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Donkey Kong Country is a 2-D side scrolling platform video game developed by Raremarker, featuring the character Donkey Kong. It was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1994. Following an intense marketing campaign, the original SNES version sold over 8 million copies. It was produced by Tim Stamper and was the first Donkey Kong game not to be produced or directed by Shigeru Miyamoto.

The game was rereleased on Nintendo's Virtual Console service on 7 December 2006 in Australia, 8 December 2006 in Europe, and 19 February 2007 in North America.


The object of Donkey Kong Country is to make it through 39 different side-scrolling levels and recover the Kongs' banana hoard stolen by the Kremlings. Each level is uniquely themed and consists of varying tasks such as swimming, riding in mine carts, or launching out of barrel cannons, or swinging from vine to vine. Players lose a life if they get hit by any enemy or fall off the screen. When they have lost all their lives, the game is over. However, there are opportunities to gain additional lives, such as collecting bananas scattered throughout the levels, letters that spell out K–O–N–G, extra life balloons, and golden animal tokens that lead to bonus levels. There are also many secret passages that can lead to bonus games which can give players additional lives or other items.

In various levels, players can also get assistance from various animals, who are found by breaking open crates. Animals include Rambi the Rhino, Expresso the Ostrich, Enguarde the Swordfish, Winky the Frog and Squawks the Parrot. These animals can help players depending on the type of level they are on (e.g. Enguarde can only be found underwater, and Squawks can only be found in caves). Some of the animals can also give players access to bonus games. In addition, players can switch between Donkey and Diddy Kong, depending on availability and the situation. Donkey Kong is stronger and bigger and can defeat enemies more easily, while Diddy is faster and more agile and can take out multiple enemies with one cartwheel.

In the game, the player can play solo or with another player. In two–player mode, players can choose between two modes of play: "Contest" or "Team". In Contest mode, players take turns going through each level as quickly as possible. The object in this mode is to complete the most levels in the fastest time. In Team mode, both players play the same game with one player controlling Donkey Kong and the other controlling Diddy Kong. According to the game's instruction manual, this is a good way for inexperienced players to play alongside more experienced players.
Map of the first half of the first world: Kongo Jungle

The game consists of a series of map screens to track the players' progress. Between levels, players control their character on the map screen. Located on these screens are Kremlings (the game's main enemy) and other members of the Kong family such as Candy, Funky and Cranky Kong. Players enter levels or other map screens during this mode.

The manner of displaying information during gameplay is different in that the information of scrolled off the screen until various items are collected, when the information briefly appears on top of the screen. The information displayed are the number of bananas, letters and animal tokens collected, and the number of lives remaining.




In Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong, together with his Nephew Diddy Kong, must recover his stolen hoard of bananas from King K. Rool and the Kremlings. Upon investigating the empty "Kong's Banana Hoard", located directly underneath his home in the Kongo Jungle, Donkey Kong embarks on an adventure throughout his native Donkey Kong Island. While collecting bananas on the island's vastly different regions, Kong must defeat many enemies, including the reptilian Kremlings, and other hazardous creatures native to the island. Aiding him in his quest are some of the other Kongs: Diddy accompanies Donkey Kong on his quest, Cranky provides hints (and comic relief), Candy operates the island's save points, and Funky offers a means of transportation around the island. Also assisting Donkey Kong at times are various 'animal buddies', each with their own unique abilities. After progressing through the island's different areas, Kong ultimately arrives at a pirate ship called Gangplank Galleon, where Kong's nemesis and leader of the Kremlings, King K. Rool awaits with Kong's Banana Hoard. Upon his defeat, the game ends with a final shot of Kong's Banana Hoard restored to its former glory, filled with bananas once again.


Before Donkey Kong Country s production, Rare's Chris and Tim Stamper programmed experiments with a Silicon Graphics workstation, with their initial focus centred on a boxing game. After impressing Nintendo with their progress, Genyo Takeda was dispatched to Japan to advise then-president of Nintendo Hiroshi Yamauchi. Following talks between Yamauchi and Rare, Nintendo acquired 25% of the company, which culminated in the production of a new title using the SGI technology. The Stampers expressed interest in making a game based on Donkey Kong and were given Nintendo's consent.

The Donkey Kong character was also redesigned with a distinct, three-dimensional physical appearance. While borrowing the red necktie introduced in 1994's Game Boy version of Donkey Kong, the character featured a new look that would become the standard still used over a decade later on the Nintendo GameCube, Wii and other Nintendo consoles.


As a part of Nintendo's marketing campaign, a 15-minute VHS tape titled Donkey Kong Country: Exposed was sent to subscribers of Nintendo Power magazine. The video shows a brief tour of Nintendo of America's headquarters in Redmond, Washingtonmarker and footage from the game when it was in the final stages of development. Several game testers provide tips on how to access bonus levels and perform tricks throughout the game. Various interviews promote the level of graphical complexity as being revolutionary for game systems at that time. A segment at the end of the video reminds viewers that the game is available only on Nintendo's 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System console and not on rival 32-bit and CD-ROM based consoles (e.g., Sega 32X and Sega CD) that boasted superior processing power. In a "hidden" section at the end of the cassette, the host of the video opens a door and discovers that Nintendo of America testers are playing an early development version of the Killer Instinct arcade. A character resembling Chief Thunder is shown with notable differences.


The first level of Donkey Kong Country
The game was revolutionary in that it was one of the first games for a mainstream home video game console to use pre-rendered 3D graphics. It was a technique that was also used in Rare's Killer Instinct. Many later 3D video games also used pre-rendered 3D together with fully 3D objects. Rare took significant financial risks in purchasing the expensive SGI equipment used to render the graphics. A new compression technique they developed in house allowed them to incorporate more detail and animation for each sprite for a given memory footprint than previously achieved on the SNES, which better captured the pre-rendered graphics. Both Nintendo and Rare refer to the technique for the creating the game's graphics as "ACM" (Advanced Computer Modelling).

Nintendo producer Shigeru Miyamoto criticised Donkey Kong Country, stating that "Donkey Kong Country proves that players will put up with mediocre gameplay as long as the art is good." Miyamoto later apologised, saying he had been harsh due to Nintendo pressuring him at the time to make Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island similar to Donkey Kong Country.


Donkey Kong Country also had a popular soundtrack which was released on CD under the title DK Jamz. Composers Robin Beanland, Eveline Fischer and David Wise collaborated on this ensemble of jungle music. The diverse composition consists of over 20 tracks.

The soundtrack was also the focus of an OverClocked ReMix collaboration titled Kong in Concert, later praised by Wise.


Donkey Kong Country was very successful on release, eventually selling 8 million copies. Later, the game was released as a pack-in game in the Super Nintendo "Donkey Kong Set" (which contained the console, controller, connections and the game). This facilitated sales of over a million copies, making it a Player's Choice re-release title around 1998. The SNES version received a 90% for the (Game Boy Color) and the (Game Boy Advance) a 78% at Gamerankings.

It won several awards from Electronic Gaming Monthly in their 1994 video game awards, including Best Super NES Game, Best Animation, Best Game Duo, and Game of the Year. However, it was also considered by the magazine to be one of the Top 10 Most Overrated Games of All Time before their 200th issue anniversary in 2005. The game also made the #9 spot in GameSpy's 2003 list of the 25 most overrated games of all time. However, it was also rated the 90th best game made on a Nintendo system in Nintendo Power s Top 200 Games list in 2006.

Donkey Kong Country: Competition Cartridge

A very rare version of Donkey Kong Country was used in competitions such as the Nintendo PowerFest '94 and Blockbuster Video World Video Game Championship II (1995). The goal was to get as many points as possible before time ran out. Points could be gained by defeating enemies, throwing barrels, collecting bananas, collecting balloons, and collecting KONG letters. Many finalists in Nintendo's PowerFest tournament were given the cartridge. The carts used in the Blockbuster Video tournament were sold to Nintendo Power magazine subscribers through its Super Power Supplies Catalog in a green plastic case labelled with the Blockbuster championship logo and some game artwork.


In 2000, a version of Donkey Kong Country was released for the Game Boy Color. In 2003, another version of the game was released for the Game Boy Advance. This version had increased brightness, at the cost of contrast and colour saturation, to make the game easier to see on an unlit LCD. Both games had some new features including new minigames, hidden pictures, and a Time Trial mode; additionally, the GBC version had a new stage in Chimp Caverns, "Necky Nutmare", as well as a revamped and longer Winky's Walkway, while the GBA version had multiplayer games. Both versions also had lower sound fidelity and a number of minor changes. Candy Kong no longer runs a save point, so players can save the game in any area. The GBC version had some of the music scrapped and replaced, often with music that originated in Donkey Kong Land.

The Super Nintendo version has been released on the Virtual Console for the Wii. The game was released in Oceania on 7 December 2006, Europe on 8 December 2006, and North America on 19 February 2007. It is an emulated version of a 1.1 game cartridge.


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