The Kongs are still here to perform for you.
Even if you don't know the words, I suggest you join them anyway.
The collect-a-thon. It used to be such a staple in gaming, and I associate it with a much lovelier time in gaming. With today's reveal of Yooka-Layle from former Rare employees (the same ones who worked on one of my favorite collect-a-thons, Banjo-Kazooie), it seems like a great time to talk about one of the more severe cases of the genre of 3D platformer, Donkey Kong 64. Whether it's overwhelming with the amount of doodads to nab or not, DK64 is indeed one of Rare's more polarizing titles that the studio developed under Nintendo's wing.
All is fine on the DK Island front until one sunny day turned cloudy, King K. Rool's fortress sails over nearby the island. King K. Rool has his sights set on obliterating the Kongs and the island once for and for all with the ship's powerful ray. Only one thing missing-- enough power to use it. While the ray charges, King K. Rool Kong-naps several of the Kongs, all the while allowing Donkey Kong to go after them. After all, the ray is surely to be charged by the time DK is done saving his friends, right? However, King K. Rool once again underestimates the resolve of the Kong clan who, after DK has saved them, need to team up to stop the K. Rool's Kremling horde before the ray can go off and destroy their home and habitat.
After working on similar collect-a-thon 3D platformers in the Banjo-Kazooie games, Rare decided to up the ante significantly with Donkey Kong 64. This is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because we, as the players, get double the play time of the Banjo-Kazooie games with DK64. At the same time, it's a curse because of how Rare went about adding hours to the game's tally.
|Perhaps retreat is the order of the day.|
|Diddy Kong shows that chimps can climb with the best of them.|
|Return to this area of the level on multiple occasions|
as different Kongs to nab all of the bananas.
|Time for Tiny Kong to crack Mad Jack!|
Each Kong can be switched between via multiple, ordinarily, helpfully placed barrels in worlds. You'll be doing this quite a lot throughout the game. Not only because each Kong has 100 of their own colored bananas to collect (though not all need to be gathered to beat the game), but because each Kong has their own set of abilities, weapons, and musical instruments exclusive to themselves.
|Lanky Kong felt the need to hand it to this enemy.|
In each of the game's worlds, there are a maximum 25 Golden Bananas to acquire, five per Kong. Even if one Kong completes all of the steps to make a Golden Banana appear, only that Kong can pick up that Golden Banana. Otherwise the Banana is just transparent and impossible to pick up for another Kong. Usually this isn't anything to worry about since most Golden Bananas are housed in locations only one Kong can reach anyway, but there are some occasions where you can futilely try to cheat the system.
The different objectives that the Kongs participate in to acquire Golden Bananas are highly varied. One would hope so, after all, with 200 different ones to collect! Between riding a mine cart in hopes of collecting 50 coins before its conclusion, racing against an NPC on a slide, playing Simon Says on a xylophone, hitting a switch and racing to the Golden Banana before the gate closes, and so many more objectives, Donkey Kong 64 will definitely keep you busy with different tasks to complete.
|Can we play something in A Minor instead?|
One of the five Golden Bananas that each Kong can collect in a given world requires a Kong to find a certain buff Kremling to defeat, who will drop a blueprint. Taking this over to Snide, who is also one of the characters who has a location in each world of DK64 (Funky Kong and Candy Kong are the two others), will have the weasel give you a Golden Banana in exchange for the blueprint. The blueprints also give you more time to work with in the final world of the game, a mad race against time to reach King K. Rool's chamber before the Kremlings' destructive ray goes off.
Outside of Golden Bananas, regular bananas, coins, and blueprints, there are plenty of other items to collect, though most of these are things that need to be restocked through collecting, such as ammunition for each Kong's gun, watermelons (used to restore health), film (used to take pictures of Banana Fairies), oranges (used to throw as grenades), and Crystal Coconuts (fuel for each Kong's special ability like DK's invincibility).
|While it wasn't a "pow" right into the kisser,|
this Kong kick from DK to this Kritter still smarts!
Donkey Kong 64 is remarkable in its visuals. Do note that this was one of the premier titles of the Nintendo 64's Expansion Pak. The game itself runs relatively well. There are moments where the game and music chug. One such moment is outside the lighthouse area when the lighthouse is lit in Gloomy Galleon. This is while King K. Rool's ship floats around the lighthouse. To be fair, there IS a lot going on at that particular moment. Most other times, the performance of Donkey Kong 64 behaves itself.
|Aw, Donkey Kong's got sand in his fur!|
Your mileage of liking Donkey Kong 64 comes from whether you mind collecting a myriad of objects or not, and whether or not you mind backtracking multiple times through worlds. Sure, the game's Bananaporters-- teleporters that allow for rudimentary fast travel-- are helpful with this, but there's still plenty of traveling between the hallways, alleyways, and pathways that split up each world's larger areas. Again, all this traveling adds up. Some call a lot of the collecting and backtracking through levels filler, and I can totally see the rationale of that argument. However, as someone who grew up loving 3D platformers of this type (e.g. Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy), Donkey Kong 64 scratches a familiar itch, one that I mostly kept saying, "ooh, yeah... Just a little lower" to.
[SPC Says: B]