Available on: GBA, SNES, Virtual Console
Previously known from a series of just moderately successful NES games, arcade titles and Battletoads above everything else, Rare became a megapower in video game development following the release of Donkey Kong Country in 1994. Without any hesitation or rest, work on a bigger, badder and better sequel began. Even though the series’ title character was near completely ousted from the fray, Diddy’s Kong-Quest did amazingly well in the media and eventually became the sixth best-selling SNES game of all time, falling just four ranks behind from its predecessor. It is truly a remarkable sequel with astounding visuals that clean the previous game’s ultimately plain look right off the table. Diddy’s Kong-Quest is far more than just your everyday platformer.
Now it’s officially the little rascal’s show
Just when Donkey Kong Jr. thought he and his banana hoard would be allowed to be in peace, he is kidnapped by K. Rool, now Kaptain instead of King, and his Kremling pirates, who are willing to trade their captive for the hoard. Diddy, always in Junior’s shadow, embarks on a quest to save his mate instead of just giving in to the Kremlings’ demands, and prove himself to be a true video game hero in the footsteps of Cranky and Junior. Since the Kong family doesn’t believe in his talent to become one of the family’s great legends all by himself, he is forcefully accompanied by his girlfriend Dixie.
What can I say? Come on, what can I say? The game looks AMAZING! They fixed everything that was wrong with the previous game’s look, from the layering to the plain, lame level design and background work. All of the characters, including the enemies, have a unique look, and there are much more different ones to begin with. The maps look awesome, the complex level design is fully supported by the graphics engine and the animation’s simply wicked. It’s a thrilling game from all aspects, and the look has plenty to do with that since there are so many unique, memorable stages. David Wise worked on the music alone this time, as Beanland was busy with his pet project, and damn, does he have some good tunes to offer. Some of his stuff in this game is literally breathtaking. Some heavily remixed themes from the previous game, including the K. Rool theme, and loads of new stuff. Me like, me love!
|Fun times in Krazy Kremland...|
You’ll still be in control of two characters. If you’re playing with a friend, you have the option to either co-operate or play against each other in the VS Game. This time teamwork means oh, so much more. The most important new addition to gameplay is a feature commonly known and roughly spoken of as “team throw”. You still switch characters by pressing Select, but at the press of the A button, the lead character hoists the partner to his/her shoulders, and you can then look for a vertical or horizontal point to aim ‘em at. This enables Diddy and Dixie to reach spots or objects they normally wouldn’t; if you throw your partner at an enemy, (s)he’s usually done for and not available for (ab)use until you find the classic DK barrel. Of course, this ability is mostly used to find bonus stages – so don’t worry, the game cannot conclude in an unwinnable state in case you happen to lose your partner due to a bad throw. This time, both of the characters are of the same tiny size, so one fact that might disturb some potential players is that there are many enemies neither character is able to attack physically – meaning jumping on their heads or executing a roll attack. The game is very generous and smart with the convenient placement of barrels, though. In addition to using her luscious hair against enemies in her own version of the roll attack, Dixie can use it to fly for a short time... which in other words means that once again the secondary protagonist overshadows the title character for most of the game’s progress. However, there are many instances in which you need both characters to fully ace a stage. Even the smallest amount of progress in most stages after the first region – which happens to be the pirate ship on which we fought our last big battle, Gangplank Galleon – needs a lot of planning ahead. Oh, you think you lost lives for pride and glory in the first game? Big welcome to Crocodile Isle, mate!
|Damn, that's some strong hairspray!|
So what to do with these Kremkoins? Well, in five of the eight regions in the game, you will find a toll bridge known as Klubba’s Kiosk. Klubba is a large turncoat Kremling, who offers passage to one out of five parts of the Lost World in each of the five regions for 15 Kremkoins. The Lost World is a hidden region filled with ultrahard stages, just like Star World in Super Mario World. Don’t bother saving up your Kremkoins, this is the only place in the game you can use them in. To check 100 (+2) % completion in the game, you’ll have to conquer the Lost World, and the very final boss cooped up in there. FUN. INDEED. ...Oh, we have more? Oh yeah, the DK Coins, which are formally known as Video Game Hero Coins. There is one of them in each regular stage, plus the very final boss stage, which makes up for a total of 40 of them. These are also needed for completely conquering the game, and most of them require a lot of searching beyond the box, usually at the cost of your life. So, if you’re aiming to be a perfectionist in this already extremely difficult game, don’t you kiss your mother with that mouth of yours for a short while after possibly acing it.
Two members of the Kong family make their return: Cranky and Funky, and they’re accompanied by newcomers Wrinkly and Swanky. Cranky basically reprises his role from the previous game; he provides advice on how to find the current region’s bonus stages and banters like hell about how great it was when games were so damn good they didn’t need sequels. Uh... the original Donkey Kong HAD a sequel! Well, anyway. Funky’s still in charge of Funky’s Flights, which works in the exact way it did in the previous game, only this time there’s the price of two Banana Tokens to consider for each flight. Cranky’s wife Wrinkly replaces Candy as the proprietor of the save point, but she also provides gameplay advice and methods to take out bosses. The suave bastard Swanky is the host of a game show called Swanky’s Bonus Bonanza, in which he asks random, relatively simple questions related to the game which you must answer correctly to win lots of extra lives per show.
|Diddy resting up. He should, since he's in for|
some serious shit in the Lost World.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong-Quest is ARGUABLY (I can’t emphasize the word enough) the hardest of all three Donkey Kong Country titles. Several stages from the Crocodile Cauldron region forward will have you screaming in terror, anxiety AND anger. If you can somehow muster up your strength and talent to hack through the game, you still have the ridiculously difficult Lost World region on your hands if you feel the need to go for the 102%. Klobber Karnage is one of the most difficult stages in any game ever, period. This game, as a whole, is NOT EASY. Dealing with some of the most annoying features in level design, such as barrels with timers, nearly demand a child’s patience. As I’m writing this, one hour and 20 minutes have passed since I aced Lost World for the first time in my life, and I’ve been playing the game since it was released. I’m fucking exhausted, that’s what I am! Exhausted, and very, very tired, but still so happy I’ll gladly move on to the challenges of Donkey Kong Country 3.
Despite the fact the game borders on impossible, it’s fun as hell as long as you can take the pain. Even if you can’t, you’ll still find yourself returning to it, because of its look and fluid controls, and the fact that you’re simply possessed by it and the thought of finding every secret held within. Diddy’s Kong-Quest is a magical platformer. Donkey Kong Country was amazing when it came out, but it has little on this one.
Graphics : 9.6
Sound : 9.5
Playability : 9.2
Challenge : 9.5
Overall : 9.3
a.k.a. Diddy’s Kong-Quest, Super Donkey Kong 2 (JAP)
GameRankings: 81.20% (GBA), 92.24% (SNES), 80.00% (Virtual Console)
The game bluntly promotes Rare and Nintendo’s critically acclaimed, also ACM based arcade fighting game Killer Instinct, which was ported to the SNES three months prior to Diddy’s Kong-Quest’s release. A portrait of Chief Thunder can be seen on the back wall of the Monkey Museum, Cranky mentions the game by its name a few times, and the game itself is seen advertised on an arcade marquee on the Krazy Kremland map – the banner says “KI HERE”.