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Donkey Kong 64 Guide > Boss Strategies

A lot of the boss battles look downright cool, but you won't be able to enjoy them fully if you've been trying to beat a boss for hours and can't figure out what's not going right. So you can count on this section to provide detailed tips on beating each boss. This is designed to make each boss encounter as pleasant an experience as possible.

Jungle Japes

You fight this boss as Donkey Kong. As you might expect, this first boss is really quite simple to defeat. You have to grab a TNT barrel and throw it at his face. The problem is that he moves around a lot, or keeps you moving. When he rolls around, just run around in circles to avoid him. When he's spewing fireballs, keep running and avoiding shadows until he gets tired of the routine. From time to time, he'll pause, out of breath. This is your chance to attack. Quickly run over and grab the barrel, then chuck it at his face.

Angry Aztec

My favorite boss in the game. He also sends fireballs your direction. Just keep moving to avoid them, and realize that sooner or later this overgrown firefly has to land. When he does, throw a barrel of TNT his direction to knock him into the fire. When you've hit him three times, the fight is over and he'll take a bath.

Frantic Factory

I really hate this guy. I can't understand how Rare would think this encounter is fun. The only reason it's a challenge is that you have to work against horrible camera angles. Most of the time, you'll be guessing where you will land. Fortunately, it's impossible to kill yourself by falling in the pit.

To beat the guy, you first have to notice a few things. There are about 16 platforms to work with. Some are white; some are blue. He first attacks by hopping around on the platforms, attempting to smash you. Obviously, you have to stay ahead of him. This grows harder as you do more damage to him. You'll probably want to do some diagonal jumps, from the corner of one platform to the corner of another. The box can't follow that, and it keeps you ahead. If you're losing ground fast and about to get smashed, don't be afraid to drop into the pit on purpose, as you will avoid damage in that fashion.

Once the box stops hopping around, the head pops out and he'll start shooting. At this point in time, switches appear on the platforms. One is on a white pad and one is on a blue pad. Take note of which color the Jack-in-the-box has landed on. If he landed on a white one, stomp the switch on the white platform. If he landed on a blue platform, head for the switch on the blue platform. Makign a mistake will cause Tiny damage. You'll have to avoid shots as you go.
Once you have hit him enough times, he starts to get really vile. He tends to home in on the area you might have occupied just a few seconds ago. For this reason, dilly dally until he is about to fire. Then jump again to the platform you're really aiming for: the one with the switch. If you rush immediately to the platform where the switch is and don't bother to distract the Jack-in-the-box's fire, you'll end up fried just as you are about to strike. It sucks. So remember to draw his fire away from the switch, then stomp it as he is shooting elsewhere.

For the last portion of the fight, you can't even see the guy. Keep track of him so you'll know where he has landed (and which color the platform he occupies is). Then use the same strategy as you used before. This boss really is the hardest one in the game, and I'm including the final boss in that bunch...

Gloomy Galleon

As Lanky, you ride an intertube in circles around a blowfish. This fight is rather challenging, but nothing a few tries shouldn't overcome. In order to win, you must keep circling, never stopping (otherwise, you're going to get zapped). When stars appear, you have to go through several before time runs out. Just keep moving in a circle, and don't stop to change direction unless totally necessary. It gets harder and harder each time, but six hits will zap this guy for good.

Fungi Forest

Once more, you're fighting the firefly. As Chunky, remember what worked before. Keep avoiding fireballs and strike when the firefly lands. After you've hit him enough times, he decides to get vicious and lands on the platform. Because he's so big, the platform will sink a little each time he lands on it. Your move here is to go for the Chunky barrel. It makes you large enough to face the firefly headon. Punch it for all you're worth. You can get around 10 hits in per round, sometimes more. Keep hitting him like this at every chance until you win. If you don't do it quickly enough, the platform will eventually sink into the lava, and then you're a goner.

Crystal Caves

The guy from the first level is back, and you're Donkey Kong once more. The basic attack here hasn't really changed. You still have to avoid fireballs, and you still have to move fast to get out of his way when he rolls. About the only new additions are his shockwave (you jump it) and his homing missles. To avoid the homing missles, move in wide sweeps, then narrow it down to avoid the hit. When you can, grab the TNT barrel and throw it at the big guy's face. Still fairly easy, but don't get over-confident or you could lose.

Creepy Castle

This is the last boss before K. Rool, and it's one of the toughest. You get to use all of the Kong's here, but it's possible to beat the boss using just the first one. You'll be set on a concrete ledge in the middle of a square arena. There are four cannons, one pointing in each direction. A huge model of K. Rool pops up from behind walls and fires laser shots at you. Your job is to blast from the cannon to hit him. Wait until he's not firing, though.

Once you hit him three times, a fake one pops up. It'll look a lot darker. Just let it go back down (if you shoot at it, you'll just fly through). Three more times you hit the guy, and then he has no arms left. Now he gets truly savage.

The trick now is to keep hitting the ghostly Kremling in the middle to refill your health (if necessary) while you try to find a way to hit the boss. The problem is that he moves really fast now. So, you need to follow this strategy when you're fighting the third round:

1. Watch for where he shoots from. He'll shoot two rounds of fire. When he shoots the second time, move to the left of that position (example: if he's shooting from straight ahead of you, go to the cannon that faces left).

2. Now as he drops down, realize that he'll be coming back up shortly. He appears, drops, goes to the next side, appears, drops, and so on. He'll do this on each of four sides. Anticipate that.

3. Once you have the timing down, you can attack. Just before he is about to pop up on the side you're facing, you have to launch into the cannon (you should be standing a hair-width away). Then you'll hit him. If you're timing is off at all, you lose a life. You have a life for each Kong, so that's five chances (unless you already lost a Kong earlier in the battle).

Keep trying and you'll get the hang of this encounter.

Final Boss: K. Rool

The secret to winning this guy is to get used to each round. Initially, this is quite overwhelming. But if you master one round at a time, you'll soon emerge the winner. There are up to 12 rounds, but each Kong fights only one round. Don't run out of time or you go into another round, and you don't get any life back you may have lost the round before. You must knock K. Rool out as each Kong in order to win (those cheating refs!). I'll outline the strategy for each Kong, therefore, rather than numbering the rounds. Make sure you beat him within 12 rounds, though, or you have to start over (no, I didn't ever do that accidentally; I let time run out so I could see if it revealed a game secret, but it doesn't).

Donkey Kong

This round is simple. Right away, run down towards the screen and climb up the pole. Hang out there while K. Rool struts his stuff. He can't hurt you if you're on the pole. After 3 of his stomps, a barrel will appear over each pole.

Start with the barrel directly overhead. You'll get a view from inside the barrel, one that moves up and down. Watch K. Rool's gloves. When you see him lifting them, it's time to fire. Shoot out and nail him.

Now you drop out of the barrel. Sprint counter-clockwise to the next one and repeat. After you've hit him twice, K. Rool wisens up a little and tries to fake you out. The first time he lowers his gloves, ignore him. He'll bring them up so quickly that you won't be able to hit him. The second time, fire away.

For the final and fourth hit, you really have to time it well. He'll fake you out twice. The third time, just as he starts to lower his gloves (or when you anticipate he will start), fire away for the victory. This round really is the simplest round of all.

Diddy Kong

As Diddy, your first order of business is to run to the left. Do so immediately so he does't corner you. Now run around, avoiding his flying boxing gloves. You can usually jump them. A barrel will appear now, which allows Diddy to fly.

Fly up to the top of the arena, where the lights are hanging. Keep moving until you see targets appear. Two targets will appear on a light. You have to hit both to drop the light, and you have to do so with all four lights.

The problem is that hitting the targets is rather hard when you have to keep moving to avoid boxing gloves. A good strategy is to line yourself up with the target while flying as high as possible. Now hover there and wait until you see the boxing glove coming. Move forward a little, then slowly descend, firing shots. If you moved forward enough, the glove will miss you, but you'll hit the target with your peanut shots.

Be careful that you don't accidentally land on a beam. If you do, you'll have to drop down and sacrifice a quarter of a melon in order to get the rocket barrel again.

Lanky Kong

Because of Diddy's work, K. Rool now has a bucket-like light fixture blocking his vision. This round is no easier than the last, though. A pesky camera really messes things up here.
First, you must avoid K. Rool as he stomps around. He mostly moves along the edge, then goes diagonally across the ring after walking the outer edges of two sides. A good technique is to follow him, which guarantees you won't get hit by a sudden movement.

Once number panels pop up, follow K. Rool and then aim for one of the numbers with your long arm. You should use the viewpoint that allows you to look over Lanky's shoulder if you want to hit the panel on the first attempt (and you don't have time for many attempts), as Lanky must use a long-arms technique. When you hit the number, a barrel floats up. Grab it, then turn and walk until you are one of the little stars. Throw the barrel at the center of the ring. It breaks open to reveal a banana. Now run around the outer edge, where a music pad waits. Make sure K. Rool is in an opposite corner (if you are in the lower right corner, for example, he should be in the upper right one) from you when you play the trombone. He'll charge and slip on the banana, providing he was in the exact corner, and that your banana is more or less in the middle of the ring. You must now repeat the entire process three more times in order to win. It is very easy to run out of time here. If you do, you'll have to star over the next round. Very frustrating.

Tiny Kong

You have quite the task here. First avoid the rings he sends out when he stomps (use your ponytail whirl to glide over them). After two stomps, a barrel will flash and vanish. Three stomps later, it appears again. Jump in it to shrink, then run over to K. Rool and enter his shoe. Inside, the true challenge waits.

You have to use your feather shots to hit his toes. The toes will stomp you if you don't watch out. Two attack at a time, usually. There's a pattern, which you should quickly memorize. Move between toes, firing. When you turn the first two on the left red, you'll be ejected to the ring again. The next time, get the second toe from the left, and so on, until you win the round.

Chunky Kong

The coward gets to finish the fight! This round is fairly simple if you know what you're supposed to do.

First, avoid K. Rool as he bounces around the ring. You can easily distract him. Now hit the switch and you'll make pads appear in the ring's corners. Touch one of the pads to turn invisible. Another barrel appears. Jump into the barrel and you become large Chunky.

Now the view switches. You stand in the corner of the ring while K. Rool charges. As he approaches, you must use Chunky's special punch (hold 'Z' and press 'B') to knock him out. Do it too early or late and you're done for. But the timing shouldn't be hard to catch. You have to do this four times.

Each time you punch, he gets harder to hit. On the fourth round, just hope random luck is with you. You can usually get two of the power punches in. For me, the second one worked. If you miss, just try again. One or two tries on the fourth punch round should be enough. Then you've won the game!

Do you have 101% of the items? If you do, you'll get the better ending...

NEXT: Blueprints