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"Introducing Donkey Kong Country, the first fully-rendered game EVER. Where YOU gonna find it? NOT on Sega. NOT on 32X adaptors. NOT on CD-ROM. It's only for SUPER NES."

Introduced in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and ported to the Game Boy Color four years later and to the Game Boy Advance six years after that, Donkey Kong Country introduced the groundbreaking technique of using pre-rendered 3D graphics in a 2D console game[1], and marked the final decisive milestone in the early-to-mid '90s Console Wars between the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, with the latter emerging in the lead in the west. It also brought the star of Donkey Kong back into the limelight (though the game makes it clear that the Donkey Kong you play as is different from the original, and that the original Donkey Kong is the older and aptly named Cranky Kong. The Mario vs. Donkey Kong games may have Ret Conned this though).

The original trilogy on the Super Nintendo features a developed three-part story arc. In the first game, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong must reclaim their stolen banana hoard as well as defend their island from the invading army of reptilian-humanoid Kremlings, who apparently want to milk the island dry of its myriad natural resources with their monstrous factories. In the second game, Donkey Kong is ape-napped and held for ransom (a ransom of bananas, of course) by the Kremlings' master of disguise leader, King Kaptain K. Rool, and so Diddy and his girl-friend Dixie must travel to the Kremling homeland, Crocodile Isle, to rescue him. In the third game, the Kongs' celebratory vacation in the Northern Kremisphere is cut short when the Kremlings arise once again, this time under the leadership of the mysterious Kaos (not to be confused with that other KAOS), and the Kongs start going missing. It's up to Dixie and her enormous, super-strong infant cousin, Kiddy Kong, to get to the bottom of things.

Donkey Kong 64, from 1999, brought the series onto the third dimension in a big way, and is considered by many to be the last "true" entry (considered by others to be a Banjo-Kazooie clone[2]) in the Donkey Kong Country saga (although the Paon games work within the same continuity). In it, King K. Rool returns with a vengeance. Figuring that if he and his people can't have Donkey Kong's island, nobody can, so he steers an enormous high-tech warship next to it and plans to blast it right off the face of the Earth with his secret weapon, the Blast-O-Matic. This game unites a Five-Man Band of Kongs (Donkey, Diddy, Dixie's sister Tiny, Kiddy's brother Chunky, and odd-man-out Lanky, although other familiar faces such as Cranky and Funky lend a hand along the way) who set out to find a series of 200 solid-gold giant bananas and the missing blueprints to the Blast-O-Matic in an effort to trounce the Kremlings for the final time.

Supporting NPCs in the series include:

  • Cranky Kong, who reminisces about the old days of video games and gives advice
  • Funky Kong, whose jet barrels allow Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong to return to any previously completed level
  • Candy Kong, who had a save point in the original game
  • Wrinkly Kong, Cranky's wife, who in the second game ran a school called Kong College which gave players tips about how to play the game, and where players could also save their game
  • Swanky Kong, who in the second game hosted a quiz game in which players could answer trivia questions in order to win extra lives

The Game Boy Color port of Donkey Kong Country has two extra mini-games: Funky Kong's Fishing Minigame and Candy's Challenge, where you perform in luck-based tasks similar to the various Bonus Stages. Funky's Fishing Game is also seen in the Game Boy Advance port, though Candy's Challenge is replaced by Candy's Dance Studio. Also in the GBA port, the player can fill the Kongs' scrapbook by finding cameras and performing in-game feats of varying difficulty. The GBA port of Donkey Kong Country 2 contains the mini-games Expresso Racing and Funky's Flight Challenges, in addition to bringing back the scrapbook feature. There is also a new boss, Kerozene, to fight. In both games, all the mini-games must be won each time they're encountered and the scrapbook must be completely filled in order to achieve the highest completion percentage. (In the port of 2, there is an additional mini-game at Klubba's Kiosk called Bag a Bug, but playing it is completely optional.) The GBA port of Donkey Kong Country 3 contains the mini-games Funky's Rentals, Cranky's Dojo, and Swanky's Dash. There is no scrapbook feature this time around. All of Funky's challenges must be completed to achieve the highest percentage, but Cranky and Swanky's games need only to be won once. The game also adds a new boss, Kroctopus, and a new area, Pacifica, containing six additional levels.

Each installment had a Game Boy counterpart under the name Donkey Kong Land. Land translated the pre-rendered graphics of its sister series as well as it could to the Game Boy's small, monochrome screen and usually featured new levels.

A Racing Game Spin-Off appeared as Diddy Kong Racing. There was to be a sequel to Diddy Kong Racing called Donkey Kong Racing (go figure), but Rare's contract with Nintendo for usage of the Donkey Kong franchise ran out. Then Rare got bought out by Microsoft, demolishing any remaining hope that the contract might be renewed. However, Nintendo did toy with the franchise for a while, producing the Donkey Konga trilogy of rhythm games with Namco as well as Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, an underrated action-platformer that is not set in the DKC continuity, but is nevertheless very reminiscent of its style. Following this, they handed the character over to Paon, a company that produced Donkey Kong King Of Swing for the Game Boy advance, Barrel Blast for the Wii and Jungle Climber for the DS.

Donkey Kong Country also had a short-lived French CGI-animated series based off it; several elements from this show ended up in Donkey Kong 64. Information on the series can be found here.

In 2010, Nintendo and Retro Studios of Metroid Prime fame released Donkey Kong Country Returns, a revival of the series with 2.5 graphics. While underwater stages and the Kremlings were excised from the game, it was well-received by both critics and fans of the series.

The characters in this series can be found here.

NOTE: Donkey Kong 64 and Donkey Kong Country Returns have their own pages; please list tropes specific to them there.


Tropes named from the Donkey Kong Country universe:

Other tropes used:

  • Abandoned Mine: Presumably, where the Minecart Madness takes place...
  • Abnormal Ammo: The speckled eggs that Squawks the parrot fires from its mouth.
    • Not to mention that in 64, four out of six Kongs use food as ammo, another uses feathers, and one uses an all-mighty boot.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Almost all the levels in the Donkey Kong Country series use either this trope or Sublime Rhyme for the level names ("Hot-head Hop" "Gusty Glades," etc) Most of the rest rely on Just for Pun; see Viewers Are Geniuses below.
  • Adipose Rex: King K. Rool.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: King Zing in Rambi Rumble.
  • All There in the Manual: The level and world names in the first Donkey Kong Land, mostly because of limitations.
  • Alluring Anglerfish: Glimmer from DKC2.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Krazy Kremland in DKC2.
  • Animated Adaptation: The French CGI cartoon Donkey Kong Country.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Nobody really cares since the games aren't meant to be taken seriously, but there are countless cases of animals that are much bigger than their real life counterparts, most notably giant insects, beavers and birds, and many that are much smaller, probably the most notable case being Rambi, who is about the same size as Donkey Kong, where real rhinos are the size of cars.
  • Artistic License Biology: Ellie the Elephant in DKC3. Able to make truly impressive leaps and bounds.. Despite the fact that elephants, famously, are not able to jump.
    • Apes can't swim, either.
      • Especially not in icy or polluted water.
    • Crocodiles are not herbivores at all, let alone banana-eaters.
      • Lampshaded in this Brawl in the Family strip.
      • Given that you always get back your full banana hoard, it's more likely that K.Rool steals them just to piss the Kong family off.
  • Ash Face: Happens to Kaptain K. Rool in the final boss battle of Donkey Kong Country 2, when his blunderbuss explodes. Multiple times.
  • Badass in Distress: Donkey Kong in DKC2 and 3; Diddy Kong in 3.
  • Bad Export for You: "Jungle Fantasy", the Japanese OST for the original DKC, contained seven arranged songs, all exclusive to the soundtrack. The OST was eventually released in Amercia as "DK Jamz", though out of all the arrangements, it only contained Jungle Groove, leaving out the other six songs (two examples).
  • Bash Brothers: Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong.
  • Battle Couple: Diddy and Dixie Kong in DKC2.
  • Battle Theme Music: Each game in the series has one score used for normal boss battles and another for K. Rool.
  • Behind the Black: This concept's used in force to make Hundred-Percent Completion damn near impossible, especially given how many collectible items are in the GBA remakes. Fortunately, Rare was merciful enough to give occasional hints of secrets: that banana is visible through those tree leaves / half-off-screen / in that "bottomless" pit for a reason, and the field of view might gradually pan down / up / ahead, in preparation for a Leap of Faith. Slow down a bit and watch for it carefully.
  • BFS: Kleever from DKC2. Kutlasses from the same game carries two cutlasses larger than themselves.
  • Big Bad: King K. Rool
  • Bleak Level: The caverns.
  • Bonus Stage: The 2D games are absolutely loaded with hidden bonus areas of varying kinds. Finding them (and in [DKC2 and 3, winning them) is often necessary for achieving Hundred-Percent Completion. In order to do this for DKC or DKC2, you'll have to find a bonus stage hidden inside another bonus stage. Not funny, Rare!
  • Boss Only Level: Every boss.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Simian Segue (also known as the Jungle Japes theme) is without a doubt the most popular music from the series, and is essentially used as the series' theme.
    • Technically, there already was a Donkey Kong theme (from the original) that is used in the intro of DKC1. Then DKC2 remixed Simian Segue Swing for its Bonus Stages, and they haven't looked back since.
    • Also, DKC1's bonus theme was remixed and made into DKC3's main theme.
  • Breakout Character: When Diddy proved more popular than Donkey Kong in DKC1, he was promoted to main character status in DKC2, only to see his sidekick Dixie overshadow him and get promoted to main character in DKC3.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: This series was the previous Trope Namer. Granted, "Krem Quay" wasn't the most understandable choice.
  • The Caligula: King K. Rool.
  • Canon Foreigner: Bluster Kong, Eddie the Mean Old Yeti, and Polly Roger in the CGI cartoon.
  • Check Point Starvation: Donkey Kong Country 3 has a code that removes all of the check point barrels.
  • Chest Monster: In Donkey Kong Country 2, "Klobbers" are Kremlings disguised as barrels until you come close. Ordinary Klobbers merely knock you around non-lethally, but yellow Klobbers knkock bananas off of you, and black Klobbers (with their Red Eyes, Take Warning) knock extra life balloons off of you (still non-lethally). And then there's the TNT Klobbers....
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Chunky and Kiddy Kong haven't been showing up in any recent games, not even a Mario game. This is despite Kiddy Kong being announced to return in Donkey Kong Racing (which never came to be in the end).
    • Don't forget Rattly the Rattlesnake. Winky and Expresso at least got a Shout-Out here and there...
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: During the first fight against Kaptain K. Rool in the Flying Krock, K. Rool is seen beating Donkey Kong with the butt of his blunderbuss, followed by shooting three (comically large) cannonballs point-blank.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Crocodile Cauldron from DKC2.
  • Convenient Weakness Placement: Many of the bosses in the Donkey Kong Country series have barrels or cannonballs that appear in the Boss Room for no reason, which you then use to damage the otherwise invincible boss. Some of the bosses may even pretty much hand you a barrel or cannonball, usually at their end of their attack cycle (after which they would just stand there and wait for you to hit them with it).
  • Cool Old Guy: Cranky Kong. He makes potions that help you in DK64.
  • Cool Old Lady: Wrinkly Kong. She saves your game in DKC2 and DKC3.
  • Credits Medley: The GBA remake of DKC3 has one.
  • Crutch Character: When you get really good at DKC2, Dixie turns into this. Diddy is just plain faster and navigates through tighter spaces.
  • Crosshair Aware: Krack-Shot Kroc, in DKC3.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Haven't played the game in a decade or so? Just for fun, try replaying some of the bonus levels, especially the ones in the treetop worlds that involve the Kongs having to aim for a moving barrel offscreen. That's right. You can still do it. ... Now try messing up on purpose in these levels, say, to avoid the annoying animal bonus runs. You can't.
    • In the original trilogy, rolling/cartwheeling/ponytail spinning into an enemy would give you a burst of momentum, allowing you to easily take out whole rows of enemies with just one attack. In Donkey Kong Country Returns, the roll goes farther and faster, but does not have this property. In the very first level, almost right away, you'll encounter three basic enemies in a row. If you try to roll through them all like in the old days, your roll will end just in time for you to slam into the third enemy and get hurt. I have a hard time believing this wasn't done on purpose.
    • That damned rocket barrel from Rocket Rush! Left fires the left rocket, which pushes you right, and vice versa...
  • Darker and Edgier: Donkey Kong Country 2 has this in certain aspects compared to the rest of the trilogy. Otherwise, it's just as light-hearted as the other two games.
  • Death Throws
  • Digitized Sprites
  • Down the Drain: The pipe levels in DKC3.
  • The Dragon: KAOS.
  • Dug Too Deep: The mine levels in the first game.
  • Eek! a Mouse!: Stereotypical "scared elephant" version, which makes Murky Mill in DKC3 interesting. Some of you may have wondered why Ellie doesn't freak out when a Sneek's under a nearby light but she's not; her apparently poor eyesight explains the short range of vision, too. This anti-rat panic also sets up the frustrating challenge of Stampede Sprint!
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Donkey Kong for Candy Kong, and Diddy Kong for Dixie Kong.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Subverted in a rather interesting fashion. There are enemies trying to kill you for no obvious reason (Zingers, Armys), but there are also numerous small animals that can be seen crawling, hopping, flying, or swimming around the levels. The latter have no effect on you; they're just scenery.
  • Excited Episode Title: Was that exclamation mark always there? Nope, they appear when you find all the bonus stages in a level.
  • Exploding Barrels
  • Expy: Most enemies introduced in the original game don't appear in the two sequels, but have obvious analogues. In Donkey Kong 64, most of the original enemies from the first game returned, leaving their Expies high and dry (Klobber and Kablam from DKC2 also appeared, but they had no analogue in the first game).
  • Face Ship: The Gang Plank Galleon has K. Rool's head built at the front.
  • Flunky Boss: Dumb Drum. Notably, you don't even harm the boss itself in the original SNES version and its Game Boy Color port. Just kill all the enemies it produces and it'll destroy itself.
    • It does keep smashing itself into the ground to try to squish you, so you might argue that it basically smashed itself to death.
  • Follow the Money: Aside from the usual hints of bonuses, the bananas remind players how or when to use advanced moves in the early levels, and can be a last-second warning on how to avoid a death. (On the other hand, see Schmuck Bait below.)
    • Subverted in a couple of Bonus Stages in DKC2 -- they're mazes, and the bananas indicate dead ends.
  • For the Evulz: It seems the only reason K. Rool had his troops steal DK's banana hoard, aside from possibly food, was simply to steal it.
  • Gainax Ending: The 103% Completion ending of DKC3. K. Rool, who in that game had been presented as a mad scientist, had actually cast a magic spell to trap the Mother Banana Bird, who lives in the clouds. The only way to visit her is to get all of the DK coins, which somehow allows Funky to build a Helicopter that you use to find the last of the Banana Birds trapped in the "Simon Caves", at which point the Banana Birds magically free her and she drops a giant egg on K. Rool as he tries to escape on your Hovercraft. This ending goes to show that it's possible to have a Gainax Ending in a game that's already pretty weird, so long as you include the necessary Gainax elements of introducing a bunch of weird new elements that hadn't been mentioned that really don't fit in with the game's already established weirdness.
  • Game Breaking Bug: There's a bug in the Castle Crush level of DKC2 that crashes the game, and from there can generally end in three ways: option one is nothing important happens, option two is all of your saves getting deleted, and the third option, if luck isn't on your side, can render the game cartridge itself pretty much screwed over beyond repair-- thus being a literally game-breaking bug.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Averted in the opening of the GBA version of DKC. Diddy Kong has no trouble defending the Banana Hoard from Kremlings until a Krusha shows up. Diddy can't defeat Krushas on his own.
  • Genre Savvy: After a short while of playing any of these games, an observant player will be able to correctly guess where some of the secret areas and items are hidden, even without (entirely) relying on checking every possible wall or pit.
  • Get on the Boat / You Must Be This Tall to Enter: DKC3, and you have to change vehicles four or five times over the course of the game.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Literally. A few potential answers to Swanky's quizzes in DKC2 are "Kaptain K. Rapp" and "K. Rapp's Keep".
    • Even worse, in the GBA port of DKC, Funky has been known to greet DK and Diddy with "Dude, tell Candy she can ride my wave anytime!"
  • Gimmick Level: lots of them, especially in the later games. Apparently, adding new enemies along with the obviously different level maps just wasn't enough. At least half the levels in the SNES series had unique or very rare gimmicks. A few examples:
  • Gotta Catch Em All: Grew steadily worse as the series went along. In DKC1, you don't have to collect a darn thing if you don't want, and the only difference in the ending is that a single line of dialogue from Cranky will be changed very slightly if you found everything. In DKC2, you have to collect all the Kremcoins in order to access all the levels, but the DK Coins are merely an extra challenge for the player, not necessary in any way. Things started getting out of hand with DKC3, where you really did have to collect absolutely everything in order to get the best ending. And then DK64 took things Up to Eleven
  • Green Aesop: Done in a subtle fashion. The Kremlings own grim and polluted factory areas like Kremkroc Industries and Mekanos, and have ruined Crocodile Isle with oil, toxic waste and trash, while the Kongs live happily on Donkey Kong Isle, in harmony with nature. In addition, Frantic Factory is shown as being a dreary and depressing place, with spooky music and a dark atmosphere.
  • Guide Dang It: The locations of some of the bonus rooms.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Sunken Spruce from the GBA port of DKC3 combines a tree level with Under the Sea.
  • Hair of Gold: Most female Kongs have this.
  • Hard Levels Easy Bosses: The first game, for the most part, with the exception of K. Rool himself.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: The Bramble levels.
  • Heli Critter/Helicopter Hair: Dixie Kong, who uses her ponytail as a propeller.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Baron K. Roolenstein in DKC3.
  • Hints Are for Losers: The manual for 2 has a section called "Cranky's Hint". There, Cranky just berates you for being so naive and tell you to buy the upcoming Nintendo Power guide instead.
  • Hooks and Crooks: The Krook enemy throws boomeranging hooks at you.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: Donkey Kong and Winky and Expresso, later Kiddy and Squawks and Squitter. Rattly got off easy...
  • Humanoid Female Animal: Of the Kongs from DKC, Candy is the most human looking; the next Kong to get this treatment is Tiny after her age up.
  • Hundred-Percent Completion: Played with. DKC 1 actually goes up to 101%, DKC 2 goes up to 102%, and DKC3 goes up to 103%. You can even take the last one up to 105% by using a special cheat code which makes the game harder.
    • Strangely, Donkey Kong Land III also goes up to 103%, but the first two DKL games only went up to 100%.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: Whichever Kong's following you in DKC3. Probably the code to make them stand still got removed to make space in a 32 megabit cartridge.
  • Improvised Platform: Squitter can create spiderwebs in the air as platforms.
    • One level of 3 requires throwing barrels in the water as platforms as the water is infested with a Nibbla.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The "true" ending to DKC2 features Crocodile Isle exploding and sinking beneath the waves, and the only survivor that we see is K.Rool sailing away by himself on a raft. Obviously the Kremlings weren't completely wiped out, considering that we see more of them in the following games, but that had to cause a lot of casualties.
  • Infinite Flashlight: Squawks in the first game and Glimmer in the second.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The exclamation point barrel.
  • Invincible Minor Minion:
    • Clambos in DKC1
    • Red Zingers in DKC1 and 2.
    • Snapjaw in DKC2
    • Red Buzzes, Kopters, and the bee swarm in DKC3.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: In DKC 1, you are treated to a depressing screen of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong in bandages when you get a game over.
  • Justified Extra Lives: In the original trilogy, the Extra Life Balloons are just there for you to collect. In Returns, they play a more involving role by carrying Donkey and/or Diddy back into the stage after dying, and during co-op, if one player dies but the other is still active, one of your balloons will eventually carry in a new DK Barrel for you to break and get the other player back in the game.
  • Kaizo Trap: King K.Rool loves this. There's fake credits in the middle of the final fight in the first game, and his last attack can kill you after you beat him in the second game.
  • Killed Off for Real: Unfortunately, poor Wrinkly Kong since DK64 came out. Though averted in the sense that her ghost has appeared in several subsequent games.
  • King Mook: Every boss in DKC1 except for K. Rool; Krow and King Zing in DKC2, Barbos in DKC3.
    • Well, arguably even K. Rool. He's the king of the Kremlings, and Kremlings serve as mooks.
    • Lampshaded in DK64 in the manual by Cranky Kong. As well, there's a giant beaver near the end of the first level, but it's not the boss.
  • Koosh Bomb: Used as an impact effect whenever any character gets hit.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Cranky Kong does this a lot by complaining about the generally silly tone amongst other things. See also Meta Guy below.
  • Last-Note Nightmare: The series' Nightmare Fuel page cites the death-against-K-Rool music to have been cut (from a game with so much Nightmare Fuel, no less) because it was too scary. The Last Note Nightmare trope is the exact reason behind that.
  • Lead the Target: It's not done by a gunman, but rather, bolts of lightning in the Lightning Lookout level of DKC3. The bolts of lightning will always hit you if you constantly hold forward.
  • Legacy Character: Cranky Kong is the DK from the early 1980s arcade games.
    • Along those lines, it's mentioned in various sources that the main character of these games was Donkey Kong, Jr. from the game of the same name.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Crocodile Cauldron in DKC2.
  • Live Item: The Banana Birds.
  • The Lost Woods: Vine Valley in DKC1, Gloomy Gulch in DKC2, and Kremwood Forest in DKC3.
  • Mad Scientist: K. Rool(enstein) in DKC3.
    • Cranky is depicted this way in Donkey Kong 64, providing powerups in the form of potions.
  • Make My Monster Grow: King K. Rool at the end of Jungle Climber.
  • Mascot Mook: While many would be tempted to just say the Kremlings, the enemy who's arguably the most qualified are the Zingers. Not just because they appear in so many games, but they tend to have the most minimal changes between games compared to the other enemies.
  • Meaningful Name: K. Rool.
    • Also Diddy, whose name means "short".
  • Medium Awareness: Cranky Kong is constantly complaining about the game's graphics, recalling the "good old days" (he was the original Donkey Kong from the arcade games).
  • Meta Guy: Cranky Kong is aware that he is in a game and complains of the newer superior graphics as opposed to the single screen gameplay of back in his day.
  • Misguided Missile: One of the steps to beating Barbos' Barrier in DKC3 is redirecting seashell-shaped missiles to hit the Lurchins blocking her.
  • Mono-Gender Monsters: The Kremlings, though finally subverted in Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast/Jet Race.
  • Mood Dissonance: Possible subjective, but with music like Stickerbush Symphony, you would think that the game had some deep meaning and isn't just about some cute monkeys running around jumping on crocodile Pirates for an Excuse Plot.
    • True Art Is Angsty much? A game doesn't have to be "deep" to be beautiful. DKC2 is a prime example.
  • More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: Many enemies qualify, but Klaptrap, Klampon, Snapjaw, and Lockjaw in particular.
  • Name's the Same: The song in Donkey Kong Country 3's factory levels was named "Nuts and Bolts".
    • One of the two piranha enemies in DKC2 is named "Snapjaw". "Snapjaw" is also the name of an enemy from the 1982 arcade game Donkey Kong Junior (they're the blue and red "walking bear trap" enemies).
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: King K. Rool (Cruel AND a Hard K sound in the name), and pretty much every single villain in the entire series.
    • It helps that K. Rool is kind of a bumbler, though. With homicidal - er, apecidal intent, but still a bumbler.
  • Never Say "Die": Klubba in Diddy's Kong Quest says "Try that again an' it's Davey Jones Locker f' ye! A-harrh!" if you choose to fight him at any Klubba's Kiosk.
  • Nintendo Hard: The whole series is pretty challenging, but especially DKC2.
    • In Diddy's Kong Quest, you've battled your way through King Kaptain K. Rool's castle. You're at the final stage, when the Kaptain suddenly escapes into an airship. But before you can follow him, you have to go through a briar patch. "Screech's Sprint", in particular.
    • Web Woods from the same game. Putting the DK coin in the goal roulette at the end of an incredibly long and tedious level is just downright sadistic, especially when you consider the fact that that DK Coin is there only for, like, 0.1 seconds.
    • Mudhole Marsh does something similar, but instead of an easy to time barrel cannon, you have to bounce off one of Kannon's shots. At least the coin is up there a bit longer.
    • Toxic Tower, anyone? The first half of the level is literally "one misstep, you die". And did I mention you're playing that section as Rattly the snake, the hardest animal buddy to use in the entire series?
    • Truth be told, the game ratchets the difficulty up to Nintendo Hard around the end of World 4 (Krazy Kremland). It begins to stray into Platform Hell as you get into the Lost World.
    • Animal Antics. Most of the level isn't too bad. Until you reach Squawks' stage, however. Take the Nintendo Hard-ness of the usual Stickerbrush Symphony areas. Now add gusting winds. And extremely narrow passageways. And gusting winds. And hordes upon hordes of wasps. Oh, and did I mention the goddamn gusting winds? Those who are lucky to make it through then get introduced to Rattly's area. It's not overly hard, but it's not too hard to miss a jump over a pit of spikes, and since you will likely have one hit left in you after Squawks' area, if you make said-mistake and die, you have to go through Squawks' area all over again.
    • Klobber Karnage, especially when you reach the Barrels that you have to take across the spike pits in which you have to also avoid Zingers.
  • No Fourth Wall: The original series derived a lot of humor from this, although it was toned down as the series progressed. Perhaps the most extreme example was Donkey Kong Land's instruction manual story, where Cranky argued with DK and Diddy that Donkey Kong Country was only successful because of its graphics, and dared them to defeat K. Rool again on the inferior Game Boy.
    • Most game manuals back then had a "notes" page for players to scribble in. Cranky lampshades "Who uses these pages anyway? Waste of paper if you ask me."
  • Non-Lethal KO: Any time you lose a life, they go flying, followed by a short animation of them getting knocked out before being sent back to the map screen.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Kalypso.
  • Notable Commercial Campaigns: Besides the many TV commercials, Nintendo sent a 15-minute behind the scenes VHS tape to most Nintendo Power subscribers. It featured interviews with the people who tested the game (in Redmond, Washington), a few game tips, and a teaser for Killer Instinct Gold for the Nintendo 64.
  • Official Couple: Diddy and Dixie are canonically boyfriend and girlfriend. As are DK and Candy.
  • Oh Crap: The typical player reaction to the bramble section in Animal Antics. "Well, this isn't so hard. Squitter can handle this section pretty easily. Wait... is that... wind? Well, at least I'm not playing this level as anything that's vulnerable to being blown around. *sees Squawks barrel* Oh crap..."
    • Also the same reaction you'll probably get when you hear DK64's "GET OUT!" guy.
    • Rambi Rumble, anyone? This Troper was scared out of her wits when she turned around and saw that giant bee coming for the first time.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: In all three DKC games. In Donkey Kong 64, the characters start off with four hit points, with Candy Kong giving them an extra four on two occasions. DKC Returns allows the characters to take two hits before going down.
  • Orphaned Series: Rareware ran away with its mistress Microsoft, so the series had to live with its absentee uncle Nintendo for a while and was eventually adopted by Paon, then later Retro Studios. Rareware lost custody, but still gets to visit the series on handhelds as Microsoft doesn't have its own.
  • Palette Swap: Klubba and Kudgel in DKC2, as well as numerous minor enemies. Lampshaded by Cranky Kong in the GBA port of DKC1.

 Cranky: It's just like the old days, reusing the boss, changing its color and pretending it's completely new.

  • Periphery Demographic: Invoked with Wrinkly playing on a cutting-edge game system.
  • Piranha Problem: Lockjaw and Snapjaw from DKC2, Nibbla from DKC3.
  • Pirates: The Kremlings become pirates for no particular reason (besides the Rule of Cool) in Donkey Kong Country 2.
    • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: They do lots of evil things, but no actual pirating.
      • Except steal bananas and kidnap unsuspecting apes.
      • They were always pirates, they just didn't embrace that role.
  • Powerup Mount: Most of the Animal Buddies you meet throughout the games; Rambi the Rhino is particularly iconic of the series.
    • Enguarde and Squawks are the only Animal Buddies to appear in ALL of the first three games, though Enguarde is the only one who's rideable in every appearance.
  • Prehensile Hair: Dixie Kong uses her ponytail to pick up barrels.
    • And as a helicopter blade, which makes her kind of a Game Breaker.
  • Previous Player Character Cameo: Cranky Kong.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Except for one secret character, Barrel Blast paired a Kremling with identical stats against each Kong; some of them were Ascended Mooks, while others were completely new characters.
  • Recurring Boss: Obviously K. Rool, but Krow from the second game is fought twice. Once at its nest, and once as a ghost.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The Game Boy Color port of DKC lifted songs from Donkey Kong Land and DKL III.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kloak and Kackle from the second game.
  • Regional Bonus: The Japanese version of Donkey Kong Land III was for the Game Boy Color. Unfortunately, it was missing animation frames and your last time displayed at the bottom of the screen during time trials over the Game Boy version.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Cranky Kong's wife Wrinkly appeared out of nowhere in DKC2. If Cranky had a wife, shouldn't we have heard about her in DKC1?
  • Retired Badass: It's easy to forget that Cranky was the original Donkey Kong.
  • Rhino Rampage: Rambi
  • Ring Out Boss: Belcha in DKC3. Squirt is an inversion; he tries to ring you out.
  • Rolling Attack: Donkey Kong and Kiddy Kong have a rolling attack, while Diddy Kong has a cartwheel attack. Armies also do this.
  • Rule of Three: In Donkey Kong Country 2, each "habitat" has three levels dedicated to it (not counting boss stages). For instance, Lockjaw's Locker, Lava Lagoon, Glimmer's Galleon are the three sunken ships levels, while Target Terror, Rickety Race, and (the admittedly background-swapped) Haunted Hall make up the roller coaster triad.
  • Scenery Porn: The Rareware games are chock full of it.
  • Schmuck Bait: Yes, some of those bunches of bananas can be grabbed... if you don't mind redoing the level. Inverted with lone bananas, invariably a bottomless pit with a single banana (or sometimes no bananas!) will leads to a Bonus Stage or something.
    • However, in DKC2 and DKC3, you can have your partner mount your shoulders by tapping the A button and throw him/her at the banana hovering at the bottomless pit. Don't worry. He/she'll come back.
  • Sealed Good in a Can
  • Second Verse Curse: Most versions and remixes of the Bootstrapped Theme, "DK Island Swing," leave out the second, "slower" part entirely, in favor of the more upbeat opening. It's part of the tune, though. Just listen to the Super Smash Bros. versions
    • Averted in Donkey Kong Country Returns: Not only is the second half present in the remix of Island Swing, it also gets a remix of its own.
  • Sequel Snark: In the GBA remake, after the Kongs jump overboard and King K. Rool sails off, Cranky remarks, "Call that an ending? Looks like a cheap stunt setting up the story for the sequel!" In the Hero Mode ending, he tells Diddy, "You have really surpassed yourself! Who knows? Maybe you'll make the sequel."
  • Sequence Breaking: Not so much in DKC3, but in DKC2 several jumping puzzles can be avoided by using Dixie's helicopter spin to glide over them.
  • Serious Business: The Donkey Kong Universe, originally. Though nowadays they just poke fun at their crazy theories and attempts to expain discrepancies, such as the Kongs having extra fingers in Mario sports titles, two Enguardes in Coral Capers, and changes to the story in the remakes.
  • Shout-Out: Some of the levels were named after music references. "Vulture Culture" is also the name of an album by The Alan Parsons Project, and "Fear Factory" is the same name of a metal band that popped up at the time of the game's release.
    • In DKC2, Cranky mentions wanting to play Killer Instinct.
      • Donkey Kong Land III also features a mill level called "Miller Instinct".
    • DKC3 has Wrinkly occasionally playing her Nintendo 64 when you go to save... when that's the case, you can clearly hear a rearrangement of the Super Mario 64 castle theme.
    • Also, when you start a bonus stage in DKC3, the music starts by going "BAH-BAH doo, BAH-BAH doo"... quite similar to the main theme to a popular spy movie series, the latest of which was being adapted to a video game by Rare at the time DKC3 came out...
    • After you destroy KAOS in 3, K. Rool says "He was my ticket to world domination... and I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: There's one of these in practically every game. In DKC3, there are enemies in these areas called Slippa, who literally slip and slide around the area trying to run into you (though you yourself do not slide).
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Ripsaw Rage from DKC3 contains a giant saw slowly creeping up a treehouse level as calm music plays. The new happy-go-lucky music in the GBA version is even more dissonant.
  • The Spiny: Zingers. Beating them typically requires a thrown barrel, an animal ally, or invincibility.
    • Red Zingers take it Up to Eleven, being completely invulnerable except to TNT barrels.
    • DKC2 has an enemy actually called Spiny, and it fits the trope. The only way to kill them is to roll into them head on.
  • Strange Secret Entrance: Some secret levels are accessed by unintuitively jumping down "bottomless" pits into off-screen barrel cannons.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Played straight in the N64 and in the Country/Land trilogy. The Kongs can stay underwater indefinitely without needing air. Averted in Donkey Kong Country Returns, where both Donkey and Diddy Kong drown the moment they fall into water.
    • Also averted in the Gyrocopter missions in the GBA version of DKC2, which have an air meter.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: In Japan, the series is called Super Donkey Kong.
  • Tag Team: the Kongs can switch out if both are out. Averted in the Land trilogy due to limitations.
  • Take That: "Where YOU gonna find it? NOT on Sega. NOT on 32X adaptors. NOT on CD-ROM. It's only for SUPER NES."
    • The whole plot of Donkey Kong Land is a response to Shigeru Miyamoto verbally trashing DKC in an interview.
    • In Donkey Kong Country 2, Cranky Kong opens a museum for (Nintendo) Video Game Heroes. Earthworm Jim's gun and Sonic the Hedgehog's shoes can be seen tossed next to a trash can with a sign that says "NO HOPERS" on it. Heavy.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: Gleamin' Bream in the third game. Poking him with Enguarde will get him to light the area around him for a few seconds. Also applies to the barrels that temporarily lights up the screen in Glimmer's Galleon in Donkey Kong Land 2.
    • There's also Stop And Go Station in the first, featuring the Rock Krocs.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The female Kongs have long blonde hair. And Dixie has pink toenails.
    • Of course you'd be forgetting that Candy has, and always had, a decent pair of, ahem, secondaries.
  • Theme Naming: Damn near every species of Kremling has a name which includes "K", usually as the initial. The name sums up either its appearance or its behavior. Just a few of dozens of examples:
    • Kutlass wildly swings 2 long blades
    • Klasp hangs from horizontal ropes and vines; Klinger climbs vertical ropes and chains
    • Kloak wears a huge jacket that conceals his face when he attacks.
    • Kackle makes an evil laugh when one of your characters dies in his level.
    • Kopter drifts high and low with his blade-spinning
    • Rekoil bounces very high, and very quickly
    • Bazuka fires barrels across chasms; some as stepping stones, others as lethal obstacles
    • Klobber is strong enough to bump the Kongs off ledges!
    • Krackshot is (apparently) the enemy who shoots from offscreen in DKC3's level bearing his name.
    • Krusha, Kruncha, and Krumple are far too brawny to be harmed by certain basic attacks. If you forget, Krusha and Krumple will remind you with a mocking chuckle.
  • Totally Radical: Funky, natch.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: What else? Bananas!
  • Trick Shot Puzzle: Some clever planning and carefully timed steel-keg throws will be needed to separate Koin from a DK Coin. [4] (Bananas will mark a few of the correct positions.)
  • Turns Red (some of the bosses)
    • Also the Kruncha enemies in DKC2, if you jump on them. They also get faster, but after a while they get back to their usual blue tone.
  • Underground Monkey: The GBA port of the first game was particularly plagued with them, although they do show up elsewhere.
  • Under the Sea: The coral reef levels in the first and third games, the ship hold levels in the second.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In Krack Shot Kroc in the third game, one of the bonus levels has you control Krosshair, where you need to shoot down Kremlings.
  • Unique Enemy: Numerous times, especially in DKC3; see trope article for examples.
  • Updated Rerelease: The trilogy for the SNES was remade for the Game Boy Advance with some additional content and some improved sound effects.
  • Video Game Flight: Squawks the Parrot lends wings to the Kongs in certain levels, which tend to be aerial mazes. Also, in Donkey Kong 64, Diddy Kong can fly with Rocketbarrels--a jetpack made out of barrels fueled by magical coconut-shaped crystals.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The K3 boss is a large snowman, decked out in the usual carrot nose and top hat but also sporting a long scarf and shirt cuffs. Yes, the battle is only a snowball fight, but the wintry boss himself is quite an angry-looking fellow. Rare kept to the Just for Pun level-naming by calling this one "Bleak's House".
  • Wake Up Call Boss: Queen B from the first game, Kudgel from the second game, and Barbos from the third game. Kleever from the second game as the second boss in both Country and Land (where his name is misspelled as Kleaver) also fits.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: This GT interview with Retro Studios about Donkey Kong Country Returns. It's just so odd watching guys in fancy business suits talk about a game that features an ape and a monkey trying to get their bananas back from a bunch of evil tikis.
    • Possible subversion, because it is awesome.
  • When I Was Your Age: Cranky Kong, in spades.
  • A Winner Is You: Conquering Donkey Kong Land nets you a single word of congratulations as the plain-text credits roll.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Everything related to the Kremlings substitutes any hard C with a K, à la Mortal Kombat. Also appears in the form of including "krem" in other words, such as in the name of DKC3's hidden final area, the inactive volcano Krematoa. Completing its 5 levels forces the appearance of the Bonus Boss in his docked submarine, the Knautilus!.
  • You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses: In the standard ending of 3, Cranky insults the protagonists' performance, and they surround him, apparently to beat him up. As they close in, Cranky puts on a pair of glasses and says the line.

Notes

  1. It had already been done in arcades
  2. likely because it uses the same basic engine as B-K with many of the same game mechanics
  3. To elaborate, the first level of Kremkroc Industries Inc. (Oil Drum Alley) has a bonus room with a slot-machine style mini-game with prize choices of a 1up, an animal token and a banana. Choosing the banana in a normal bonus room of this type gives you exactly that; a single banana worth exactly 1/100th of a 1up, normally intended as a booby prize. Choosing it here, however, gives you a barrel instead. Why? So you can use that barrel to break the wall opposite the way you came in, of course! It doesn't help that the only hints to do this are that the aforementioned wall normally has a completely cosmetic exit that is easily ignored, and two arrow signs pointing to the right, towards the wall, which are ALSO easily overlooked, as they are part of the normal stage background. But there's one final screw-you from all this. Even if you figure all that out, if you simply throw the barrel at the wall, the barrel will break and the mini-game you are currently in will end without going into the second one since you just "spent" your "prize". Rather, you have to lunge yourself at the wall, while holding the barrel, so that when the wall breaks, your momentum will carry you into bonus room #2 before bonus room #1 ends. Whew!
  4. The Kremling's shield will always prevent the usual direct assault. He can almost immediately turn around or raise the shield overhead, in order to defend from any direction; i.e., he will always face a nearby Kong. He does not move from his spot in each level; Koindozer, by contrast, is not so shy. Sometimes it's necessary to throw the keg and then sucker Koin into facing away from the advancing weapon. Barrel Cannons and walls will occasionally play parts in the solutions to these puzzles.
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