Sunday, 12 June 2011

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)



This is the last of the good games I'm going to play. Hopefully it turns out to be as good as I remember, and not a crashing disappointment.

It seems that the entire game takes place on this miserable looking island, starting at the boat on the left.

I'm guessing Kremland is some kind of theme park, considering how it's surrounded by wasps.

Now that's how you handle exposition in a platform game. I walk into the letter and the info flashes up on screen. I don't have to wait for it to finish or press a button before I can move, plus I get a free extra life for bothering to come in here and read it.

I can jump on enemies in this right? Okay, just making sure, it's been a while since I played it. Oh cool there's a monkey over in that barrel.

I carefully threw my new sidekick into the air, and she landed in a barrel cannon. Fortunately if my sidekick ends up anywhere interesting, I'm dragged along too.

Things like my banana and lives counts only appear on screen when I'm gaining or losing them. Otherwise they disappear off somewhere so I can have an unobstructed view of the screen. Well except for my 'hit-point counter' of course, my sidekick is always around on screen.

A deadly looking chasm... but there are bananas there so it must be perfectly safe.

So far the game has played totally fair with the bananas, using them to mark out safe paths to travel and giving me hints where to go.

In this case the bananas led to a bonus level with a Kremcoin on it. Not that it's hard to find a bonus level around here, they're all over the place.

These ropes in the foreground seem like they should be annoying, but they're really not. Somehow they've managed to get away with the level rocking up and down and objects flying past in the foreground with it only adding to the atmosphere.

Oh hey, it's a rhino in a box.

Rambi the rhino is handy for dealing with... well, anything. The guy is the tank of the animal kingdom. I even managed to drive him crashing through a wall to to get another bonus level.

I love the way these guys fly off screen when they're hit, then a couple of seconds later there's a crash and water splashes up. This game is full of little details like that.

Rambi's only weakness, the 'No rhinos' sign. As he disappears in a puff of smoke, he leaves behind an extra life balloon for me to grab, so it's not all bad.

This is a pretty decent idea for a level exit. I have to land on the target from a decent height at the right time to collect the item I want. Which in this case would be a shiny banana coin.

Another way to get a bonus level. I have to find the cannon ball and take it all the way over the cannon.

Dixie Kong celebrates her incredible success by playing a riff on her left handed Strat, which she just pulled out of thin air. If I'd failed to hit the target hard enough, I would have had to suffer through a cheesy victory tune instead.

Hey, Cranky Kong's got a Killer Instinct poster. The guy is full of helpful hints, but most of them cost banana coins, and I'd rather hang on to them a little longer.

Not that it's a big challenge to get more coins, I can go back and replay any level I want and keep stocking up on them.

Each level has a DK symbol hidden on it, and I have to collect them all to get... something. I have no idea what to be honest.

I am pretty sure that big banana arrow leads directly to a safe landing though, so I don't have to worry about making a blind jump.

Wow, so many games have special catchy tunes for when you collect an invulnerability pick up, that I wouldn't have expected DKC2 of all games to have a rubbish one. It's a shame because the rest of the soundtrack is as good as the SNES gets.

Oh cool, I didn't even notice that the sun has been setting all through the level. It was bright and sunny back when I collected that DK emblem.

Save games, fantastic! It makes so much difference to be able to save my progress. Suddenly I'm not trying to make a run of the whole game in one go, instead I can tackle it a piece of a time, and refine my progress on each level.

It's just a shame she starts charging 2 coins for every save after the first.

Oh come on, not the fish... I only just got the guy. Okay fine, take the fish, but I'm getting past that sign and getting my extra life out of him first.

The graphics in this level are particularly good, with the 3d looking floors in the background changing perspective as I move up and down, and water flowing around the windows.

Oh, it's doing the secret wall thing in this? Okay fine, I can live with that. Secrets are always nice, and Cranky Kong probably would have told me this was here if I'd given him a few coins.

Swanky Kong's level adds some more variety to gameplay, with a quiz. I was barely paying attention, but fortunately the questions are simple enough that I was able to complete it anyway... this time at least.

Even though I was distracted by those rubbish looking lights the whole time. Also it seems that apes don't have reflections, not even when they're wearing bright blue suits.

A pogoing creature with a springy tail... very Magic Roundabout. I wouldn't have thought a snake character would be much good for anything, never mind jumping, but this guy can get some serious height.

Oh crap, wasps. I hate these guys.

I can't jump on them. I've got nothing to hit them with. All I can do is hope I manage to jump over them.

Oh crap, it's a boss... and it's FLYING. The guy is throwing eggs down at me and I can barely... well okay, it's actually really easy to grab the eggs and throw them his way. Actually I'm just walking into him with them.

The bird is dead, and Diddy gets a few Kremcoins for his trouble.

Someone tried to do a Ghost Pirate LeChuck and park their ship in a cave filled with molten lava it seems. It didn't quite work out for them though.

World 2. I'm trapped here now until I can find a Funky Flights to fly back to world one. Which would be nice, because I'm sure I'll find Funky Kong around here before I find another one of Wrinkly Kong's save points, and I wouldn't mind saving my progress right about now.

These seem to be pretty straightforward jumps. That made it even more annoying when I screwed it up so many times in a row.

Awesome, I've got Squitter the spider. This guy can make his own platforms, Rainbow Islands style. Well okay not exactly like that, but that's the first thing that came into my head.

I guess I'm not going that way then.

I don't know why Diddy doesn't just try throwing Dixie into the barrel and getting past the guy that way, like I've done a ton of times in levels already.

A blind helicopter hair-spinning gliding leap of faith following a banana trail has lead me to a bonus barrel floating above the bottomless abyss. I knew the bananas wouldn't let me down.

Oh shit! That was so close. I nearly collided with that guy on the way out of the barrel cannon.

Man I really hate these wasps. I hate them so much.

Okay, enough adventures in the lava caves. I've found Funky so I'm taking a flight back to the World 1 save point so I can store my progress so far.

Damn, look at all their faces. I'm not sure how I never noticed this before but they never stop moving.

I reloaded my save just to make sure it really did save my progress, and it did... except for my bloody banana coins and lives! All my awesome extra lives are gone and I can't get back to the second world without getting more coins or defeating the boss again.

Is Donkey Kong Country 2 as good as I remember? Well I definitely didn't remember it STEALING ALL MY LIVES AND COINS when I load a game, but apart from that... no. No it isn't as good as I remember.

It's much better than that.

Well, so far anyway. I'm sure it's working up to being unplayably difficulty, with wasps everywhere. But right now this is easily one of the best platformers I've ever played. It even still looks pretty nice for a game with pre-rendered sprites.


But that's the last of my carefully chosen childhood favourites, good retro game week is over and now I'm going back to playing something random and mysterious and probably terrible twice a day instead. Next game.

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Semi-Random Game Box