“Arrrrgh! This story's even worse than Donkey Kong Country's.”
Cranky Kong is Donkey Kong's fourth wall-breaking, constantly complaining and rambling relative. He can also be described as argumentative, old, and bad-tempered. He is the elderly form of the original Donkey Kong from the Donkey Kong arcade game. Cranky has been playable in four games when including Japan-only games.
Cranky Kong is the original Donkey Kong from the arcade games (although Nintendo has sometimes ignored this in the past, they do ultimately support Rare's decision). During his youthful prime, Cranky Kong kidnapped Pauline, was kidnapped and trapped in a cage by Mario, and even battled Stanley in a greenhouse. Not counting the "modern" mixes in the Game & Watch Gallery series, his final role as Donkey Kong was in Donkey Kong '94. After that event, he retired when he relinquished the name to his descendant.
Donkey Kong Country series
Donkey Kong Country
Cranky's first appearance as Cranky was in Donkey Kong Country. Here Cranky lives in a slightly rundown shack known as "Cranky's Cabin". From here, Cranky gives randomly selected advice on the game's various items and locations, mostly pertaining to the first few levels, to the new Donkey Kong and his friend Diddy Kong. Unlike the sequels, Cranky asks no fee for his advices and he can be consulted as many times as the player wants to.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Cranky sets up his "Monkey Museum" on Crocodile Isle. It appears as though, through his further aging, it has become more difficult to walk, as he stands with two canes. Once again, Cranky will give out information, this time for a price. In this game, Cranky also scatters several DK Coins throughout the game's various levels. Once Kaptain K. Rool is defeated Cranky will tally Diddy and Dixie Kong's "hero status" by how many DK Coins they have collected. Donkey Kong Country 2 also introduced Cranky's wife, Wrinkly Kong. A poster of Thunder from Killer Instinct can be seen in his house.
In the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country 2, Cranky's role remains relatively the same as in the original game, although it was slightly expanded with a new sidequest; it seems with the "fabulous fortune" he made in Donkey Kong Country Cranky bought a racing ostrich he named Expresso. After bulking up Expresso using Golden Feathers, the Kongs can race Expresso for Cranky and try to get trophies for the grouchy old Kong in exchange for rewards.
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!
In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Cranky's appearances have been more or less reduced to just cameos. In Swanky's Sideshow, Cranky Kong acts as Dixie and Kiddy Kong's opponent in various ball throwing minigames. Cranky also appears at the end of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble to criticize Dixie and Kiddy's victory over KAOS and Baron K. Roolenstein, resulting in Dixie and Kiddy Kong approaching him ominously while he tries to avoid an inevitable beating by putting on glasses. If players manage to get the game's "best" ending, Cranky will do a few water-skiing tricks before holding up a sign which says "THE END" in runny ink. He is also top of the All-Time Greats list at the end of the game, having beat the game in 04:22 with 103%. If the player beats the game with the TUFST code activated, thereby attaining 105%, they will get a trophy of Cranky Kong in a black belt's outfit and will be named the 'Immortal Monkey!'.
In the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country 3, Cranky runs several dojos, aptly named Cranky's Dojo to prepare for his "first" game, Cranky Kong Country. In Cranky's Dojo, players can gain the ability to play as a shield wielding Cranky during a Bristles dodging minigame. Cranky's Dojo minigame must be beaten at least once to gain a Banana Bird.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Cranky appears in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. In the game, he runs a shop in each world and will often make sarcastic remarks over what Donkey and Diddy Kong buy. Aside from Donkey and Diddy, Cranky is the only Kong from the original trilogy to make a return appearance. According to him, the reason he made the shop was because his pension was revoked, so he has to sell things to make money.
To buy things in Cranky Kong's shop, the player needs to have Banana Coins. In his shop, there are Extra Life Balloons bundled into groups of 1, 3, and 7 balloons. There is also a Heart Boost, which gives Donkey or Diddy the ability to have three hearts for the duration of one level, Banana Juice, which gives limited invincibility like a Starman, and Squawks the Parrot, who helps the Kongs collect undiscovered Puzzle Pieces in levels. There is also a key for sale, which gives access to the locked path in each world.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Cranky Kong is a playable partner character in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, marking the first time he has been fully playable in a Donkey Kong Country game. Cranky is able to use his cane to bounce upward, as well as on spikes, and defeat certain enemies that the other Kongs cannot. He can also use his cane to attack enemies underwater and shoot dentures with his Denture Popgun.
"Donkey Kong Country"
He also appeared in the Club Nintendo comic "Donkey Kong Country". He is the first one to discover that King K. Rool has stolen the Kongs' Banana Hoard, which follows the story of the game. Cranky's appearance in the comic differs slightly from his standard look, as he is wearing a blue shirt instead of a gray or brown one.
"Donkey Kong in: Banana Day 24"
In the comic "Donkey Kong in: Banana Day 24", published in the same magazine, he supported Donkey, Diddy, Dixie and Kiddy on their mission to save the Earth from being pulled away from the sun by a giant UFO. It was his idea to carry on negotiations with the aliens so they would release the Earth. The President of the United States puts a space shuttle at the Kongs' disposal, and Cranky is the one to navigate it. He beams Donkey, Diddy and Dixie into the UFO and stays in the Kongs' space shuttle meanwhile. When their mission succeeds, he navigates the space shuttle back to Earth, where the Kongs are being hailed by the people. Euphorically, Cranky tries to kiss a random girl, much to her disgust. After returning to their jungle, Cranky gets in trouble with his wife Wrinkly because of this. During the events of this story, Cranky did not show much of his grouchy traits as often discovered in the games, but instead appears as a helpful person.
Donkey Kong Land series
While Cranky does not appear in any of the Donkey Kong Land games, the instruction booklet for the first Donkey Kong Land explains that the game happens because of Cranky. Slightly jealous of Donkey and Diddy's success over the evil King K. Rool, Cranky tricks them into making a bet with him: if Donkey and Diddy can reclaim Donkey's Banana Hoard from King K. Rool again, this time on an eight-bit system, he will admit that they are adequate gaming heroes. In the end, Cranky ends up eating his words when Donkey and Diddy once again defeat K. Rool and the Kremling Krew.
Additionally, the instruction booklet for Donkey Kong Land II accidentally states that "Even old Cranky charges for his words of wisdom", having copied and pasted the line directly from the Donkey Kong Country 2 manual
Donkey Kong Country television series
Cranky was also a main character on the Donkey Kong Country television series. Here, Cranky was as grouchy and bitter as he was in the games. However, he's far less arrogant than in the video games. On the show, instead of living in a cabin on the ground like in the games, Cranky instead lives in a cabin on a tree-top village, similar to ones seen in the area Vine Valley from the Donkey Kong Country game. On the show, Cranky was also seen to be adept at potion-making and magic, a trait later carried on into the games.
Donkey Kong 64
Professor Cranky appeared in Donkey Kong 64, having now taken up science. Cranky's Lab can be found in every area of Donkey Kong 64 except Hideout Helm. At Cranky's Lab, the Kongs can pay Cranky for several potions that can give them new powers and abilities. Also, if the Kongs manage to collect fifteen Banana Medals, Cranky will allow them to play Jetpac, an early Rare game. The Kongs must beat the Jetpac game in order to obtain the Rareware Coin. Cranky also acts as the Kongs' coach during their boxing match against King Krusha K. Rool.
A very little known fact about Cranky's role in Donkey Kong 64 is that it was one of several themes based on the old Donkey Kong Country TV show, in which Cranky was sometimes seen mixing up magic potions to use on either himself or others to advance that episode's plot.
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he once again appears on the Super Smash Bros. Melee stage Jungle Japes. He also appears in his 8-bit form from Donkey Kong on the 75m stage, derived from the third (second in the NES version) stage by the same name in said game. He is mostly not seen on the stage, but will occasionally show up and deal damage and decent knockback to anyone who touches him. He also throws Springs across the top of the stage, similar to how he did in the original arcade game. The "stage start" theme from Donkey Kong can be heard when he shows up on the stage. Lastly, Cranky Kong also appears as a sticker and a trophy.
Oddly, Cranky's trophy states that his first playable appearance is in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, when his first playable appearance was really in Donkey Konga 3. However, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast is the first game in which Cranky is playable in all regions; Donkey Konga 3 is a Japan-only title.
Donkey Konga series
DK: King of Swing
In DK: King of Swing Cranky Kong, along with the ghost of his wife Wrinkly, teaches Donkey Kong how to use the games unique controls in Cranky's Lectures. Cranky, along with Candy Kong, is the only Kong who is not playable in DK: King of Swing's Jungle Jam mode.
DK: Jungle Climber
Cranky once again appears in DK: Jungle Climber. He teaches DK and Diddy how to play the game, and also appears in various levels to teach them moves. Cranky has a very active and good-tempered role in this game, as he follows DK, Diddy and Xananab throughout the various islands. He also tells the characters what they can do with the various Banana Coins, DK Coins, and Oil Barrels they find throughout the levels once they are collected.
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast
Contrary to popular belief, this is not Cranky's first North American playable appearance (which was stated on his trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl), as he was playable in the Cranky's Dojo minigame in the GBA version of Donkey Kong Country 3. He was also playable in the Japan-only Donkey Konga 3.
Rareware originally created the Cranky Kong character as an older version of the original Donkey Kong from the Donkey Kong game, though it has been disputed if he is supposed to be the current Donkey Kong's father or grandfather. The developers have made conflicting statements, although Cranky Kong being his grandfather was the more frequent and popular story; the general conundrum is that there have generally been more in-game indications throughout the series of Donkey Kong being his grandson, while certain supplemental materials will occasionally state otherwise. Cranky's relation to Donkey Kong is not explicitly stated in the television series, although he actively acts as a father figure and once said that he considered him like a son. However, Rare tried to maintain consistency in their last game, Donkey Kong 64; Cranky Kong consistently addresses him as "son", implying a direct parental role. In Rare Scribes, one of the key writers explained that the modern Donkey Kong was intended to be an adult Donkey Kong Jr., and requested players to completely ignore the instances where Cranky was stated to be his father. Fans have since been split on whether or not to take this statement seriously.
After Rare left Nintendo, Donkey Kong's nature was left open for some time, which led some to think that Nintendo had changed their stance on the matter. Mario vs. Donkey Kong was advertised by stating that Donkey Kong was Mario's oldest rival. However, this was refuted by Mario Superstar Baseball (which attributed Pauline's kidnapping to Cranky), though it remained ambiguous about the two apes' relationship by merely stating that Cranky was the current Donkey Kong's "ancestor". Subsequently, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis implies that Donkey Kong met Pauline for the first time and becomes smitten at first sight. The remake of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! stated that Cranky Kong's first starring role would be called "Cranky Kong Country" (though he may have been talking about the first game he would be playable in). Super Smash Bros. Brawl claims that the original Donkey Kong is the current Donkey Kong's grandfather, though it does not take place in-universe and is thus not necessarily accurate. As of Retro Studios' Donkey Kong Country Returns, Nintendo's position of Cranky Kong being the grandfather of the modern Donkey Kong has been reaffirmed.
Game appearances (as Cranky)
Official profiles and statistics
Trophy information from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. Brawl sticker information
Names in other languages