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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.


Compare Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, its "predecessor", and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, it's "successor". It was followed a year later by Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.

Tropes used:

  • 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.)
  • 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 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 to a lower fat to lean tissue ratio, which the swimming mechanics in no way reflect.
  • Bee Afraid: The debut of the series' pesky wasp enemies, the Zingers. A Zinger Queen named Queen B. is also the boss of Vine Valley.
  • Big Bad: The ruler of the Kremlings, King K. Rool. No gimmicks or personas (unlike the sequels), he's the big bad king guy.
  • 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 Mario 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Difficulty Spike: This starts in the first world with Level 1-5, Barrel Cannon Canyon, which requires precise aim, especially in the last section with a lot of directional barrels, and just two levels and a boss battle later, in the second world, Level 2-2, Minecart Madness, is another considerable difficulty spike, since it requires precise jumping skills to avoid the enemies and to stay on the rails (although there is a shortcut). Level 4-1, Snow Barrel Blast, is considered another spike from previous levels. It has Frictionless Ice throughout most of the level, it is longer than the levels preceding it, the barrels are challenging to get through, and partway through the level, the snow begins to cover up the screen. The last one is the last world itself, Chimp Caverns, which have the five hardest levels.
  • 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 DKC 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 collectables, whereas later games would use them to entice the player in unlocking hidden content.
    • 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 level. The same went for the "level complete" fanfare.
    • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Five-Man Band: All the Kongs present in this game actually form a pretty coherent one in terms of personality and skills, although only 2 of them are playable.
    • The Leader: DK is the main character and owner of the stolen banana hoard, making it his adventure.
    • The Lancer: Diddy is DK's sidekick and Foil, being a faster, but weaker option to DK's strength.
    • The Smart Guy: Cranky is the one who provides hints and advice about the game's secrets, even if aggressively.
    • The Big Guy: Funky is the fun Surfer Dude who provides DK with transportation.
    • The Chick: Candy is the Ms. Fanservice responsible for saving DK's progress.
  • Foreshadowing:
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Asshole Donkey Kong, a super hard rom hack in the vein of Kaizo Mario World.
  • The Goomba: The Gnawties. The Kritters themselves are pretty weak, too.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, as well as relying on the players own intuition to instruct 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 palmtrees, 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 you to lose him, tipping off the player that your partner works as 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 Rockkrocs 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 handslap once they stop.
  • Jungle Jazz: "Jungle Hijinx", which starts out with tribal drums and ambient jungle sounds, leading up to a swingy tune.
  • 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.
  • The Lancer: Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong's sidekick.
  • The Leader: Donkey Kong, the title character.
  • Lizard Folk: The Kremlings.
  • Mook Maker: The Oil Drums spit out the snake enemies, the Slippas. One boss is a Giant Drum whose 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.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: Either of the Kongs will go down in one hit from any attack or collision with an enemy unless they have a partner on hand.
  • Power-Up Food: Downplayed. Bananas don't do anything special on their own, but collecting 100 of them grants you an extra life.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Rockrocs.
  • 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 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.
  • The Smart Guy: Cranky Kong, the elderly Grumpy Old Monkey that gives out advice and tips.
  • Spelling Bonus:
    • Misty Mine has an interesting take on this: All four K-O-N-G letters are in a single bonus area.
    • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Enemy names are used instead of the developers' names, and the final battle music continues to play.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Violation of Common Sense: Some of the secret rooms require luck or trial and error to find. For example, in Barrel Cannon Canyon, there's a secret room that you find by deliberately launching yourself out of a barrel at the wrong time, causing you to miss another barrel and slamming you into a wall and revealing 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 exploit the ability to do a jump in mid air after performing a roll attack.


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:

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