Donkey Kong Barrel Blast
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Donkey Kong Barrel Blast (known as Donkey Kong Jet Race in Europe and Australia) is a racing game in the Donkey Kong franchise. Intially announced for release on the Nintendo GameCube with support for the bongo controller, it was released for the Wii in mid-late 2007 in Japan and North America and early 2008 in Europe and Australia. The game was developed by Paon, who previously developed DK: King of Swing and its sequel DK: Jungle Climber.
This racing game, unlike most other racing games, takes place in the sky, where three dimensions of navigation are used rather than two. Players race around courses using rocket-powered bongos, and during a race, players are able to use items, Wild Moves and shortcuts in an attempt to reach first place. The items are used to give players advantages over their competitors, similarly to the Mario Kart series, though the game has various other elements unique to it, such as using Wild Moves to gain a speed boost or riding on Animal Buddies to smash through obstacles. The game makes heavy use of motion control during the race, where players are required to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk accordingly to perform various moves, such as accelerating or jumping. The game supports up to four players, but only in the Jungle Grand Prix and Single Race modes; the other game modes are for only one player. Jungle Grand Prix, the main mode of the game, features eight racers in a multi-lap race to the finish line on a given race track.
This game requires twenty-two blocks on the player's Wii system to save game data, and the game data can also be copied and moved to an SD card or transferred to another Wii.
The vehicular form of transportation in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast are rocket-powered bongos; due to their aerial nature, the racers are unaffected by the course's grounded terrain, but they move slower underwater and automatically reach their top speed inside a wormhole and when entering a Launcher Barrel. As with all racing games, players pick a character with varying stats, strengths and weaknesses, and race around an obstacle filled course in an attempt to finish in first place out of eight competing racers. During a race, players can obtain items from Item Balloons and use them to interfere their rivals progress, which draws inspiration from that of the general Mario Kart series. Additionally, also drawing inspiration from the Mario Kart series, more powerful items are awarded to racers who are further behind; players in first place are likely to get either the weaker Banana Bunches or Backward Barrels items, while those near last place may get a Crystal Coconut, Mega TNT Barrel or Quawks. When a race is completed, players receive a certain amount of points depending on which position they finished a race in. The player with the most amount of points at the end of the set of races is the winner.
Bananas are found on the racetracks and are used to fill up a gauge that contains Wild Moves, which give players a small speed boost when used; this move can be extended by repeatedly crashing into barrels, certain enemies like Zingers or other players, making them lose ten bananas. Players can carry up to six Wild Moves. Players are also able to attack obstacles and other players, and any player hit by an item loses ten bananas. Additionally, players can perform a jump to avoid obstacles.
A unique feature in this game is the ability to ride a Toboggan, a Minecart, as well as Animal Buddies. The former two pits the player in a small bonus game were they can obtain more bananas and use the bonus area as a shortcut, while the latter allows a player to break through obstacles. Several types of barrels are also present, each with a different purpose. Normal barrels are weak obstacles that are essential to Wild Move combos, Iron Barrels significantly slows down a player who bumps into them while Launcher Barrels can be used as shortcuts. Players also encounter some wooden panels with a red !-mark on them. These are known as Surprise Panels, and they summon a wide variety of items after being touched. Some examples are Golden Bananas, barrels, and Launcher Barrels. Three difficulty levels not only control the difficultly of CU players during a race, but how fast a player will move once they reach their top speed, with Rookie being the slowest, Pro being medium and Expert being the fastest.
Jungle Grand Prix
Jungle Grand Prix is the main mode in the game; it manages similarly to the Mario Kart series, though some cups have fewer tracks to race on depending on their difficulty level. Also, like Mario Kart Arcade GP, more than one track takes place in a certain area. Three are from the DK Jungle course, three are from the Seaside course, three are from the Mt. Dynamite course, two are from the Desert course, two are from the Snowy Mountain course and two are from the Sky Temple course. Only one racetrack is in a course of its own, which is in outer space. Difficulty selection ranges from Rookie (Beginner in Europe and Australia), to Pro, to Expert, the latter two which must be unlocked before the player can use them. To unlock Pro Difficulty, the player needs to win the Sapphire Cup on Rookie difficulty. To unlock Expert difficulty, the player needs to win the Platinum Cup on Pro difficulty.
The player selects two to five of any of the race courses, but one race course cannot be selected twice. This trophy is not displayed on the selection screen no matter how many times it is beaten.
The computer randomly picks out five tracks for the player to race on. Like the Selection Cup, the trophy is not displayed on the selection screen. The trophies given during the award ceremony have differing designs and sizes, depending on which cup was beaten.
Cup unlocking criteria
There is also the Training Course, which is not used in any of the cups, but it is used in Cranky's Flight School, some of Candy's Challenges and during the credits upon winning the Platinum Cup.
Including Ultra Barrel DK as a separate character from Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast features a total of 17 playable characters (consisting of 9 Kong characters and 8 Kremling characters). 6 characters are available from the start and 11 are unlockable. Kip, Kass, Kalypso, and Kludge make their first appearances in this game. The game also marks the first game appearance of Lanky Kong (excluding remakes) since his debut, which was released 8 years prior. Unlockable characters appear during a race, but Wrinkly Kong, Cranky Kong, and King K. Rool need to be unlocked before they can appear as CPU opponents. Ultra Barrel DK never appears as a CPU opponent even after being unlocked, as he can only be used by human players.
It is also not possible for one player to use Ultra Barrel DK while another player uses Donkey Kong or vice versa, due to them sharing the same character slot. If a character has not been unlocked yet, a black silhouette of Donkey Kong take its place on their character slot, except for Ultra Barrel DK. Once he is unlocked, the player sees a small speech bubble when hovering over DK's character slot that explains the buttons that needs to be pressed in order to select him. In order to select Ultra Barrel DK on the character select screen, the player needs to highlight Donkey Kong, hold and press .
Each character has three stats, all of which are shown when highlighting them on the character select screen.
These characters act as obstacles and tries to attack racers. Racers slow down when struck by their attack or by colliding with them directly. A defeated enemy rewards a racer with ten bananas. Defeated enemies respawn after a while.
Items are obtained by getting "?" balloons on the racetracks. Each type of racer, Kong or Kremling, has their team's color, with the Kong balloons being red and the Kremling balloons being blue. When the racer grabs their team's color of balloon, the effect of what's inside may last longer than if the other team had gotten it. Some Item Balloons change color after being picked up. Which item from the Item Balloons racers receive is influenced by their current race position.
Red Balloon items
Blue Balloon items
The key to winning is collecting bananas to fill the Wild Move gauge. It takes 50 bananas to fill it and obtain a Wild Move. Collected bananas respawn on the racetrack after a while.
In order to hitch a ride on either of them, the player must run into the Animal Crate on the track with their picture, where the box either stays still or moves back and forth in a line for players to catch. They cannot hurt another racer by touching them, but they are immune to being damaged by both racers using Wild Moves, their attacks, as well as all items, except for the reversed control effects and loss of Wild Moves from a Mega TNT Barrel. Their Animal Crates respawns to their original location once a riding racer reaches the end of the Animal Friend's area.
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast features a variety of Barrels. Some of them can be spawned by touching a Surprise Panel.
Pre-release and unused content
The game was originally planned for the Nintendo GameCube for use with the DK Bongo Controller. The Item Balloons originally had the DK logo on them, before being changed into question marks in the final version. Some of the character sprites, such as Donkey Kong, Funky Kong and Kritter were originally artwork reused from DK: King of Swing.
The game director is Kenichi Imaeda, and supervising is done by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Paon's president Rikiya Nakagawa is one of the three producers of the game, Eiji Akahori is the lead programmer and Takashi Kouga composed the game's music.
References to other games
References in later games
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast was met with mostly negative reviews for its slow racing, imprecise controls, a lack of online mode, and that the Bongo Controllers were left out of the game even though GameCube controllers are completely compatible with the Wii. It has an average score of 43.94% from 32 reviews on GameRankings and an average of 46 based on 34 reviews on Metacritic.
According to Famitsu sales data, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast sold 79.201 copies in Japan by the end of 2007.
Names in other languages