Friday 8 May 2015

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES review)

Developer: Rare
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1995

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is a platformer that was released just one year after the SNES original.

Once again you control Diddy who can jump high and cartwheel but Donkey Kong is absent as you must rescue him from King K. Rool. This means a new character tags along called Dixie Kong; she's slower but has a helicopter spin that helps when crossing platforms. I didn't find massive differences between them and missed the strategy between Donkey and Diddy as each had distinct abilities that affected how you approached certain enemies and levels. The new playable animals are great and include a hopping rattlesnake, a spider that shoots webs and a bird that spits coconuts. The levels are varied and you'll traverse through swamps filled with barrel blasts, areas with sticky honey that slows you down and gorgeous carnivals. The mine-cart levels are back and there's even an awesome section where you're a rhino being chased by a giant killer wasp! The bosses are fun and I loved the re-emergence of the first boss later on, albeit in ghost form! My main criticism of DKC2 is that the difficulty is too high and even early levels are tough. Saving your game is a real issue as you can only do so after unlocking a point halfway through each world. You're also charged coins for saves made after the first one at each location; this means that not only do you have to beat several tough levels with limited lives to even reach the save point you also have to hunt for coins to have this option! The graphics are amazing and each sprite moves with real fluidity. The music is excellent but some tracks don't fit such as the sombre tones in Ghostly Grove.

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is a fantastic game that's let down by its punishing difficulty and lack of accessible save points. If you're the type of person who doesn't mind trial and error gameplay give this one a go as there's a lot to love; others should stick to the original which is a much more balanced game.

Random trivia: The game has been re-released several times including ports to the Game Boy Advance (2004), Wii Virtual Console (2007) and Wii U Virtual Console (2014).

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