectibles require luck or trial-and-error to find.
    • In Barrel Cannon Canyon, there's a secret room that you find by deliberately launching yourself out of a Barrel Cannon at the wrong time, causing you to miss another Barrel Cannon and slamming you through a wall into the secret area. In the rest of the level, pulling off this move would simply rob you of an extra life.
    • In Stop & Go Station, there's a Kong letter floating over a pit that is seemingly impossible to grab without dying — unless you learned about the Kongs' ability to do a jump in midair after rolling off of a ledge by talking to Cranky Kong or reading the manual.
  • Wicked Wasps: The debut of the series' pesky wasp enemies, the Zingers. A Zinger Queen named Queen B. is also the boss of Vine Valley.


Video Example(s):


Gorilla Glacier

Gorilla Glacier is located at the top of Donkey Kong Island. This snowy wasteland contains many stages, including a frozen river and an extremely dark cave. The ice often reduces the traction of the Kongs, making it harder to traverse in this world. In most stages, there is a 3D effect on the snow, and in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System version, dynamic backgrounds. Gorilla Glacier can be viewed as one of the most challenging worlds in the game, due to its slippery ground and difficult platforming.

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Example of:

Main / SlippySlideyIceWorld

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