The best game ever made.
A risky subject. Due to ever-changing opinions, no game truly can be called a perfect game. But for me, there is. This game is Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.
(I recommend listening to this music piece while reading this; click!)
I have not said it a lot, but this game means so much to me. So. Freaking. Much. Just everything about it is perfect in my eyes and it's what I think of if somebody mentions Donkey Kong. How ironic - he isn't even playable in that game!
But yeah. This game practically got released the year I was born. So a few years later, I got my first taste of its perfection in person.
I was about four years old. I had a Super Nintendo Entertainment System which we got from some friends, apparently. So I played it and was blown away. Sure, four-year-olds are easy to impress, but you know what I mean! The environments and music especially stood out to me, but the fact that Diddy was the main character along with Dixie (whom I had known a little while longer because I oddly enough played the third game first, and I thought she was awesome, dismissing Kiddy as silly. Dixie Kong was my role model, y'all!) was the best part.
What I remember most was playing one of the swamp levels, and my mom recording me (I said she had to record Diddy because he liked that), and while I was playing this game, my mom was playing Donkey Kong Land on the old Game Boy, I asked her if she wanted to borrow one of my monkeys, hehe! (Yeah, my mom thinks DK is pretty cool too, but even she gets annoyed when I ramble about it too much.)
Anyway, that's all I remember. I quickly lost the game because I got it from a video rental shop and they eventually stopped renting games as soon as the GameCube came along. Some punk must've taken it from me! But then, a few years later, I was about eight now, I got Donkey Kong Land II. I thought this was just as awesome as the SNES version back then, occasionally just holding the GBA against my ear to enjoy the music, but even then, I wanted more.
Soon enough I went to a game store and they had THIS GAME. I bought it (actually, my parents bought it) immediately and sold Land II... (now I feel bad about that because I found it at a Koninginnemarkt, NEAR COMPLETE IN THE BOX, for, hold it now... 2 euros! That's less than 3 freakin' dollars! *weeps*) but even so, I was happy with having re-acquired one of my most cherished childhood games.
I fell in love again.
The environments, the music, the characters, the enemies... all of it impressed me so much.
Now, why do I love this game so much?
Every single thing oozes dedication and perfection. It's a game that truly shows how much fun the developers had crafting it. The music is vastly different in mood from the original Donkey Kong Country, but is so in a good way. Whereas the first game was more about atmosphere, the second game is more about melody, and that unique gripping feeling that make you feel like you could actually visit the place, and yet while still keeping the atmosphere. When most people hear the words Donkey and Kong and music, they probably think of Jungle Hijinx, which had been remixed, oh I don't know, about a million times now.
Not me. I think of this gem right here; Mining Melancholy, which I consider to be David Wise's finest. It isn't just a rhythmic pounding of anvils against rock, but it has a deeper, emotional tone to it eventually so extremely characteristic for Donkey Kong Country. Like, we've come so far, who are we to give it up now?
The unique level archetypes play a part in how much I love this game too - not just jungle what people usually think of these games, but also pirate ships (deck, locker, and rigging!), haunted woods, the aforementioned mines, volcanoes, cursed libraries, hornet holes, and even roller coasters.
Oh, and pirates. I did not really care about them in general until I re-acquired this game. The Kremlings, being already admittedly awesome but rather generic army crocodiles at first, suddenly exchanged their army attire for pirate garb and their isle reflected this - an ominous rock of terror, but also with a great feeling of adventure. You weren't on DK Isle anymore. This shit was about to get serious and nearly everything about it reflected that.
This game made me love pirates. My love for romanticized pirates is reflected in the story of Captain Fluffclaw, which I plan on publishing once.
So, in short?
Donkey Kong Country 2 is the best game ever made and nobody can tell me otherwise.