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A Bonus Area (also known as a Bonus Room, Bonus Level, or Bonus Stage) is a hidden area in the Donkey Kong franchise games; particularly the Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land games.
Bonus Areas are usually revealed by finding either a secret passage or by jumping into a Bonus Barrel. In Bonus Areas, there's almost always a prize of some nature. In games following Donkey Kong Country, there is always a goal of some sort in the Bonus Areas that the Kongs need to accomplish, and meeting it will reward the player with an item needed for 100% completion.
Donkey Kong Country series
Donkey Kong Country / Donkey Kong Land
In Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land, Bonus Areas are entered by either breaking open certain walls with Barrels or Animal Friends to reveal secret passages, or by jumping into certain Auto-Fire Barrels (Bonus Barrels in the Game Boy Advance version). In one special case, a Bonus Area is hidden inside another Bonus Area, and must be unlocked by winning a barrel needed to smash open its entrance. Levels can have anywhere from zero (all underwater levels) to five Bonus Areas, but most levels have two or three.
There are several different kinds of Bonus Areas, which are given names in the Game Boy Advance version:
There are also Bonus Areas that can only be reached by collecting three Animal Tokens of the same animal (known as Rambi / Expresso / Winky / Enguarde Bonus! in the Game Boy Advance version). Upon collection of the third token, the Kongs are warped to a special Bonus Area, where they'll play as the animal whose tokens they had collected. The goal of these Bonus Areas is to collect as many Mini Animal Tokens as possible before time runs out; a giant one that doubles the Kongs' haul is also hidden in the area. As with bananas, the player receives an extra life for every 100 mini tokens they collect, though only after the time limit expires.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest / Donkey Kong Land 2
In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Land 2, Bonus Areas are entered much like they were in Donkey Kong Country, except that the Auto-Fire Barrels that led to Bonus Areas have been replaced with Bonus Barrels. All levels have between one and three Bonus Areas. The Bonus Areas now have time-based challenges to complete, with Kremkoins as prizes. In the Lost World, DK Coins are the prizes instead.
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! / Donkey Kong Land III
In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! and Donkey Kong Land III, Bonus Areas work similar to the way they did in Donkey Kong Country 2, except now they're always entered through Bonus Barrels, and never by secret passages. There are also always two per level, except in Krematoa in Donkey Kong Country 3, where the amount varies between zero and three. Lastly, unlike in the previous game, Bonus Coins are the only prizes.
Donkey Kong Country Returns / 3D
Bonus Stages return in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, once again accessed by Blast Barrels (as Bonus Barrels do not return in this game) and secret passages, although now with only one objective. The Kongs have thirty seconds to get all Bananas, Banana Bunches, Banana Coins, and Red Balloons available. If they successfully collect all of them, the clock stops and a Puzzle Piece appears for them to collect.
Like in the past Donkey Kong Country games, the setting of a Bonus Stage depends on the world it can be found in, and it is always set in a cavernous or dimly lit room. Despite the aesthetic changes, Bonus Stages repeat themselves throughout the course of the game, meaning they are not unique to their levels, unlike in previous games.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
The objective of Bonus Stages in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze remains almost the same as in the previous game – the player has to collect all 100 bananas on-screen within thirty seconds, receiving an additional Banana Coin and a Red Balloon along with the Puzzle Piece. However, the setting of a Bonus Stage is not related to the world it appears in anymore. Instead, all Bonus Stages take place in what appears to be a treasury, with some of them being adorned with large statues in the background, suggesting they are connected to or branched off Secret Seclusion. As in the previous game, Bonus Stages repeat themselves.
Bonus Stages return in Donkey Kong 64. Most of them are accessible by jumping in a Bonus Barrel. Only the Minecart Race is the one that can be entered by entering a specific area. After the player has cleared a stage, the player is rewarded with a Golden Banana. Most of the stages can be played in Snide's H.Q. after collecting all Blueprints. The following is the list of all Bonus Stages in Donkey Kong 64:
Donkey Kong Country (GBA)
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Donkey Kong Land 2
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!
Donkey Kong Land III
Names in other languages