RELEASED: September 1996
AVAILABLE ON: GB
Donkey Kong Land wasn't really a masterpiece, but non-surprisingly, it was one of the best-selling Game Boy titles of its time, so it called for a sequel. This time, Rare wasted no time in coming up with an exclusive plot, instead they decided to beat their 1995 masterpiece Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest to a pulp and stuff its remains into a tiny Game Boy cartridge. The end result was another decent handheld platformer, but it raised the same question as the last game, asked louder than ever: "think it's time to buy a SNES already?"
Diddy's Kong Chore
Donkey Kong has been kidnapped by Kaptain K. Rool and his Kremling Krew. Diddy eagerly chases after the pirates with the goal of becoming a true video game hero, but the Kong family forces him to take his girlfriend Dixie along for the ride, not believing in his talent to hold his own against the Kremlings.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is without a doubt one of the greatest gifts the Super Nintendo Entertainment System gave us, also one of the most truly challenging games in the whole system's vast library of games. I consider nailing 100(+2)% in that game one of my greatest achievements during the decades I've called myself a gamer. Not only was the game hard as fuck in a good way, but it looked phenomenal and describing the gameplay as "fluid" would be an understatement. Then came Donkey Kong Land 2, a sequel to the handheld game which preceded Diddy's Kong Quest. The first Donkey Kong Land game left a sour aftertaste as it was so limited in every way, it had boring level design, and the fluid gameplay of the 16-bit franchise was not carried over well to the Game Boy. One good thing about the game was that it had its own plot; it wasn't just some sort of a half-assed port, it had its own place in the series. Well, Donkey Kong Land 2 is more or less a port of Diddy's Kong Quest, the original game's plotline included, and the most important issues that Donkey Kong Land had have not really been resolved, so we're dealing with a certain disappointment.
|Oh, laws of physics, do not |
fail me now.
Generally the game is smoothed out from the excessive, soupy black and white detail that plagued the last game, but some levels such as most of Krazy Kremland still retain the same fashion of intolerable mess of a background. There are some concrete changes to the levels besides some random names. Due to space constraints, Glimmer's Galleon no longer features a glowfish named Glimmer, for example; instead, you light your path by touching barrels with a picture of a lamp on them. Due to the lack of colour, in Lava Lagoon the lava blinks - faintly - to indicate danger. Rare came up with fairly clever ways to compensate for the technological inferiority of the Game Boy... but no abundance of creativity is enough to credibly recreate a game like Diddy's Kong Quest for the Game Boy. Rare knew that, so why did they do it?
I'll try to keep this short. The team throw, one of the most essential abilities in the original Diddy's Kong Quest is gone, since there can only be one playable character on the screen at a time. All of the animal buddies are in, but they show up in the weirdest possible locations in which they rarely give you any advantages whatsoever. Their special abilities - such as charge attacks or Squitter's web platform - are executed awkwardly by pressing Select. There is only one major difference between Diddy and Dixie as playable characters; there are so many leaps to the unknown in this game that Dixie's spin manouver can really prove more useful than it ever was in any other Donkey Kong game. There are a LOT of leaps to the complete unknown, believe me.
|Some of it's still a mess.|
Donkey Kong Land 2 is really not a bad handheld game, but being a violently stripped port of one of the best 16-bit games ever released in a thin disguise, and dragged down by serious issues when it comes to the comfort of gameplay, it fails to strike me even as a half essential title. Oh, how I wish my deepest concern was the total absence of Cranky Kong.
GRAPHICS : 7.3
SOUND : 8.5
PLAYABILITY : 6.3
LIFESPAN : 5.8
CONCLUSION : 6.1