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Artwork of Diddy Kong riding Rambi the Rhinoceros from the game Donkey Kong Country.

Animal Buddies are different types of creatures that appear in the games of the Donkey Kong series and aid the Kongs on many of their adventures against the Kremling Krew and other villains such as the Snowmads.

Overview

Animal Buddies are usually found inside Animal Crates and most of them can be ridden by the primates, being controllable by the player. They possess special abilities, allowing the heroes to move faster, attack regular and strong enemies, fly, jump high, reach inaccessible locations for the Kongs or even uncover secrets. However, some Animal Buddies just help the primates by serving a function in order to the heroes traverse environments in the games, such as illuminating dark places, freezing water or locating special items.

Some Animal Buddies throw projectiles in order to harm most of the enemies in the games, and some of them are capable of bouncing safely on enemies too strong for the Kongs, such as Zingers and Krushas/Krunchas. Animal Buddies do not interact with ropes, vines, hooks or some vehicles, and most of them cannot carry objects, such as barrels.

In some games, it is possible to clear stages using an Animal Buddy, however after leaving the current location, they are lost, and the player takes back control only of the primates. In other games, the Animal Buddies are limited by specific areas. In Donkey Kong Country 2, Donkey Kong Land 2, Donkey Kong Country 3 and Donkey Kong Land III, they cannot move past No Animal Signs, disappearing right after crossing over the signs. However, at the same time, the Animal Buddies are usually turned into rewards, such as banana bunches, Extra Life Balloons, Banana Coins/Bear Coins, DK Coins or even Bonus Barrels.

In the earlier games, the heroes can also transform into Animal Buddies by using Animal Barrels. The same usually also happens after breaking open Animal Crates in the Game Boy Color version of the game Donkey Kong Country. When two Kongs are present during the transformation, the secondary character appears as an icon for the respective Animal Buddy at the bottom of the screen. It allows the Animal Buddy to take damage once without the player losing an extra life. When it happens, the main character is defeated, the secondary one takes their place, and the Animal Buddy icon at the screen disappears. However, the player can summon the character lost and the same icon by touching a DK Barrel.

List of Animal Buddies by Games

Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Land

Donkey Kong Country 2

Donkey Kong Land 2

Donkey Kong Country 3

Donkey Kong Land III

Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast

Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Beta Animal Buddies

  • Ram Bunkshus: originally set to appear in the game Donkey Kong Land.

Cancelled Animal Buddies

  • Hooter the Owl[1]: concept in an earlier version of the game Donkey Kong Country.
  • Miney the Mole[1]: concept in an earlier version of the game Donkey Kong Country.

Possible Animal Buddies

Though these animals have never been confirmed as Animal Buddies most of them have nonetheless been helpful in their appearances. However, some of them are considered enemies, despite they usually being harmless to the Kongs.

  • Krocheads/Krockheads: crocodile enemies used as platforms in the games Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Land 2.
  • Nids: jumping spider enemies used as platforms in the games Donkey Kong Country 3 and Donkey Kong Land III.
  • Blue Nibbla: variant of carnivorous fish enemies from the game Donkey Kong Country 3. This unique variant appears only in the Cotton-Top Cove stage Fish Food Frenzy, following Dixie and Kiddy Kong throughout the underwater section of it. At first, the blue Nibbla will not attack the primates, but after some time, it will change between the colors blue, purple, pink and orange, in that order, finally resembling its regular variants, and then it will harm the character in the main position. After the attack, it will return to the blue color, restarting the cycle. By the heroes moving and guiding the blue Nibbla to approach other aquatic enemies in the stage, it will devour and defeat them. Eating green and red Kocos will revert steps of the cycle of colors, however, consuming Lurchins will advance the same cycle.
  • Squids: from the game Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.
  • Elephants, giraffes, squirrels and zebras: hypnotized animals by the Tiki Tak Tribe leaders in order to steal all the bananas of the Donkey Kong Island in the games Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. Despite they being seen through both games, these animals do not help nor offer resistance to the primates' progress.
  • Whale: an unnamed whale which appears in two levels of the Beach world in the games Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. At the first encounter in the level Poppin' Planks, the whale can throw many bananas at the heroes by using its blowhole. During the next level, Blowhole Bound, the whale will carry the Kongs through the water sections of the location, allowing the primates to ground-pound the blowhole and being thrown high in the air in order to collect items. The whale will also collide and destroy any masts and sunken ship hulls on its way, forcing the heroes to progress over these platforms quickly.

Gallery

Trivia

  • On August 10, 2018, Gregg Mayles[2] tweeted an early naming sheet of when the game Donkey Kong Country was originally going to be called Monkey Mayhem. The sheet shows that Expresso could have been an emu instead an ostrich and two other animal buddies that are marked out. They were: Hooter the Owl and Miney the Mole.[1]
    • Not mentioned why the two animal buddies got dumped, but for Hooter it possibly to avoid copyright from the restaurant establishment called Hooters[3] for their logo is an owl. Right beside the dumped animal buddy name reads this: "(Hope we can use this one!)".

References

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