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Extra Life Balloon
ExtralifeballoonReturns.png
Artwork of a red Extra Life Balloon from the games Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.
User(s) Kong Family
Purpose(s) Getting up the extra life counter for earning more chances of clearing levels, avoiding Game Over screens,
Sending the playable characters back to checkpoints after they are defeated,
Summoning a DK Barrel containing a defeated character in the multiplayer mode (only in DKCR, DKCR 3D and DKC: TF)
Game(s) Donkey Kong Country,
Donkey Kong Land,
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest,
Donkey Kong Land 2,
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!,
Donkey Kong Land III,
Donkey Kong Country Returns,
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D,
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
First Appearance Donkey Kong Country (for SNES) (1994)
Latest Appearance Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (for Switch) (2018)

Extra Life Balloons are collectable items related to extra life counters of the player in the Donkey Kong series. They first appeared in the game Donkey Kong Country.

Overview

In the games, the player starts a new game file with a limited number of extra lives. After both playable Kongs are harmed by enemies and hazards or fall into pits, the player will spend an extra life to continue playing from the beginning of the level or latest active checkpoint, and is able to try traverse the previous obstacles again. If all extra lives are lost, the player will be sent to the Game Over screen, and they will have the option of continuing the game from their current save file, if there is one. In the Donkey Kong games, extra lives are usually associated with Extra Life Balloons. When the player collects an Extra Life Balloon, they earn certain number of extra lives. In some games, this number depends on the color of the collected balloon, being from most to least common: each Red Balloon is worth one extra life, each Green Balloon is worth two extra lives, and each Blue Balloon is worth three extra lives. Extra Life Balloons can be found in secret places inside levels, sometimes, as invisible collectables or rewards for clearing certain Bonus Rooms successfully. New extra lives can also be received by collecting one hundred of bananas.

Extra Life Balloons are usually modeled after the face of a main character in the games (see Gallery section below). In Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land, Extra Life Balloons depict Donkey Kong's face on them. In Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Land 2, Extra Life Balloons resemble Diddy Kong's face. In Donkey Kong Country 3, Extra Life Balloons feature Dixie Kong's face. Oddly, the game Donkey Kong Land III uses Diddy Kong's face on the Extra Life Balloons, which is his only appearance in the game. In the Donkey Kong Land game series, every single Extra Life Balloon is only worth one extra life, probably due to limitation of color palettes in the Game Boy/Game Boy Color not allowing to feature more types of balloons. In the Donkey Kong Country games, the current number of extra lives is depicted on counters appearing at the upper left corner or upper right corner of the screen. In the Donkey Kong Land games, extra lives are depicted as a row of hearts at the bottom of the screen. Usually, the maximum number of collected extra lives is ninety-nine.

Donkey Kong Country

In the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy Advance versions of the game Donkey Kong Country, by the player collecting three Animal Tokens of the same kind in any stage, they will be sent to a special Bonus Room instantly. There, the player will take control of the same Animal Buddy of the collected tokens, and they must traverse the area and collect small versions of the same token within a time limit. After the time is up, for each one hundred of collected tokens, the player will earn one extra life. Inside each special Bonus Room, there is also a large Animal Token hidden somewhere, and if the player collects it, their current number of small tokens collected will double up. After leaving the special Bonus Room, the Kongs will be sent back to the beginning of the previous stage or active Star Barrel inside it.

In the GBA version of the same game, if the player visits the Funky's Fishing, located in every world of the game, they can earn single red Extra Life Balloons by fishing certain numbers of fishes or items during the minigame. Also in the same game version, by the player entering any of the Candy Kong's Dance Studios and playing well the rhythm minigame[1], they can receive single blue Extra Life Balloons.

Donkey Kong Country 2

In the game Donkey Kong Country 2, red, green and blue Extra Life Balloons can be earned by expending Banana Coins and answering series of quiz questions correctly in the Swanky Kong's Bonus Bonanza, located in most of the worlds. In the GBA version of Donkey Kong Country 2, blue Extra Life Balloons can be received by paying Banana Coins and beating a current time record when revisiting boss stages. Also in the same game version, Extra Life Balloons of multiple colors are some of the rewards of the minigame Bag a Bug, available in any locations of the Klubba's Kiosk by using Banana Coins to play it.

Donkey Kong Country 3

In the GBA version of the game Donkey Kong Country 3, by the player entering the Funky's Rentals, they can play any of the four challenges after they are unlocked. If the player is able to clear any of the challenges envolving aquatic vehicles successfully, they can earn some rewards, including single red Extra Life Balloons. Also in the GBA version of the same game, if the player enters any locations of the Cranky's Dojo, they can spend some Bear Coins and take control of Cranky Kong during a minigame. In the minigame, Cranky must deflect thirty small Bristles coming from both sides of the screen at different heights by using a shield. The rewards for this minigame include red Extra Life Balloons. In similar way, if the player visits any of the virtual reality[2] domes, located in most of the world maps of the same game version, and pays Bear Coins to Swanky Kong, they can take control of Dixie Kong during the minigame Swanky's Dash. In this auto-runner minigame, the player must collect one hundred or more golden stars within a time limit, while avoiding obstacles and moving Dixie around the interior of a large pipe. The prizes of the minigame also include single red Extra Life Balloons.

Donkey Kong Country Returns, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

In the games Donkey Kong Country Returns, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, only red balloons are related to earning extra lives for the player. These red balloons are generic looking, and do not depict main characters' faces like in the previous games. When the player loses an extra life inside a level in single player mode, Donkey Kong is sent back to the beginning of the level or latest active checkpoint, floating down from the top of the screen by holding a red balloon. The player can also press the "Jump" button to pop the balloon and drop on the ground faster. In multiplayer mode, two Extra Life Balloons are spent for each time as both players' Kongs are defeated. The player with a defeated Kong can also summon a dropping DK Barrel, being hold by a red balloon and containing their character, by spending a single extra life at any moment. But the present player's Kong must touch the barrel before it floats down and disappears below the screen, wasting an extra life for nothing. In the world maps of Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, it is also possible to spend one extra life to summon a player's defeated Kong during the multiplayer mode. At the same way, when adding a second player in the world maps, if two Kongs are already present, no extra life will be spent to assign the assist character for this player.

In Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, one or two red Extra Life Balloons can be found inside some Bonus Rooms. The player can keep the collected balloons even if they fail to clear the Bonus Room. In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, if the player is able to collect at least sixty-six bananas in any Bonus Rooms, they will always earn one red Extra Life Balloon after leaving. In the same games, red Extra Life Balloons can also be received by bouncing on unprotected enemies for at least eight times consecutively, or by throwing a wooden barrel and defeating a series of eight or more enemies. In both cases, if the player is able to keep the attacks going after the eighth enemy, they will be rewarded with additional Extra Life Balloons for each new enemy defeated.

In the Time Attack mode of Donkey Kong Country Returns, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, there are no Extra Life Balloons, and extra lives cannot be lost in the same mode. The Super Guide mode, an assisted mode in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D which allows to skip levels, can be prompted by the player after they lose eight extra lives, or five lives in the New Mode of the Nintendo 3DS game version, inside the same level. In the same mode, if the player takes control of the Super Kongs, and they are defeated, the player does not lose an extra life, but they are sent outside of the current level.

In the Cranky Kong's Shop from Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, the player can use Banana Coins to purchase bundles containing one, three or seven red Extra Life Balloons. In the Funky Kong's Fly 'N' Buy shop from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the player can also exchange Banana Coins for multiple red Extra Life Balloons per time.

Gallery

Artwork

Sprites

Trivia

  • In the SNES versions of the games Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Country 3, it is possible for the player to earn more than ninety-nine extra lives, beyond the maximum counter shown in the games. However, even if the player saves their current progress in a game file, most of the collected extra lives are lost when they load the same game file. This issue is not present in the GBA versions of the mentioned games, and later games, where the game files always keep track of the current number of extra lives. At the same note, any extra lives collected after the counter hits ninety-nine are not recognized in the GBA version games and later games.
  • In the game Donkey Kong Country 2, the gray variant of the enemy Klobber, a Kremling disguised as a regular wooden barrel, is capable of expelling single red Extra Life Balloons from the heroes without defeat them by ramming against them, making the player to lose extra lives in the process. If the player is quick enough, they still can recover the lost red Extra Life Balloon before it floats away in SNES version or disappears in the GBA version of the game.
  • In the game Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and the New Mode of the game Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Green Balloons are present, but they are no longer used for receiving two extra lives like in the previous games. Their function is now to save Kongs after they fall into pits by making them to float up temporarily and allowing the player to steer the Green Balloon left and right to reach safe ground. The same item can only be purchased from the Cranky Kong's Shop in the New Mode of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, and the Funky Kong's Fly 'N' Buy shop in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. To be used once, the Green Balloons must be first equipped in the Inventory menu by the player after selecting a level in the world maps. In the New Mode of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, the item cannot be equipped in levels with vehicle sections, such as mine carts and Rocket Barrels. In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the Green Balloon can be equipped even in levels where there are no pits, but it does not work in pits of vehicle sections. The item does not work inside the Bonus Rooms of both games either. If the player equips a Green Balloon and does not use it during a level, the item will return to the Inventory menu after they clearing or leaving the same level.
  • Blue Balloons can also be purchased from the Funky's Fly 'N' Buy shop in the game Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Here, instead of earning three extra lives like in the previous games, they instantly refill the main characters' air meter after it runs out when they are underwater. Similar to Green Balloons, Blue Balloons must be equipped first by the player in the Inventory menu after selecting a level in the world maps of the game to be used. Blue Balloons can be equipped even in levels without underwater sections. If the player equips the item, visits a level and does not use it, the Blue Balloon is not lost after clearing or leaving the same level, it returns to the Inventory menu.

References

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