Friday, 30 December 2011

Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. The third installment and last entry in the Donkey Kong Country games (until Returns, of course), was a marvellous way to end a series but still I see it getting so much flak. For shame, because it still holds a special place in my heart. Mostly because it was, in fact, the first Donkey Kong game I played.

While by no means as good as the first game, and it doesn't even do so much as hold a candle to the second, it still is a beautiful game with great gameplay, mind-blowingly beautiful environments in a time when something like that was hard to find in games, and an awesome soundtrack.

Also, it featured Dixie Kong. Dixie Kong was one of the first strong female protagonists in a game without being gratuitous fan-service. When I first played this game, there weren't any female main characters in games at all. Well. There was Samus, but I was too young for Metroid. So I decided that Dixie Kong would become my role model. C'mon, I was five years old. But even so... now I wear my hair in a ponytail almost daily and I like chewing bubble gum. It makes so much sense now.

Kiddy Kong was presumably Dixie's cousin and when I was a kid, I dismissed the toddler as being annoying, and his main role while playing the game was mostly as a shield so I'd have Dixie for the tough parts. But people change and now I find him to be hilarious (and then especially his reaction upon losing a life! WAAAAAAA!)

One of the reasons why I love this game is the environments. (There I go again!)

While it mostly re-used archetypes from the earlier games, it gave a new swing towards all of them and gave everything a different, almost ominous look. That, and the Northern Kremisphere showed a side of Donkey Kong Country we'd never seen before; pine forests, lakes, and mountains.

One thing that stood out to me was mostly the fact it was such a vast overworld. I couldn't help but wonder what was behind the mountains and the forests, even at a young age!

And the music. The music was very ambient as opposed to the orchestral-like tunes of the previous game, but still very beautiful and simplistic. Especially the Northern Kremisphere's theme. It's foreboding and seems to warn one that this isn't going to be easy at all.

Other tracks that stood out to me were Treetop Tumble and Rockface Rumble. Especially the latter gave me a new-found love for raw, hard drums and electric guitars.

But the true essence of the wilderness' raw beauty is when you see the levels that accompany it.

But the Game Boy Advance port of this game is a different story altogether. The whole soundtrack was replaced. Which is not necesarily a bad thing because some of the tunes that came out of it were just as beautiful, if not more beautiful than the original, and give every level a whole new atmosphere. Some good examples are Stilt Village and Cascade Capers.

Another noteworthy track is the GBA's version of Rockface Rumble, which I affectionately refer to as Sticks & Rocks. While very different, it changes the whole level. Some might find it annoying, especially after hearing the SNES version, but it grew on me as I played the game.

I find both soundtracks amazing and thus am very happy both games are getting an OCremix treatment.

Anyway, this game is amazing and it gets overlooked too much. I had much more to say, but I forgot. So go to a game store, buy it, and enjoy!

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