Cranky Kong

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Cranky Kong
Cranky Kong Artwork - Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.png
Cranky Kong, as he appears in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Full name Professor Cranky Kong[1] (formerly Donkey Kong)
Species Kong
First appearance Donkey Kong Country (as Cranky Kong) (1994)

Donkey Kong (as Donkey Kong) (1981)

Latest appearance Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (trophy cameo) (as Cranky Kong) (2014)

Ultimate NES Remix (as Donkey Kong) (2014)

Latest portrayal Takashi Nagasako (2007 - present)
This article is about the original Donkey Kong. For the current Donkey Kong, see here.

“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 Donkey Kong's fourth wall-breaking, constantly complaining and rambling grandfather. He is also a widower, as his wife is deceased. 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.[2] Cranky has been playable in four games, including Japan-only games. His abilities and health vary greatly in games; sometimes unable to walk without two canes, sometimes is just as athletic as Donkey Kong.



Main article: Donkey Kong
Cranky Kong in his youth, together with Pauline
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. He retired after he relinquished the name to his grandson.[3]

Donkey Kong Country series[edit]

Donkey Kong Country[edit]

Cranky Kong.

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.

He also appears in the opening cutscene before the title screen of the original SNES version, where he joyfully operates a phonograph, playing the theme song from the original Donkey Kong arcade game, before Donkey Kong disrupts his privacy by knocking him aside and dancing to a remixed version of the song Cranky was playing on the phonograph on a boombox he drops nearby. Cranky, irritated by this interruption, hurls a TNT barrel at D.K.'s boombox, destroying it to the latter's surprise.

In the Game Boy Advance version, Cranky appears after each boss battle to provide commentary. He makes a similar appearance in the GBA ports of Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Country 3.

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

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 Kong 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![edit]

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 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. 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 "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[edit]

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 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, 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]

Official artwork of Cranky Kong for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Cranky Kong appears as 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; this move is called the Cane Bounce. He can also use his cane to attack and take down underwater enemies; while this may be considered equivalent to performing the Corkscrew on said enemies, the submerged cane attack can be used to defeat spiky foes, such as Pufftups and Sea Urchins, but cannot be executed to collapse weak structures. 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.

It is also worth noting that Tropical Freeze is the only game in the Donkey Kong Country series where Cranky Kong does not have any written dialog.

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 Land series[edit]

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 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.[4]

Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle[edit]

Cranky Kong with Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and Squawks the Parrot, 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 the Parrot, 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]

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. Here, Cranky was as grouchy and bitter as he was in the games. However, he's far less arrogant than in the video games, and the white hair he has in the games is replaced by large white eyebrows, though he still has his beard. 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. In one episode it is revealed that he was once best friends with King K Rool before the crocodile cheated during a bet, which turned their friendship into a bitter rivalry.

Donkey Kong 64[edit]

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, 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.

Cranky's role is likely based on the Donkey Kong Country television series, 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[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Cranky makes a small cameo in the background of Jungle Japes, where he can be seen pacing back and forth in his cabin.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

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. His sticker uses his artwork from Donkey Konga 3 and boosts the power of indirect special moves by 7 and is usable by any character.

Cranky's trophy states that his first playable appearance is in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, however this is not true, as he had been playable in the earlier Japan-only release Donkey Konga 3: Tabehōdai! Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku and in the Cranky's Dojo minigame in the GBA version of Donkey Kong Country 3.

Donkey Konga series[edit]

Cranky as he appears in Donkey Konga.

Cranky also appears in the Donkey Konga series, though he is only playable in the series' third installment, Donkey Konga 3: Tabehōdai! Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku.

DK series[edit]

DK: King of Swing[edit]

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 aren't playable in DK: King of Swing's Jungle Jam mode.

DK: Jungle Climber[edit]

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 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[edit]

Cranky as he appears in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.

Cranky appears in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast as an unlockable character, unlocked by completing Challenge 24 of Candy's Challenges. All three of his stats are rated four stars out of a possible five, making him a rival to King K. Rool (who has the same stats as Cranky Kong). 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.

Identity confusion[edit]

Rareware created the Cranky Kong character as an older version of the original Donkey Kong from the earlier Donkey Kong games, but his exact relation to the current Donkey Kong has been disputed. However, Cranky Kong being Donkey Kong's grandfather was the consistent backstory throughout the SNES series. While this was not explicitly stated in the television series, he acted as a father figure and once said that he considered DK like a son. Rare seemingly started to retcon this in Donkey Kong 64, in which Cranky Kong consistently addressed him as "son," implying a more direct parental role. In Rare Scribes, it was explained to the writer's knowledge that their Donkey Kong was intended to be an adult Donkey Kong Jr., and requested players to completely ignore instances where Cranky was stated to be his grandfather. Fans have since been split on whether or not to take this statement seriously, although two other Nintendo of Europe websites for the GBA re-release of Donkey Kong Country supported this idea. Closer inspection reveals there may have been conflicting evidence among the developers from the beginning, as a promotional video exclusively for Nintendo Power subscribers named Donkey Kong Country: Exposed called Cranky Kong his "dad or grandfather."

After Rare left Nintendo, Donkey Kong's nature was left open for some time. Both official bios for Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee have stated that the Donkey Kong in the arcade is the Donkey Kong today, and Mario vs. Donkey Kong was advertised by stating that Donkey Kong was Mario's oldest rival. However, this was contradicted, although vaguely, by Mario Superstar Baseball, which attributed Pauline's kidnapping to "his ancestor, the original Donkey Kong". Subsequently, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis implied that Donkey Kong met Pauline for the first time and became smitten at first sight. Text for the additional content in the GBA re-releases suggested an unclear familial connection; for example, in the Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! enhanced port, Cranky claims in his dojo that his first starring role would be called "Cranky Kong Country". Super Smash Bros. Brawl sticks with the story that the original Donkey Kong is the current Donkey Kong's grandfather. As of Retro Studios' Donkey Kong Country Returns, the position of Cranky Kong as the grandfather of the modern Donkey Kong has been reaffirmed.[5]

Game appearances (as Cranky)[edit]

Title Description Release Date System/Format
Donkey Kong Country Non-Playable Character 1994 SNES
Donkey Kong Land Mentioned in plotline found in Instruction Booklet 1995 Game Boy
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest Non-Playable Character 1995 SNES
Donkey Kong Land 2 Non-Playable Character 1996 Game Boy
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Opponent in Minigame 1996 SNES
Donkey Kong Land III Cameo- His picture hangs in Wrinkly Refuge. 1997 Game Boy
Donkey Kong 64 Non-Playable Character 1999 Nintendo 64
Donkey Kong Country (remake) Non-Playable Character 2000 Game Boy Color
Super Smash Bros. Melee Cameo- He can be seen walking around in the hut in Jungle Japes. 2001 GameCube
Donkey Kong Country (remake) Non-Playable Character 2003 Game Boy Advance
Donkey Konga Non-Playable Character 2003 GameCube
Donkey Konga 2 Non-Playable Character 2004 GameCube
Donkey Kong Country 2 (remake) Non-Playable Character 2004 Game Boy Advance
Donkey Konga 3: Tabehōdai! Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku Playable Character 2005 GameCube
Mario Superstar Baseball Mentioned in Donkey Kong's Bio. 2005 GameCube
DK: King of Swing Non-Playable Character 2005 Game Boy Advance
Donkey Kong Country 3 (remake) Playable Character in Minigame 2005 Game Boy Advance
DK: Jungle Climber Non-Playable Character 2007 Nintendo DS
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Unlockable Playable Character 2007 Wii
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Cameo as a Trophy and Sticker, as well as an appearance 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 2014 Nintendo 3DS, Wii U

Official profiles and statistics[edit]

German Donkey Kong 64 website[edit]

"A sharp tongue, lots of hair and loose teeth characterize the video game veteran Cranky Kong. Even if he seldom has anything good to say about his "good for nothing" son, as he calls him, he still supports Donkey and his friends in their exciting adventures with various potions from his laboratory. These wonders from the research lab help the Kongs to turn into true super apes! Whether it's a rocket back-pack, invulnerability, increased speed or becoming the size of a dwarf or a giant - Cranky is just the right one for the purposes of the ape clan. Since one has to pay a price for these helpful abilities, however, it is necessary to have sufficient banana coins on hand when calling on the brightest scientist of the primate world."

DK: King of Swing[edit]

  • Instruction booklet bio: "Head of the Jungle Jam Executive Committee. He teaches Donkey useful information like how to grab hold of pegs."

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]


Name Image Game Description
Cranky Kong BrawlTrophy326.png SNES Donkey Kong Country A village chief and bitter old codger. Cranky uses his extensive knowledge and wisdom to provide helpful hints. He has also made appearances in a white lab coat as a potion-dealing chemist, granting the Kongs special abilities. Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast features Cranky as a playable character for the first time.
Wii Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast


Image Game Effect
Cranky Kong Sticker.png Donkey Konga 3 JP [Specials: Indirect] - Attack +7

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U Trophy[edit]

Name 3DS Image Wii U Image Appears in NTSC-U Description PAL Description
Cranky Kong SSB4 Cranky Trophy.png CrankyKongTrophyWiiU.png SNES Donkey Kong Country (11/1994)
Wii U Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (02/2014)
This old man could teach you a thing or two! Cranky Kong has always been willing to share some words of wisdom, but in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, he decides to help directly and brings his cane-swinging style to the field. What a crazy old... Ahem. What a gentleman! In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Cranky Kong's decided he's done with just giving the young 'uns helpful hints, so now he's taking things into his own hands by bringing some much-needed cane-swinging to the fray. You just can't keep an old ape down, can you?

Blue indicates exclusive to the Wii U version.


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


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
German Cranky Kong Cranky Kong
Korean 크랭키콩
Keuraenki Kong
Cranky Kong


  • In the N64 version of Banjo-Kazooie, Cranky Kong and Donkey Kong's names can be seen as answers in the Grunty's Furnance Fun quiz.[6]
  • Cranky Kong's gameplay in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is very similar to the gameplay of DuckTales, particularly similar to the pogo cane move that Scrooge McDuck uses.
  • Cranky Kong admits to being a big fan of Game & Watch games, and also mentions that he considers playing the original Donkey Kong arcade game when Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong aren't visiting him.
  • In Super Mario Odyssey, one of the streets in New Donk City is named "Cranky Avenue".


  1. ^ Donkey Kong 64 North American instruction booklet, page 9
  2. ^
  3. ^ 「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
  4. ^ Kongtroversy The Mushroom Kingdom (Retrieved July 1, 2012)
  5. ^ "Well, you've amazed you old grandpa by getting this far." - Quote by Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country Returns
  6. ^