Donkey Kong Country Returns Review :
Donkey Kong Country Returns Better Than Ever
Retro Studios tackled a legendary video game series called Donkey Kong Country and created Donkey Kong Country Returns. What Retro has done to this game should make Rare, the original creator of the DKC series, proud.
Rare created this series back in the SNES ages and it was known for it's impressive graphics and hard difficulty. Rare made three DKC games and when the Nintendo 64 came out, they made Donkey Kong 64. Unfortunately for the Donkey Kong franchise, Rare was bought by Microsoft and Donkey Kong became purely Nintendo. It took several years for DK to take on some real action, without holding onto his bongos.
The series was a platforming game, similar to Super Mario Bros. in some ways but way different when looking at other aspects. Retro based the story of the game around the first Donkey Kong game but changed the levels, some gameplay, and even the story. It doesn't have that much similarities compared to the original games, but you can say Retro modernized Donkey Kong Country.
The differences of DKCR to DKC are quite obvious when you start playing. DKCR stars Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong who chase after some "bad guys" who had taken their banana stash. I won't say who, but it's not King K. Rool and his Kritter gang. When you actually start playing the levels, you get this pig who helps you learn the controls. He even stays at the checkpoint of every level. He teaches you three new moves that were not originally in the DKC games. One is to roll. It's simple enough and saves you from a death. The next is the "cling" move. It lets you grab onto grass and vines. Very reasonable. Finally, the last move is called "Blow." This moves lets you blow away props on the level so you can obtain secret items. Performing the move takes a few seconds and doing it every time you encounter a blowable prop is very tedious. Sometimes, this is required to complete the game with a 100%.
DK and DD Kong are changed a bit slightly. Both Kongs now can take two hits until they die. Also Diddy Kong rides on DK's back on two player mode and he'll take hits before Donkey Kong. Having him gives you short hovering time to get over an obstacle or reaching a platform. Having him makes the game a bit easier but losing him makes the game a bit harder.
There are eight worlds in the game (not including the bonus world) and each world has a certain theme. The levels are designed to follow this theme. Taking this into account, I have to say Retro did a good job making each level with their specified world. All of the obstacles are used in so many different ways that you have to adjust to dodging them to get the hang of it. The ways Retro uses these obstacles to try to harm Donkey Kong are very Rare worthy. They give you such heart beating moments that you need quick reflexes and good timing to pass through the levels. This makes the game relatively hard.
The levels vary on the way you have to complete them. A majority of them are classic DKC style where you need to jump from platform to platform, getting past obstacles, and defeating enemies along the way to reach the end. The other section of levels are based on mine cart and barrel riding. I consider these stages harder than the plat forming ones. On these paths, the littles mistake you makes gives you the death penalty...like the original games.
Finally, I'll talk about the items. I've known Rare for making many collecting games. In DKCR, there are only two items to collect for 100% completion but it's not going to be easy. The first thing is the KONG letters. These appear as you go throughout the level so they are easy to find. Collecting every KONG letter in a world gives you a special level to play. The second item is the 'Puzzle Piece." The amount of puzzle pieces in a level varies from 5 or 7. Retro really did a good job keeping DKC's reputation of secrets because these puzzle pieces take some time to find.
Retro really did well on extending the Donkey Kong Country games. They looked well through the past Donkey Kong Country games and made a work of art. At times you may feel like smashing your TV screen, but difficulty is good. No?
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