Donkey Kong Wiki

Original artwork of the DK Barrel from the game Donkey Kong Country for SNES.

A DK Barrel, also called a Buddy Barrel in the Donkey Kong Country series, is a special kind of barrel usually used to summon characters, and present in mostly of the Donkey Kong Country games, as well as in some other spinoff titles.


Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land series[]

DK Barrels first appeared in Donkey Kong Country. Breaking one would summon a defeated Kong, making him/her playable. Other than freeing a hurt Kong, it functions somewhat like a Vine Barrel, where it smashes upon contact with anything, including the ground. However, there are aerial DK Barrels that break upon jumping contact in a Kong's inside. In the early Donkey Kong Country games, there are cheats to disable DK Barrels (along with Star Barrels) to increase the games difficulty.


New artwork of the DK Barrel from the game Donkey Kong Country Returns for Wii.

The DK Barrel has been featured in mostly of the Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land titles, including Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. In both games, DK Barrels are still used to summon defeated Kongs, but they also have the function of completely recovering hearts of characters' health. In the New Mode of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, it is possible to purchase portable DK Barrels for five Banana Coins from the Cranky Kong's Shop. They can throw by using the Nintendo 3DS Touch Screen. In the multiplayer mode of both games, it is possible to spend an Extra Life Balloon and summon a dropping DK Barrel carrying a player's defeated character at any moment. In the Mirror Mode, an unlockable harder mode where the player can control only Donkey Kong with a single heart container as health, DK Barrels only work as throwable weapons.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze[]

In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, usually, there are no DK Barrels in the single player mode, except as an icon at some loading screens. Instead, there are DD, DX and CK Barrels to break and summon Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong, respectively, with the initials being colored blue, pink, and yellow, as assist Kongs for Donkey Kong. These barrels can be found inside levels and can be also purchased from the Funky Kong's Fly 'N' Buy shop. Besides summoning a Kong and recovering the characters' hearts after they are broken, like in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, these barrels also refill the air meter completely when the heroes are underwater. In some levels, there are some barrels that will circle throughout insignias before the player picks them up, allowing to choose which character to summon. Ground-pounding nearby a circling character barrel will make it to stay at the current insignia, making easier to pick which assist Kong to summon.

Three DK Barrels

DD, DX, and CK Barrels.

During the Time Attack mode, before starting any level in the worlds maps, the player can choose to keep the default character barrels inside it, or change all character barrels to DD, DX or CK Barrels.

However, when playing any level in the multiplayer mode, all DD, DX and CK Barrels are replaced by regular DK Barrels. The DK Barrels serve their original function of allowing a player to summon other player's Kong, after their character is defeated, by breaking the barrel. In the same mode, DK Barrels also recover hearts to both characters and refill their air meters, even if they are separated underwater. When only one Kong is present, the player with the missing character can also spend one single extra life at any moment to summon a dropping DK Barrel from the top of the screen. The DK Barrel, being hold by a red balloon, must be touched by the present Kong to summon the other one. If this Kong fails to reach the barrel, it will keep dropping down and disappear below the screen, wasting an extra life for nothing. While the dropping DK Barrel is still at the screen, holding the "Y" button on the Pro Controller[1][2]/Wii U GamePad[3]/Joy-Con[4] or moving the Wii Remote[5]/Joy-Con at the direction of the barrel will immediately draw it towards the present Kong, even if the barrel is already below the character.

In the Hard Mode, where the player can control only one character with a single heart container as health, all DD, DX and CK Barrels are also replaced by regular DK Barrels. In this unlockable mode, the DK Barrels only serve as throwable weapons or to refill the air meter when underwater.

In the Funky Mode, available only in the Nintendo Switch version of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, all character barrels are replaced by FK Barrels, allowing Funky Kong to recover all his hearts and refill his air meter inside water after breaking these barrels.

Donkey Kong 64[]

In Donkey Kong 64, Tag Barrels had a similar function to DK Barrels. Tag Barrels were used to switch between playable Kongs, for different Kongs were needed to collect all of the bananas, Banana Medals and Golden Bananas.

Other Nintendo's Franchises and Spinoffs[]

The DK Barrel has made various spinoff appearances since.

  • In the games Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Donkey and Diddy Kong emerge from a DK Barrel at the beginning of a battle. Also in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the DK Barrel is a sticker power-up, which does +53 Launch Power.
  • In the game Mario Party 8, when a player steps on a "DK Space", Donkey Kong will appear by bursting out of a DK Barrel.
  • A barrel with the DK insignia, the "Kong's Barrel", was one of many collectible treasures that Kirby discovered in "The Great Cave Offensive" mode of the games Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra. In-game, it is worth 1,500 G.
  • In the board game Nintendo Monopoly, the DK Barrel is the token representative for the Donkey Kong franchise.

Manual Descriptions[]

Donkey Kong Country for GBA
"Break one of these to keep the other Kong ready and waiting. He'll take over when your current Kong takes a hit, or you can press the L Button to swap them at any time."
Donkey Kong Country 2 for GBA
"Here's where you'll find your partner if he or she isn't already by your side. If both characters are already in play, you won't be able to break this Barrel when it's in mid-air."
Donkey Kong Country 3 for GBA
"Here's where you'll find your partner if they're not already with you. If you already have both Kongs, you won't be able to break the DK Barrels that float in mid-air."




  • Oddly, in the games Donkey Kong Land 2 and Donkey Kong Land III, all DK Barrels are found in mid-air.
  • In the New Mode of the game Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, when visiting the Cranky Kong's Shop, if the player highlights the DK Barrel and waits for a few moments, Cranky will eventually say "It's dangerous to go alone. Buy this!" referencing the famous sentence "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this.", said by the character Old Man as soon as the hero Link enters a northwest cave next to the starting location in the 1986 game The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System.


Bonus Coin Static Items (excluding mostly Barrels) Bear Coin Static
General Animal TokenBananaBanana FairyBanana MedalBoss KeyCogCrestCrystal CoconutCrystal StarExtra Life BalloonGiant BananaGolden BalloonGolden BananaGolden FeatherHeadphonesK-O-N-G LettersPuzzle PieceRare OrbSupply CrateWatermelon
Coins Banana CoinBear CoinBonus CoinDK CoinKong TokenKremkoinNintendo CoinRareware CoinSilver Coin
Vehicles GyrocopterHot Air BalloonHover CraftMine CartMotor BoatRocket BarrelSkull CartTobogganTurbo Ski
Coconut ShooterCrateFeather BowGrape ShooterKannonballOrange GrenadePeanut PopgunPineapple LauncherTreasure ChestWatermelon Bomb
Shop Banana JuiceDK Barrel (DD, DX, CK & FK Barrels) • Heart BoostMap KeyRed BalloonSquawks the Parrot
Others Animal CrateEnd of Stage TargetHookKannonMelon CrateNo Animal SignRopeStage FlagTire
Miscellaneous Brothers Bear Items (Bowling BallMirror)