Donkey Kong 64
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Donkey Kong 64 is a 3D action-adventure platformer game developed by Rare and released for the Nintendo 64 console in 1999. It is a follow-up to the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy for the Super Nintendo console, taking place after the events of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! The game requires the use of the Expansion Pak in order to function, and was the first Nintendo 64 game to do so. In the game, Donkey Kong and his friends set off in a quest to stop the evil King K. Rool from destroying the Kongs' homeland, Donkey Kong Island, with a powerful machine called the Blast-o-Matic, which is located in a mechanical version of Crocodile Isle. So far, the title is the first and only 3D platformer game in the Donkey Kong franchise. The game was originally nicknamed Ultra Donkey Kong by the press (although Leigh Loveday denied the game was ever named that internally) and was rumored to be for the Nintendo 64DD.
The story begins in the peaceful Donkey Kong Island, which is the homeland of the Kongs. The Kremling Krew is shown sailing a fortified, technological version of Crocodile Isle to the Kongs' island. King K. Rool is planning on destroying the island using the Blast-o-Matic. It was designed by a weasel engineer named Snide, who switched sides after a paranoid King K. Rool kicked him out. Due to Snide's absence, Kritters are charged with operating the Blast-o-Matic and piloting the island, but they are shown to be quite inexperienced and work lazily, which causes the island to crash into a rock in the way to Donkey Kong Island, and the Blast-o-Matic to become heavily damaged as a result. Crocodile Isle ends up directly in front of Donkey Kong Island, so K. Rool orders three of his minions, a Klump, a Kritter and a Kasplat, to steal Donkey Kong's Banana Hoard, which consists of two hundred Golden Bananas, and imprison the other Kongs, so as to buy time and distract Donkey Kong while the Kremling Krew repairs the damaged Blast-o-Matic.
Meanwhile, Donkey Kong is in his tree house, doing push ups while listening to the DK Rap on his radio. Squawks then suddenly appears in the house and tells Donkey Kong that all of his precious Golden Bananas are gone, and the other Kongs have vanished. Donkey Kong then goes to Cranky's Lab, where Professor Cranky Kong offers homemade potions that give him and the other Kongs different abilities needed throughout the adventure, but only if Donkey Kong completes his training barrels first. Once Donkey Kong gains the new ability from Cranky's potion, he is able to start his quest to save the other Kongs and claim his Banana Hoard. At the beginning of his quest, Donkey Kong finds a mysterious island with a cave on it. Inside this cave is K. Lumsy, a giant Kremling that was kicked out from the Kremling Krew and trapped inside a cage for refusing to help K. Rool in his schemes. K. Lumsy asks Donkey Kong to release him from the cage by defeating various bosses and retrieving their keys. As Donkey Kong collects Golden Bananas, he eventually saves Diddy Kong in Jungle Japes, Lanky and Tiny Kong in Angry Aztec, and lastly Chunky Kong in Frantic Factory. The Kongs also meet the Banana Fairy Princess, who lives in the Banana Fairy Island and asks the Kongs to catch all the Banana Fairies with the Banana Fairy's Camera.
After the Kongs dismantle the Blast-o-Matic in three sections and collect the final boss key at Hideout Helm, K. Rool tries to desperately escape using his King Kruiser II. The Kongs, however, use the boss key to finally unlock the cage and free K. Lumsy, who starts to chase K. Rool's cruiser as it flies by Donkey Kong Island. During the chase, however, K. Lumsy accidentally trips over a rock and hits the cruiser, causing it to fall in the water. The Kongs then enter the King Kruiser's remains and battle K. Rool in a five-round boxing match. After the match, Funky Kong appears and launches a boot at K. Rool while he is distracted by Candy Kong, who pretends to flirt with him. K. Rool is finally defeated by the Kongs, and peace is restored to Donkey Kong Island.
The player controls one of the five available Kongs, and must venture into open and vast levels similar to those found in Super Mario 64. Only Donkey Kong is available from the start, and the other Kongs are unlocked as part of the storyline. Unlocking all the Kongs is mandatory for completing the game, as the bosses can only be defeated by a certain Kong, with the exception of King Kut Out and King K. Rool himself, as they are battled by all the Kongs. Each Kong has a unique set of abilities that are learned when the player purchases potions from Professor Cranky Kong at his lab. The player can select between available Kongs by entering the various Tag Barrels located around the levels.
The gameplay is heavily based upon item collection, and each stage features several items for each Kong to collect. It is not mandatory to collect every single item, but it is required if the player is aiming for 101% completion. All of the collectibles are of a certain color, and they can only be collected by a Kong whose color matches the color of the item. The most important items are the Golden Bananas, obtainable by accomplishing certain tasks, but there are various other types of collectibles for each Kong to find, such as Banana Medals, Banana Bunch Coins, Blueprints, etc. Each level features a certain number of items that can only be collected by a certain Kong, often making use of their unique abilities.
DK Isles acts as the hub world of the game, from which the player can access other areas. The first level of the game, Jungle Japes, can only be accessed when Donkey Kong talks to K. Lumsy at his island. When the Kongs collect a new Boss Key from the boss of a level, K. Lumsy starts to happily jump in his cage, causing a tremor that unlocks the passage to a new level. However, the only way to access new levels is by collecting the amount of Golden Bananas displayed on B. Locker, who blocks the entrance to the level. When the Kongs have the appropriate amount of Golden Bananas, B. Locker disappears, allowing access to the level. The amount of Golden Bananas needed to unlock each level increases as the Kongs progress through the game.
Found at the end of each level is a boss that can only be accessed when the Kongs feed Scoff with a certain amount of bananas. The amount of bananas required to fight the boss increases as the Kongs progress through the levels. When the Kongs feed Scoff with the appropriate amount of bananas, he becomes heavier and allows Troff to reach the key that unlocks the door to the boss. Each boss can only be fought by a certain Kong, whose face appears in the door before the battle. If another Kong tries to head through the door, it closes immediately. The boss battles are constructed around the designated Kong's abilities. By defeating the bosses, the Kongs gain Boss Keys that are used to unlock K. Lumsy's cage.
Animal Crates return, and only Rambi the Rhino and Enguarde the Swordfish appear. Like in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, the Kongs transform directly into animal buddies, though only Donkey Kong and Lanky Kong can do so. Rambi can attack enemies and smash crates and wooden walls. Enguarde can attack enemies and smash open chests and reveal hidden items.
Throughout the game, the Kongs meet various characters within certain worlds. These characters often don't appear outside said world, with a few exceptions.
Buildings and abilities
Cranky's Lab is a location that Professor Cranky Kong resides in, and it appears in every area of the game, with the exception of Hideout Helm. Cranky has seemingly taken up science as a hobby, and in his lab, the player can buy different potions in exchange for Banana Bunch Coins to learn new techniques and abilities needed to progress throughout the game. Also, if the Kongs visit Cranky at his lab with at least fifteen Banana Medals, Cranky allows them to play a game called Jetpac (an early Rare game). The Kongs must get 5000 points in the game in order to obtain the Rareware Coin.
There are three kinds of potions that are available for the Kongs and each type of potion gives them a different ability. The types of abilities are as follows:
There are also shared potions which give all the Kongs the same ability - to press Kong Switches with their face on them.
Potions and prices
Funky's Store is a shop owned by Funky Kong where the Kongs can buy and reload their weapons. Each Kong has his or her own personalized weapon. They can use these weapons to shoot a variety of fruit-based projectiles to attack enemies, hit certain switches that have a certain fruit emblem on them, and hit Banana Balloons. Initially, the Kongs can have 50 rounds of ammunition, but this amount increases when the Kongs buy Funky's upgrades. The prices of his upgrades are as follows:
Candy's Music Shop
Candy Kong owns a music shop where she provides the Kongs with powerful instruments that they can use to make a variety of things happen. At certain points of the game, Candy also gives the Kongs an extra melon, increasing their health. Usually, when the Kongs play their instruments on certain locations, doors open or areas that were previously impossible to reach become accessible. The power of the instrument can also defeat all the enemies on the screen, but playing it reduces its energy. The Kongs can touch Candy's Headphones to replenish their instruments' energy, or visit Candy to reload the energy. The instrument, however, does not lose any energy if the Kongs play it when they are standing on a Music Pad.
Over the course of the game, the player may find Kasplats holding pieces of blueprint. If the player takes them to Snide's H.Q., Snide will trade the blueprints for Golden Bananas. There are a total of 40 blueprints in the game, 5 per world along with 5 in DK Isles. If the player delivers all of Snide's Blueprints, he will then allow the Kongs to play the various Bonus Stage games.
Wrinkly Doors are found in the lobby of each level (excluding Hideout Helm). As the name suggests, Wrinkly Kong will come out of each door if a Kong approaches it and give the Kong advice on one of their Golden Bananas hidden in each level. The doors are color coded for each Kong; yellow for Donkey Kong, red for Diddy Kong, purple for Tiny Kong, blue for Lanky Kong and green for Chunky Kong.
Troff the Pig and Scoff the Hippo guard the doors that lead to the bosses who hold seven of the eight keys to K. Lumsy's cage. By feeding Scoff a certain number of bananas, it allows Troff to reach the key to open the door. The players need to feed Scoff more bananas each progressed level and the combined total of all the Kongs' bananas can be pertained. Once all the bananas reach to 0, the key opens the door and a roulette spins, determining which Kong is going to battle against the Boss. Only the designated Kong can enter the door. The door will close if a different Kong tries to go inside the door at any time. Once the correct Kong enters the door, the door slams shut, and evil laughter can be heard before the screen fades to the Boss Battle.
Note: The final boss, King K. Rool, does not involve help from Troff & Scoff.
There are only three mini-bosses in the game:
There are several types of barrels that the Kongs encounter during their adventure. They have varing effects, although most of them are helpful. The standard, wooden barrels from previous Donkey Kong Country games also appear in this game, and have the same purpose - the Kongs can grab them and throw them at other enemies to defeat them. Once thrown, the barrel rolls in the direction it was thrown and breaks when it hits something. There are also various types of different barrels:
Another aspect of the gameplay Donkey Kong 64 are the various switches found in the game's worlds. There are several types of switches, and they usually affect the landscape of the location they are found in, allowing access to new areas or collectibles. The switches are either found on the ground, or in the walls, requiring a special ability to hit them. There are three types of switches:
When the players manage to collect a certain amount of Banana Fairies in any file, the Mystery option will be unlocked in the main menu. Depending on the number of Banana Fairies collected, the players will unlock the following things:
Similarities between Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie
As both Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie were games made by Rare, huge similarities were inevitable, to name a few:
References to other games
References in later games
Donkey Kong 64 started development immediately after the conclusion of Donkey Kong Country 3's. The original incarnation of Donkey Kong 64 was meant to be more similar in design to the Donkey Kong Country series than the final game, featuring linear levels played through a combination of forward-scrolling and side view sections, similar to Crash Bandicoot. After around 18 months, development as rebooted after Rare took notice of the trend of open 3D games started by Super Mario 64 .
Donkey Kong 64 was not initially meant to require the Expansion Pak. Near its release date, Rare was unable to fix a memory leak bug that would cause the game to crash after 30 minutes of gameplay, but found that the issue did not occur when the Expansion Pak inserted. As a result, the game was bundled with the Expansion Pak, a move that took a large toll on the game's profits.
Donkey Kong 64 was developed by Rare Ltd. and published by Nintendo. The game's core development team was largely formed of people who had no involvement with Rare's previous Donkey Kong games, although several Donkey Kong Country veterans such as Gregg Mayles and Chris Sutherland are credited as support staff.
The game's soundtrack was composed by Grant Kirkhope. Initially meant to assist Eveline Fischer, Kirkhope ended up composing the entire soundtrack (including the DK Rap) and also provided the voice of Donkey Kong.
Donkey Kong 64 was the subject of universal acclaim at release. Critics praised the game's length and large amount of content, the variety brought about by the game's tasks and different player characters, and the graphics, although multiple outlets expressed disappointment that Donkey Kong 64 did not feel like a massive technological leap over the developer's previous work on Banjo-Kazooie despite requiring the Expansion Pak accessory. A reoccurring criticism of the game was that Donkey Kong 64 was derivative of Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, and not a revolutionary step like the critics judged Donkey Kong Country to be.
In a 1999 interview, Shigeru Miyamoto said of Donkey Kong 64 that Rare "really perfected the art" of making 3D action games and that "I bet you that it turns out to be the absolute best 3D action game available on any hardware - even including Dreamcast.", although he ultimately judged that Donkey Kong 64 would not be a game that would attract new players to the Nintendo 64.
In later years, critical reception to Donkey Kong 64 has been more mixed. Modern retrospectives of the Donkey Kong series and reviews of the game's Wii U rerelease have criticized various aspects of Donkey Kong 64's design such as the excessive gating of collectables and switches by characters, the tedium of having to backtrack to switch characters through the Tag Barrel, and the low quality and frustrating nature of many of the Bonus Stages. Publications such as Electronic Gaming Monthly blamed Donkey Kong 64 as one of the factors in the decreasing fortunes of the 3D platformer genre. Former Rare employee and Donkey Kong 64 composer Grant Kirkhope was quoted as saying the game and fellow Rare platformer Banjo-Tooie were "too much", and the game's lead tester Gavin Price mocked its high amount of collectibles in an interview.
Pre-release and unused content
Early screenshots show that DK's Tree House was meant to have a shower stall with Banjo and Kazooie on it. The Kong's weapons originally resembled actual weapons, such as Donkey Kong's Coconut Shooter resembling a double barreled shotgun.
Donkey Kong 64 contains a variety of glitches, to a degree that the game is often considered to be one of the most broken games on the Nintendo 64, lag issues were very common, most noticeably in Frantic Factory and few other places, the developers noticed that, and implemented a movement speed-to-lag system, where the more lag there is, the faster characters move. This led to there being a lot of wall clips in this game. Oranges explosion causes massive lag, and the fact that the player can enter first person mode and throw oranges faster allowed the use of many more sequence breaks and wall clips. Most of the lag issues were fixed in the Virtual Console release of the game, but due to this, timed challenges in the game were considerably harder, because there was less lag. The first person mode allows even more glitches, like swimming through most walls, and clipping through stairs.
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