tiistai 27. syyskuuta 2011

REVIEW - DK: King of Swing (2005)

GENRE(S): Puzzle
RELEASED: February 2005
DEVELOPER(S): Paon Corporation
PUBLISHER(S): Nintendo

A game called Clu Clu Land was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1984. A little over two decades later, the basic concept of the cult classic was brought back wearing the face of the Nintendo stalwart Donkey Kong. Reception to the game was very mixed; some liked the game because it brought back the simplicity and innovation of the very first arcade titles - in a whole different manner, though - some hated it because they wanted to see Nintendo capitalize on the recent handheld remakes of Donkey Kong Country in some way, and not put out cheap-looking spin-offs to keep the franchise afloat. Which is it? Is it a simple, innovative game? Or is it a cheap-looking spin-off? It's both.

Never thought they'd make a puzzle game based on a 16-bit cheat code

A tournament is held in the jungle for the title of the Jungle Hero. The day before the tournament, King K. Rool steps in, steals the medals for the tournament and proclaims himself the Jungle Hero. Donkey Kong storms after the medals to show K. Rool why they call him the King of Swing.

I picked this game as the last title of the Donkey Kong marathon at a complete random. Donkey Kong 64 was originally supposed to be the "grand" finale of the show, but then I accidentally stumbled on this strange-looking handheld game for the Game Boy Advance and couldn't resist the urge to try it out. I knew it wasn't a platformer, at least not in the traditional sense, but I didn't quite expect an update to the obscure, jurassic classic Clu Clu Land. If you have warm memories of that game, I think you'll like DK: King of Swing. I find it hard to form a concrete opinion on it. It's simple, it's different, but it takes a turn from being addictive to being dull very quickly.

Many critics have noted the game for looking cheap, and that it does, from the box art to the graphics. It's clear that Nintendo had nothing to do with its actual development, it's like "Filmation presents: Donkey Kong". I'd not be surprised at all if Nintendo agreed to produce this just for the sake of capitalism, and if they didn't see what Paon was cooking up at all, beforehand. Well, at least it isn't really ugly. Takashi Kouga's original music is horrible, and the few loops remixed from David Wise's original pieces from Donkey Kong Country are extremely repetitive.

My eyes bleed.
The idea of the game is very simple. The shoulder buttons are the most important buttons in the whole game. The L button controls DK's left hand, and the R button his right hand. After the initial jump into the air by holding both buttons simultaneously and then releasing them, you need to grab onto single pegs and peg boards, and make your way UP, collecting bananas and other items along the way. 20 bananas enable you to execute a special move called "Going Bananas" (with the A button), which you can use to break barrels and defeat enemies. You can also heal yourself with the bananas instead of using the special move (with the B button). The single-player adventure in a nutshell - there's really not more to it! There are 20 levels, and five boss fights, and they all have the same idea. Innovative? Sure. Boring? A little. Physically tiring? By a lot. You can use the digital pad instead of the shoulder buttons for walking and controlling the direction of your jump in mid-air if you want, but there's no escaping pain. Raping those two least accessible buttons of the Advance control scheme with an increasingly rapid pace is the only way to succeed in this game.

In the end, the game turns out quite short. Enter Jungle Jam - the tournament that was supposed to be held in the thin storyline of the game before K. Rool busted the party. You can go at the five modes of Jungle Jam against the CPU or up to three friends via the link cable much criticized by me. The modes have different goals, but the basic rules remain the same. L, R, L, R, A, L, R, L, R, B. The control scheme of the game sounds like a freakin' cheat code.

DK: King of Swing is not as bad as it looks, but it ain't an essential piece of handheld meat either. It's exactly the kind of game that everyone needs to judge by themselves. It's got a simple, semi-functional concept, but it's not very exciting - and the controls, while not bad by the laws of physics, are uncomfortable. It's not my cup of tea, but someone might find it stunning.

SOUND : 5.4


GameRankings: 72.76%

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