Donkey Kong Land
Donkey Kong Land, known in Japan as Super Donkey Kong GB, is a video game developed by Rareware for the Game Boy. Released in 1995, it is a handheld follow-up of Donkey Kong Country, and the game's pseudo sequel. The game is also one of the few Game Boy games to feature a specially colored cartridge (yellow), which is also used on the two sequels, Donkey Kong Land 2 and Donkey Kong Land III. It is one of the first games to feature Super Game Boy special features, including a rendered jungle border across the television screen.
The game is often mistaken as a Game Boy 'port' of Donkey Kong Country. Although it is true that the two games play the same using the same engine, the storyline is different and Donkey Kong Land has different levels, enemies, and bosses from the ones featured in Donkey Kong Country.
According to the game's instruction booklet, the story takes place after the events of Donkey Kong Country, where Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are discussing about their latest adventure to Cranky Kong. Cranky admits that the adventure was more successful than he thought, although claiming that it was only because of the "fancy graphics" and that "Kids'll buy anything nowadays". After Cranky goes on about the games of his time, the two other Kongs try to convince him that it was not only fancy graphics that made Donkey Kong Country great, but that it "was just plain fun". However, this did not convince the old ape, so Donkey and Diddy decide to have an adventure on an 8-bit system, with King K. Rool stealing the Banana Hoard again. Once the bet is decided, Cranky Kong arranges everything and calls King K. Rool to come and take the hoard overnight. Afterward, the two heroes decide to rest for the adventure ahead of them.
Donkey Kong Land is a 2-D platformer, designed for the Game Boy. Because of the Game Boy's limitations, the game offers less than its 16-bit predecessor. On the level select screen, names of the stages are no longer present, and the levels themselves have very few Bonus Levels, usually only having one or two. Additionally, after the Kongs find all the Bonus Levels in an area, an exclamation point appears above the level's circular marker in the overworld.
The game is divided into four worlds, each with seven normal levels, with the exception of the game's first world, Gangplank Galleon Ahoy!, which contains a total of nine. A boss level also appears in each world and must be completed to progress. Though most levels are unlocked after beating its previous level, some levels can be accessed before later levels. This can be done by finding rare, barrel-shaped bombs inside some levels and blasting away large boulders. With these boulders destroyed, a passageway to a certain level can be found. Unlike in Donkey Kong Country, the Kongs will be able to travel freely to any level without any assistance, as they can simply journey world-to-world on foot.
Like in most platformer games, the goal is to reach the end of the level, without being defeated by an enemy or falling into a trap. The Kongs must make their way through each level carefully, or else an enemy may attack. When this happens, one of the Kongs in the group will run away. With one hero remaining, the player must be careful, as losing both Kongs can end the level in a loss. Luckily, missing Kongs can be recovered by using Buddy Barrels, common barrels found in every level. A few continue points, usually one or two, appear in levels as well. If touched, the Kongs will appear back at the last continue point upon losing the level. Each level ends with a small portal, which the player should jump into to exit the level. Sometimes, levels may have more than one portal.
Playable Characters and Abilities
As in the game's prequel, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are the only playable characters. The stats of these apes both vary, just as in the previous game. Donkey Kong, the leader of the group, does not have as much speed as his partner, Diddy, nor can he move quite as fast. He is, however, much stronger and is the only character able to beat the powerful foes, Krushas, without using a TNT Barrel. Diddy, on the other hand, is much smaller than Donkey Kong, and can get through tight areas more easily.
The basic ability, jumping, can be done by both Kongs to defeat enemies, cross pits, or to simply jump to access higher areas. Both Kongs also have the ability to roll or cartwheel into foes. This can defeat the enemies much more easily than jumping on them, and it also gives the heroes an extra speed boost. Sometimes, the Kongs will find themselves requiring to cross a wide abyss too large to jump over. With their cartwheel and roll moves, they can perform a super-jump, making them roll over the gap and jumping in mid-air for an extra boost. Bouncing on a tire can give them an extra boost in the air as well.
Though not used as much as jumping and rolling, the Kongs can also climb ropes and swim through water. To climb, the heroes must simply jump up and touch a rope. Climbing can be useful when crossing large gaps, though it can only be done on ropes. Jumping rope-to-rope is common in some levels, but luckily, the Kongs have no trouble in grabbing onto other ropes. During underwater levels, the apes will also use their ability to swim. Tapping the while swimming can make the Kongs move higher as they slowly float downwards. When the Kongs swim, they will not have as much control as on land, and as a result they should be careful.
Unlike Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Land is filled with very little Animal Buddies, a total of only two. In fact, Animal Buddies seldom appear in most levels. The Animal Buddies here are unable to shoot through barrels, and they will suddenly drop to the ground once these obstacles are approached. Still, they can be a big help in the Kongs' quest with their different abilities. Below shows the capabilities and appearances of both Animal Buddies in the game, Rambi the Rhinoceros and Expresso the Ostrich.
Many items can be found around Donkey Kong Land, and each help the duo complete levels or defeat enemies. Each item has a different purpose.
Enemies and Hazards
Donkey Kong Land is filled with only nineteen different enemies and hazards, although most first appeared in the prequel to the game, Donkey Kong Country. Enemies listed below in bold are those who have already appeared in this previous game in the Donkey Kong series. The table also lists the first and last level that these enemies and hazards have shown up in. Noticeably, many of these foes have stayed in throughout the whole game, not making a final appearance until the levels of the last world, the Big Ape City. Swirlwinds can also help the Kongs on their quest, other than harming them.
Throughout the Kongs' quest, they not only find the enemies listed above, but also several bosses, who require a little more skill to beat. Each boss appears at the end of all the game's worlds, and must be defeated to allow the heroes to progress.
If Donkey or Diddy hits an enemy and gets knocked back with no visible ground below, the game will mistake the player for falling into a pit and will count it as an instant death, even if both Kongs are present.
In some levels, particularly jungle levels, there are Neckys that sit on platforms and spit nuts, hoping to hit the Kongs when they're below him. However, if Necky is on the top of the screen, the sound effect of spitting nuts can be heard, but no nuts are actually fired.
On release, Famitsu scored the game a 24 out of 40. Donkey Kong Land received a 71% at GameRankings.
Several creatures and characters who were originally going in this game were abandoned for unknown reasons. These creatures and characters included a fish enemy named Pucka, an unnamed Kong who wore a hat and a what appears to be a baby ram named Ram Bunkshus. All these unused characters were first advertised in an old issue of Nintendo Power, which included pictures of them.