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Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64) artwork

Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64) review

"Donkey Kong 64 follows closely the tried-and-true Mario/Banjo-Kazooie action-adventure philosophy, and, to enter new levels, you not only need to defeat the bosses, but you also need to collect golden bananas, which you will get when you solve certain puzzles or perform special tasks."

It all started with Donkey Kong in the arcades. A simple game: you are Jumpman-- later to be named ''Mario''-- and your job is to save your girlfriend from, you guessed it, Donkey Kong. Many people enjoyed the classic title, which I have also seen on the Game Boy, and I believe it was on several other consoles, also. And then, for the Super NES, Rare developed a game known as Donkey Kong Country. Boasting the best graphics ever for a console at that time, DKC became a smash hit, and also introduced two of Nintendo's most famous franchise characters, Donkey's nephew, Diddy, and the ever-popular Donkey Kong tie. And now, with the release of the Nintendo 64, Rare knew it had to release Donkey Kong 64, which, thankfully, it did!

Donkey Kong 64's story is not that original, but still pulls you into the game. Basically, DK's arch-renemy, King K. Rool (who's name means, respectively, ''King Cruel''), has taken his floating fortress and has vowed to annihalate Donkey Kong's home island-- which actually looks like DK himself! Of course, he won't be able to do it without flaw, and crashes into the island (he's smart...), forcing him to lock up his clumsy associate, K. Lumsy. Of course, this doesn't make Lumsy feel very loyal to his ''King,'' so, he promises to help DK, if he can free him from his prison. And, so, it is up to Donkey Kong 'n Friends to gather up a number of keys in order to free K. Lumsy from his cage, where he can then rid the world of King K. Rool. While that may not seem exciting, it's an action-adventure game, people, and the fun is in the gameplay.

Speaking of gameplay, DK 64 has provided me with many hours (around fifty) of enjoyment, and I just couldn't put it down. Donkey Kong 64 follows closely the tried-and-true Mario/Banjo-Kazooie action-adventure philosophy, and, to enter new levels, you not only need to defeat the bosses, but you also need to collect golden bananas, which you will get when you solve certain puzzles or perform special tasks. Again, DK64 feels very much like Banjo-Kazooie, and is just as fun, despite some pretty difficult bosses, including K. Rool himself.

DK64 features Donkey and Diddy Kong, along with all their pals (Funky, Cranky, Candy, ect.), but the game also introduces three new additions to the Kong family-- Tiny, Chunky, and Lanky. Every character has five golden bananas to collect in each level, along with 100 regular bananas each, which feed a very hungry pig fellow, who, when given enough munchies, will allow you access into the boss' lair. In addition, each of the primates have to collect ''Banana Coins,'' which you give to your old friend Cranky, to learn certain spells, while also unlocking a classic Rare game, JetPack.

The music in DK64 is your classic Nintendo 64-style music, MIDI based, but also ends up being being pretty fun to listen to. Every character has his or her own catch phrases, also, and they sound pretty good when you hear them. The sound effects are decent, also, but nothing special.

DK64 shipped with the N64 Expansion Pak (the game requires one), which, while a disappointment (though it's how I got my much-needed Expansion Pak), when you see the graphics in the game, makes a lot of sense. The characters are well-animated, and there are hardly any flaws in both the textures and the baddies. The levels are nicely colored, also, and give you a wonderful feel of your surrounding environment. The graphics are amazing, and add a lot to the enjoyment of the game.

Remember Enguarde and Rambi, the swordfish and rhino dudes from the Donkey Kong Country games? Well, they're back! However, they only complete few objectives, but they do have their own mini-games, which aren't exactly fun, unfortunately. Also, Squawks, the parrot, is in the game too, but not for much. He's there for just a few cameos, where he gives Donkey Kong valuable information about his progress. I really wish there were more animal friends in the game, such as the snake and ostrich, who's names I have forgotten.

Probably one of the best additions in DK64 is the original Donkey Kong arcade game, which you must complete if you hope to beat the game! Those who haven't played the original game (not the revised Game Boy title) will be introduced to a surprisingly difficult adventure, and, while there are only four levels, this one objective may take you a whole week to complete!

The mini-games scattered throughout the game are relatively easy, except for a few extremely difficult ones (cough, Beaver Bother, cough). And, while they can cause frustration, most of them are fun, and almost all of them are crutial to the completion of the game.

And finally, we have the multiplayer mode. I don't even know why Rare decided to put this in, as it is about as much fun as playing Scrabble with your dog. Basically, you play a third-person shooting mode, using the characters' personal weapons to shoot coconuts, grapes, or whatever the specific character uses. A major disappointment because, as Rare has proved, they can make some of the best multiplayer engines out there. Just check out Perfect Dark or GoldenEye 007 and see what I mean.

In conclusion, Donkey Kong 64 is an extremely entertaining title, and I highly recommend it to any N64 owner, especially the casual gamer, as it may be too easy or simple for hardcore gamers. Nonetheless, hardcore gamers will most likely find it an enjoyable experience, too.

Knux's avatar
Staff review by Zack M (Date unavailable)

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