Donkey Kong Country 3
Another SNES port on GBA? Stop complaining, especially when they're as good as DKC3. Read the review. Now. Seriously.
It was only a matter of time before Donkey Kong Country 3 made its arrival on the Game Boy Advance. After all, the first two, once again produced by Rare Ltd., made quite a killing, reintroducing the landmark SNES games with some extra goodies to make them worth the pick-up all over again. In the third game, you take control of Dixie Kong, the heroine from Donkey Kong Country 2, along with the somewhat enlarged infant Kiddy Kong, as they battle the evil Baron K. Roolenstein, who has kidnapped Donkey Kong and Dixie Kong and locked them away in a distant place. But you'd be surprised what unlikely heroes can do...
Like the original SNES game before it, Donkey Kong Country 3 is absolute platforming bliss. The game controls just as smoothly as the original, and both Kongs utilize different skills that come in handy during the quest. Dixie, for instance, can perform a helicopter spin, working in a similar tandem with a hovering jump and also allowing her to become lethal in the air as she gets the pounce on her enemies. Kiddy can skip across water and also use his throwing abilities to knock out bad guys with objects. Both can use dash attacks, jump on the baddies, and switch off anytime during gameplay.
I prefer the earlier Donkey Kong Country games to this one, only because this one feels a little long-in-the-tooth as far as wear and tear on the brand name goes. But it's still an engaging adventure, and Rare has once again answered the call of duty in adding some new bonuses to make this worthwhile. There's a ninth world, the all new Pacifica, that's added to the previous eight, adding a few extra challenges to the game. As before, it's a free-roaming system where you work your way around a level and enter rooms, either to find a challenge presented by the likes of Cranky or Funky Kong or to enter an area plagued with all sorts of Baron's troops. Some may find this a bit hard to adjust to at first, but it really comes across like a breeze and adds a little depth to the game, instead of a straightforward pattern. Pacifica is up to speed with the other levels in terms of design and challenge, and it's a nice add-on.
Along with the typical levels you'll encounter in Donkey Kong Country 3, there will also be a number of challenges to complete, including some incredibly fun boat-racing levels that throw out a little reminder to the Cobra Triangle days from the NES and some racing levels that get interesting with the scattering of bananas in each new level. There's also some strategic segments, including having to block spiked enemies in certain spots to avoid getting hit. These add a bit of longevity to the title.
The game's looks and sounds are true to the SNES form. Characters animate nicely, levels look as schnazzy as they did back in "the day", and the sound effects and music are as vibrant as ever. There's also an alternating two-player mode that allows you to switch off from ape to ape with a friend, but you're stuck doing it on one GBA. It would have been nice to finally allow a full-on two-player co-op mode, I think. But maybe we'll get that in a future DS build of some kind.
Donkey Kong Country 3 isn't as good as the other two games, but it's still a sufficient and enjoyable way for the series to wrap up on the Game Boy Advance. Its play mechanics are still rather amusing and its additional challenges and world will keep you busy, even if you nailed the game at 100 percent years ago. If you're a fan, it's time to go ape all over again.
What's Hot: Looks and sounds as good as the SNES original.
What's Not: Not the most innovative title, but hey, it's a port.