The Ten Reasons: Donkey Kong 64

Last month's column was such a success that I'm doing it again! Well, actually, it wasn't that much of a success, but no one noticed that this column is basically the same as Super Thumbs, except tha

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Last month’s column was such a success that I’m doing it again! Well, actually, it wasn’t that much of a success, but no one noticed that this column is basically the same as Super Thumbs, except that I write about only one game. And, since no one complained about this column being the same as Super Thumbs, that means I get to do it again!

Captain Michael says… Thumbs up!

But wait! I write about ten things, while Eric only writes about five. That means I do twice as much work as him!

Captain Michael says… Thumbs down.

Right, so, this month I’m going to talk about Donkey Kong 64.

Captain Michael says… Thumbs up! Let’s see the ten reasons.


Reasons I like Donkey Kong 64

DKRapThe Donkey Kong gang takes it to the fridge.

1. The DK Rap

“DK! Donkey Kong! Huh! DK! DONKEY KONG IS HERE!”

Donkey Kong 64 starts off with all the characters performing in a rap video. Normally, I don’t like rap music, because the music hurts my ears and I can’t understand what the singers are saying, which, as it turns out, is usually just a bunch of curse words. But the DK rap ROCKS MY SOCKS, and if you haven’t already, watch it!


bigchunk

2. Big Chunky

One of the cooler secondary abilities of this game is Chunky Kong’s ability to become bigger. What you do is jump in a barrel, and Chunky magically becomes three times bigger. Then he can plough through all the levels without getting hurt for a limited amount of time. A pretty awesome invincibility mode, if you ask me.

Captain Michael says… Thumbs up!


ponytail

3. Ponytail Twirl

Another cool secondary move is Tiny Kong’s ponytail twirl. See, Tiny has two big ponytails coming out of her head, as opposed to Diddy Kong, who wears that red cap to cover up his bald spot. So what does Tiny do with her hair? Besides hitting enemies with it, she can jump in the air and twirl around so her ponytails act as a helicopter. I know that sounds like a drug-induced idea, but it’s actually pretty awesome.


armed

4. Donkey Kong is Armed and Dangerous

Normally, Donkey Kong is a pretty peaceful guy who’d rather eat bananas than fight; but, in this game, he’s a card-carrying member of the NRA. Yes: Donkey and his friends all have guns here.

Of course, the guns are G-rated and shoot harmless things like grapes, peanuts and feathers instead of bullets. But, there are also two not-so-harmless guns—the bazookas that shoot coconuts and pineapples. A bazooka that shoots pineapples? Good thing those don’t exist in real life.


crankyCranky insults the game’s storyline.

5. Cranky Kong

Cranky Kong is Donkey Kong’s father, and he’s just as cranky as his name indicates. Throughout the game, he constantly insults Donkey Kong and his friends for being stupid and useless. Normally that’d be annoying, but Cranky is actually kind of funny. For an example, check out the above excerpt from the game manual. The entire manual is like that, and it’s pretty good, so if you haven’t read it, make sure you do.


secondary

6. Secondary Characters

I originally wanted to pick a few particular characters, like I did with Cranky, but there wasn’t enough room, so I’ve lumped them all together. Here’s the quick version of why I like them, from left to right:

  • Snide: Snide has cool spy theme music.
  • K. Lumsy: K. Lumsy has a cool “Hey hey!” victory dance/cheer that I like to imitate because I’m a major dork.
  • Troof and Scoff: These guys aren’t actually cool, but I put them in the photo anyway to take up room.
  • Funky: Besides selling awesome weapons, Funky talks cool. Rock on, dude!
  • Candy: She seems more out-of-place than cool, but, again, I put her in the photo to take up room.

    Reasons I Hate Donkey Kong 64

    dk

    7. Donkey Kong

    Recognize the screenshot above? I sure do. That’s because I saw it 50,000 times. It’s a picture of Donkey Kong pulling the lever so he can play the arcade version of the Donkey Kong videogame .

    In this game, you have to beat the arcade version of Donkey Kong twice. This SUCKS. It takes forever to beat the game even once. But that’s not the crappy part: The crappy part is that, when you play it the second time, the game has been programmed differently to make it EXTRA HARDER, which is unnecessary. Did I mention you have to do this in order to beat the game? Yeah, you do. It takes at least an hour to beat this challenge, which totally sucks.


    jetpack

    8. Jetpack Mode

    Diddy Kong has a jetpack in this game, which you use a couple of times. Normally, jetpacks are cool, but the controls in jetpack mode were really hard to master, and it causes some trouble during the timed “go through all the rings” challenge at the end of the game, and in the final boss fight.

    Captain Michael says… Thumbs down.


    bugrace

    9. Racing the Bug

    In Donkey Kong 64, there are a lot of races you have to compete in, but one sticks out as particularly horrible. That’s right: I’m talking about the race with the bug.

    In this race, you have to beat the bug to the finish line, which is difficult because the bug is faster than you, and it hurts you to touch the bug while attempting to pass it. That’s not all, though. You also have to get fifty coins, which means you have to slow down and aim for the coins, which you don’t have time to do because you need to be going fast to beat the bug. Either one of the challenges would have been difficult enough, but the combination of the two makes the race almost impossible to beat.

    The worst part is that the bug shows up for a rematch on a later level on a course that’s even harder to beat. Luckily for me, my sister likes the bug race, so I let her do it instead of doing it myself.


    beaver

    10. Beaver Bother!


    Beaver Bother is a minigame that involves herding beavers into a hole. You have to play this minigame about three or four times in the entire game, and it gets harder each time. If you haven’t played Donkey Kong 64, here’s a spoiler: THIS MINIGAME SUCKS. The beavers NEVER want to go into the hole, and it literally took me several hours to defeat this minigame on the last level, where you have to play it twice.

    Captain Michael says… Thumbs way, way down!


    So those are the ten reasons. I didn’t get enough room to mention using oranges as grenades (crazy!), some of the game’s bosses (impossible!), or poor old Lanky Kong (weird!). If you want to hear about them, try reading one of the other GameCola articles that discuss Donkey Kong 64…wait, what’s that? I’m the first person to talk exclusively about Donkey Kong 64 in GameCola?

    Captain Michael says… Thumbs up!

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    About the Contributor


    From 2007 to 2016

    Michael Gray is a staff writer for GameCola, who focuses on adventure games, videos and writing videogame walkthroughs.

    6 Comments

    1. Despite owning the cartridge and the system to play it on, I’ve still yet to play DK64. I was kind of hoping that Nintendo would see fit to offer it up on Virtual Console, seeing as how they already put up all three of the Donkey Kong Country titles. I don’t mind shelling out 9 or 10 bucks (oh, excuse me – 900 or 1000 Wii Points) to have it immediately accessible on my Wii SD Card.

      Of course, on the other hand, I think the reason I didn’t immediately play it in the first place was that, well, it just didn’t look right. A flimsy reason to be sure, but, for me, part of the appeal of the first three DKC titles was the aesthetic – the first game had those wonderful nature-themed areas: lush jungles, the dark, damp caves, the serene underwater caverns, the tree top villages, and even when they weren’t nature-based (the factory levels), they still somehow felt *right*. DKC2 had some wonderful nature-based stuff (the swamps, the sunken ship, the boats) but the far-out adventure stuff was great too (the rollercoasters, the haunted house mine levels, the beehives). And even DKC3, though considered a lesser DKC title by most, still had some wonderful eye candy – the lakeside levels (with the mountains reflected in the water), the mountains and even the concepts reused from the first two titles (caves, active blizzards on mountaintops) all still work reasonably well.

      DK64 just looks like a Donkey Kong Country themed Skin pack for a Banjo Kazooie. And yeah, I know Rare made both titles, that’s kind of the point. I feel like whatever zeitgeist Rare had captured when they made the first three DKC titles was replaced with something else – maybe a desire to outshine Super Mario 64? I don’t know, I’m sure it was a rock and a hard place situation to be in: make another by the numbers DKC title which I think is kind of what happened with DKC3 or try something with nods to but still different enough from the DKC titles.

      *Shrug*

      1. I don’t blame you for thinking that Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie look alike. They also feel alike, play alike and sound alike. And I mean, a LOT alike each-other.

    2. While I have messed around in very limited quantities with DK64 (mostly at a friend’s house), I’ve convinced myself that someday I’ll go through the trouble of hooking up my N64 and playing it to completion just to see what it’s all about but, as I said, so far, all indicators seem to point towards a Donkey Kong Country themed Banjo Kazooie title; like, concepts and ideas that they didn’t use in the original BK were put to use in DK64. And that’s not necessarily a terrible thing – I mean, the original BK is a fun game and all. I just feel like – and stay with me on this – some intangible quality that makes DKC games feel like, y’know, DKC games wasn’t really found in DK64. Compare / contrast with DKC Returns on the Wii for extra credit. Show your work.

      1. I would be interested in finding a complete list of all the BK concepts and ideas which were used in DK64. So far, all I’ve heard is that they reused the Fungi Forest level, which would explain why that level seems kind of out of place.

        1. It’s entirely possible that most of DK64 is entirely original content but it just doesn’t *feel* like a Donkey Kong title. I mean, to be fair, it *is* called “Donkey Kong 64” and not “Donkey Kong Country 64” but I feel like that’s kind of a cop-out line of reasoning, as if to say, “Well, if we wanted to make another game that felt like a DKC title, we would have told you up front via the title”. I don’t think, as a consumer, I was out of line for purchasing a game made by Rare with Donkey Kong in the title and expecting it to bear similarity to previous Donkey Kong titles produced by Rare. I mean, if had *other* words in the title, like say “Racing”, yeah, I’d be crazy to think it was entirely like DKC.

          I might apply the same logic to Nintendo and Mario games – not every Mario game is called “Super Mario Bros” but, for the most part, the “Super Mario” prefix tends to give you a very reasonable expectation of what the game will entail (platforming / jumping / various power-ups / Bowser). As I said prior: of the minimal amount of DK64 that I’ve ingested, I feel like I’m playing a Donkey Kong Country-themed Banjo Kazooie game. I almost wonder if they just weren’t as ready to make a next-gen DKC title at the time as they thought they were and all the work they did on BK sort of bled through into the finished product….?

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