Donkey Kong Country Returns
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Donkey Kong Country Returns is a side-scrolling 2.5D platform game developed by Retro Studios for the Wii. It is the fourth game in the Donkey Kong Country series, the first since Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! The game stars Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, who travel across the island to retrieve the Banana Hoard, which has been stolen by the Tiki Tak Tribe. A successor named Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was released for the Wii U in February 2014 and for the Nintendo Switch in May 2018.
An enhanced port was later made for the Nintendo 3DS under the name Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, released in 2013. In addition, the original Wii game was later released for digital download on the Nintendo eShop for Wii U on January 21-22, 2015 in all regions excluding North America. On March 31, 2016, the digital re-release was made available in North America exclusively for My Nintendo users. The game was later made publicly available on the North American Wii U eShop on September 22, 2016.
On one peaceful day, the volcano of Donkey Kong Island erupts and reawakens the Tiki Tak Tribe from their slumber. For mysterious purposes, the Tikis hypnotize the local wildlife ranging from elephants, giraffes, zebras and squirrels by using their music to bring them every banana in sight. Under their control, Donkey Kong is robbed of his Banana Hoard. Inside DK's Tree House, Diddy Kong notices the Tikis with the bananas. He looks upon the cavern beneath the house and notices that there are no bananas, then angrily chases after them. Donkey Kong then emerges from the house and sees the animals stealing his bananas. However, a Tiki named Kalimba forces him back into the house and attempts to hypnotize him as well, but he is somehow immune to the hypnotic powers of the Tikis. He then punches Kalimba through the front door and out of the tree house and immediately sets off for adventure. Donkey Kong reunites himself with Diddy Kong and the two simians head off through the island to recover their precious bananas.
After traveling through various parts of Donkey Kong Island, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong soon encounter the leader of the Tiki Tak Tribe, Tiki Tong. After they defeat him, Tiki Tong's explosion launches them into space. While there, the Kong's knock the moon down to earth, which crushes the Tiki base inside the volcano. This releases the bananas, which sends them and the moon flying out of the volcano. With the statue destroyed, the effects of the hypnosis on the creatures of the island are undone. DK and Diddy are able to land before they crash onto the island, and cheer as their bananas continue to rain from the volcano.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is a platformer game, playing much like the earlier Donkey Kong Country games. The player controls Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, using various moves such as Jumping and Rolling to defeat enemies and progress through levels. In multiplayer, player one controls Donkey Kong and player two controls Diddy Kong. Rambi the Rhino returns as an Animal Friend the Kongs can ride, who is capable of ramming into enemies and finding secrets by destroying objects.
If the Kongs get hit by an enemy or hit spikes, they will lose some health. If they lose all their health, get hit by waves in the level Tidal Terror or fall into a pit, they will lose a life. If they lose all their lives, it is Game Over. Collecting a red Extra Life Balloon or by collecting 100 Bananas will give the Kongs another life. Collecting enough Banana Coins will allow the player to purchase items from Cranky Kong's Shop.
The Time Attack mode is accessible when any level has been completed at least once. In this mode, the player can earn one of four medals by finishing it in the fastest time possible. The level is always started with only Donkey Kong, even if players have Diddy Kong with them. When the Tutorial Pig finishes the countdown and waves the green flag, the timer and level will officially start. If the Kongs reach the end of the level and hit the Slot Machine Barrel with a checkered flag on it, then the Tutorial Pig will wave it to stop the timer. Then, the player's total time is recorded and a bronze, silver, gold, or shiny gold medal is awarded, depending on how fast the player did in the level. Shiny gold medals require an even faster time than normal gold medals, and their required time is not shown in the game.
Players don't lose lives in Time Attack mode. However, the timer does not reset if players are taken out by enemies, obstacles, or an abyss.
Time Attack mode does not affect the game clear percentage, nor unlocks anything in Extras; as a result, this game mode is completely optional.
The treasure of the Golden Temple is a mirror, which unlocks Mirror Mode. In this mode, level layouts are completely mirrored, and players cannot use inventory items or Diddy Kong. As a result, no multiplayer feature is available during this mode. To add to the difficulty, Donkey Kong only gets one hit point, and as such, all recovery hearts are removed. Clearing all the levels in Mirror Mode will unlock some bonus images in the Image Gallery and is necessary for 200% completion.
K-O-N-G Letters are also mirrored, and if they are collected again in a level during Mirror Mode, the orange starred emblem corresponding to the level, meaning all Letters have been previously collected there, will become blue. However, recollecting the letters in Mirror Mode is not necessary to complete the game 200%.
Images, music, and dioramas can be unlocked if players perform certain tasks within the game, such as collecting all Puzzle Pieces in levels, defeating bosses and beating Key Temple stages.
This game utilizes two different control schemes, which are the by itself, and the with the Nunchuk Attachment, which serves as the primary control scheme.
Wii Remote & Nunchuk
Solo & Co-op
Wii Remote (horizontal)
Solo & Co-op
Each world of the game ends with a boss battle. Normally peaceful creatures, the first seven bosses will display hostility towards the Kongs once hypnotized by the higher-ranking members of the Tiki Tak Tribe, employed to guard portions of the Banana Hoard. The eighth and final boss is the leader of the tribe himself, Tiki Tong.
Boss battles may be sequential, meaning the boss will become more aggressive as it takes more hits. After receiving the final hit, the creature will faint, and the Tiki that possesses it will reveal itself in a dizzy state, allowing the Kongs a chance to knock it out with repeated punches. However, if ignored for some time, the Tiki will regain consciousness and leave the fight scene, abruptly ending the level, although this has no influence on the game's progress.
The Tiki Tak Tribe has invaded a large portion of Donkey Kong Island, scattering its members throughout all 9 worlds and mixing them with the indigenous population of enemies. The lower-ranking members of the tribe typically resemble bongo drums, the rest being designed after other traditional instruments (kalimba, gong, xylophone etc.), particularly those that possess the boss enemies.
Most of the enemies from the island's natural fauna are specific to certain worlds, though they might briefly appear in other locations. For example, Rawks, which are common in the Jungle world, can be also encountered in Damp Dungeon, a level from the Ruins world, as well as the Golden Temple, the last area to be explored in the game.
Items and objects
The adventure is littered with noteworthy objects that can be used or manipulated in various ways or purposes. Below is a table that comprises all collectables, projectiles, vehicles, and miscellaneous objects found in the game.
Worlds and levels
The game is divided into eight main worlds and an extra level, the Golden Temple. With the exception of boss levels, all levels in the game contain a number of Puzzle Pieces that unlock concept artwork.
Below is a table listing all levels in the game, along with the number of Puzzle Pieces each one has (five, seven, or nine), as well as the music theme playing there. The soundtrack of the game features various rearrangements of past Donkey Kong melodies, with the other tunes being new. Tunes followed by an asterisk (*) have been given a title in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Marketing and release
To promote the game, Nintendo partnered Chiquita to cross-promote the game for a limited time by having Donkey Kong promotion stickers on their bananas. In addition, an online contest was set up asking people to upload three photos of themselves doing the "Donkey Kong dance" for a chance to win one of thirty-one prizes. Nintendo also partnered with Johnny Rockets to rebrand their Chocolate Banana Shake as the "Donkey Kong Chocolate Banana Shake" for a limited time. In addition, the promotion ties in with a sweepstakes for a chance to win a copy of the game.
In the United Kingdom, select Game and Gamestation stores were chosen to promote the game at launch by trading a handful of bananas in exchange for the copy of the game. The first twenty customers that arrive at the store are guaranteed to get the game.
Nintendo of Australia promoted the game before launch by having game demo in two locations: The Nintendo Connection at Myer department store, Sydney City in November 27, and The Nintendo Experience at EB Games, Swanston Street, Melbourne in November 28. The first two-hundred people who sampled the game received a special Donkey Kong Poster. They celebrated the launch of the game by holding an event in Circular Quay, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in the afternoon. It featured a tower of bananas with a sign next to it saying "Kong's Banana Hoard", along with a variety of banana-based foods. The staff kept the public entertained with trivia questions; answering them correctly will be rewarded with a free Donkey Kong shirt. At night time, the main event began with the showing of the video game from the projector; giving people a chance to play the game.
Donkey Kong Country Returns development started after several core developers of the Metroid Prime series left Retro Studios, which made several executives skeptical of whether the developer could keep making high-quality games. At the same time, Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to make a new Donkey Kong Country game and suggested Retro Studios as its developer. Since many Retro Studios employees were fans of the series, the suggestion was welcomed enthusiastically by them.
Development started out slow, with the developers creating only two of the eight bosses during 2009. The pace fastened around 2010, as the team increased in size and after E3, as Retro Studios and Nintendo eventually agreed on how the levels should be designed.
Kensuke Tanabe, who had worked on the localization of the original Donkey Kong Country, and his assistant Risa Tabata supervised Retro Studios during development, giving their opinions on the level designs and requesting enemies to be changed. Tanabe also asked for the creation of a multiplayer mode to distinguish the game from Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Shigeru Miyamoto also gave input, such as requesting that the music not be changed.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
The game was remade for the Nintendo 3DS titled as Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. Aside from the graphical change, the remake features additional new content, such as an easier mode and all-new levels.
Diddy and Damaged Donkey Kong
The player must go to an area in a level with a DK Barrel and at least one enemy without Diddy Kong. The player must grab the DK Barrel and wait the enemy to approach Donkey Kong. When the enemy is almost touching him, throw the barrel so that it breaks before Donkey Kong gets damaged. If done correctly, Diddy gets on Donkey Kong's back and two extra hearts appear in the health HUD, but one of the main hearts is empty, while it naturally would refill when the barrel breaks.
Cranky Kong's Shop Glitch
When visiting Cranky Kong's Shop, the game may freeze during transitions, such as when buying items or even entering the shop. This can sometimes be fixed by entering and exiting the Home Menu.
An original soundtrack that is based on the game is released only in Japan for Club Nintendo members. It has twenty-five songs from the game.
References to other games
References in later games
Pre-release and unused content
In the concept art gallery for the game robotic creatures called Ferndozers are shown, in which they are the only dumped concept characters whose official names are shown. Ferndozers look like monstrous tanks with a Barrel holding a giant chainsaw and a robotic arm. In a second concept art from the gallery it is shown that Ferndozers would appear in the Factory, many of them deforesting the Factory's surroundings.
Names in other languages