Donkey Kong Country Week: The Kongs

Half the fun of talking about Donkey Kong Country series is its being indecisive about who you play each game. Although all of them are called Donkey freaking Kong Country (freaking, mine), only the first one stars the titular gorilla. Then the sidekick from the previous game takes the starring role in the next, and then the sidekick from the next game takes the starring role in the next next, and Donkey Kong’s appearances become fewer.

I don’t know how Rare got away with this. If this were any other gaming franchises, you bet people will be complaining all over message boards. BAWWW NERO! BAWWW RAIDEN! BAWWW APOLLO JUSTICE! BAWWW AXL! BAWWW SHADOW! The funny thing is that each of those games gave its lead sufficient time to develop before switching to another. DKC didn’t. Maybe no one heard much whining because Internet weren’t very accessible yet.

(Apollo Justice can die in a fire.)

Donkey Kong


Someone I follow on Twitter (@T3h_Kaiser) has been saying that Donkey Kong being a grown-up Donkey Kong Jr. is a lie cooked up by Rare. It’s like telling me that everything that I believed in was wrong! I’m now back from my shanty where I cried my hearts out, and is ready to debunk his claim. Because clearly it is he who was lying and wrong.

So. Donkey Kong Jr wore a tank top and a diaper. DKC’s Kong goes full-commando, and is naked if not for the tie. How could a conservatively dressed toddler grow up to be such an indecent gorilla? Really simple. He must have watched some Madonna after-midnight MTVs. Or maybe bought Prince’s Lovesexy. At least he does it with class. Hence, the tie.

And why did he go from round-headed to having this pointy hair? It must be the grunge rock, which were peaking in popularity during the early-90s.

See? Rare did not lie. Also, I just wasted time stupid-writing.

Donkey Kong from DKC gets cool points for being the first lead, and also for being the only Kong (besides Cranky) remotely tied to the Donkey Kong arcade classics. The powerhouse of DKC, he can effortlessly raise a barrel above his head, and his stomp devastates even foes who wear head protections. He can even dig up hidden bananas by clapping the ground. He’s hardcore, so don’t mess with him. And don’t go telling him he’s not legitimately Donkey Kong Jr or he’ll beat you up real bad.

Best moments: Everytime he defeats a muscular foe and the player inevitably thinks that Diddy couldn’t do this. In co-op mode, the first player (who plays Donkey) sneering at the second player (who plays Diddy) for getting the short end of the stick.

Worst moments: Getting kidnapped. Twice. So much for being the powerhouse, huh?

Diddy Kong


As I hinted while talking about Donkey Kong, Diddy gets major disadvantage for not being as powerful and useful as his partner. He’s supposed to be the Robin to Donkey Kong’s Batman, but when he becomes star in the second game he still gets outclassed by his sidekick Dixie Kong. To shoehorn another comics reference, imagine Dick Grayson becoming Batman and Damien Wayne as Robin still outdoing Batman at everything. I’m perplexed by why Rare never gave him unique abilities. He might be more mobile than Donkey Kong, but then again it might only be my imagination.

So what is Diddy’s handicap? His lack of strength. While most foes can’t resist Donkey Kong’s stomps, the bulked-up and the fat ones are immune to Diddy Kong’s. Which means that unless Diddy has a barrel or is riding a destructive animal friend, he has no way of defeating them.

For this, my brother and I would often use Diddy Kong as Donkey Kong’s shield. Whenever we find the duo in predicament, we would switch Donkey Kong out and offer Diddy to the gods. This we call “Sacrifice of Diddy”.

Best moments: Well, I guess after more than 15 years, Diddy Kong will finally make himself reliable. In DKCR, he wears a jetpack. Damn.

Worst moments: Every time he steps on a bulked-up crocodile, bounces back and falls into a bottomless pit.

Candy Kong


Question. Why would monkeys or gorillas have womanlike blond hair covering the “furs” on their head? And what’s with the Kong’s fascination with blondes anyway? Donkey Kong has this ultra-creepy and gigantic Candy for a squeeze. At least Dixie and Diddy look like a legitimately sweet couple, inasmuch as primate couples can look sweet.

Candy lets you save your game while saying cloying things such as “Honey Kong”, then blowing a kiss at you. Will creep out anyone but furry fanbases. Monkey-furries. Yikes, I hate myself for thinking those kind exist. Appears only in DKC1. Has a Dance Dance Revolution like minigame in DKC GBA remake.

Funky Kong


Yea he’s a sunglasses and bandana wearing surfer monkey dude. His barrel plane lets you go back to earlier levels. Useful for when your lives are depleted and you need to restock.

In DKC3 he becomes a mechanic and he will constantly upgrade your boat so that you can drive it to previously unreachable parts of the map.

He usually has a funky BGM. Because he’s funky. Clever, right?

Cranky Kong


The original Donkey Kong has grown old and became a curmudgeon who tells you how much better he and his games are in his prime. Dispenses obvious advices in DKC, will give you hints on every level in DKC2, is your sole competitor (and a sore loser) in a ball throwing minigame in DKC3.

Wrinkly Kong


Teaches school on DKC2, then retires in DKC3 and spends her days exercising, sleeping, and playing Ninty 64 (and you can hear the Mushroom Kingdom theme from Super Mario 64). She works as the in-game tutorial and the save spot. Dies off-screen after the end of DKC3, and becomes a ghost. Wow, this is depressing.

She is (was) Cranky’s wife. Has she always been named Wrinkly, even when she was 17? Hey, I like posing needless philosophical questions.

Dixie Kong


She’s Diddy’s beret-wearing ponytailed girlfriend. Sidekick in DKC2, lead in DKC3. She must have mastered the art of hair-fu because she uses it to raise barrels, when Diddy can’t even lift barrels above chest level (that wuss). She can also use her hair as a whip. Millia Rage from Guilty Gear must’ve learned a few tricks from Dixie.

But there’s more. She has this cool and very useful ability of making herself glide by spinning her hair like it’s chopper’s blades. So while her physical strength equals Diddy’s, she has better survival skills.

Best moment: Being the star of DKC3.

Worst moment: Cries when she loses. Because girls are tear-ducts! Gender equality!

Swanky Kong


He lets you play minigames so you could get yourself some swank and thus his name is oh dear this is so stupid why am I even writing

Has a game show where he asks DKC2 related trivia in DKC2, and a carnival game booth in DKC3. Also has a terrible Sonic rip-off 3d tunnel minigame in DKC3 Advance.

Kiddy Kong


Kiddy Kong almost makes up for Donkey Kong’s absence. For a toddler, he has a rather impressive strength, and is capable of destroying even the bulky looking foes. He doesn’t have the “pound the ground for bananas” ability, but those aren’t a necessity anyway. To make up for that, he can skip on water, and you can roll him and have Dixie stand on top of him like he’s a circus ball (excepting a few places, neither those are very useful).

Best moment: Skipping on water for the first time. Can you think of any other games that let you skip on water? Exactly.

Worst moment: Dixie cries, he WAILS. Because babies are wambulances! Age equality!

Brother Bears


Technically not Kongs, they treat you as a chore machine in DKC3. Kind of annoying and not as cute as expected from fictional bears.

Banana Bird Queen


Also not a Kong. She will help you defeat Baron K Roolenstein if you find every Banana Birds.

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