Donkey Kong Country
Developer(s): Rareware
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Platform(s): Super Famicom/Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color
Release Date: SNES
Flag of USA November 21, 1994
Flag of Europe November 24, 1994
Flag of Japan November 26, 1994

Game Boy Color
Flag of Europe November 17, 2000
Flag of USA November 20, 2000
Flag of Japan January 21, 2001

Game Boy Advance
Flag of Europe June 6, 2003
Flag of USA June 9, 2003
Flag of Japan December 12, 2003

Wii Virtual Console
Flag of Europe December 8, 2006
Flag of Japan December 12, 2006
Flag of USA February 19, 2007
Flag of South Korea May 26, 2008

Wii U Virtual Console
Flag of Europe October 16, 2014
Flag of Japan November 26, 2014
Flag of USA February 26, 2015
Genre Platformer
Ratings ESRB: ESRB K-A Kids to Adults
Mode(s) 1-2 players
Media {{{media}}}
Input {{{input}}}
"I'll hunt them down through every part of my island, until I have every banana from my hoard back!!"
—Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong Country (スーパードンキーコング, Sūpā Donkī Kongu in Japan) is a popular game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that was released in 1994. The game is credited for its successful spin-off debut of Nintendo's very first game antagonist Donkey Kong from a decade before the game's release, as well as starting a new franchise entirely based around new characters and gameplay. While Rare had made some popular games in the past such as Battletoads, Donkey Kong Country is credited with making them well-known in the industry.

The game is known for being the first game to use pre-rendered sprites, creating a 3D effect throughout the game. The graphics were made with expensive Silicon 3-D graphic models and compressed for 2-D SNES. This allowed them to have more detail in animations and large amounts of detail, for a 16-bit console,[1] which was revolutionary at the time.[2]

The game was very successful, since it sold over 8 million units and spawned a sub-series in the Donkey Kong franchise making several sequels, the Land trilogy, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! and Donkey Kong 64. It is often viewed as a cult classic. This sub-series would later be taken over by Retro Studios and they have so far made two new games in the series, Donkey Kong Country Returns (3D remake by Monster Games) and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Donkey Kong Country (SNES Intro)

Donkey Kong Country (SNES Intro)


This based on the GBA remake's intro. The intro can be viewed here.

On a dark and stormy night in Donkey Kong Island, Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong's nephew has taken the weighty responsibility of guarding Donkey's precious Banana Hoard for one night, as a part of his "hero training". Donkey entrusts Diddy with protecting the hoard until midnight, where he is relived, while Donkey himself goes to sleep as he is tired.


Everything seems to go smoothly in the hoard until Diddy hears some noises. Diddy hears some voices outside and gets scared, asking who's there. K. Rool, who had commanded his Kremling minions to steal the bananas and to seal Diddy inside a barrel and then hide him in the bushes. Two ropes drop from above and suddenly two Kritters appear. Diddy cartwheels them both easily, but then a Krusha (Klump in the manual) comes in as backup. As Diddy is not strong enough to defeat Krusha by himself, he is overpowered and defeated by Krusha (Klump in the manual's prologue).

Donkey's grandfather Cranky Kong rushes inside the treehouse to tell Donkey Kong to wake up so he may tell him what happened. He then tells Donkey to check his Banana Cave. Donkey Kong is infuriated, exclaiming that the Kremlings will pay for stealing his Banana Hoard and kidnapping Diddy Kong. Donkey goes on to say that he will hunt every corner of the island for his bananas back. During this time, K. Rool presumably loaded his cargo onto the Gangplank Galleon.

The Kongs' quest would take them all over Donkey Kong Island. They travel through the jungles of Kongo Jungle, the ruins of the Monkey Mines, the forests of Vine Valley, the snowy tundra of Gorilla Glacier, the polluted factory of Kremkroc Industries, Inc., and finally, the caves of Chimp Caverns. After that, Donkey and Diddy Kong will face K. Rool on the Gangplank Galleon.

Once K. Rool is defeated, Cranky asks Donkey to check his Banana Hoard as he is in for a big surprise. Once DK and Diddy go into their hoard, all of their bananas are seen returned.

Donkey Kong Country ending



Donkey Kong & Diddy Kong


Diddy Kong, cartwheeling

General Gameplay

Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong work together in the adventure to get their bananas back. The gameplay in the game introduces a unique "tag team" element into play, unseen in most platformer games such as Super Mario World, which was popular at the time. For example, if one Kong was to be attacked and hurt, he would run away in pain, and was out of play until a DK Barrel was broken. Once both are defeated or either falls into a bottomless pit, a single life is lost.

Diddy and Donkey Kong follow each other throughout the adventure, with their own unique attributes. Diddy can move slightly faster, can climb and swim faster, can cartwheel, can jump higher and farther, and hold barrels like a shield. Diddy is considered the best to use to get bonus rooms and other goodies to be found, though Diddy cannot handle some enemies by himself, namely Krusha (unless he uses a barrel to protect himself, additionally his cartwheel can also defeat Klump). Donkey Kong runs a little slower, and his rolling does not go as far as Diddy's cartwheel, though Donkey Kong has his own special move called "Hand Slap", which can kill most enemies instantly. He can defeat some enemies an unarmed Diddy could not, such as Krusha.

Kong Allies


Cranky Kong

In the game, Donkey and Diddy are assisted in their perilous quest by a few members of the Kong Family. The first one seen in the game is Cranky Kong. He can give hints to the Kongs when they drop by his cabin, named "Cranky's Cabin". Cranky narrates and congratulates the Kongs in the ending of the game, and also appears to give commentary after defeating the bosses in the Game Boy Advance version.

Funky Kong makes his first appearance halfway through Kongo Jungle, and freely lets the Kongs use his barrel jet in the rest of the worlds. The barrel jet allows them to quickly jump to the overworld map and navigate worlds the Kongs have finished (otherwise done by defeating the area boss), or simply navigate the area faster, with Funky's unique theme. He also hosts a fishing mini-game, "Funky's Fishing", in the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance version.

Candy Kong allows the player to save their progress at her save point, Candy's Save Point. Getting to her point in the SNES version is often viewed as a big accomplishment due to the fact that getting to her point is usually far in a world. She is considered the most useful Kong. She also hosts a dance mini-game in the Game Boy Advance version.



The Game Boy Advance remake's menu

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System edition had three main modes:

  • Single player, where one player controls both Donkey and Diddy in the quest.
  • Two player team, where player one controls Donkey Kong and player two control Diddy. Both could tag each other throughout a playthrough, if one character dies, the other player continue on until reviving the other with a DK Barrel.
  • Two player contest, same as the two player team except the game keeps track of which Kong completed an amount of stages- a contest to see who can win the most stages. Also unlike team, here both player control both Kongs of different color palette by taking turns rather than co-op team like before.

Remakes added the following:

  • DK Attack, a self-explanatory mode where the player has to get to the end of the stage quickly. Bonus time can be collected, and a rank will be given for the time.
  • "Rock Hard", available only through cheat, this disables Star Barrels.
  • Hero Mode, where the player can only play as a yellow-colored Diddy Kong, with no star barrels (only available after 90% completion).
  • Funky's Fishing, a fishing mini-game where the Kongs have to fish for certain types of fish or items.
  • Candy's Challenge a mini-game where a certain challenge has to be completed to get a Banana Coin.
  • Candy's Dance Studio, which was based off the popular dancing series "Dance Dance Revolution".
  • Crosshair Cranky, a mini-game where Kongs must shoot-out Kremlings.

Animal Buddies



The Kong Family are not the only ones to aid Donkey and Diddy in their quest, the wildlife also help. Each Animal Buddy is prisoner in a crate with their symbol on it.

  • Rambi the Rhinoceros is first found halfway through the first stage. He is a fan favorite, capable on rampaging through Kremlings and opening bonus rooms using only his powerful horn.
  • Enguarde the Swordfish is exclusively found in underwater stages. Enguarde is a swordfish with a large bill, with it he can defeat practically any underwater enemy (with a few exceptions), while the Kongs cannot.
  • Winky the Frog has a very high jumping ability, nearly three times higher than the normal Kongs'. With this ability, he can reach bonus rooms or simply avoid foes. He can defeat most enemies by jumping on them, including Zingers.
  • Squawks the Parrot is the only non-rideable Animal Buddy, and he only appears once in "Torchlight Trouble". There, he carried a bright lamp to illuminate the way in the otherwise dark stage. Squawks returns in the game's sequel with a more important role.
  • Expresso the Ostrich is the tallest and fastest animal buddy. With his height, he can completely avoid small foes, commonly the Klaptraps. Expresso has no means of attack, but can glide good distances to find secret bonus rooms.

Items and objects


A Banana, the most common item

During their adventure, Diddy and Donkey will run in a variety of collectibles and other usable items. There are a variety of items. Some items are similar to Super Mario World: Bananas are the basic "coins" from Mario, and the Extra Life Balloons are the basic "1-ups".



A Star Barrel.

The concept of barrel throwing is re-imagined in Donkey Kong Country, much different from the initial Donkey Kong concept, as now barrels are not only a weapon, but also serve many other useful purposes:

  • Wooden Barrels are basic, symbol-less barrels that can be thrown and rolled. It is a basic weapon and is the basis for other barrels.
  • DK Barrels free a defeated Kong.
  • TNT Barrels are rare, powerful barrels full of explosive TNT.
  • Star Barrels are the game's checkpoints; jump and break it for the checkpoint.
  • Auto-Fire Barrels fire almost immediately upon landing inside.
  • Barrel Cannons, the Kongs must simply get in the barrel. The barrel will launch them when the player presses a certain button.
  • Stop & Go Barrels are encountered exclusively in the stage "Stop & Go Station" that have some odd connection to Rockkrocs.
  • Vine Barrels are a type of wooden barrel, the most notable difference is the fact that they break upon contact with anything.
  • Steel Kegs can be thrown and they roll on the ground and also bounce off walls.
  • The Funky Barrel is an airplane shaped-barrel that is the main way of transportation provided by Funky Kong.
  • Fuel Barrels are a one-time usage barrel needed to keep a moving platform on limited fuel moving.



Kritter, a common enemy


A Zinger, a pestering bee-like enemy

Many enemies, all of whom are grunts under K. Rool's army, will stand in the Kong's way. The enemies are very varied in Donkey Kong Country and some, in one shape or another, return in the sequel and a few later games. A majority of these enemies, such as Gnawty and Kritter, are very common, though a few are rare, such as Chomps. The enemies mostly consist of generic, animal-based foes.



The typical boss arena, though the size and length vary per boss.

Bosses in this game are found at the end of each world (much like Super Mario World). Bosses are usually enlarged versions of usual enemies. The bosses guard a large portion of Donkey Kong's Banana Hoard. In fact, the arena where each boss is fought is comprised of portions of DK's hoard. Each boss (excluding K. Rool) is a bigger version of a generic enemy. They are, in order of appearance:


Kongo Jungle Overworld

Kongo Jungle in the overworld map.

The "world" located before Kongo Jungle on the overworld map can not be accessed. The Kongs are shown to start off their journey by leaving this area and heading to Kongo Jungle.

Many stages have been swapped around in positions in the Game Boy Advance version starting from Vine Valley. The first two stages are never swapped around.

Kongo Jungle

Monkey Mines

Vine Valley

Gorilla Glacier

Kremkroc Industries, Inc.

Chimp Caverns

Gangplank Galleon

This pirate ship is not a world, but the location of the final boss battle against King K. Rool. The Galleon can actually be seen approaching closer and closer each time a world is beaten until it's finally accessible after beating Chimp Caverns.

Version differences

See also: Donkey Kong Country/Version differences

Regional differences

See also: Donkey Kong Country/Regional differences

Original versus remakes

Game Boy Color

The game was ported to the Game Boy Color in 2000. Differences include:

  • Three alternate title screens are shown: the first being underwater, the second being in the jungle and the third in a mining area.
  • Much like Donkey Kong Land, only one Kong appears at a time.
  • The Game Boy Printer can be used to print certain photos.
  • The stages Stop & Go Station, Misty Mine, and Loopy Lights now play the soundtrack "Mine Cart Madness" Instead of "Misty Menace" Despite the fact these stages are not Mine cart stages.
  • The stage Winky's Walkway is extended.
  • A new stage called Necky Nutmare has been added in Chimp Caverns.
  • The Kongs don't ride the Animal Buddies; rather, they become them.
  • Two minigames have been added: Funky hosts a fishing game known as Funky's Fishing (which would be later reappear in the Game Boy Advance version) and Cranky oversees a shooting game.
  • Two additional difficulties have been added: the first one removes DK Barrels and the second one removes Star Barrels.
  • Over half the music in Donkey Kong Land was reused.
  • Candy now runs a challenge area where a certain challenge has to be completed to get a Banana Coin (also added in the game).
  • The Warp Barrel is removed from Mine Cart Carnage.
  • The selection screen from Donkey Kong 64 is reused.
  • The credits can be seen showing various screenshots instead of it being inside Donkey Kong's Treehouse.
  • The game automatically saves after completing a stage.

Game Boy Advance

Donkey Kong Country Gameboy Advance print ad NickMag June july 2003

2003 print ad for the GameBoy Advance release.

Another port was made for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The changes for this one include:

  • An story opening cutscene based on the story in the manual.
  • Candy hosts a dancing mini-game at Candy's Dance Studio.
  • A "Time Attack" mode has been added.
  • The Rockkroc enemy can now be defeated by using Donkey Kong's Handslap move.
  • Squawks' crate in Torchlight Trouble is missing.
  • Some enemies have many different colors, such as Kritter and Zinger.
  • Some bosses were made stronger with different battle patterns: Queen B. now has three Zingers surrounding her, Really Gnawty can make stalactites fall, Dumb Drum must have a TNT Barrel thrown at it, and the battle against Master Necky Snr. is against both him and Master Necky simultaneously.
  • The map screen has a different pause screen: from it, the game can be saved at any time, Funky can be summoned after meeting him, players can access a scrapbook and stage stats.
  • The maps have been redesigned.
  • The following Kong now sticks more closely with the leading Kong, as well as riding with them on an animal buddy together.
  • Starting from Vine Valley onwards, a few of the stages have been placed in a different order; for instance, Temple Tempest became the sixth stage in Vine Valley, rather than the fourth.
  • The credits took place in Donkey Kong's tree house in the original; they now take place on the Gangplank Galleon.
  • A new mode called "Hero Mode" (also known as "1 Player Hero" on the mode selection screen) has been added. In this mode, the player controls a yellow-clad Diddy and will never encounter DK Barrels or Star Barrels.
  • Saving will save the number of lives the player had.
  • The automatic barrels that sent players to bonus rooms were replaced by the Bonus Barrels used in the sequel.
  • The game has more voices and sound effects reused from Donkey Kong 64.
  • A scrapbook was added, in which players had to collect Photographs throughout the game in order to add pictures to it.
  • In-game graphics and some sound quality were scaled down.
  • The music is the same but was remixed due to limitations.

Beta elements

The preview video, Donkey Kong Country Exposed, contains a few beta elements that never made it into the final game, such as a few instances where binary digits were seen underneath the lives counter, which may have been a debug menu of some sort. Also, in this build, it was possible to exceed one hundred bananas, whereas in the final game, the banana counter would reset once it reaches that number. Lastly, Donkey Kong was unable to kill the regular Krusha enemy by jumping on him. Unlike the final, Krusha will laugh after Donkey Kong does so, as he would if Diddy had done that. This also applies to Klump.

In an old Scribes page on the Rareware website, a giraffe Animal Buddy was mentioned, and mentioned to appear in Donkey Kong Country; this Giraffe character was dropped for unknown reasons, though one of his mentioned abilities was that he would allow Donkey Kong to crawl up his neck and reach high items and secrets. Giraffes however did appear in Donkey Kong Country Returns.

There are unused sprites in this game, such as a Puftup, who would later appear in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, and a jungle plant.[3] Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong also have unused sprites.[4][5] Additional letters similar to the KONG Letters appear in some bonus rooms, though not all letters in the alphabet are used, and the game appears to have the entire alphabet left in the game's coding.[6] Slippa has unused sprites as well.[7] Croctopus has an unused sprite, likely a defeated animation, and a thunderbolt.[8] Cranky Kong apparently was able to walk in a beta version (later used in the Game Boy Advance remake). [9]

Reaction and sales

At the time of its release, Donkey Kong Country was extremely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. According to GameSpot, Donkey Kong Country has a critic score of 9.1, having over 90% from nearly every critic. Praise went to its graphics, music, and overall fun and addictive game-play.[10]

Sales were more than expected, since the game was released at the peak of the 16-bit era, but when the Sega Genesis was at the height of its popularity, and the SNES witnessed its rise.[11] The game had a successful first day at the stores, and sold 8.5 million copies worldwide,[12] 2nd on the SNES to Super Mario World. To date, it is the best selling Donkey Kong game and the best seller by Rare.

Although it won 1994's game of the year by EGM, it was later placed on their top 10 overrated games, as well as on Gamespy's overrated games of all-time list. It has mixed reactions today, but is still well received by fans.


Boxarts and logos


Animal Buddies


Title Screens and Screenshots


  • The Gnawty enemy is pictured as blue on the box art while they were gray in-game. They eventually became blue in Donkey Kong 64 and the Game Boy Advance version.
  • This game has an adaptation in the Super Mario-Kun manga with some changes. Mario and Yoshi land in the Donkey Kong Country world by mistake, and Cranky Kong asks them help Donkey and Diddy in their task to find the bananas and stop King K. Rool.
  • This game and Donkey Kong Land are Donkey Kong's only playable appearances until Donkey Kong 64, despite the game's sequel and triquel games bearing the Donkey Kong Country name.
  • This game marks the only playable appearance of Winky (outside of cameos and remakes; Expresso was in Donkey Kong Land and technically playable in a minigame in the Game Boy Advance remake of Donkey Kong Country 2).
  • After defeating a boss, a giant banana would drop. In the SNES version, it had a Nintendo logo on it, but the logo was removed in later remakes.
  • Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest are the only games where the playable characters don't talk at all. This only accounts for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System versions.
  • In the overworld map of Donkey Kong Island, Donkey Kong's head icon is displayed on his treehouse. In the Japanese version, this isn't the case. Also, the text is shown in yellow.
  • One of the official renders shows Donkey Kong carrying Diddy Kong, implying a Team-Up, even though that command doesn't exist in this game like it does in the two sequels. The A Button in this game was used for switching positions between two Kongs, the same as using the Select Button in all three games.
  • This is the only game in the Donkey Kong Country trilogy where the X Button is never used while playing through a level. That button's functionality was added on in the following two games, but only used to dismount Animal Buddies. Originally, in this game the player would use the A Button to dismount an Animal Buddy until that command was shifted to the X Button in later games whilst the A Button introduced the ability to charge an Animal Buddy's special move, a command not present in this game.
  • According to Gregg Mayles, there was originally going to be a "Cranky Kong Mode" where Cranky would be playable, however this was scrapped.
  • On August 10, 2018 Gregg Mayles tweeted an early naming sheet of when Donkey Kong Country was originally going to be called Monkey Mayhem, it had four categories: DK FAMILY, GOOD GUYS (Animal Buddies), KREMLINGS, and BADDIES.[13] On it shows that:
    • Expresso could've been an emu instead an ostrich.
    • Two animal buddies that got dumped named Hooter the Owl and Miney the Mole.
    • Four dumped Kremlings named Kloak (Kremling Magician), Krumble (Statue Kremling), Klanger (Green Kremling), and Krocbot (Robot Kremling).
    • Slippa originally was named Mr. Hister.
    • Puftup and Shuri was originally going to appear in this game first instead of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.
    • There was originally going to be two fish enemies named Bloop (Fish 1) and Gloop (Fish 2) but got dropped and replaced by Bitesize and Chomps Jr..
    • Squidge was originally named Mr. Squidge.
    • Clambo was originally named Ms. Clamity.
    • Four dropped baddies named Fizzle (Fireball), Veedub (Nasty Beetle), Frozone (Yeti (Iceman)), Mobo (Eel (Moray)).
    • King K. Rool was named Kommander K. Rool (Chief Kremling) on the list (a name he used in the Fake Credits in the final game).
      • Not mentioned why the two animal buddies got dumped, but for Hooter it possibly to avoid copyright from the restaurant establishment called Hooters for their logo is an owl. For right beside the dumped animal buddy name have this: "(Hope we can use this one!)".
      • The Kremling in the list named Kloak would be later used for DKC2, but instead of being a magician he would be a pirate ghost Kremling in a coat, though he still has magician-like traits, as he can magically summon objects to throw at the Kongs.
      • Though the dumped robot Kremling named Krocbot was never used again in any of the later Donkey Kong games, in DK64 there's a robot Kremling that resembles a wind-up toy whose name is similar to Krocbot and that would be Krobot.
  • On August 13, 2018 Gregg Mayles tweeted a very early concept of King K. Rool who was named "Krudd" and was going to be more serious and tough-looking, alongside that tweet, Greg showed concept art of other Kremlings such as Krash, another Krash named Kaptain Krash, and Korporal Krizzle. Also Gregg mentioned the game was going to be more military themed.[14]
  • On August 21, 2018 Gregg Mayles tweeted two early concept/idea sheets of a Kremling named "Kremling Soldier" who would have been doing various military themed attacks like using a bazooka, charging with a bayonet, throwing grenades, a rifle, a blunderbuss, hides in a big helmet and charges at the player, use a throwing knife, a mortar, a jetpack, carries TNT and can either be a suicidal bomber by walking with it until it explodes or throws it, hides in the background and leaps at the player, use a huge shield, out of nowhere falls on the player, grabs the player and following up with a push, a throw, or drop the player, either down a pit, or use a laser guided gun on the player. Of course all of it was dropped from the game, but some of the ideas do appear in later games. In the tweet Gregg states the Kremlings were going to be more serious and military themed than they eventually turned out, later he questions himself on what he was thinking.[15]


  3. Unused DKC sprites
  4. Unused Donkey Kong sprites
  5. Unused Diddy sprites
  6. Additional unused letters
  7. Slippa's unused sprites
  8. Croctopus and thunderbolt sprite, unused
  9. Cranky Kong's unused walking animation

See also

External links

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