There was a brief moment today when I thought Donkey Kong was about to be “re-imagined”. I was worried. When Nintendo said Retro Studios, the developer that brought us the amazing Metroid Prime games, was ready to work on something new... and the sounds of Donkey Kong Country began to play, I tried to imagine what they could have done with Donkey Kong Country to “revolutionize” it the way they did with Metroid.
I drew a blank. Thankfully so did Retro. Rare may not be putting out the biggest-sellling titles these days but back when they did, they made some of the best games. Period.
This is the Donkey Kong
you remember, providing you're old enough to remember the SNES. This is not the N64 DK
, but a classic 2D Donkey Kong Country
rendered in very nice 3D on the Wii. It plays exactly as one might imagine. DK and Diddy work together in their common goal to collect bananas, find treasure and spell the word 'Kong'. I wasn't told about any sort of plot, but I don't particularly care and neither should you.
My time with the game was brief but fantastic. The controls are classic Donkey Kong Country
with one minor exception. The roll attack/ground slap is now done by giving the Wii remote a quick shake. It works well enough but is a bit less than ideal when timing is really key. If you've ever played any Donkey Kong Country
before, you should know that later on in the game timing is always
key, so hopefully it's just a learning curve issue.
One of the things that made the original Donkey Kong Country
stand out was the amazing graphics. While this is still a Wii title, Retro should be given a lot of credit for making one of the least static 2D platformers I've ever seen. The characters and backgrounds are so full of motion and action it's just astounding. The whole thing feels so alive. There are even bits that take advantage of the game's “3D” nature by sending the players off into the distance while keeping the foreground to the fore.
This game will be a must-buy for me when it comes out and it probably should be for you too. The originals were some of the best platformers around, and Retro makes some of the most well thought-out and polished games in existence, so this thing is practically guarantee to be amazing. Can't wait to play more!