Donkey Konga - GameCube

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Donkey Konga (GameCube)
Viewed: 2D Static screen Genre:
Rhythm: Timing
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Nintendo Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo (GB/GB)
Released: 15 Oct 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
Accessories: Memory Card, DK Bongos


It's often the simplest ideas that are the best. Witness the popularity of all the contemporary dance mat-utilising games and Sony's EyeToy for example. You don't often see games shop window displays full of played and traded items like these - unless they're hidden behind all the DreamCast steering wheels. Falling into the category marked 'Inventive/Gimmicky, but a bloody good laugh', an epiphet brought about by the appearance of this game, Donkey Konga is an essential purchase for the GameCube-owning social animal who likes to have friends round. Confirmed bachelors and friendless dweebs needn't bother. Donkey Konga is all about making a noise and making a fool of yourself in front of others. To paraphrase 'Tubthumping', included on the soundtrack, you get knocked down, you get back up again. And believe us, if you have people watching you play along with Donkey Konga, they will knock you down a peg or two at some point.

Conceptually, Donkey Konga is so easy to get into, even the simplest of simpletons can get involved. Once a song begins, music notes start to scroll across the screen from right to left. Hit the notes in time when they overlap the transparent target ring on the left side of the screen and the better your result will be. As notes pass over the target, you only have to hit the bongos or clap your hands over the top of them - Donkey Konga doesn't get any more complicated than that. What does make it more complicated are the difficulty settings and the different game modes. 'Monkeying around', as the options screens would put it, is the sensible thing to do to ensure you know what you're doing early on in the Donkey Konga experience. Ease into Donkey Konga and you'll score well; steam into the likes of the theme from Super Mario Bros thinking that you're king of percussion, and you're headed for a cacophonous fall.

The first mode to go for is Street Performance. It's a single-player game in which your performance is rewarded with coins. There's also an Advanced mode for those confident enough to play with no note cues. Challenge is a single-player/two-player game where you see how many songs you can clear in a row. Jam Session is a veritable percussive riot as you and up to four friends create an all-bongo combo of deafening proportions. After blistering your palms on the bongos and clapping your hands till they're raw, head for Monkey Shines, where a familiar-but-different-enough range of 2D Donkey Kong mini-games are available to buy; Bash K Rool, Banana Juggle and the 100M Vine Climb are just as much fun as the musical part of Donkey Konga. New music and sound sets are also available to buy at Monkey Shines. Jungle Jams has all the funkiest pieces of music in stock, and Bongos-a-go-go is where you can change the sounds of your instrument. Old school NES sounds, jungle noises, classical orchestra hits and more are on offer.

There are more than 30 tunes to play along to, including versions of songs made popular by the likes of Jamiroquai, Queen, Supergrass, The Kingsmen and The Troggs, along with some Nintendo offerings - Zelda, Kirby and the DK Rap among them. With three difficulty levels and five modes of play, Donkey Konga made us grin like a really mischievious, umm...monkey when we first got our hands on the bongos. Then we discovered something even better than actually playing the game itself: watching other people play it. Listen! to those expletives as grown men lose all sense of timing. Watch! as brows furrow with deep concentration, while you cannot contain your laughter. Form! a line, it's my turn next.

Donkey Konga is a work of near-genius. We say 'near' because it works best as a spectator sport that you just can't wait to get involved in. No bad thing, that. It's the ideal selfish gift for your gamer friend who doesn't live too far from your house. Supergrass fans beware, however - you may just want to sell your collection after exposure to Donkey Konga.