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Now, get out there and give those little drum guys what-for. Yes, I said "what-for". I'm old. Get over it.
Cranky Kong

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a 2010 platform game produced by Nintendo and Retro Studios (of Metroid Prime fame). It's the first entry in the Donkey Kong Country series since Donkey Kong 64 in 1999, and the first side-scroller since Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! in 1996. The plot this time concerns the Tiki Tak Tribe, a group of evil tikis that have hypnotized the animals of DK Island, forcing them to steal Donkey Kong's treasured hoard of bananas for their own nefarious plans. Along with his best friend and second banana Diddy Kong, the big guy sets out to get them back.

The game features many popular series landmarks, such as pirate ships, mine cart rides, and of course, plenty of lush wilderness to get lost in, as well as the goal of collecting scattered bananas and golden K-O-N-G letters. A co-op mode has been implemented, but gone are King K. Rool and any underwater stages, as stated here.

The game is the first in the series to be made with no cooperation from Rare, because Microsoft bought Rare in 2002. So once again, after 11 years, it's on like the eponymous ape.

A 3DS version called Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D was released on May 24th, 2013 in all regions.

A Wii U sequel called Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was released in 2014.


This game provides examples of:

  • 2.5D: A sidescrolling game rendered entirely in 3-dimensional graphics. Some levels feature additional layers in the background (or foreground) that the player traverses between using barrel cannons.
  • 100% Completion: The game has 200% as the maximum completion amount. However, the only things that count towards completion percentage are the KONG letters (since you need them all to open all the stages), completing said stages and then completing them again in Mirror/Hard Mode. Puzzle pieces and Time Attack medals don't factor in.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Like in Donkey Kong 64, Diddy shoots peanuts from his popguns.
  • Action Bomb: Stu can release a wood-shielded living mine that will slowly follow Donkey and Diddy.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom:
    • Level 5-8, Muncher Marathon, has one made out of a rampaging horde of baby spiders.
    • There's also one made of lava at the end of level 8-2 (Hot Rocket), although it serves as more of a visual distraction than anything else since the Rocket Barrel makes it an Auto-Scrolling Level.
  • Airborne Mook: Tiki Buzzes are drum-like tikis that are winged and stay airborne without actively attacking the Kongs, though their fiery variants do expel fireballs onto them.
  • Alliterative Name: About 90% of the level names, with names like "Muncher Marathon", "Temple Topple" and "Damp Dungeon."
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The Nintendo 3DS version has an expanded version of the Golden Temple, which now has 9 levels. The first 8 are thematically based on the standard worlds of the game respectively, while the ninth is original (a mixture of Level in the Clouds and Level Ate). In the original Wii version, only the thematically new level is present.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The inside of Tiki Tong's lair.
  • Ambushing Enemy: In the silhouette levels, Mimics disguise themselves as plant bushes in the scenery and run at the Kongs when they approach.
  • Amphibian Assault: The Frogoons and Hopgoons are frog enemies that appear in the Jungle area. They hop about or jump in place and are easily dealt with by any of Donkey or Diddy's attacks.
  • Appease the Volcano God: The Tiki leaders sacrificing themselves to become Tiki Tong's hands immediately before the final battle has shades of this.
  • Aquatic Mook: Snaggles (sharks), Snaps (orange crabs), Squidlies (squids) and Jellybobs (jellyfish). Snaggles frequently jump out of the water to attempt to bite the Kongs, all while doing a barking noise; Snaps (also known as Snippies) move side by side, though they're not difficult to beat; Squidlies travel in the air in a straight line, being shot from wooden canyons called Squid Shots; and Jellybobs are protected with electricity, and sometimes they unleash it.
  • Art Evolution: The original Donkey Kong Country trilogy featured a realistic art style and cartoony characters with realistic fur and textures. This game goes for more of a "painted cartoon" look and adds cartoony effects and animations to top it off. The fact that the series changed hands (formerly Rare, currently Retro) has something to do with it.
  • Art Shift: Sunset Shore, Foggy Fumes, and Smokey Peak feature black silhouettes against the colored backdrops. The golden-red hues of Sunset Shore in particular are spectacular.
  • Artifact Title: "Life in the Mines Returns," which is not used in any mine level in this game.
  • Artistic License – Music: Gong-Oh makes the sound of a tubular bell.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The giant fan platforms with one broken blade in Foggy Fumes somehow stay perfectly balanced, no matter their position or even when switched on.
  • Ascended Meme: "It's On Like Donkey Kong" was trademarked and used by Nintendo to promote the game.
  • Aside Glance: DK does this in the game's opening cinematic.
  • Assist Character: Squawks the parrot hangs around at Cranky's shop until you pay for him, after which he'll help you seek out the puzzle pieces.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: One level features a gigantic octopus first witnessed destroying a large ship in the background, which then uses its tentacles to destroy various platforms floating in the sea as the player jumps across. Later in the level it appears up close, wrapping its tentacles around walls to obstruct the player's movements.
  • Autosave: The game saves even if you leave a level, which is helpful if you just want to look for Diddy in the level, but KONG letters and puzzle pieces are programmed to only be counted when you reach the exit.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Any minecart or rocket barrel segment. The vehicles in question will move forward on their own, and the Kongs' job is to dodge the incoming attacks to avoid dying (since One-Hit-Point Wonder is in effect here). With minecarts, the Kongs control the jumps; with the rocket barrels, they steer up and down.
  • Background Boss: Tiki Tong is one up until you destroy his hands, as he first keeps his head in the background, safe from your attacks.
  • Bag of Spilling: Donkey and Diddy, despite being able to swim endlessly underwater in all previous DKC games as well as in 64, are now unable to swim. They WILL die if they fall into the water, as if it were a Bottomless Pit. By the time Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze rolled around, they apparently took some swimming classes, but never got to the lesson about how to avoid drowning.
  • Balloonacy:
    • Cranky's shop is suspended in the air via balloons.
    • The Red Balloons that served as extra lives in the original series are now justified; when you're defeated, the death screen shows your Kongs using the balloons to ride back to the nearest checkpoint.
    • The Nintendo 3DS port reintroduces Green Balloons (which would go on to appear in Tropical Freeze as well), but unlike in the SNES trilogy where they granted two extra lives, these are bought from the games' stores and used as a Bottomless Pit Rescue Service - if a Kong falls into a pit while they have a Green Balloon equipped, it'll lift them back out.
  • Bamboo Technology: In keeping with Donkey Kong tradition. Notably, Diddy Kong has his jetpack and Peanut Popgun.
  • Band Land: One of the last levels of World 7 has hammers pounding on drums. Listening to the BGM is important to get in rhythm when the hammer is about to strike.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The Squeeklies. 4-5 (Crowded Cavern) focuses on them the most, including a huge one with sonic beams called Mama Squeekly.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: The game starts off with a bang using one of these. After the two-minute intro cutscene, the first level begins with you vigorously shaking the Wii Remote to make DK pound on Kalimba, which is shown from outside the (very bouncy) hut.note 
  • Battle Theme Music: Like in Donkey Kong 64 and unlike the original SNES trilogy, every boss has its own boss music to fit the mood and style of each battle. In the case of the Final Boss, it's a Boss Remix of the Tikis' Leitmotif.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: All bosses, except for Tiki Tong and possibly Colonel Pluck. They're ordinary animals possessed by the Tiki leaders. Once Donkey and Diddy defeat the bosses, the animals are freed and the Tikis float out of them in a stupor (and get a pounding of their own).
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: Cranky's new style of humour is repeatedly headbutting the fourth wall, rather than out-and-out demolishing it.
  • Big Bad: Tiki Tong, leader of the Tiki Tak Tribe.
  • Big Red Button:
    • One is hidden in each of the three later factory levels. You must find and activate all three to open the rocket level that leads to the boss. Lampshaded directly by Cranky Kong.
    Tip from Gramps! If you see three levels arranged in a very precise pattern, perhaps that's worth looking into.
    • The Ruins level "Button Bash" is full of them.
  • Blackout Basement: The game uses on and off lighting in The Mole Train. The first time through, you can easily see the moles coming up and avoid them or stomp on them, while the third time through, the light comes and goes, making spotting enemy moles much harder.
  • Blown Upward by a Blowhole: In "Blowhole Bound", the Kongs progress through the level by riding on whales whose backs can be slapped to cause them to spout. Standing on the jet of water thus created will send the Kongs flying upward, which is necessary for reaching certain pickups.
  • Blow You Away: The Kongs can use their breath to blow on certain things such as plants, windmills, lanterns, etc. to find collectibles and such. It's even needed against certain enemies in order to defeat them.
  • Bombardier Mook: Kowalees are purple koalas that fly around on helicopter-bladed contraptions and attack by throwing bombs down at the Kongs. As they're too large to jump over, they must be defeated by throwing their bombs back at them before they explode.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Golden Temple, which is only accessible after completing the game and clearing all Temple levels in the regular worlds. It only has one level in the Wii version, but it has nine in the 3DS one; all of them are very challenging, and require good reflexes and timing to be conquered.
  • Bonus Level of Heaven: Collecting all the KONG letters in the levels, and then completing all world's secret temple levels unlocks very definitely bonus temple on the world map... which is Nintendo Hard and Checkpoint Starvation, with brand new Unique Enemies that you won't find anywhere else in the game.
  • Bonus Stage: There are hidden rooms that contain many bananas, banana coins, and balloons. Collecting everything reveals a Puzzle Piece necessary for 100% Completion. Falling off or running out of time does not result in death, but will prevent the player from a retry unless they lose a life elsewhere or replay the level to begin with. These bonus areas return in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
  • Bonus Stage Collectibles: The bonus stages are filled with normal collectables like bananas and coins, but collecting all of them will you get a puzzle piece, of which there are only a few per level and are needed to get 100% Completion.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: The bosses are generally good about choosing locations that aren't potentially lethal towards them if utilized properly by Donkey and Diddy. The one glaringly obvious exception is Mangoruby, whose boss chamber contains three wheels with switches on them that, when pounded, will de-electrify Mangoruby's body and allow Donkey to Goomba Stomp her.
  • Boss-Only Level: Almost every boss, like in the original trilogy. The exception (not only for the game but also for the entire Country series) is the Final Boss, because the Kongs first have to fly skyward to his lair with a rocket barrel, which takes a while to be done.
  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: In the 3DS version's New Mode, you can buy a green balloon that will hoist you out of a bottomless pit once.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The bosses (save for the Final Boss) are creatures brainwashed by the Tikis into attacking Donkey and Diddy.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The temples, which can only be unlocked by gathering all KONG letters in the standard levels. They're exceptionally difficult, featuring setpieces and gimmicks that make up for more devious level designs, and anything below honed reflexes and timing results in a guaranteed death. Completing them unlocks the equally difficult Golden Temple level (levels in the 3DS version) after the game's ending.
  • Bullfight Boss: Mugly and Thugly are exactly this, and they're defeated by hitting them from above each time you jump to evade their charge.
  • The Cameo: Mr. Game & Watch can be seen in the background of Foggy Fumes, hammering away a pipe.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The way DK punches the moon looks surprisingly like the Giant Punch.
    • Super Kong inherits the white palette of Donkey Kong that was seen in the Super Smash Bros. series, and in turn inspired by Eddie the Mean Ol' Yeti from the Donkey Kong Country cartoon series, who was essentially a white-furred version of Donkey Kong.
  • Cap: 99 lives and 999 Banana Coins.
  • Captain Colorbeard: The leader of the Scurvy Crew is named Captain Greenbeard.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Thrown by a couple of bosses and Kowalees.
  • Chaos Architecture: The game made a huge change to Donkey Kong Island, removing the likeness of DK's face from the mountain, melting the icy summits and adding a huge volcano and a prehistoric region.
  • Checkpoint: Professor Chops, a pig that runs a stand with a check on it somewhere in the middle of a level. The gold bonus stages where you get the orbs to enter the golden temple have no checkpoints whatsoever. They're also considered to be the hardest stages in the game. Have fun with that.
  • Checkpoint Starvation:
    • Muncher Marathon has an Advancing Wall of Doom made of spiders. Once you hit the checkpoint, you can finish the level in 30 seconds. Everywhere before that, if you die, you are back to square one. Near the end of the game, level 8-5's first stretch is quite a long and difficult one.
    • The Temples. There are no checkpoints. For any of them. And the majority of them are 5-8 minutes of pure old-school platforming. The Golden Temple has no checkpoints either.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Donkey Kong gives one in the opening sequence of the game, after Kalimba fails to brainwash him. A No-Holds-Barred Beatdown quickly follows.
  • Chicken Walker: A literal one in the form of Colonel Pluck's Stompybot 3000.
  • Chromosome Casting: The game manages to be this as only five characters (Donkey, Diddy, Cranky, Rambi and Squawks) come from previous games and everyone else appears to be male or having unconfirmed genders.
  • City of Gold: Not an actual city, but the postgame has the Golden Temple, which transports you to a Brutal Bonus Level (several in the 3DS version) made up of gold-colored architecture, floating fruits and idyllic passageways.
  • Circling Birdies: Enemies you stun with Diddy's peanut popgun or Ground Pound get an actual birdie circle.
  • Collection Sidequest: The KONG letters and puzzle pieces.
  • Collision Damage: The game varies it slightly: while everything in the game deals basic collision damage straight-up, there are a few enemies that play an attacking animation when DK or Diddy touches them (such as Tikis biting them).
  • Colony Drop: DK punches the MOON into Tiki Tong's Tower! Subverted because DK isn't trying to destroy the entire world, and the resulting explosion pops the moon back into place.
  • Combat Tentacles: This game features the giant kraken-esque octopus Squiddicus in the level "Stormy Shore". His head remains in the background while his tentacles attack the Kongs throughout the level.
  • Company Cross References: Mr. Game and Watch appears in the background of one of the factory stages.
  • Concept Art Gallery: The game features an art gallery that fills up as you collect puzzle pieces in the levels and grow closer to 100% Completion.
  • Console Cameo: One of DK's idle animations has him playing a DS. If you listen carefully, you can hear sound effects from the original Donkey Kong.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Done very subtly by Cranky.
    Cranky Kong: "See you later, alligator! Heh, heh..."
    Cranky Kong: "You need to get to the top of the island by yourself? Too bad we don't know anyone with a plane!"
    Cranky Kong: "Back in my day, I could get through the whole island without getting hit once!"
    • Another one is hidden in the background in Foggy Fumes; there is an area that looks like 25m.
    • "Peaceful Pier" has an area during the rocket barrel sequence where a crosshair follows you, then stops so the crabs on the ship can fire an anchor at you; this is likely a reference to the "Krack-Shot Kroc" level in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!.
    • Some of the carvings on the walls in the hidden Temple levels feature sprites from the original Donkey Kong game.
    • You beat the first phase of Colonel Pluck's robot by punching the bottom of the cockpit, which is appropriately egg-shaped, and defeat it by smashing the bottom of the egg, similar to another boss in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.
    • One of the first levels is called "King of Cling", a reference to DK: King of Swing.
    • In the ruins, there are Kremling-like statues in the background.
    • There's also Mugly and Thugly — Thugly is a more difficult Palette Swap of Mugly, much like Really Gnawty is to Very Gnawty from the first game. While this is also true of Master Necky and Master Necky Snr., the parallel to Really and Very Gnawty is better as Very Gnawty and Mugly are both the first boss.
  • Console Cameo: One of DK's Idle Animations is to whip out a Nintendo DS and start playing it.
  • Continuing is Painful:
    • Just like in the original games, it can suck a lot to go through any segment without already having the second Kong, especially if there happens to be no DK Barrels between your current checkpoint and the end of the level. This very much applies to the Final Boss, because if you die, the only way to get Diddy back is to restart the whole level and go through the Rocket Barrel gauntlet again. Only to probably die again anyway. Your best option is to accept it and fight the final boss using only DK. And Diddy is very, very useful in this fight. Thankfully, this doesn't become an issue in multiplayer.
    • This is how the temple levels are. No checkpoints and (usually) no DK Barrels. Unless you wanna go to another level and get Diddy there, if you die, you'll be forced to navigate with just Donkey and his two hearts.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Tiki Tong has an eye tic much like King K. Rool.
    • Two of the stages reuse names from the original game: "Jungle Hijinx" and "Vine Valley".
    • The Golden Temple level's music is a remix of the Donkey Kong Jr. Theme.
  • Convection, Schmonvection:
    • World 8. Walking around and jumping over lava flows? Volcanic ash blowing in the wind, like snow? Big deal. As long as you don't fall in the lava or touch the flaming enemies (one of which you can duck under and be completely unharmed, even though it was just inches above you), you're fine.
    • In at least one level, there are moving platforms that dip into the lava and rise back out. You can burn yourself if you jump on them too soon, but this danger period passes quickly and DK often ends up standing on a rock that is still glowing red. Cranky said it best: "We apes have no need for the laws of physics!"
  • Cool Airship: DK runs after a galleon / zeppelin mix, seen hauling his stash of bananas in a big net that hangs from the bottom. A masked tiki enemy is seen dancing on the deck.
  • Cool Guns: Diddy is armed with his Peanut Popgun.
  • Cool Train: The Mole Train, a boss that has a giant drill on the front of it.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The developers say that this feature was used to set it apart from DK's previous outing, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. However, it almost didn't exist due to New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run:
    • Slammin' Steel and Boulder Roller both have segments involving this.
    • Tidal Terror. Large tidal waves crash into the level at regular intervals, and anything (including enemies and items) that isn't behind cover gets washed out of the level.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: This happens twice with bosses. Once after you deliver the final blow to whatever critter the Tiki of that world is possessing (showing the critter fall unconscious in an over-the-top manner), and one where Donkey Kong punches out that Tiki. The latter comes with Action Commands to add more hits!
  • Crosshair Aware: There's a level where you're riding on a rocket barrel and a bunch of pirate crabs take aim at you with a big on-screen crosshair, before firing some kind of anchor-chain projectile that ends up wrecking their own ship.
  • Cue the Sun: Seen during the ending cut-scene for all 3 endings: After Tiki Tong's lair is destroyed with the moon, the sun rises as all the animals are freed from hypnosis and the volcano erupts into a literal rain of bananas.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Due to motion-controls instead of a button press, rolling may very well become this in the Wii version. In the original trilogy, rolling/cartwheeling/ponytail spinning into an enemy would give you a burst of momentum, allowing you to easily take out whole rows of enemies with just one attack. In Donkey Kong Country Returns, the roll goes farther, faster, but does not have this property unless you got Diddy in single-player mode. In the very first level, almost right away, you'll encounter three basic enemies in a row. If you try to roll through them all like in the old days, your roll will end just in time for you to slam into the third enemy and get hurt.
    • A self-contained example: it's easy to get used to Diddy's jetpack, and to try to use it even when he's not there.
  • Dance Battler: The Scurvy Crew; they put their claws up in a dance that protects them from being Goomba Stomped. Fortunately, it leaves them vulnerable to a rolling attack.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • The background music for "Muncher Marathon" is a fiendish remix of the forest's normal music.
    • "Mine Cart Madness", which in the original DKC was already a dark reprise of "Jungle Groove", now gets a darker reprise in the form of Roasting Rails, played in the minecart level of World 8.
  • Deadly Walls: The game has the infamous rocket barrel levels, where hitting anything would instantly kill you. This was corrected in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze where walls break when hit, costing you a Hit Point instead of a whole life.
  • Death Mountain: The sixth world is a Prehistoria variant, and includes features like tar which damps motion, spiky boulders that roll from the background, skeletal platforms, and crumbling rocks.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The game has all kinds of levels with a limited palette. You've got the obvious sunset levels where the foreground and all objects are in black barring DK's tie, the factory level in the trailer where the foreground and DK are black at the front of the screen, then become a kind of mauve colour in the background (and the objects become really faint) and a Rambi level from the same trailer where all characters and foreground objects are black bar DK's tie (and maybe Diddy Kong's hat), while the background is all vibrant orange and purple.
  • Dem Bones: The cliff is full of alive and hostile reptilian-like skeletons, and some of them also spit fire.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Whereas in the original DKC, a single player could freely switch between DK and Diddy to play as either one, this Diddy is effectively just a powerup, as he was in Donkey Kong: Jungle Climber, that grants DK two extra hits and a jetpack for mid-air jumps (and you'll need it). Diddy is only truly playable in two-player co-op, and only by Player 2.
    • Squawks is demoted from his role in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. In those previous two games, Squawks was controllable and could fly around and shoot enemies. In DKCR, he's reduced to sitting in the corner of your screen and letting you know when there's a puzzle piece nearby to be found.
    • A non-character example — the second and third Donkey Kong Country games feature plenty of hidden areas where you earn a Kremcoin or Bonus Coin by beating all the enemies. In here, there's exactly one such area, in Poppin' Planks. One.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Mangoruby. The electrified caterpillar's body will explode into parts as it's hit by Donkey and Diddy, but this makes it faster, a smaller target, thus making it harder to hit, and more vicious as a result.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Not so much punching him directly, but punching the moon into him!
  • Direct Continuous Levels: The first level in each world shows traces of the previous world's theme, so, for instance, 3-1 starts out on the beach before moving into the ruins, 4-1 has you coming out of ruins before going into a cave, and 5-1 starts out in a cave before blasting you up into the forest canopy. The only exceptions are 1-1 (for obvious reasons) and 6-1 (which, for whatever reason, doesn't really start out in anything forest-like).
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: The game manages to recreate them in a 2.5D game — even though the platforms and Donkey Kong are rendered as 3D models, Donkey Kong can still jump up "through" them and then land on them, and it's rendered as if he were passing "in front" of the platform instead of through it, yet he doesn't visibly move along the Z-axis.
  • Double Unlock:
    • Beating the final boss reveals the game's secret world. In the original Wii version, it only has one level, but in the Nintendo 3DS version, it has nine levels (with the new ones being examples of All the Worlds Are a Stage, as they're thematically based on the regular worlds). Regardless, if you want to play it, you need to get the eight orbs from the Nintendo Hard hidden temple levels... which themselves require that you get all the KONG letters in the other levels.
    • In order to unlock the hidden dioramas, it's not enough to get all of the puzzle pieces in the aforementioned temples: The bosses must be defeated as well.
    • Also, unlocking the gallery images for Tiki Tong Tower and Tiki Tong require you to collect the puzzle pieces (as per usual) in the levels "Moving Melters" and "Red Red Rising" respectively. However, you also need to defeat Tiki Tong in order to actually view them.
  • The Dragon: All of the Tiki bosses may count, but Colonel Pluck takes the cake since he is the one running the manufacturing process for the Tikis.
  • Drill Mole: The moles in World 4 use a Drill Train in a few levels.
  • Drill Tank: you encounter a Drill Train in a few levels in World 4, operated by moles.
  • Drop-In-Drop-Out Multiplayer: The game takes the approach of allowing players to join or leave only inbetween levels.
  • Easier Than Easy: The game continues the "Super Guide" tradition from New Super Mario Bros. Wii with a silver gorilla known as "Super Kong" optionally taking over for the player. You don't get to keep any items collected. The Super Guide is implemented to make up for the game being actually very difficult.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery:
    • If you buy items, Cranky Kong will make fun of you. Then again, he is Cranky Kong. Notably, he keeps his mouth shut if you buy the key that unlocks the extra level in a given world, the only item in the shop that doesn't make anything easier.
    And I thought two hearts was too easy! Now you want a third?
    • If you die a lot in a given level, Professor Chops will give you the option to have the Super Guide (featuring Super Kong, a white CPU-controlled Palette Swap of Donkey Kong) beat the level for you. However, the computer purposely avoids collectible items that are out of the way, and you're unable to actually keep the items he does collect.
  • Edible Ammunition: Peanut Popgun once again by Diddy Kong.
  • Electric Jellyfish: There are Jellybobs in the Beach Levels. Not only do they deliver electric shocks, but they float in the air as well.
  • Elephant Graveyard: The Cliff world is a fossil version of this: the bones of dinosaurs and sea reptiles, as well as enormous nautilus shells, are everywhere.
  • Elite Mook: Tiki Tank, a kind of tiki mook that must be stunned with a Ground Pound before any kind of attack (barring any of Rambi's) can beat it.
  • Escape Sequence:
    • Crowded Cavern; even though you can't control your speed to outrun Mama Squeekly, you still have to dodge her attacks as she chases you to the end of the level.
    • Muncher Marathon has Donkey and Diddy escape from a rapidly-growing swarm of spiders. Touching one of them means instant death.
    • The end of Crumble Canyon, in which you have to outrun a giant flaming Tiki ball (which can kill you in one hit) while maneuvering through a series of obstacles.
  • Eternal Engine: World 7 (Factory). This industrial facility, originally shrouded in fog until the completion of its first level, is where the Tiki tribe takes the stolen bananas and prepares their juice to feed their master (Tiki Tong). As Donkey and Diddy venture through it, they have to deal with dangerous mechanisms like fire pistons, giant mallets, purple electric barriers, and moving pieces of mechanical terrain. In three levels, the Kongs also have find and press hidden switches in order to enable the launch of a rocket that will take them to the lair of the world's boss, Colonel Pluck.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: As if the minecart levels weren't bad enough, the Rocket Barrel levels crank this right on up to eleven without apology.
  • Exact Words: "Peaceful Pier". Oh sure, the "pier" part is peaceful, but the open ocean past it is anything but due to the Rocket Barrel, sharks, and a pirate ship firing cannonballs of death at you.
  • Exposition Fairy: Professor Chops shows you how to use the controller via bubbles on-screen, offers you checkpoints throughout a level, and offers the Super Guide when you die enough times.
  • The Faceless: Tiki Tong is never seen until the very end. Hiding him is so extreme that, unlike the previous Tikis whose silhouettes appear when you lose a life in their respective worlds, if you die before facing him in World 8, all you see is a question mark.
  • Fake Longevity: The extra mode (Mirror Mode) must be completed just to get the remaining concept art.
  • Fast Tunneling: This is true of the level where DK and Diddy are chasing the Drill Tank driven by various enemy moles. Indeed, the tank/train is drilling fast enough to be faster than the ROCKET DK and co are riding on at the time (to the point the player has to steer the rocket barrel through the tunnels the thing is carving out while they're still being carved).
  • Feathered Fiend: Savory Stu and Colonel Pluck, although both of them were hypnotized. Fittingly enough, the latter's level is even called "Feather Fiend".
  • Floating Mask: Some specimens of the Tiki Tak Tribe are floating Tiki masks.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • Mole Miner Max is assisted by the large group of Mile Miners accompanying him in the train they're boarding. In fact, during the first 80% of the battle you'll only dodge their attacks and then dispatch them. Only when the boss is alone will be the moment you fight him for real.
    • Colonel Pluck releases eggs that hatch into mechanical cuckoos.
  • Flying Seafood Special: There are jellyfish and squid enemies that inexplicably fly through the air.
  • Foreshadowing: The name and theme of "Crumble Canyon." The path leading straight from it to the boss level likewise crumbles.
  • Freaky Electronic Music:
    • Like in the original DKC, "Fear Factory" has an Ambient flavor that makes it stand out from the standard Industrial style.
    • There's a factory level named "Music Madness", in which the beat of the music is marked by the presses of the machinery and serves as hints for the player for when to progress to not be squished by the giant hammers.
    • The World 7 (Factory) level selection music is also rearranged with literal industrial noises and a sharp electronic sound.
  • Fungus Humongous: The level Springy Spores, as the name suggests, revolves around Donkey and Diddy hopping between large bouncy mushrooms. One of the minecart levels has these mushrooms as well.
  • Funny Background Event: The zebra, elephant, giraffe (and squirrel) from the opening cutscene pop up a few times in the backdrops of various stages, most notably in "Blowhole Bound" where they are floating in a dinghy in the background.
  • Gangplank Galleon:
    • An interesting variation. Our heroes run through a ship as it's being attacked by Squiddicus, a giant octopus, forcing them to dodge its tentacles and platform on floating pieces of debris.
    • There's also a level that takes place on several ships that are attacking you/each other with cannon balls. Additionally, there are a few smaller areas within levels where you get rocketed onto a ship on the background.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The bosses of the beach are the Scurvy Crew, a trio of Giant Enemy Crab pirates. They aren't monstrously huge, but they're slightly bigger than DK, which is still pretty giant. And yes, you do flip them over and attack their weak points for massive damage.
  • Giant Mook: there are two giant Tiki enemies (one on the ground, the other flying) that require 3 stomps on the head, or just a single Rolling Attack.
  • Giant Squid: Squiddicus is a giant octopus.
  • Gimmick Level: World 4 is notoriously dedicated to levels based on Minecart Madness and Rocket Ride. These levels appear much less often in the other worlds in comparison, including the sequel Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
  • The Goomba:
    • Awk, a pathetic-looking blue parrot, fills this position. There's also a pink parrot, Rawk, that can run faster than the blue counterpart, but it still dies after just one hit. Neither of them can fly for some reason.
    • Tiki Goons fill this role as well.
  • Goomba Springboard: Rather than just holding the jump button, you have to press it the moment you hit the enemy from above. This is a survival requirement in some of the harder levels where said enemies are the only thing between you and a Bottomless Pit. It's at its worst in Platform Panic, where you have to get the extra height quite a lot. Then sometimes they throw in a puzzle where if you get the extra height, you hit a spiked ceiling and lose a heart. After a long stream of high jumps, this flies straight into Damn You, Muscle Memory! territory.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The puzzle pieces, K-O-N-G letters, and orbs needed to unlock the Golden Temple.
  • Groin Attack: This is how you defeat Colonel Pluck's Stompybot 3000 — wait for the hatch to open first.
  • Ground Pound: Subverted; instead of jumping and making a hard landing, DK slams his hands onto the ground.
  • Guide Dang It!: The puzzle pieces. Squawks will start chattering when you approach where one is hidden, but this won't necessarily tell you where the piece is hidden or how to reveal it — that's up to you. There are two particularly egregious examples:
    • One is in the ruins; there is a puzzle piece hidden off the bottom of the stage in a place you would never know to even look, as there is no hint it is down there.
    • The other is near the end of the game, where he squawks around a small platform just above the lava. It seems like a puzzle piece would spawn there, but in actuality it is simply a platform to allow you to access the real puzzle piece — namely, behind a breakable wall in a bonus room, in an area where the last (and only) barrel is a great distance behind. If it were not for Squawks, these would be nearly impossible to find.
  • Hearts Are Health: Hearts make up your Life Meter, and hearts refill it.
  • Heart Container: DK himself starts out with two hearts in his Life Meter. Finding Diddy Kong adds two more to bring the count to four. There are also two real Heart Container items that can be bought in the store. There's the Heart Boost, which adds one extra heart, and Banana Juice, which expands DK's hit points to ten hearts.
  • Helium Speech: In both this game and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Diddy Kong's voice is pitched up significantly for unknown reasons during gameplay.
  • High-Speed Battle: The Mole Train boss battle in World 4 takes place atop its own mine carts as it speeds down the track.
  • Hint System: Nintendo's "Super Guide" feature, used in several games including New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and this one, allows a player who has failed a level enough times to allow the game to run through the level. However, 100% Completion still requires you to do the whole thing with no help at some point, as no collectible items will be added to your inventory when this feature is in use.
  • Hungry Jungle: The Forest world has a relatively high difficulty and general level of overgrowth, featuring trees much taller than those encountered in the Jungle world, forming a dark canopy over most levels. One level in particular, Muncher Marathon, could quite literally be called hungry, as it has the players running from an Advancing Wall of Doom in the form of a swarm of just-hatched spiders.
  • Hypnotic Creature: The Tiki Tak Tribe's main powers. They appear to be some of the easier enemies to defeat, suggesting that without the power to hypnotize other creatures to do their bidding, they'd be pretty helpless.
  • Idle Animation: Donkey Kong looks around, sits on the ground, pulls out a Nintendo DS, and plays while Diddy watches over his shoulder. After a while, he gets bored and tosses it casually over his shoulder. This may or may not have been inspired by a famous incident (Retro Studios took note of it on their website) wherein a kid dropped his DS in the gorilla pen at the zoo and the gorillas played it.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Kalimba attempts to hypnotize Donkey Kong, to no avail; seems to be the same with Diddy Kong and Cranky Kong, and also Rambi, Squawks and Professor Chops.
  • Indy Escape: Crumble Canyon, a level from the Cliff area. Midway into the stage, you have to outrun an instant killing Tiki-Tak giant sphere until near the end. It's harder than it looks.
  • Interface Spoiler: While the game is good at hiding the temple levels, the Golden Temple, and the Mirror Mode emblems, it slips up at World 6: You could only see six level spots on the World Map in addition to the boss level spot, but upon viewing the Level Summary, you see two more instances of "?????" than there should be. Sure enough, upon clearing what appears to be the last level before the boss, the road that appears to lead to the boss crumbles, and the two missing level spots finally appear in an otherwise conspicuous area of the map.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The Banana Juice. You can use it before starting a level, but it's worth remembering that you can't refresh the 10 extra hearts provided. It returns in a nerfed form (it lasts shorter after the first hit) in Tropical Freeze.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The Tiki Zings (only beatable with Rambi), and flaming Tiki Zings (unbeatable, even with Rambi).
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted in the final cutscene with DK, where he punches the moon into Tiki Tong's lair.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: In the factory, inanimate Tiki masks are brought to life by the squashed bananas from DK's Hoard.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: The Game Over scene is less creepy in comparison to those of the original SNES trilogy, but keeps the sad music from the first game.
  • Jetpack: Diddy uses a jetpack in this game (serving as a tool to temporarily hover in the air), though it looks much different from the Rocketbarrel in DK64 and Brawl, as it has a little rocket that comes out of a backpack to help Diddy (and Donkey Kong if he has Diddy on his back or if you combine in Co-op) float for a short while.
  • Jungle Japes: The first world is specifically devoted to this trope, but later worlds still contain elements of it, up to and including the factory. A common hazard in these levels is sentient Tiki statues that fall down onto the Kongs as soon as they're in their line of reach. Also, one of the jungle levels features a beautiful sunset background, and has its whole design based on silhouettes.
  • Jungle Jazz: The jazzy theme that plays during the Rocket Barrel sections. Played with, as it's mainly associated with the jungle-dwelling Kongs; it wouldn't actually appear in proper jungle levels until Tropical Freeze.
  • Justified Extra Lives: Previously, the balloons were just there for you to collect and gain extra lives. Now, they carry you back into the stage upon the event of dying. In co-op, if one Kong dies and the other summons him back, one of the balloons will carry in a DK Barrel for you to break and bring the first Kong back into action. If both Kongs are dead, two extra lives are given up in order to bring them back.
  • Kaizo Trap: In various levels of this game and Tropical Freeze, taking too long to touch the slot-machine barrel at the end will cause the player to be killed by an ongoing hazard of the level (the hazard in question will depend of each level's concept).
  • Kill Streak: Defeating at least 3 enemies in a row will grant items such as Banana Coins and Extra Life Balloons.
  • King Koopa Copy: Tiki Tong, leader of the villainous Tiki Tak Tribe. He's got Red Eyes, Take Warning, a Jagged Mouth, and a scary roar.
  • King Mook: Mole Miner Max, Colonel Pluck, and Tiki Tong; respectively based on the Mole Miners, the robotic chicken mooks (BuckBombs), and the Tikis.
  • Law of 100: 100 bananas, one extra life.
  • Leaning Tower of Mooks: Brown Cageberries do this in groups of 5. When they see you, they lunge foward and all fall apart onto the ground.
  • Leitmotif: Each boss tiki's instrument that they're themed off of is added into their boss music and hypnosis music.
  • Lethal Lava Land: World 8, which somehow manages to outdo the one in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. It is here where the leader of the Tikis, Tiki Tong, is located, and it was there where he was inactive until the volcano's eruption. Features include hovering balls of fire, lava drops, fiery enemies and rivers of magma. Even the minecart and rocket levels have the Kongs deal with geyser-like lava eruptions, and dealing with them requires good reflexes.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: Happens when you defeat Mole Miner Max as his body collides with the train and said train slows to a stop.
  • Level Ate: World 9's single level. It's bizarre, to say the least. In-game artwork shows that they planned to include more levels in the Golden Temple, many of them having a food theme.
  • Level Goal: The game uses floating barrels with star icons to conclude a level upon contact. These barrels also act as slot machines, as several images are shown one after another, and whichever one is displayed when a Kong touches it will become their prize: A banana, a bunch thereof, a coin, a balloon, or a DK icon that allows the player to shake the Wiimote (and Nunchuk if also used) to trigger a multiplier for a randomly-selected collectible.
  • Level in the Clouds: The Golden Temple (solo level in the Wii version, ninth level of world 9 in the 3DS version) combines this setting with Level Ate. Several giant fruits are suspended in the sky, and Donkey and Diddy have to take them with extra care in order to avoid falling into the abyss. This being a 2.5D game, the vertical-moving bananas can only be stepped on when they're aligned with the axis of the characters (they're looping from the background). Horizontal-moving bananas simply oscillate, cherries explode shortly after they're stomped on, strawberries and blueberries have trouble resisting the Kongs' weight. Lastly, several Tikis appear from small portals to attack the Kongs with projectiles.
  • Life Meter: The first real use of one in a Donkey Kong Country game (2D at least).
  • Loot-Making Attack: Defeating three or four enemies in a row will give the Kongs a Banana Coin upon defeating the third and fourth enemy. Defeating five enemies onward will give an Extra Life Balloon for each enemy defeated starting at the fifth enemy.
  • The Lost Woods: World 5, simply called Forest, features a wide array of elements like the trope-naming Springy Spores, buildings and objects that can be clinged onto thanks to their populated grass patches, moving totems, large vines that can be used for swinging, and a region where spiders proliferate at an alarming rate. Interestingly, the first level is named after the forest world from the first Donkey Kong Country, Vine Valley. The boss is Mangoruby, an electrified caterpillar that can only be hit when it's exposed to the sunlight (as it's only during that time when its electricity is negated).
  • Mad Bomber:
    • Stu has only one attack that doesn't involve throwing various kinds of bombs from the pot he's in (swooping at you). The rest are all explosive-based, and to beat him, you have to throw his Cartoon Bombs back at him. The "mad" part comes from the fact that he's Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • The Kowalees in the Golden Temple frequently toss bombs at the Kongs, who have to toss them back at them to defeat them.
  • Magic Music: The high-ranking Tikis play themselves as instruments to hypnotise the island's animals.
  • Malevolent Architecture: and HOW. The secret bonus temple levels, especially.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Two kinds of them, seen for the first time in the Donkey Kong Country series. They're even called "Chomps".
  • Mascot Mook: In the absence of the Kremlings, the game is represented by the Tikis bestiary-wise, more specifically the drum-like mooks that serve as The Goomba.
  • Meaningless Lives:
    • While the game is pretty difficult, this is a classic example of a game with meaningless lives. Most of the difficult stages have bonus rounds near the start of them, allowing you to gain infinite extra lives — and indeed, dying in them often will gain you stocks, as the bonus round has 1-2 extra life balloons in it AND bananas, and coins (which can be used to buy extra lives, as well as other items) are plentiful, and all the more so when you start dying repeatedly on the harder stages later in the game, thus collecting the same banana coins over and over again.
    • This game provides a similar thing in Meaningless DK Barrels. Some levels provide you with DK Barrels right before long stretches of Blast Barrels, Rocket Barrels, and Mine Karts that go on until the end of the level. These areas are One-Hit Kill, and the other benefits from having Diddy (his rockets, for example) are a non-factor, rendering him completely useless.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Common in the factory world.
  • Medium Awareness: After a bonus game, DK and Diddy will take a look at the item totals as they line up along the bottom of the screen.
  • Megaton Punch: To defeat the final boss, DK punches the moon into it.
  • Mercy Mode: Similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, after dying enough times trying to complete a single level, Professor Chops will appear and offer the "Super Guide", which calls in a Palette Swapped white DK to play the level for you. The game clearly warns you that Super Kong will only complete the level — you don't get to keep any of the items he collects in the process. Which means that in order to unlock the Golden Temple level, you must beat the hidden Kong Temple stages by yourself, because that's the only way to collect the orbs at the end of each temple level.
  • Mickey Mousing: The game sometimes does this with the Rocket Barrel levels. For example, in Peaceful Pier, the music becomes more frantic as the pirates fire more and more cannonballs at you. The Truck Driver's Gear Change happens when the pirates decide to bust out their biggest cannon. However, this trope only applies if you don't respawn at a checkpoint, otherwise the music won't match the action.
  • Mind-Control Music: How the tikis mind-control the animals at the start of the game. The Kongs are unaffected.
  • Minecart Madness: One of the series' many trademarks; World 4 consists almost entirely of them. The antics that actually occur during said levels make the original series's Minecart Madness look boring by comparison.
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: This game and Tropical Freeze have a co-op mode which seems to benefit gameplay as both Kongs can move separately AND tag along to use the single-player version moves. However, due to the Nintendo Hard difficulty and that, unlike the New Super Mario Bros. sub-series, players share lives, it can become a hindrance.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: A type of mook that only appears in the silhouette levels is almost entirely shrouded in shrubbery. Only its eyes and spindly legs are visible.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: Towards the end of level 3-2: Button Bash, there's a column of monkey statues doing these poses.
  • Mook-Themed Level:
    • Level 3-5 (Itty Bitty Biters) stars little furball enemies called Toothberries, who first observe and then ambush the player by jumping out of the floor and objects inside an ancient temple. They also have variants encountered through the level, like a stack of four of them that is too tall to be Goomba Stomped and a caged one that's effectively invulnerable, but can be exploited to provide a huge jumping boost for the player.
    • Level 5-8 (Muncher Marathon) is focused on running away from a tidal wave of ravenous insects aptly named the Munchers, who consume everything in their path. The level is divided into two sections: the horizontal section near the start that lasts two-thirds of the level, and the final vertical section near the end where you must ascend quickly by barrel cannons to keep ahead of the climbing Munchers. This level also features bigger, defeatable spiders called Skittlers, which are implied to be the adult form of the Munchers (as they share very similar models).
  • Multiple Endings: The game has three endings, though all of them are good (it all depends on which character(s) deliver the last blow onto the Final Boss):
    • If Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are present, Donkey Kong and Diddy will fall towards the moon before Donkey Kong pounds it, ending the Tiki tribe. Diddy then makes a safe landing.
    • If only Donkey Kong is present, the same thing happens, this time without Diddy. Donkey Kong will keep falling until Diddy saves Donkey Kong.
    • If only Diddy is present (only possible when the player who played as Donkey lost and only the player with Diddy remains), Diddy will fall towards the moon and tries to use his jetpack, but the jetpack goes out of control, causing Diddy to land headfirst into the moon, which ends the Tiki tribe. Donkey Kong then catches Diddy as he falls.
  • Multi-Stage Battle: Each time Thugly Turns Red, he smashes the floor of the arena, sending the battle down to a lower level, though the change in terrain has no tactical effect on the battle in progress.
  • Mushroom Samba: The Golden Temple has DK and Diddy find a giant golden banana. After digging in, they find themselves in a mysterious land in the sky full of floating fruit platforms and koalas that are also half helicopter. One might argue that this wasn't a hallucination and they were actually transported to a land where giant cherries are actually proximity bombs. One might also be a little naive.
  • Musical Assassin: The villains of the game are the Tiki Tak Tribe, who combine Mind-Control Music and plain old soundwave-based attacks to lead a takeover of Donkey Kong Island. The Mooks of the group all look like bongo drums, while the seven lieutenants of the tribe each resemble a different musical instrument: Kalimba the mbira (a kind of small Zimbabwean keyboard), the Maraca Gang (take a wild guess), Gong-Oh the gong, Banjo Bottom the banjo, Wacky Pipes the panpipes, Xylobone the xylophone, and Cordian the accordion. Their leader, Tiki Tong, resembles a gigantic drum.
  • Musical Gameplay: The factory level "Music Madness". The obstacles in this level are synced with the music.
  • Musical Spoiler: The early Minecart Madness and Rocket Ride levels have a lead-in to the actual mine cart or rocket music before you jump into the vehicle for the first time (if you recognize it, that is). Later levels seems to abandon this altogether.
  • New Game Plus: Mirror Mode, available after finishing the game and completing the bonus levels (including Golden Temple). When playing a level in this mode, all items that you collected (puzzle pieces and KONG letters) remain as such, so your goal is to simply reach to the end. Easier said than done, however. Donkey Kong cannot be helped by Diddy or the inventory items, and he only has one HP.
  • Nintendo Hard: In fact, it's much harder than the previous games. This trope is specifically mentioned in the GameSpy review. The unlockable Temple levels border on Platform Hell, even the World 1 temple (which is aptly named "Platform Panic"). However, the very worst levels in the game tend to be the rocket levels, which (like the minecart levels) will kill you if you touch anything, but unlike the minecart stages, have few to no breaks from the carts, and as the rocket is not running on rails, gives you many more chances to die.... especially with how touchy the rocket controls are.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: After each boss, you get to unleash a completely one-sided flurry of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs on the tiki controlling the boss before uppercutting them into the sky. Their Oh, Crap! expressions right beforehand are priceless.
  • No Name Given: The boss Tikis have not been formally named, but reading the game's files gives them the names Kalimba, the Maraca Gang, Gong-Oh, Banjo Bottom, Wacky Pipes, Xylobone, and Cordian (in order of appearance). Gong-Oh, Banjo Bottom, and Xylobone were named exclusively in the British English localization of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, in the trophies portraying the bosses they possess. Kalimba has his own trophy too.
  • Non-Indicative Name: One level is called "Peaceful Pier". Other than three very small wooden platforms floating in the sea, there is no pier, and the level consists of piloting a rocket-powered barrel over an ocean while being perpetually bombarded by fire from a pirate ship.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Factory levels, which retain the sordid tradition from past DK games of being unsafe workplaces with similar dangers to those in the last games, plus an area only traversable via rocket. Which happens to be straight through the heavy machinery. Also, few hand rails at all, if any.
  • No-Sell: While the Tikis hypnotize the animals to do their bidding, Kalimba tries it on Donkey Kong, and learns the very hard way that DK is immune to it.
  • Nostalgia Level: 1-1 (Jungle Hijinxs) is the most obvious, down to DK starting the game off in his treetop hut above his banana hoard cave.
  • Not as You Know Them: The Scurvy pirates are now three crabs instead of crocodiles.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: Several levels feature a hidden alcove, usually hiding a puzzle piece or a plethora of bananas, to the left of where you begin. It also repeats the "1-Up inside Donkey Kong's house" from the first game.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Contained in the music throughout World 8.
  • One-Hit Kill: There are certain attacks and obstacles that will kill the characters upon contact, including the spider swarm near the end of World 5, a mask-drawn flaming wheel in World 6, and everything while riding on a rocket barrel or a mine cart.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder:
    • Both DK and Diddy actually have two hitpoints apiece, but when you're riding a mine cart or Rocket Barrel, colliding with anything is invariably lethal, as it destroys the cart/rocket.
    • Played straight in Mirror Mode, which challenges you to complete levels with only DK and only one Heart.
  • Over 100% Completion: Completing every level and getting all the Kong letters nets you 100%, while clearing every level again on Mirror Mode will award you with the maximum 200%! Fortunately, Puzzle Pieces and Time Trial medals don't contribute to this.
  • Palmtree Panic: The second world, simply named "Beach", is set on DK Isle's tropical beach amid the wrecks of numerous ships (overlapping with Gangplank Galleon). Crabs and squid abound, as does a very large squid monster that harasses the Kongs in one level. There's also a level with turbulent tides that can only be avoided by taking shelter in rocky spots, as touching the tides spells instant death.
  • Patchwork Map: The game actually justifies the trope by having the first levels of each world being a transition between it and the previous world. For example, the first level of the beach world has Donkey Kong leaving the jungle from the first world, and the first level of the factory world has several rock formations in the background which belong to the previous cliff world.
  • Pickup Hierarchy:
    • Primary: Nothing, unless you count the roulette barrel at the end of levels.
    • Secondary: K-O-N-G Letters, Puzzle Pieces.
    • Tertiary: Banana Coins, Bananas.
    • Extra: Rare Orbs/Mysterious Relics (rewards for beating the Nintendo Hard temple levels).
  • Pirates: The Scurvy Crew are a trio of Type 1, crab pirates. The red captain is named Greenbeard, has a Hook Hand, an Eyepatch of Power, and a hat, the blue one has a cutlass in place of a claw, and the yellow one has a fork in place of a claw.
  • Platform Battle: Mangoruby (falling off nets no real penalty beyond wasting time needed to hit all the switches), and the Mole Train especially (see High-Speed Battle).
  • Platforming Pocket Pal: In normal gameplay, Diddy spends his time mounted on Donkey Kong's back, aiding him with his Jet Pack while DK handles the actual platforming. However, he's perfectly capable of dismounting DK in multiplayer, at which point he's as vulnerable to the platforming as DK is, depending on the skill of the second player.
  • Playable Epilogue: The Golden Temple serves this role. More so in the 3DS version which has multiple levels instead of just one (Wii version). There's also Mirror Mode, but there the Golden Temple and every other level is unlocked de facto, so it feels more like an open-ended New Game Plus where you have to clear all levels again regardless of order.
  • Plug the Volcano: Inverted; in the Final Boss level, which takes place in a volcano, Tiki Tong is defeated after Donkey Kong and/or Diddy Kong, who were launched into space, knock the moon off its orbit and onto Tiki Tong. The moon also plugs up the volcano, which causes it to erupt and launch the moon back into its orbit.
  • Power-Up Mount: Rambi the rhinoceros.
  • Prehistoria: World 6, the Cliff, is a primeval canyon where brown mud flows in many levels, greatly reducing Donkey's and Diddy's motion when they're soaked in it. There are also dinosaur ribs they can step onto, crumbling rocky platforms, and spiky boulders. Besides the dinosaur ribs, another prehistoric motif is fossils reminiscent of the Leviathan infants from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (both games were developed by Retro Studios).
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: The game uses pre-rendering for the intro, the Final Boss's introduction, the ending, the reveal of the Golden Temple, and the transition from the opening area of the Golden Temple to the main level. Three of these cutscenes have three variations depending on which Kongs were present, making a total of twelve pre-rendered cutscenes.
  • Primal Fear: Muncher Marathon. Partway through the level, you awaken a whole swarm of creepy black spiders that end up chasing DK and Diddy Kong all the way to the end of the level, and literally eat them alive if they catch them. The sheer quantity of spiders in the level is disturbing.
  • Punny Name: Awks. They are awkward, and they are auks.
  • Puzzle Boss: Mangoruby can't be struck directly; you must activate all the switches in the room first before you can attack.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Not limited to Donkey anymore. Diddy can do this as well. Both can perform quick punch successions onto the Tiki leaders after defeating the controlled bosses.
  • Rearrange the Song: Half of the game's soundtrack contains remixes of songs from the original DKC. This includes the title screen, world map, jungle, forest, ruins, factory, and mine cart levels.
  • Recursive Ammo: Thugly, the boss of world 6, launches a fire ball that splits into three, one of which will split into three again (and may do so yet again). Good luck trying to dodge this one.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Cling Cobra, Mangoruby, and the Dinosaur Skeletons.
  • Respawning Enemies: In a departure from the original DKC series, all the normal mooks in the game will respawn to their original positions after being defeated, if you move a few screens away and come back. This can be annoying a lot of the time, but other times it's useful when you need the mooks for Goomba Springboard situations, as the respawning enemies will allow you multiple attempts to reach otherwise unreachable areas.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: Taken to a literal extent. It's the return of Donkey Kong (the character) and the Country series.
  • Ribcage Ridge: World 6 is a trek through cliffs covered in gigantic fossils. That try to kill you.
  • Rise to the Challenge: Courtesy of nice hot videogame lava ("Red Red Rising", "Perilous Passage"). The last half of "Muncher Marathon" proceeds in a vertical format as well.
  • Roar Before Beating: Mugly and Thugly, every time they Turn Red. Also, Tiki Tong.
  • Rocket Ride: The Rocket Barrel, which is easily cited for having the game's most difficult stages.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Both Mugly and Thugly progress through three stages as you fight them (turning red on the third). In addition, in each phase, they have to be hit three times.
    • The second boss is the Scurvy Crew, consisting of three pirate crabs. Because there's three of them, three tikis are needed to hypnotize them.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: Level 6-7 "Tippy Shippy". Somehow, a fleet of pirate ships managed to get stuck up there.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • General consensus is that the silhouette level in the sunset is beautiful.
    • Remember Retro's last project, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption? A game that was already gorgeous? DKCR has three times as many polygons.
    • Several levels are scenery porn, to the point of hindrance because while you're staring at the chunks of rock slowly melting into the lava, the streams of lava pouring down from ledges, and the fireballs launching from below, you can forget that these things are there to kill you. Don't worry, the game reminds you soon enough.
    • The barrels that catapult you about a mile in Longshot Launch.
  • Secret Level: Each world features a Temple level which is unlocked by collecting all the KONG letters in that world.
  • Segmented Serpent: Mangoruby. You destroy her segments in groups of two, rather than one at a time.
  • Sequence Breaking: There are some pretty clever ways to bypass certain obstacles, and this becomes necessary when going for the best records in Time Trials.
  • Sequential Boss: Mugly and Thugly have three phases each, and in turn each phase the bosses get angrier and attack more aggressively (especially Thugly). Colonel Pluck and the Final Boss have two each: Pluck, upon seeing that the legs of its Mini-Mecha were destroyed, will attack rapidly while it's hovering in the air; Tiki Tong, after losing his hands, fires multiple projectiles from his head.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The UK advert, voiced by BRIAN BLESSED, invites you to "Join this hairy wrecking-ball as he tears through your living room, like an ape tearing through your living room!"
  • Ship Level: Mostly World 2.
  • Shockwave Stomp: There are bosses that will dive on the ground and send a fast (but colorful) shock-wave towards you. These bosses are, namely: Mugly, Thugly, and Tiki Tong.
  • Shout-Out
    • A stage set in the ruins features an enormous stone statue of the original Donkey Kong holding a Wii Remote, as opposed to a barrel, over his head. In fact, the sprite is a modified sprite from Donkey Kong Jr. Math, with the tie added and a sign replaced with the Wii Remote.
    • One of the stages is named King of Cling.
    • "Foggy Fumes" has a trio of them - you can see the first level from the original Donkey Kong at the start of the stage, a skull reminiscent of Crocomire next to it, and Mr. Game & Watch pounding away at a pipe later on.
    • Crocomire's skull isn't the only Metroid reference - there's a few fossilized Infant Leviathans / Parasites at the beginning of "Tippy Shippy". Fitting, considering the devs of this game are the same people who made the Metroid Prime games.
    • In the beach levels, there are crab enemies that scuttle sideways along the ground. Ground pound near them and they'll flip over — ground pound again and they'll flip over again, unlike most enemies, which stay stunned.
    • In "Button Bash", there's a giant monkey statue wearing a tie patterned with the American flag. This is undoubtedly a reference to video game champion Billy Mitchell (from the movie The King of Kong), who was known for wearing the same.
  • Smashed Eggs Hatching:
    • The level "Muncher Marathon" really kicks off when you smash a few of the spider eggs to clear the way forward, creating a chain reaction where the entire level bursts with spider hatchlings and you have to outrun an advancing wave of them.
    • In the penultimate boss battle of that game, Colonel Cluck throws eggs which reveal robotic chickens that attack Donkey and Diddy.
  • Socialization Bonus: In two-player mode, if one player dies, they can be resurrected by the one still standing. Makes beating some levels MUCH easier.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The music in the bonus rooms changes to a more frantic arrangement when under 10 seconds are left on the timer.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography: The game has Jungle Japes and Palmtree Panic at the start, with Eternal Engine and Lethal Lava Land at the end.
  • Sound Test: Defeating bosses unlocks that world's soundtrack for you to listen to at your leisure.
  • Sphere Factor:
    • Diddy Kong can run atop of Donkey Kong as the latter is rolling in order to do so continuously.
    • Two of the minecart levels also feature this, one level having the cart rolling around the inside of rails bent into a circular shape (like a hamster ball), and another with the cart rolling on top of a gigantic dinosaur egg.
  • Spider Swarm: One of the levels involves the Kongs having to outrun a gigantic swarm of invincible spiders after disturbing their nest.
  • Spikes of Doom: Rambi can destroy the Spikes of Doom in various levels. Since he doesn't appear in the Temple levels, though, your only option to avoid the spikes in that case is with good reflexes.
  • The Spiny: There's a spinning tiki enemy that serves the same purpose as the original Zinger, even named "Tiki Zing" in tribute.
  • Spread Shot: The boss Thugly has a move where it spits out a fireball which explodes into three, then one of those three explodes into another three, and finally one of those splits into three yet again.
  • Springy Spores: The Trope Namer is Springy Spores. While most mushrooms are positioned horizontally (allowing you to jump however you need to), others are tilted and will affect the trajectory of your jump, so you must be careful to avoid falling into the pits.
  • Stalactite Spite: The crystals in 4-3 (Bombs Away), although most of them simply shift position instead of outright falling. The next level, 4-4 (Mole Patrol), plays this straight, again with crystals.
  • Suddenly-Harmful Harmless Object: On Sunset Shores, the player is given a chance to enjoy the scenery before things get hard, when bushes uproot themselves and chase after you.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Unlike in the previous Donkey Kong Country games, as well as the later Tropical Freeze, deep water is essentially just another Bottomless Pit here.
  • Super Strength: Displayed when Donkey Kong punches the moon out of the sky during the game's ending.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity:
    • All of those extra lives this game seems to throw at you? You're going to need them.
    • If you see a DK barrel in a level, chances are you're going to have to do some serious platform-hopping real soon.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Stu, Colonel Pluck and Tiki Tong all share an attack that consists of attempting to stomp Donkey and Diddy. The problem for them is that this move gives the Kongs a chance to attack them in turn.
  • Technology Porn: The factory world is full of this.
  • Temple of Doom: There's a world centered on this, and features many samples of Bamboo Technology that has to be interacted with in order to progress. Also, every world has a hidden temple that serves as a Brutal Bonus Level; beating each one unlocks another temple, which is actually Level Ate aside from the immediate entrance.
  • Temporary Platform: Mostly of the "crumbling" varieties, and some levels (like World 1's secret level, "Platform Panic") are built entirely around them. One level in World 3 has a grid of platforms that appear and disappear at regular intervals (not unlike the infamous platforms of Mega Man fame), but thankfully, you have safe ground to land on underneath.
  • Tentacled Terror: Some levels have squids (sometimes electrified) being fired at you. And then there is Squiddicus: an absolutely gigantic octopus stands in the background, attacking you with its arms.
  • Terrifying Tiki: The Tiki Tak Tribe is a large group of sentient tikis shaped like musical instruments with hypnotic abilities. Most of their mooks are drum-shaped, but their generals all take the form of other instruments. They hypnotize inhabitants of Donkey Kong Island to steal Donkey Kong's banana hoard to make more of themselves using squashed bananas, and sic said brainwashed inhabitants on Donkey and Diddy Kong as the bosses of each world.
  • Threatening Shark: Grinning, leaping sharks attempt to bite DK and Diddy as they jump from one platform to the next in coastal areas, as seen in this video.
  • Timed Mission: All bonus rooms are timed: They must be cleared before the timer elapsed to get the room's collectible puzzle piece.
  • Time Trial: To get an idea on how this already Nintendo Hard game deals with time trials, you can get the best medalnote  in the first level of the game by beating it within 53 seconds. Mercifully, time trial mode has no bearing on 100% game completion whatsoever.
  • Toggling Setpiece Puzzle: The World 7 level Switcheroo lives up to its name by featuring luminescent switching walls, colored red and blue. Only one colored group of them (the red ones by default) will be active at a time, acting as walls that impede DK's progress while the other group will be inactive and turned off. But by passing by spherical switches in the walls, their states will reverse, with the red ones retracting and the blue ones brightening and protracting. Later walls can be used as platforms to reach upper areas, and in some cases, DK and Diddy must avoid passing by the switches to avoid falling into a pit by removing supporting ground.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Donkey Kong himself appears to be capable of resisting Kalimba's hypnosis (which had taken over most of the other inhabitants of DK Island by then), most likely due to his thick-headedness and scrap-happy nature.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rambi the Rhino was already a heavy, steamrolling character in the original games. Here, he can break through blocks much larger than himself, and is not only immune to Spikes of Doom; he actually destroys them on impact. The only thing that can harm him this go around is fire.
  • Traintop Battle: The Mole Train boss fight. Donkey and Diddy have to intercept the minecarts that are being used by the Mole Miners to transport the stolen bananas to the Tiki tribe. Once they defeat all Miners in one particular chain of wagons, they proceed to chase the next one and repeat the process until reaching the King Mook Mole Miner Max and defeat him to win the battle.
  • Trash the Set: After a boss is defeated, his lair is shown as destroyed with a DK flag among the rubble on the map screen from that point forward.
  • Tree Trunk Tour: The first levels of the fifth world have Donkey getting inside trees and blasting himself through them.
  • Troll: Tiki Tong. One of his normal attacks is raising his hands above DK and smashing them down. He will occasionally perform the same move, but stop his hands halfway before hitting the stage, then laugh at DK for faking him out.
  • Turns Red: Happens to the bosses as they either get faster or new attacks when low on health. Literally played straight with Mugly and Thugly, who actually turn red.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: The Tikis do this when you punch them after beating a boss.
  • Undead Fossils: The main enemies in the mountain levels are the Skellirex, who are living skeletons of hadrosaurid dinosaurs.
  • Under the Sea: Unlike all three previous installments in the series, this game does not have any, though a remix of the original underwater levels does play when you're riding the whale.
  • Underground Level: The fourth world is set completely in caverns (and its name is indeed Cave), though they're always navigated through with minecarts or a wooden rocket (including the boss level, as the battle consists of a pursuit to intercept Mole Miner Max).
  • Unique Enemy: A few enemies really only show up for a single level.
    • Mimic, an enemy that resembles Mobile Shrubbery, appears in Sunset Shore.
    • Tiny hummingbirds called Humzees show up in a single room of Button Bash.
    • Button Bash of the Ruins world features a room containing 6 Humzees. These hummingbird like creatures try to charge into you with their sharp beaks and defeating them are required to proceed through the stage.
    • Also from the Ruins world is the Giga Rangwi a King Mook of the shark-like Snaggle. This giant piscine is only found at the very end of Damp Dungeon, right before the goal. Since the specific stage it is found in is optional, it means that it's possible to miss it on an initial playthrough.
    • The Kowalees are purple koalas wearing neckties who throw bombs at you. You only encounter them in the very last level, Golden Temple, and this is also their only appearance in the entire franchise to date.
  • Updated Re-release: Donkey Kong Country Returns came to 3DS in summer 2013 as Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, adding a whole new world and an easier difficulty, which gives the Kongs more health and makes additional items available for purchase.
  • Upgraded Boss: The sixth boss of the game is Thugly, a purple, heavily armored version of the first boss, Mugly. Compared to the first fight, Thugly is highly aggressive, much faster, and has a slew of all-new fire attacks that all serve to make him a far more challenging opponent.
  • Use Your Head: Diddy's ending involves Diddy falling towards the moon and trying to escape its pull, but his jetpack goes out of control, causing Diddy to slam headfirst into the moon, which results in the end of the Tiki-Tak tribe.
  • Variable Mix:
    • The map music (returning from the first DKC) has different instruments depending on what world you are in.
    • The music of the bosses in Worlds 2, 4, and 5 varies depending on how close you are to landing a hit on them, and resets back to its standard form when you do.
    • Furthermore, each mine cart level and rocket barrel level have instrument changes for their respective themes dependent on the level.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Volcano area of Donkey Kong's Island houses the lair of Tiki Tong, the leader of all the Tikis that have stolen all the bananas and hypnotized all animals except the Kongs and three of the Animal Buddies (Squawks, Rambi and Professor Chops). The levels within the Volcano are very challenging, and the one housing Tiki Tong himself averts the Boss-Only Level trait shared by all other boss levels in the game and the other 2D games in the series: Before meeting the Big Bad, Donkey and Diddy have to reach it by traveling upward through a perilous vertical section with a rocket barrel.
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty: Super Kong, a white-furred invincible Donkey Kong, plays the level for the player. The player can jump in at any time and play him themselves, but items and collectibles aren't kept.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: Donkey Kong's Jungle Japes home is contrasted with the Lethal Lava Land at the top of the mountain where the villainous Tikis have made their lair.
  • Visual Pun: A few platforms in the Golden Temple stage have cherries on top of them. Those cherries explode.
  • Walking Spoiler: The Final Boss. Normally, if you lose a life in a specific world's level, you get a silhouette of its leading instrument tiki's face as the screen transitions to the lose a life screen. In the volcano, which is the last world, Tiki Tong's face is replaced with a question mark before you meet him.
  • Wave of Babies: The final level of World 5 has you chased by one of these... comprised of baby spiders. They serve as an Advancing Wall of Doom, which, unlike most examples, is fast as hell.
  • Whack-a-Monster: The Mole Train boss has segments like this where you have to whack Mole Miners (and their leader) off the banana-filled mine carts they hide in. Bonus points for the enemies being moles.
  • Xylophones for Walking Bones: The Cliff world, which makes use of a xylophone in its music, is filled with dinosaur bones, big and small, some still alive. The Tiki found there plays xylophone music and resembles the skeleton of a trilobite. And to top it off, his name is Xylobone.
  • You Have Failed Me: Averted with the boss Tikis. Once they power up Tiki Tong with bananas, he turns them into giant hands(!) to fight Donkey and Diddy Kong with.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: After clearing the penultimate level in World 6, the pathway to the boss stage crumbles, causing you to detour through two stages which didn't exist on the map previously.

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Bobbing Basalt

A volcano level with basalt that sinks into the lava.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LethalLavaLand

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