Cranky Kong

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This article is about the character often recognized as the elderly form of the original Donkey Kong from the Donkey Kong game. For the character in general, see Donkey Kong.
"CK" redirects here. For the online Flash game, see Cannon Kaos.
Cranky Kong
Artwork of Cranky Kong from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Cranky Kong, as he appears in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Full name Cranky Kong (formerly Donkey Kong)
Species Kong
First appearance Donkey Kong Country (as Cranky Kong) (1994)
Donkey Kong (as Donkey Kong) (1981)
Latest appearance The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)
Latest portrayal Takashi Nagasako (2007–present)
Fred Armisen (English, 2023)
“You young apes wouldn't know a real adventure if it jumped up and bit you on the nose!”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle

Cranky Kong is a Kong who is depicted as a paternal figure to Donkey Kong, though their exact relation varies. He is characterized by frequently breaking the fourth wall and constantly complaining and rambling (especially in Rare-made games), although he proves to be a helpful sage in many situations, having been shown to possess much knowledge about the current location and its history and secrets.[1][2][3]

He is currently a widower, as his wife Wrinkly Kong is deceased (starting in Donkey Kong 64). He is usually portrayed as the elderly form of the original Donkey Kong from the Donkey Kong arcade game,[4] and can be described as argumentative and bad-tempered, but with a heart of gold underneath his grumpy exterior. Cranky is usually a non-playable character, but he has made playable appearances in some games. His abilities and physical health vary greatly between games, from being unable to walk without two canes to being just as athletic as the other Kongs.



“Whisking off maidens and chucking barrels, seven days a week I was!”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country 2 (Game Boy Advance)
Main article: History of Donkey Kong § Donkey Kong series
Donkey Kong and Lady
The original Donkey Kong with Pauline

According to various pieces of official media, starting with Donkey Kong Country, Cranky Kong is the original Donkey Kong from the arcade games appearing in Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and Donkey Kong 3. During his youthful prime, Cranky Kong kidnapped Pauline and took her to a construction site, was kidnapped and trapped in a cage by Mario, and even battled Stanley in various greenhouses. He also implies in one of his lectures to his grandson that his kidnapping of Pauline was consistent enough that he did so "seven days a week." Not counting the "Modern" mixes in the Game & Watch Gallery series or a cameo in Mario Clash, his final role as Donkey Kong was in Donkey Kong for Game Boy. He retired after he relinquished the name to his grandson.[5][better source needed]

Donkey Kong Country series[edit]

Donkey Kong Country[edit]

“Now, off you go!! See if you can't finish this ridiculous quest without my help!”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country
Artwork of Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country.
Cranky Kong, as he originally appeared in Donkey Kong Country

Cranky first appeared in his elderly form in Donkey Kong Country, in which he 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 in the sequels, Cranky asks no fee for his bits of advice and can be consulted as many times as the player desires. Cranky also appears in the opening cutscene before the title screen, operating a phonograph that plays the theme song from the NES version of Donkey Kong atop a construction site. Donkey Kong disrupts his session by knocking him aside and dancing to a remixed version of the song Cranky was playing on the phonograph, which plays on a boombox he drops nearby, then the scene turns to a jungle. Cranky, irritated by this interruption, throws a TNT Barrel at Donkey Kong's boombox, destroying it.

In the game's manual, Cranky provides various commentary to try and discourage potential players from the game, such as claiming that the characters and items listed do not exist. Despite this, the back of the manual has a section titled "Cranky's Advice" where he gives some basic tips on the game.

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest[edit]

“For just five bucks, you can buy my memoirs. What a dynamic and exciting life I've led. You'll be lucky to star in half as many games as I been.”
Cranky Kong, 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 Video Game Hero Coins throughout the game's various levels. Once Kaptain K. Rool is defeated, Cranky will tally Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong's "hero status" by how many Video Game Hero Coins they have collected. Donkey Kong Country 2 also introduced Cranky's wife, Wrinkly Kong.

As in the previous game, he provides snide commentary throughout the manual, such as saying that the story is even worse than the previous game's, criticizing the various items in the game as "rubbish," and betting that most of the enemies listed are not actually in the game.

In the Game Boy Advance version Cranky's role remains relatively the same as in the original game, although it was slightly expanded with a new sidequest. Cranky bought a racing ostrich he named Expresso, which the Kongs can bulk up using golden feathers and race against other ostriches to try and achieve trophies in exchange for rewards from Cranky.

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble![edit]

“Here's my strategy guide for you..... Give it up now and save your monkey!”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!

In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Cranky makes fewer appearances. A picture of Cranky is on a wall in the background of Wrinkly's Save Cave. 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 the game 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. At the end of the post-game cutscene, Cranky will appear in the background doing a few water-skiing tricks behind Funky Kong, who pulls him with a motorboat. He eventually falls in water, but comes back to the surface 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 "Immortal Monkey!"

In the Game Boy Advance version Cranky runs several dojos, aptly named Cranky's Dojo to prepare for his self-purported "first" game, Cranky Kong Country. He wears a similar dojo outfit as in the original game's "Immortal Monkey!" trophy. In Cranky's Dojo, players 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[edit]

“They stopped paying my pension ages ago. Now I'm reduced to selling junk out of this old shack.”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country Returns
Cranky Kong's Shop as it appears in Donkey Kong Country Returns
Cranky Kong's shop

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 items to make money. Unlike in previous games, he does not directly break the fourth wall, though he makes more subtle comments about the game's structure.

To buy items 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, 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[edit]

Donkey Kong and Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Cranky Kong with Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Cranky Kong is a playable partner character in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and its Nintendo Switch port of the same name, marking the first time he is fully playable in a Donkey Kong Country game (his role as shopkeeper filled by Funky Kong). Cranky is able to use his cane to bounce upward, as well as on spikes, and defeat certain enemies that the other Kongs cannot. His cane can also be utilized while underwater, using a move called the Cane Swipe to attack and take down enemies that cannot be defeated by a simple corkscrew move, such as Pufftups and Sea Urchins. Despite the cane's capabilities, it cannot be used to collapse unsound underwater structures, balancing it in relation to the corkscrew action. Cranky's Denture Popgun has unlimited ammo of dentures, which can be shot at enemies in order to stun them for a brief period of time. Cranky's use of his cane as a pogo stick to attack enemies is similar to the method of attack used by Scrooge McDuck, the main protagonist of Disney's DuckTales, in a video game adaptation of his show that Capcom produced for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the only game in the Donkey Kong Country series where Cranky does not have any written dialogue.

Club Nintendo[edit]

"Donkey Kong Country"[edit]

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"[edit]

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 Jungle Action Special[edit]

Cranky Kong with polydactyly in the Donkey Kong Jungle Action Special comic, "A Blast From The Past"
Cranky is angered by Pauline's book.

Cranky is featured in the Donkey Kong Jungle Action Special comic "The Big Banana Robbery". At the beginning of the comic, Cranky yells at sleeping Donkey Kong and invites him to check the empty Banana Hoard. As Donkey Kong heads off to find the missing bananas and rescue the missing Diddy Kong, Cranky stays behind, saying he "can't be bothered" to help.

Cranky later stars in the comic "A Blast From The Past". While uncloging a pipe at his treehouse, Cranky is disrupted by a human reporter, who introduces himself by asking Cranky if he remembers anything about Pauline. Recalling it as "a long time ago", Cranky proceeds to tell the tale of when he last saw her.

In a flashback, a younger Cranky Kong is climbing a construction site, telling Pauline it's "something I saw in a movie once". The commotion attracts a nearby electrician, who tries to rescue Pauline. Donkey Kong throws a barrel at the individual, but he manages to get to the top of the construction site. Donkey Kong hits him with another barrel, but the electrician gets back up yet another time and taunts Donkey Kong, who retaliates by throwing ton of barrels at him and seemingly knocking the man out of sight.

Donkey Kong is concerned, saying he didn't want to harm the man. The electrician pops out of the barrel Donkey is holding, scaring him. A furious Pauline kicks Donkey Kong, adominishing him for his antics and promising to get even.

Finishing his tale, Cranky said the event made him get out of the city. The reporter goads him into telling more by showing Pauline got movie and book deals out of her side of the story, whose unflatering depictions of Cranky make him furious. Cranky claims to have the ugly truth about Pauline, starting his new tales with the words "The first time I carried her to the top of a building..." before the story ends.

Donkey Kong Land series[edit]

While Cranky does not physically appear in any of the Donkey Kong Land games, the instruction booklet for the first Donkey Kong Land explains that the game happens owing to Cranky. Jealous of Donkey and Diddy's victory over King K. Rool, Cranky attracts them into a bet, stating that if they can reclaim Donkey's banana hoard from King K. Rool once again, this time on an 8-bit system, he will admit that they are adequate gaming heroes. In the end, Cranky retracts his doubts when Donkey and Diddy once again defeat K. Rool and the Kremling Krew.

Additionally, the instruction booklet for Donkey Kong Land 2 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.[6]

Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle[edit]

Illustration from page 25 of Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle, showing Donkey Kong, Cranky Kong, Diddy Kong and Squawks the Parrot.
Cranky Kong with Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and Squawks, from Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle

Cranky Kong appears in the 1995 novel Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle, accompanying Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong across the island to reach Big Ape City. At the beginning of the novel Cranky Kong expresses his disapproval about Diddy Kong flying in Funky Kong's barrel plane, complaining that "if apes were meant to fly, they'd have wings", and "there's nowhere any self-respecting ape would want to go that he can't get to on his own two hairy feet". After Funky Kong leaves in his plane, the Kongs find that he has accidentally left his walkie talkie with Donkey Kong. Trying to contact him, the Kongs hear that his plane is being attacked by "flying pigs" near Big Ape City, and that he's going to crash.

Donkey Kong and Diddy immediately decide to travel to the city on foot. Cranky Kong doubts that they are capable, although he wishes to join them so that they don't have to "go off on another adventure alone". After reaching Tree Top Town on the edge of the jungle, Cranky Kong trips over a vine after insisting to take the lead, which triggers an alarm that alerts the Kremlings. Attacking alongside Donkey Kong and Diddy, Cranky uses his cane to slam several Kremlings on their feet, which sent them "hobbling into the bushes". An illustration also shows him swinging on a vine.

After the Kongs are guided through a mountain's caves by Squawks, they reach the skyline of Big Ape City. Cranky says to Donkey Kong that "I haven't been here since I was your age[...] I remember battling a short plumber named Mario", which suggests that Big Ape City is the location of the original Donkey Kong arcade game. They find that the city has been overrun by Kremlings, who are building a large factory. Cranky Kong notably complains several times, being reluctant to continue while they are trying to locate Funky Kong's prison cell. In an illustration, Cranky Kong is even shown to be unimpressed when Donkey Kong uses a TNT Barrel to open the prison door lock.

While battling some Kremlings who had heard the loud explosion, Kritter tries to take Cranky Kong hostage. He shouts "stop your assault or the old ape gets it!" Cranky Kong instead elbows Kritter in the stomach, and says "I was stomping on the likes of you when you were knee-high to a salamander!". After Funky's plane is found in the factory's cargo room, Donkey Kong and Diddy both leave to retrieve a part to repair the plane, and to turn off the factory's defense system. Cranky Kong is left to keep Funky Kong company while he repairs the plane, and Cranky tells "story after story" about his youth. After the plane is repaired, the Kongs all board (although Cranky Kong is reluctant as he "hates" flying), and they escape through a hole in the factory wall created by a TNT Barrel. Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong manage to plant King K. Rool's zeppelin with TNT Barrels, which falls and destroys the Kremling's factory. Cranky Kong shares a laugh with the other Kongs as they fly back home to their treehouse.

Donkey Kong Country television series[edit]

The Kongo Bongo Festival of Lights
Cranky as he appears in the Donkey Kong Country show

Cranky was also a main character on the Donkey Kong Country television series produced by Nelvana and Nintendo, where he was voiced by Aron Tager. Here, Cranky was as grouchy and bitter as he was in the games, while also being far less arrogant and not breaking the fourth wall nearly as often. The white hair he has in the games is replaced by large white eyebrows, though he still has his beard. In addition, his sweater-vest is now a bluish-gray, and he sometimes appears without his cane, unlike in the 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, which doubles as a shelter for the Crystal Coconut. On the show, Cranky was also shown to be adept at potion-making and magic, a trait later carried over into the games. In one episode, it is revealed that he was once best friends with King K. Rool until the crocodile cheated during a bet, which turned their friendship into a bitter rivalry.

Donkey Kong 64[edit]

“I’ve perfected another of my potions, Donkey/Diddy/Lanky/Tiny/Chunky, and it’s yours for just 3/5/7 coins. You won't get much further without it, so I suggest you pay up.”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong 64

Cranky Kong returns in Donkey Kong 64, having 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 Professor Cranky for several potions that can give them new powers and abilities. Also, if the Kongs manage to collect fifteen Banana Medals, he will allow them to play Jetpac, the first published computer game of Ultimate Play The Game (Rare's direct predecessor). 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.

Once again, he makes comments throughout the instruction booklet, such as insulting the games' formulaic approach and hoping that an arcade-inspired level design he submitted ("The Great Girder Grapple") was included as a bonus. When presenting his own character profile, he insists on being called Professor Cranky Kong.[7]

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Throughout the Super Smash Bros. series, Cranky Kong makes a cameo appearance in the background of Jungle Japes, where his silhouette can be seen pacing back and forth in his cabin near that of his rocking chair. The stage is accessible in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Cranky often appears in the form of a collectible item. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he appears as both a sticker and a trophy; the sticker depicts his Donkey Konga 3 JP, and can be equipped to any fighter to boost the power of indirect special moves by 7. Cranky's trophy falsely states that his first playable appearance is in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, when it is actually Donkey Konga 3 JP. Another trophy of Cranky appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U. Cranky appears as a primary, ace, attack-type spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, using his artwork from Donkey Kong Country Returns. In his spirit battle, the player fights a white-furred Donkey Kong on the Kongo Jungle stage in its Omega form with a Slumber Floor effect. The music during the fight is "Opening - Donkey Kong", referencing the fact that he was the Donkey Kong appearing in the original arcade game, and the opening to the original Donkey Kong Country where he is associated with the theme.

Cranky Kong is also alluded to in Solid Snake's codec call about Donkey Kong, where Colonel Roy Campbell mentioned that the Donkey Kong who fought Mario in an "epic battle" (referring to the arcade release of Donkey Kong) was the current one's grandfather, with Snake also calling the current one "a chip off the old block" upon learning that the current one also was a rival of Mario, to certain extent.

Donkey Konga series[edit]

Cranky also appears in the Donkey Konga series, though he is only playable in the series' third installment, Donkey Konga 3. As Diddy Kong Pilot never saw a release, this is the first game where Cranky Kong is a playable character.

DK series[edit]

DK: King of Swing[edit]

Artwork of Cranky Kong from DK: King of Swing
Cranky, as he appeared in 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, are the only Kongs who are not playable in DK: King of Swing's Jungle Jam mode.

DK: Jungle Climber[edit]

Artwork of Cranky Kong from DK: Jungle Climber
Cranky, as he appeared in 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 instruct them on new moves, power-ups, and collectibles. Cranky has a very active involvement in this game, as he follows DK, Diddy and Xananab throughout the various islands. He also makes announcements to tell the characters what they can do with the various Banana Coins, DK Coins, and oil barrels they collect throughout the levels, as well as tracking their game completion. Cranky's namesake personality is substantially diminished, having a more good-natured, wise, and altruistic persona.

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast[edit]

Cranky appears in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast as a playable character, unlocked by completing Challenge 24 of Candy's Challenges. All three of his stats are rated four stars out of a possible five. His rival is King K. Rool, who has the same stats as him. His stats essentially mean that he has high stats all around. He also has his own race course, Cranky's Temple.

Cranky Kong also hosts Cranky's Flight School, a mode that serves as a tutorial to the game.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle[edit]

While Cranky Kong himself does not appear in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, a Rabbid in his likeness known as Rabbid Cranky appears in the Donkey Kong Adventure add-on.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie[edit]

“All right, tough guy. You want my army so badly? Defeat my son in the Great Ring of Kong!”
Cranky Kong, The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Cranky Kong in The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Cranky Kong's appearance in The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Cranky Kong appears in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, voiced by Fred Armisen in the English version, his first direct appearance in Super Mario media. He is the ruler of the Jungle Kingdom, and commander of his own army, the great Kong army. In this depiction, Cranky Kong is adorned with an Inca-styled crown and outfit, and unlike his game depiction, does not have wrinkles on his mouth. He is also depicted as being Donkey Kong's father, and his personality is altered somewhat from his behavior in the games.

Threatened by Bowser's impending attack on the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario, Princess Peach and Toad arrive at Cranky Kong's throne to ask for his Kong army to assist in their battle. Cranky Kong turns down the offer, as Peach pleads that the Jungle Kingdom would be next to fall if the Mushroom Kingdom was to be taken over. Mario insists despite Cranky Kong ridiculing him, and finally concedes and promises to aid them in their battle only if Mario successfully defeats his best warrior and son, Donkey Kong.

At the Great Ring of Kong, Cranky watches the battle from a gold throne alongside Peach and Toad. He is shown to be annoyed at Donkey Kong's antics and show-off personality, at one point telling him to stop flexing his pec muscles. Despite that, he cheers his son on through his continued hits on Mario, but is surprised and upset when Mario defeats Donkey Kong using the cat power-up. A defeated Cranky Kong agrees to lend his army to Princess Peach. He is shown in the following scene breaking up a second fight between Mario and Donkey Kong before it begins.

The Kong army, with Cranky Kong leading, take on Rainbow Road in karts headed to Bowser's Castle. Bowser receives prior knowledge of this attempted raid from his Koopa General, prompting Bowser to send out an ambush squad of Koopa Troopas on karts. The Koopas overtake the main characters, with the Koopa General, apparently killing Mario and Donkey Kong, devastating Cranky Kong. He is then captured and trapped alongside the Kongs in Bowser's Castle, trapped in a cage suspended over lava. In a conversation between Donkey Kong and Mario shortly after this scene, Donkey Kong reveals his strained relationship with Cranky where he feels like he can never make his father proud, and feels like he constantly lets him down. Towards the film's end, Cranky Kong is rescued from the cage by Donkey Kong and Cranky warmly tells him he has earned the right to show off his pecs, though Donkey Kong declines and promises to do it "definitely later".

Unused appearances[edit]

Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers[edit]

Cranky Kong was set to appear in Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers, where he had a set of challenges the player could partake in.

Diddy Kong Pilot[edit]

The battle mode of Diddy Kong Pilot, including the unimplemented level 1 version of Rocket boost.
Cranky Kong in Hatch Match in Diddy Kong Pilot (2001)

Cranky is playable in every build of Diddy Kong Pilot. In the Space World 2000 build, Cranky Kong piloted an old-fashioned plane with a red and light brown color scheme. Cranky Kong did not wear his spectacles and instead wore a pair of earmuffs over his head. Cranky Kong was mentioned in Kamikaze K. Rool's story, "K. Rool's Gold", as having tried and failed to get the treasure of El Dorado. Cranky Kong was still a pilot in the 2001 version. He retained his earmuffs and lack of glasses, but now flew a more advanced orange and yellow plane.

In the 2003 build of Diddy Kong Pilot, Cranky is not initially a playable pilot. Instead, Cranky talks to Team Kong and the unlockable Team Krem both before and after they start a cup or a new mode. Cranky encourages the former team to win races (in his usual passive-aggressive manner) but openly criticizes the latter. Cranky is one of the unlockable characters, and he can be obtained after he is beaten on every track in a one-on-one race while collecting all his Coins. The character select screen for Team Cranky shows four different portraits for Cranky. Cranky now wears his usual spectacles instead of earmuffs and pilots an old fashioned blue and brown biplane.

He has the highest speed and acceleration of the other characters, and is lightweight. In the final iteration, Banjo-Pilot, Cranky's biplane was used by Mumbo Jumbo, but Bottles is the character that inherited Cranky stat spread and spot as the final unlockable character.

General information[edit]


Grandpa Kong in the unreleased book pitch, Donkey Kong and the Golden Bananas
Grandpa Kong

The pitch that would lead to Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong and the Golden Bananas, featured a character named Grandpa Kong, who was a white-furred bearded Kong who looked very similar to Donkey Kong himself. Due to Donkey Kong Jr.'s presence in the pitch, it seems that the idea of him being the original arcade Donkey Kong had not yet been written. Throughout Donkey Kong Country's development, the character would eventually be retooled to his current appearance, but unused dialogue found in the game's data suggests Cranky was initially written as a more kindly and friendly individual.[8] Cranky Kong's dialogue in the final game and instruction manual was primarily written by Gregg Mayles,[9] with some lines contributed by Tim Stamper.[10]

Physical appearance[edit]

“My muscles, my strength, my face! I'm not a stud muffin anymore!”
Cranky Kong, Ape Foo Young

Compared to his appearances in the original Donkey Kong and its two sequels (where he greatly resembled the current Donkey Kong), Cranky Kong appears to have become thinner, more diminutive, and much less muscular over the years, with his fur also becoming slightly darker. He bears facial proportions much like those of his grandson, though his head is smooth on top, his lips are more wrinkled, and he wears thick glasses with black frames. He has also grown a thick, white beard which obscures most of his torso, due to the fact that he always stands with a heavy slouch. Beneath his beard, Cranky Kong wears a taupe sweater-vest (green in Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3) as his only garment. Finally, Cranky always carries an ordinary-looking wooden cane with him (though he held two in Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3). His trademark pose involves him standing on both feet with a heavy slouch, his cane in one hand, and the other arm resting on his back. In addition, his gameplay in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze suggests that he might wear dentures.


Cranky is generally depicted as curmudgeonly and bitter, always making sarcastic remarks about various things, pointing out flaws in the other Kongs (particularly Donkey Kong) or even the very games he appears in, and complaining about everything he doesn't like. He is also rather cocky, claiming himself to be among the best video game icons ever, and that he is and always will be better than his grandson despite his old and frail state. His arrogance is countered by his poor sportsmanship however. Aside from this, Cranky Kong is also known to display traits of stereotypical elders, such as constantly demanding sleep. Cranky can be benevolent and heroic when the situation calls for it, such as how he helped his grandson and their friends take back Donkey Kong Island in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Cranky sometimes asks Donkey Kong for help, or allows him take over in situations. Despite his cantankerous manners, Cranky has praised his fellow Kongs on exceptional occasions (more frequently in DK: Jungle Climber, where he is shown less crabby), such as telling Donkey Kong that "he's nearly as good as I used to be" if 101% Completion is achieved in the original Donkey Kong Country, or saying of Diddy that "You're as big of a hero as they come." if all Video Game Hero Coins are recovered in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.

Identity confusion[edit]

Rareware initially created Cranky Kong for a game featuring the original Donkey Kong from the earlier Donkey Kong games, then-named "Grandpa Kong", being the grandfather of the original Donkey Kong.[11] As Rare's game got reworked into Donkey Kong Country, featuring a more distinctly different Donkey Kong, Grandpa Kong was then established as the original Donkey Kong at an elderly age. Due to this, his exact relation to the current Donkey Kong has been inconsistent. Before the release of Donkey Kong Country, footage from a promotional video titled Donkey Kong Country: Exposed called Cranky Kong his "dad or grandfather", and Cranky Kong refers to Donkey Kong as "Junior" in the review of Donkey Kong Country by the Nintendo Magazine System.[12] Upon release, Cranky Kong being Donkey Kong's grandfather was the consistent backstory throughout the SNES series.[4] While their relation was not explicitly stated in the television series, Cranky acted as a father figure to Donkey Kong and once said that he considered him like a son. Rare seemingly started to retcon their relationship in Donkey Kong 64, in which Cranky Kong consistently addresses Donkey Kong as "son",[13] implying a more direct parental role. Leigh Loveday stated in a 1999 online Q&A that the current Donkey Kong was intended to be Cranky Kong's son and thus an adult Donkey Kong Jr. as far as he was aware, and requested fans to completely ignore instances claiming Cranky to be his grandfather.[14] Whether or not this statement was intended to be taken seriously, the Nintendo of Europe website for the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country supported this notion.[15] According to Gregg Mayles in 2017, Cranky Kong is Donkey Kong's grandfather and called him "son" during the events of Donkey Kong 64 because he was so senile by then that he could not remember their actual relationship.[16] The Italian Club Nintendo magazine also states that Cranky is the father of Donkey Kong,[17] despite the Italian instruction booklet stating that he is the grandfather.[18]

After Rare left Nintendo, the issue was left open for some time. Official bios for both Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee imply that the Donkey Kong from the arcade games is the same as the current Donkey Kong,[19][20] and Mario vs. Donkey Kong describes Donkey Kong as Mario's "original foe".[21] However, this is contradicted by Mario Superstar Baseball, which distinguishes "his ancestor, the original Donkey Kong".[22] Subsequently, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis implies that Donkey Kong had never seen Pauline beforehand, suggesting him to be distinct from the original Donkey Kong.[23] Super Smash Bros. Brawl (and, consequently, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate) sticks with the story that the original Donkey Kong is the current Donkey Kong's grandfather.[24] Donkey Kong Country Returns reaffirms the portrayal of Cranky Kong as the grandfather of the modern Donkey Kong.[25] This would be contradicted again in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, in which Donkey Kong is referred to as Cranky Kong's son and, according to the Japanese website, successor.[26]

The 2017 book Playing With Super Power: Nintendo Super NES Classics by Prima Games contains two contradictory notes. In one section, it is explained that Donkey Kong Jr. is a separate character from both Cranky Kong and Donkey Kong and is actually the father of the current Donkey Kong and the son of Cranky Kong (who is further explained to be the original Donkey Kong, "Donkey Kong Sr.").[27] Another section, however, notes that the current Donkey Kong is in fact a grown-up Donkey Kong Jr.[28] The Prima Games Twitter account clarified and elaborated upon the apparent contradiction, stating that the latter is meant to be taken as a metaphor for the original design process, whereas the former is the official interpretation of the characters' familial ties.[29] This is the only published piece of media that has directly stated that Donkey Kong Jr. is the father of the current Donkey Kong.

List of appearances[edit]

This does not include appearances where he bore the title of "Donkey Kong."

Title Description Release Date System/Format
Donkey Kong Country Non-Playable Character 1994 Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Donkey Kong Land Mentioned in plotline found in the instruction booklet 1995 Game Boy
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest Non-Playable Character 1995 Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Opponent in minigame 1996 Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Donkey Kong Land III Cameo in Wrinkly's Save Cave 1997 Game Boy
Donkey Kong 64 Non-Playable Character 1999 Nintendo 64
Picross NP Vol. 8 Cameo 2000 Super Nintendo
Donkey Kong Country Non-Playable Character 2000 Game Boy Color
Super Smash Bros. Melee Cameo walking around in the hut in Jungle Japes 2001 Nintendo GameCube
Donkey Kong Country Non-Playable Character 2003 Game Boy Advance
Donkey Konga Non-Playable Character 2003 Nintendo GameCube
Donkey Konga 2 Non-Playable Character 2004 Nintendo GameCube
Donkey Kong Country 2 Non-Playable Character 2004 Game Boy Advance
DK: King of Swing Non-Playable Character 2005 Game Boy Advance
Donkey Konga 3: Tabehōdai! Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku Playable Character 2005 Nintendo GameCube
Donkey Kong Country 3 Playable Character in minigame 2005 Game Boy Advance
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Unlockable Playable Character 2007 Wii
DK: Jungle Climber Non-Playable Character 2007 Nintendo DS
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Cameo as a trophy and sticker, as well as an appearance in Jungle Japes 2008 Wii
Donkey Kong Country Returns Non-Playable Character 2010 Wii
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D Non-Playable Character 2013 Nintendo 3DS
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Playable Character 2014 Wii U
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U Cameo as trophy, as well as an appearance in Jungle Japes in the Nintendo 3DS version 2014 Nintendo 3DS, Wii U
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Playable Character 2018 Nintendo Switch
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Cameo as spirit, as well as an appearance in Jungle Japes 2018 Nintendo Switch

Profiles and statistics[edit]

Main article: List of Cranky Kong profiles and statistics

Donkey Kong 64[edit]

  • Instruction booklet bio from Professor Cranky Kong (page 9): "Yep, you read it right, sonny! It’s Professor Cranky now, and you’d better show your elders some respect, as I’m your only hope in defeating those rancid reptiles. My powerful potions will give you abilities you’ve never dreamed of and certainly don’t deserve, assuming of course you can afford my modest asking fee. Now don’t you go asking me for a potion of gameplay, as even my genius can’t rescue this game from its rightful destiny in the bargain bin."

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast[edit]

Cranky Kong
Cranky Kong's character selection icon from Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.
Rival King K. Rool Boost 4/5
Speed 4/5 Agility 4/5
How to unlock: Win Candy's Challenge 24: Challenge Cranky!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

#140 Cranky Kong
Cranky Kong Series/game Donkey Kong Series
Type Primary
Slots 3
Class Ace
Strength / effect(s) Attack
Speed ↓
How to obtain World of Light (DK Island); Summoned with a Cyrus & Reese and Wrinkly Kong core
Spirit battle Opponent(s) Donkey Kong

Hazard: Slumber Floor

  • The floor is sleep-inducing
Stage Jungle Japes
Song Opening - Donkey Kong


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Cranky Kong.


Audio.svg Cranky's Theme - The theme used in Cranky's Cabin in Donkey Kong Country
File infoMedia:DKC SNES Cranky's Theme.oga
Audio.svg Cranky's Conga - The theme that plays in the Monkey Museum in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
File infoMedia:DKC2 SNES Cranky's Conga.oga
Audio.svg Cranky's Theme - The theme used in Cranky's Cabin in the Game Boy Color version of Donkey Kong Country
File infoMedia:DKC GBC Cranky's Theme.oga
Audio.svg Cranky's Theme - The theme used in Cranky's Cabin in the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country
File infoMedia:DKC GBA Cranky's Theme.oga
Audio.svg Cranky's Conga - The theme that plays in the Monkey Museum in the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country 2
File infoMedia:DKC2 GBA Cranky's Conga.oga
Audio.svg Cranky's Lectures - From DK: King of Swing
File infoMedia:DKKOSCrankysLectures.oga
Audio.svg Cranky's Theme - From DK: Jungle Climber
File infoMedia:Cranky Kong (DK Jungle Climber).oga
Audio.svg Cranky Kong's Shop - From Donkey Kong Country Returns
File infoMedia:Cranky Kong Donkey Kong Country Returns 2.oga
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?


Main article: List of Cranky Kong quotes
  • "They can't keep this level of graphics up for much longer! We used to be lucky if we only got three shades of grey, let alone any real colors!"
  • "Look!...look at this! I rock, my beard swings! Waste of frames in my opinion!"
  • "Whisking off maidens and throwing barrels around the place seven days a week, I was. That's how I got where I am today, you know. Hard work."
  • "You're only reading this because you're bored!"
  • "Tired of me? You're lucky I'm here to brighten up this boring manual!"
  • "I've never seen so much worthless rubbish! I'm surprised they don't give you a special 'trash barrel' to haul it all around in!"

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese クランキーコング
Kurankī Kongu
Cranky Kong

Catalan Cranky Kong (The Super Mario Bros. Movie)
Chinese (simplified) 库朗奇刚
Kùlǎngqí Gāng
Cranky Kong

Chinese (traditional) 庫朗奇剛
Kùlǎngqí Gāng
Cranky Kong

Dutch Cranky Kong
Finnish Kärtty Kong[sic] (first three Donkey Kong Country games, Donkey Kong Land series)
Cranky Kong
French Cranky Kong
German Cranky Kong
Bubbles (Donkey Kong Country television series)
Italian Cranky Kong
Korean 크랭키콩
Keuraenki Kong
Cranky Kong

Portuguese Cranky Kong
Romanian Cranky Kong (The Super Mario Bros. Movie)
Russian Крэнки Конг
Kraenki Kong
Cranky Kong

Spanish Cranky Kong
Thai แครนกี คอง[30]
Khraen-ki Khong
Cranky Kong


  • In the original Nintendo 64 version of Banjo-Kazooie, Cranky Kong and Donkey Kong's names are each an answer to one of the Grunty's Furnace Fun questions.[31]
  • Cranky Kong admits to being a big fan of Game & Watch games, and he also mentions that he considers playing the original Donkey Kong arcade game when Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are not visiting him.
  • In Super Mario Odyssey, one of the streets in New Donk City is named "Cranky Avenue".
  • Cranky Kong has an unused walking animation in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System version of Donkey Kong Country, which would later be used in the Game Boy Advance version.[32]
  • In the Donkey Kong Land 2 coverage of both the 47th and 49th issues of the Australian Nintendo Magazine System, a DK Coin is described as being a prize of "Kranky Kong",[sic] even though he does not appear in the game.[33][34]


  1. ^ "Have you been to see my husband Cranky? He complains a little, but he does know everything about this island." – Wrinkly Kong (1995). Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.
  2. ^ "Even old Cranky Kong is getting in on the entrepreneurial spirit. He’s opened a Monkey Museum where inquisitive monkeys can go to learn about the lore of Crocodile Isle. Prepare to pay to get the best hints!" – Nintendo. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest instruction booklet. Page 26.
  3. ^ "Rumor has it—and it might just be simian senility—that Cranky Kong covered all the levels and found everything in five hours and fifteen minutes!" – Owsen, Dan; Munson, Terry; Shinoda, Paul. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble Player's Guide. Nintendo of America (American English). Page 4.
  4. ^ a b "He groggily rolled over to see the familiar wrinkled, white-bearded, grouchy face of his old granddad "Cranky Kong" peering down at him. In his heyday, Cranky was the original Donkey Kong who battled Mario in several of his own games." – Nintendo. Donkey Kong Country instruction booklet.
  5. ^ "「1994年に発売された『ドンキーコング』(ゲームボーイ)を最後に、孫に“ドンキーコング”の名を譲り渡す。」 (After the release of 'Donkey Kong' (Game Boy), he turned over the Donkey Kong name to his grandchild.)" – Nintendo Online Magazine (Japanese).
  6. ^ Kongtroversy. The Mushroom Kingdom. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  7. ^ "Professor Cranky Kong Yep, you read it right, sonny! It’s Professor Cranky now, and you’d better show your elders some respect, as I’m your only hope in defeating those rancid reptiles." – Nintendo (1999). Donkey Kong 64 instruction booklet. Nintendo of America (American English). Page 9.
  8. ^ Donkey Kong Country (SNES)#Greetings. The Cutting Room Floor. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  9. ^ Mayles, Gregg (November 25, 2015). Making fun of ourselves has always been part of @RareLtd games. Here's some of my #DKC2is20 Cranky script.. X. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  10. ^ Mayles, Gregg (February 16, 2018). I wrote most of those, @InTimsWorld did a few too. Cranky originally threatening a 'thrashing' rather than a 'trashing', but no-one in the US understood what that was. X. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  11. ^ List_of_Donkey_Kong_Country_pre-release_and_unused_content#Donkey_Kong_and_the_Golden_Bananas
  12. ^ "I am the original Donkey Kong and, as such, command barrel loads of due respect from my proteges Junior (the Donkey Kong of this game) and Diddy." – Cranky Kong. Nintendo Magazine System (UK) #26, Special. Page 6.
  13. ^ "That darn Donkey has all the luck! His girl Candy waits around in her hut, always willing to offer her musical help to that undeserving son of mine and his fancy polygonal friends. Pah!" – Cranky Kong. Donkey Kong 64 instruction booklet. Page 9.
  14. ^ Scribes - April 25, 1999. Archived from the original via Wayback Machine. Retrieved February 7, 2024..
  15. ^ Donkey Kong Country. Retrieved April 13, 2017. (Archived July 2, 2022 18:13:39 UTC via
  16. ^ Mayles, Gregg (May 2, 2017). I'm pretty sure when I made this stuff up nearly 25 years ago that he was his grandson. By DK64 he was so senile he couldn't remember. X. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  17. ^ Club Nintendo - 6th issue of 1994, page 4. Retrieved on April 10th, 2024 on the Internet Archive. "Su un'isola nella vasta foresta tropicale vive Donkey Kong, Re delle Scimmie e Re della Giungla. Ma non si tratta del Donkey Kong delle battaglie passate: questo super gorilla è il figlio dell'eroe dei giochi classici, con un aspetto completamente diverso, nuove pose e nuove mosse.
    Anche il padre di Kong, Cranky Kong, vive sull'isola, ma adesso è vecchio e un po' triste.
    (On an island in the vast tropical forest lives Donkey Kong, King of the Monkeys and King of the Jungle. But this is not the Donkey Kong of past battles: this super gorilla is the son of the hero of the classic games, with a completely different appearance, new poses and new moves.
    Kong's father, Cranky Kong, also lives on the island, but now he's old and a little sad.
  18. ^ Donkey Kong Country Italian instruction booklet, pag. 6: "era la faccia di suo nonno Cranky Kong che lo osservava! In gioventù, Cranky era stato l'originale Donkey Kong che aveva combattuto contro Mario in tanti videogiochi." (it was his grandfather Cranky Kong's face who was watching him! Back in his days, Cranky was the original Donkey Kong that faced Mario in many videogames.)
  19. ^ "Donkey Kong and Mario started out as arch-rivals, but they've patched things up in recent years. These days Donkey Kong spends his time searching the jungle for bananas instead of kidnapping beautiful maidens." – Super Smash Bros. Characters.
  20. ^ "While he now prefers the laid-back jungle lifestyle to construction site mischief, DK is often forced back into action by the Kremling Krew." - Super Smash Bros. Melee trophy description
  21. ^ Mario vs. Donkey Kong box back
  22. ^ "His ancestor, the original Donkey Kong wore no necktie." – Mario Superstar Baseball Exhibition Game Records.
  23. ^ "The Mario Toy Company’s hairiest employee. He instantly fell in love with Pauline as soon as he saw her at the theme park’s opening ceremony, and now the jealous ape has run off with her!" – Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis instruction booklet. Page 7.
  24. ^ "The Donkey Kong who fought that epic battle with Mario was this guy's grandfather." – Otacon, Snake's codec. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  25. ^ "Donkey Kong’s white-bearded, grouchy grandfather, Cranky Kong, has set up shop in each world to sell items to aid Donkey Kong. Cranky Kong can ramble on about anything, but don’t ignore what he has to say, as his ramblings provide advice for those who pay careful attention." – Nintendo (2010). Donkey Kong Country Returns instruction booklet. Page 20.
  26. ^ "「ジャングル王国とコング軍を率いるクランキーコングの後継者であり、息子。」 (The successor and son of Cranky Kong, who leads the Jungle Kingdom and the Kong army.)" – ザ・スーパーマリオブラザーズ・ムービー. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  27. ^ "Super Mario Kart is the only Mario Kart game to feature Donkey Kong Jr. Due to the success of Donkey Kong Country, all future Mario Kart entries featured Donkey Kong, who is actually Donkey Kong Jr.’s son, with Cranky Kong, aka Donkey Kong Sr., canonically being the character featured in the original Donkey Kong game. Makes sense, right?" – Playing With Super Power: Nintendo Super NES Classics eGuide, Super Mario Kart 16 Bits Tab.
  28. ^ "As the marketing noted, “This isn’t your father’s Donkey Kong!” He is, in fact, Donkey Kong Jr., all grown up. For his 16-bit revival, Donkey Kong was redesigned, with his original creator Shigeru Miyamoto providing Rare with a sketch that included the now-iconic red tie. Mr. Miyamoto also suggested Donkey’s ape-inspired “hand slap” move, which allowed him to defeat nearby enemies and reveal certain secrets. Rare was able to implement the move just weeks before the deadline for the game." – Playing With Super Power: Nintendo Super NES Classics eGuide, Donkey Kong Country Characters Tab.
  29. ^ DK Vine forum thread, with images from the book and Prima Games' justification on social media[better source needed]
  30. ^ November 30, 2022. The Super Mario Bros. Movie Trailer 2. YouTube (Thai). Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  31. ^ CountBleck2009 (January 3, 2009). Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Furnace Fun Part I. YouTube. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  32. ^ Donkey Kong Country (SNES)#Cranky Kong. The Cutting Room Floor. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  33. ^ April 1997. Nintendo Magazine System (Australia) issue 49. Page 51.
  34. ^ February 1997. Nintendo Magazine System (Australia) issue 47. Page 48.