Nintendo announced Donkey Kong Country for its Switch Online Service a few months ago, and that was plenty exciting in its own right. What I got really jacked up for, though, was the idea of the entire Donkey Kong Country trilogy coming to Nintendo’s most modern console.
Well, it looks like that’s happening now that Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest became available on Switch this week. It’s only a matter of time until I can fire up the hovercraft and hunt down all the Banana Birds in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble.
What makes DKC2 especially significant is that it might be the best game in the series. The first DKC set a very high bar with groundbreaking 3D graphics and clever level designs that featured many hidden bonus areas to find. Years later, DKC3 broadened the scope of the sidescrolling franchise by adding an interactive overworld and lots of NPCs.
However, it was the middle entry that did the most for the series. A whole hidden world gave players an incentive to find all those bonus areas, and animal buddy transformation allowed for more gameplay variety. DKC2 also introduced the ability to team up and throw your partner to take out enemies or reach new heights. Having an extra Kong available meant more than just having an extra life.
Plus, the developers at Rare got super creative with the level themes. I don’t know why these monkeys are exploring beehives and barrel-filled thorn mazes, but the fresh challenges made for a crazy fun adventure.
Maybe the best part about the DKC series is the outstanding music. These games know how to set a vibe, and Bramble Blast was a perfect example of that. Even though it could have been a stressful level in which one mistimed barrel shot could send you flying into deadly thorns, the music made for a totally chill mood. Overall, the music of DKC2 isn’t as memorable as the score of the original DKC, but it’s still top notch when compared to other 16-bit games.
Well, that was a fun trip down memory lane. It’s crazy that both DKC2 and the first Yoshi’s Island game were released in the same year, 1995. I was lucky enough to get both during the same Hanukkah and they both stand up as two of the finest platformers of all time. I’m jealous of all the younger gamers who get to experience them for the first time on Switch.