|Donkey Kong Country 2:
Diddy's Kong Quest
North American box art
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (abbreviated to DKC2) is a 1995 adventure platform game developed for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (otherwise known as the "SNES") produced by Rareware (UK) and published by Nintendo (Japan) - with Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong starring as the main characters of the game. Donkey Kong Country 2 was released on December 14, 1995 as a sequel to the original Donkey Kong Country (1994) which was later followed by Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (1996). DKC2 was later also released on the Game Boy Advance in 2004 and was until recently available for download on the Wii's Virtual Console, having become one of the most popular games of its age.
The game begins soon after Donkey Kong has been kidnapped by the prime antagonist Kaptain K. Rool, leaving Diddy and his girlfriend Dixie to rescue him. Together, the two travel to various and distinct parts of Crocodile Isle where the game is set on which there are varying worlds totalling in eight unique environments. Markedly improved from its predecessor, DKC2 was praised for having excellent graphics, plot and characterisation and as a result DKC2 has received much critical and commercial praise, having sold millions of copies worldwide on the SNES, making it the second best selling game of 1995 and the sixth best-selling game on the platform overall.
In comparison with the original Donkey Kong Country gameplay, the game includes many hidden bonus stages with collectible tokens (Kremcoins) which are rewarded for completing each stage. It also abandoned a few from the original game. For example, steel barrels were removed, eliminating the ability to roll on top of them. The ability to find hidden items in the ground was also removed. Some of these removed features were brought back in the third game in the series, Donkey Kong Country 3.
The hidden bonus levels can be found by finding barrels with the letter "B" on the front, although some of these bonus levels are hidden behind weak sections of wall which can be broken down with a barrel or a supercharge attack, as per the first game. Once collected at the end of each hidden stage these can be used to unlock the "Lost World" and eventually the final ending. There also exist rare "DK coins" in every standard level that are hidden by Cranky Kong which are extremely difficult to locate. The placement of these coins gets progressively more cryptic, subsequently providing an extra challenge beyond reaching the end of each level. Lastly the settings are more diverse, although the staple ice, cave, and jungle settings remain from the first game. As well as collectible tokens the player can also collect other items such as bananas, Kong letters and "life balloons". Collecting 100 bananas can gain the player an extra life, and collecting all the Kong letters will similarly give the player another life. Finding objects in (hidden) treasure chests is another feature common to the game, and these can contain Kong letters, banana bunches, coins, life balloons, or a DK coin in some instances. However, sometimes these treasure chests can contain nothing at all. Additionally chests can also be used to defeat enemies, such as wasps, in an effort to pass certain passages, as wasps cannot be defeated by jumping on them.
The ability to "piggyback" or use various animal companions, called "Animal Buddies", returns from its predecessor, such as Squitter the Spider, Glimmer the Anglerfish, Rambi the Rhino, Rattly the Rattlesnake, Clapper the Seal, Enguarde the Swordfish, and Squawks the Parrot, which can boost the gameplay experience, proving advantageous at certain points in a level or the whole level overall. These animals have certain unique abilities that the player can use such as Rambi's ability to charge at enemies and Rattly's ability to jump higher than with the two main characters. There is also a greater difference between the two protagonists abilities. Diddy Kong has the ability to run faster than his counterpart and perform an extended jump by cartwheeling off ledges. Dixie Kong can use her hair to glide in the air over long distances, which also proves to be advantageous to the player in some levels. In addition, there are some barrels that can only be activated by a specific character. Donkey Kong Country 2 also focuses more on the seaside and pirate-themed apparel of the enemies whereas in the first game the apparel was themed like the jungle. Many of the Kremlings resemble pirates, have wooden legs and eye patches, and are seen with sailor-like tattoos. These Kremlings are not specific to one level but are scattered throughout the game's levels. However, the method of defeating enemies remains the same between both characters. Both can jump on an enemy to defeat them or throw one another to hit enemies, or throw objects to defeat them. As a promotion for the game after its release, Nintendo Power ran a contest for the fastest time to achieve 102% game completion.
The main characters of Donkey Kong Country 2 are Dixie Kong and Diddy Kong, both of whom are trying to defeat Kaptain K. Rool and rescue Donkey Kong from him. Many other non-playable characters can be found throughout the game including Kaptain K. Rool who only appears at the final level of the game. K. Rool appears suited in pirate clothing with a large hand-held blunderbuss. Dixie Kong makes her first appearance in this game in the succession of the Donkey Kong franchise.
The majority of the enemies are the Kremling Krew, who patrol many areas of the island in hopes of capturing Diddy and Dixie (the game over screen shows this outcome). The protagonists are supported by their Animal Buddies (some returning from the original Donkey Kong Country), and various other family members belonging to the Kongs. These include Funky Kong who makes his return from the original Donkey Kong Country, as well as Cranky Kong, situated in "Monkey Museum", who is back due to "popular demand" to divulge secrets of the game world, provide comic relief as well as offering paid for advice. Wrinkly Kong, wife of Cranky Kong and mother of Donkey Kong, makes her first appearance in this game. She runs an educational facility called "Kong Kollege" where she gives guidance to the player. Swanky Kong is another character who is common to the game. He runs a gameshow quiz where the player can complete quizzes and earn lives. Funky Kong is the last character the player can view after the first battle with the first boss. Funky Kong services a flying machine that can connect the player to the next world.
Other minor characters include ghosts, wasps and insects which are scattered all over the island. Additionally, the player can meet a large Kremling called "Klubba", at "Klubba's Kiosk", who demands fifteen Kremkoins from the characters if they want to pass onto the "Lost World" and complete the game.
The game opens with Diddy Kong standing on the deck of a pirate ship. In the ship's cabin, he finds a note stating that Donkey Kong has been kidnapped by Kaptain K. Rool, a pirate Kremling, who had demanded the entire Banana Hoard that he stole in the previous game for a ransom from the Kongs. Diddy Kong subsequently attempts to rescue Donkey Kong from the Kaptain, and accompanying him is his girlfriend, Dixie Kong. Together, they travel through Crocodile Isle and are helped on their way by an assortment of animals (called Animal Buddies) in a bid to defeat K. Rool and rescue Donkey Kong.
Donkey Kong Country 2 starts where the first game's final boss was located. The original game's island can be seen in the background, and the ship that Diddy Kong is on has run ashore. The first world, Gangplank Galleon, involves leaving the ship and moving to Crocodile Isle, where the rest of the game takes place.
In order to progress through the game, players must pass each stage and beat an assortment of bosses, with either or both the characters. Each stage is made up of several levels, which gets more difficult as the player succeeds completing them. There are over forty different levels which make up the several stages. In the final level of each stage, Diddy and Dixie battle a boss. The stages hold a particular theme. In, for example, the Lost World a jungle theme is omnipresent. The bosses of each of the stages relate to the stage's theme design. The player can only move onto the next world if the bosses are defeated, with the player battling K. Rool at the very end, and additionally in the unlockable Lost World.
Donkey Kong Country 2's soundtrack was composed entirely by David Wise and was released on October 1st of the same year as the game's release, 1995. The soundtrack of the series has been well received critically. Wise has in addition also composed the music for the original game and the third installment of Donkey Kong Country.
The music in the second installment has been described as "majestic" and "serious" by some reviewers, such as Michael Alfera of Soundtrack Central. His praise is, however, short, as he complains about the music sounding "too game-like": "I really don't like the DKC2 soundtrack much at all. I hardly even listen to it, for one simple fact: It sounds *way* too "gamey". It's hard to describe. It just doesn't seem fitting to create a soundtrack out of it...".
In addition, the game's soundtrack was the focus of an OverClocked ReMix collaboration titled Serious Monkey Business. The final track, "Donkey Kong Rescued", was remixed by David Wise himself, featuring Grant Kirkhope on electric guitar and Robin Beanland on trumpet.
|The Original Donkey Kong Country 2 Soundtrack listing|
|01||Opening Fanfare (0:15)|
|02||K. Rool Returns (0:42)|
|03||Welcome to Crocodile Isle (1:12)|
|04||Klomp's Romp (2:29)|
|05||Lockjaw's Saga (2:04)|
|06||Jib Jig (2:00)|
|07||Swanky's Swing (0:59)|
|08||Snakey Chantey (1:40)|
|09||Bayou Boogie (1:40)|
|10||School House Harmony (1:48)|
|11||Forest Interlude (3:11)|
|12||Funky the Main Monkey (1:06)|
|13||Flight of the Zinger (2:34)|
|14||Cranky's Conga (1:26)|
|15||Hot-Head Bop (2:09)|
|16||Run, Rambi! Run! (0:51)|
|17||Token Tango (1:15)|
|18||Stickerbush Symphony (2:23)|
|19||Bad Bird Rag (1:05)|
|20||Disco Train (2:39)|
|21||Boss Bossanova (1:15)|
|22||Steel Drum Rhumba (1:07)|
|23||Krook's March (2:03)|
|24||Klubba's Reveille (1:08)|
|25||Haunted Chase (2:23)|
|26||In a Snow-Bound Land (3:12)|
|27||Lost World Anthem (1:44)|
|28||Primal Rave (1:50)|
|29||Crocodile Cacophony (1:33)|
|30||Donkey Kong Rescued (2:18)|
|31||Stronghold Showdown (0:25)|
|32||The Flying Krock (0:39)|
|33||Kannon's Klaim (3:37)|
|34||Bonus Intro (0:56)|
|35||Bonus Defeat (0:06)|
|36||Bonus Victory (0:06)|
|37||Game Over (0:21)|
Reception and legacy
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||8.62 out of 10|
|Game Informer||9.75 out of 10|
|GamePro||5 out of 5|
|GameSpot||9.2 out of 10 (SNES)
8.1 out of 10 (GBA)
|IGN||8.8 out of 10 (SNES)
8.8 out of 10 (Wii)
|Nintendojo||9.9 out of 10|
|Mad Gamers||9.5 out of 10|
|Cubed3||8 out of 10|
Released in the year 1995 for the SNES platform Donkey Kong Country 2 has received mostly positive reviews from critics and has been well received by the public, selling 4.37 million copies worldwide on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System platform. The total number of copies sold in Japan have been 2.21 million, and in the US 2.16 million.
It has scored an overall 93% on the GameRankings aggregator website based on seven reviews. The Game Boy Advance version has similarly had much success, scoring an overall 80% on aggregator site Metacritic based on twenty-two critical reviews. Of the entire trilogy this game is the highest rated and praised on the Game Boy Advance platform according to Metacritic. The game has also been highly rated on the Wii, given a rating score of 80% based on one review on GameRankings.
Mark Birnbaum, of IGN, notes that the game "more than delivers in its ambitious aim of equaling and sometimes exceeding the standard set by its predecessor", referring to the original Donkey Kong Country and that "players should notice that the levels quickly increase in difficulty, encouraging a "trial by fire" design". He further adds "DKC2 also looks and sounds a lot like its forerunner[...] The atmospheric orchestrated soundtrack returns, providing catchy and eerie tunes alike. Donkey Kong Country boasted some of the most beautiful graphics ever seen on the SNES, and DKC2 does justice to that reputation". Another positive reviewer at GameSpy mentions "the challenges, environments, and cast of baddies are varied enough to prevent this game from ever seeming tedious".
On the subject of graphics Birnbaum also refers to the color scheme as being "highly detailed" with "multi-layered backgrounds, smooth and unique character animations and designs" which are "mixed with a vibrant and varying color palette that provides a feast for the eyes". Jeff Pearson of Nintendojo also agrees and highly praises Rare's achievement at the "improved graphics for this game". Pearson also believes "the graphics look much smoother and more cartoon like as opposed to the computer generated look in DKC". Birnbaum guarantees that the player will feel "rewarded" after playing each level.
Referring to the Game Boy Advance edition GameSpot stated the game was a "diverse platform game with excellent graphics and sound and an impressive list of bonus features", while IGN feels "the Donkey Kong Country series is better known for its graphics than its gameplay, but even still the game's level designs offer up more than the 'routine'". However, on the other hand, the main criticism Birnbaum draws towards is that the game has a few missing features which its predecessor had. Pearson meanwhile lauds the fact that new features have been installed in the game, applauding Rare, who had added "a whole bunch of new features and whatnot into this game to spice it up a little bit and keep you on your toes," while Yahoo! Games is impressed on "how much variety Rare squeezed into this game, mainly by liberally scattering minigames throughout the world".
UGO listed Diddy's Kong Quest on their list of the "Top 50 Games That Belong On the 3DS", stating "Climbing the mast of a ship with epic music, 3D fog and backgrounds, and funny enemies deserves a chance on the 3DS."
A sequel, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, was released in 1996 starring Dixie Kong. It was further followed by a succession of more related Donkey Kong video games. The game was released for the Game Boy Advance on November 15, 2004. It was later released on Nintendo's Wii Virtual console on 21 May 2007 for the cost of 800 Wii points. However, the game was delisted, along with the original and its sequel, on November 16, 2012 for the North American Virtual Console and on 25 November for the European Virtual Console.
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- Rareware. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. (Nintendo). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Level/area: Kong Kollege. (November 20, 1995) "Wrinkly Kong: Hello dearies, I'm Mrs Wrinly Kong, Headmistress at Kong Kollege. I'm available to teach courses in how to play this game, or you can just pop in when you want and save your little old game."
- Rareware. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. (Nintendo). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Level/area: Swanky's Prizes. (November 20, 1995) "Swanky Kong: Give them a big hand folks! Good evening, I'm Swanky Kong and you're tonight's contestants on my Bonanza! It's easy to play! Just pick a game and you're away!"
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