Thursday, 6 August 2015

Snes Review 80: Donkey Kong Country 2

What with Rare Replay having come out just recently celebrating the companies long history I thought it would be a good time to review a SNES game made by them. Now there are no SNES games on Rare replay with 3 of them it is because Nintendo owns the rights to them these are the Donkey Kong Country games. Now I already reviewed the first Donkey Kong Country so now I guess it is time to talk about its first sequel.

So Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest or as it is known as in Japan Super Donkey Kong 2: Dixie & Diddy was a 1995 adventure platforming video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in November 1995 in Japan and America coming here mid-December. Now I wish I could tell a heart-warming tale of my youth in how I waited for this game with bated breath or how I got it and my friends got it and we all played it together but the real truth is it largely passed me by. There used to be a great game shop in my small town and the guy who owned it had a Japanese Super Nintendo Television, it was literally a TV with a cart slot in the top and he had the Japanese version of this in there on it trying to encourage sales, I used to fetch him coffee and check on competitors prices for him and in return he gave me enough cash to get myself a coffee as well and let me play on the games. So I played enough of it there to know that it was good but it launched just after the original PlayStation and everyone was saving and scrambling trying to get their hands on one of those.

It is a shame when the twilight games for one system get shadowed by the arrival of new technology but part of the world of Video games is built on this continual technological progress. I eventually got my own copy of Donkey Kong country 2 as a boxed NTSC American game along with American copies of the other two Donkey Kong Country games but what I used for the purpose of this review was a loose Japanese Cart I picked up about 4 months ago.
A s the title suggests, this is really Diddy Kong’s game, in fact you can’t even be Donkey Kong in it, he has been kidnapped and the plot of the game is that Diddy along with a female companion called Dixie is on a quest to rescue him.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as in the original but most players will notice that the levels soon increase in difficulty, this would make it a bit tough as a starting point for newcomers but it is ideal for those who have played the original as it lets you sort of carry on enjoying the gameplay without you having to be babied through the start of the game. Diddy Kong’s Quest is pretty much equal in terms of its graphics and audio to its predecessor but really the first one was pushing the machine hard so it would be foolish to have expected any great leaps. The atmospheric orchestrated soundtrack returns, providing catchy and eerie tunes alike. The music is beautiful, I cannot fault it even in the slightest and the graphics are very detailed, with brilliant charter animation and design which is absolutely full of character.

Much like in the first game you get to switch between the games two characters. Diddy is the quicker character, but Dixie has the ability to glide in the air by using her pigtails, which begs the question how in the heck does that work? There are still animals to ride, things to collect and bonus stages to enjoy. If you have played the first game then you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

To be honest I really like this game and would have no trouble recommending it, it is a lot better than some of the PlayStation games which people were going wild for at its time of release. A lot of us would probably have been better off enjoying this and biding our time waiting a little longer for the PlayStation but it’s easy to say that in hindsight. I would however recommend the original first unless you already own that as it is a much better starting point and would most probably be a great deal easier to find. If forced to give this game a score I would give it an 8 out of 10, it’s a sold good looking chunk of platforming but it really is a typical by the numbers sequel.

OK so if you want to buy it how much of an investment are you looking at? Well it’s on the Wii U Virtual console for the usual price (I think it’s about £6.50 it’s been awhile since I have purchased a SNES game on there) which if you just want to play it is a fair figure for a great game like this. If you want a real pal cartridge the price for a copy seems to start around £18 but in some cases can be much higher, I have seen actual retro stores try to get up to £40 for a loose cart, boxed versions will usually start around £40 with the condition and price varying widely. If you want to save some cash but still play it on a Super Nintendo and can play imports I have frequently seen Japanese copies on eBay under the name Donkey Kong Country 2 including postage go for around £6 to £7 and with it being a cartoon platformer there is no real language barrier this would probably be my recommendation.

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