Donkey Kong (series)
Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング Donkī Kongu) is a video game series that follows the adventures of an anthropomorphic gorilla named Donkey Kong and his various friends. Created in 1981 by famed Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, it mainly consists of platform games and action puzzle games, but has branched out into other genres, including rhythm games, racing games, and edutainment.
The games of the first generation are single-screen platform/action puzzle games, where Donkey Kong features as the opponent in an industrial construction setting. The first game in the series, the 1981 arcade machine Donkey Kong, not only introduced the title character but also his rival Mario. After four years of success on arcades and in the "Game & Watch" handheld line, the series was brought to an end as Mario went on to star in Super Mario Bros., for which he is much better known, and take his place as Nintendo's flagship character. Donkey Kong was put on hiatus until 1994, when Rare, Ltd. revived the property with its side-scrolling platform game Donkey Kong Country. That game and its follow-ups focus on the adventures of Donkey Kong and the various members of his clan as they work to defend their native jungle setting from a variety of other anthropomorphic-animal characters who serve as villains. They are most frequently antagonized by the Kremlings, a race of crocodiles, and their leader King K. Rool. A hallmark of this series is the barrels used by the Kongs as weapons, vehicles, furniture, and lodging.
The Donkey Kong character is highly recognizable and popular, and the games have sold over 40 million units worldwide.
The main character Donkey Kong, a muscular and somewhat dim-witted ape, first appeared in the eponymous arcade game in 1981 as the antagonist. In the later generations of the series, he became the main protagonist, and the defender of his carefree jungle home and his various primate friends. In the arcade game Donkey Kong Jr., he was given a son, also named Donkey Kong Jr., who had to save his father from Mario in that character's only appearance as a villain.
When the Donkey Kong property was revived for Donkey Kong Country, the original Donkey Kong character was reworked into a new character named Cranky Kong, an elder who constantly rambles and berates the younger generation of heroes. Cranky has been called the modern DK's grandfather by some sources, and his father by others. In his debut appearances, Cranky gave out randomly selected advice to the heroes on items and locations found within the game. In later games, he appeared as a potion-making chemist who granted special abilities to the heroes, and eventually as a fully playable character.
Diddy Kong is the modern DK's travel companion and best friend, nicknamed by him as his "little buddy." He was first introduced in Donkey Kong Country and then reappeared in its sequel. In many of his appearances, Diddy helps DK keep his island safe from whatever villain threatens to destroy it. In the Donkey Kong Country sequels, he gained a girlfriend, Dixie Kong, who is capable of flying in the air with her hair. Donkey Kong Country 3 gave Dixie a sidekick, Kiddy Kong, believed to be her cousin, who despite being a toddler has amazing strength that rivals even Donkey Kong himself.
A number of other members have been added to the Kong clan as the series has progressed, taking on both playable and non-playable roles. Funky Kong, one of DK's longest-standing friends and allies, often aids the Kongs through such means as selling and operating flight services. DK's love interest, Candy Kong, also helps him through various means, including running a music shop. In Donkey Kong Country 2, Cranky gained a wife, Wrinkly Kong, who managed her own school; by Donkey Kong 64, she was revealed to be deceased, and all her appearances after that game portray her as a ghost. Donkey Kong 64 introduced three new playable Kongs: Tiny Kong, a nimble and fast girl who is believed to be Dixie's younger sister, but in her later appearances has been redesigned to be taller than she; Lanky Kong, the joker of the clan, who despite his bizarre appearance and personality proves to be a capable fighter with his abnormal physique and lengthy arms; and Chunky Kong, Kiddy's older brother, who is physically the strongest and largest Kong in the family. Not all friendly characters in the series are Kongs, however; DK and his friends are sometimes helped by other anthropomorphic-animal characters, the most recurring being Rambi the Rhino and Squawks the Parrot.
The main antagonist of the Donkey Kong series is King K. Rool, the malevolent ruler of a race of crocodiles called the Kremlings, who has repeatedly attempted to disrupt the peace of Donkey Kong Island by means ranging from stealing the island's banana hoard to kidnapping some of the Kongs themselves. He, however, is not the only villain in the series. In Diddy Kong Racing, Diddy and his friends must confront Wizpig, a gigantic alien pig who loves to race those who challenge him, causing all sorts of chaos in the process. In Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, DK has to face a few evil Kong characters exclusive to the game, and their leader, Ghastly King. Donkey Kong Country Returns puts the Kongs up against the Tiki Tak Tribe, a race of floating wooden tiki masks which make music that has the power to hypnotize. In Tropical Freeze, DK and his clan face the Snowmads, an army of stereotypical Viking-themed arctic and antarctic animals, who seize the territory they invade by summoning a massive wind that throws the affected area into a state of perpetual winter.
The arcade games have simple gameplay where the player moves along the playfield, avoiding obstacles and enemies. In the original Donkey Kong, the playfield is a series of girders on a construction site, and the obstacles are barrels thrown by Donkey Kong.
In the side-scrolling games of the Donkey Kong Country series, players venture through uniquely themed levels and undertake varying tasks such as swimming, riding in mine carts, launching out of barrel cannons, or swinging from vine to vine. Most enemies can be defeated by a roll, jump, or ground slam which can also reveal secret items. However, some enemies that are more difficult to defeat will require the use of a barrel or the help of an animal friend. Throughout the levels are scattered several types of items that can be helpful to players and grant them additional lives, such as bananas which award an extra life if 100 are collected in a single play; Extra Life Balloons; and four golden letters that spell out K–O–N–G, which depending on the game can add to the player's life count or unlock a bonus or hidden level.
Donkey Kong Sub-Series
Cancelled Games, Tech Demos and miscellany