Donkey Kong Land

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This article is about the first game in the Donkey Kong Land series. For the series itself, see Donkey Kong Land (series).
Donkey Kong Land
Donkey Kong Land Box Art.jpg
Developer(s) Rareware
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Game Boy, Virtual Console (Nintendo 3DS)
Release date Game Boy
USA June 26, 1995
Japan July 27, 1995
Europe August 24, 1995
Virtual Console (3DS)
Japan April 2, 2014[1]
Europe October 16, 2014
Australia October 17, 2014
USA February 26, 2015
Genre Platformer
Rating(s) Game Boy
ESRB:ESRB K-A.png - Kids to Adults
Virtual Console[2][3]
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
CERO:CERO A.png - All ages
Mode(s) Single Player
Game Boy:
Media GB icon.png Cartridge
Nintendo 3DS:
Media DL icon.svg Digital download
Game Boy:
Nintendo 3DS:

Donkey Kong Land, known in Japan as Super Donkey Kong GB, is a video game developed by Rareware for the Game Boy. Released in 1995, it is a handheld follow-up of Donkey Kong Country, and the game's pseudo sequel. The game is also one of the few Game Boy games to feature a specially colored cartridge (yellow), which is also used on the two sequels, Donkey Kong Land 2 and Donkey Kong Land III. It is one of the first games to feature Super Game Boy special features, including a rendered jungle border across the television screen. It was also released for the 3DS's Virtual Console in Japan on April 2, 2014, in Europe on October 16, 2014, in Australia on October 17, 2014 and in North America on February 26, 2015.

The game is often mistaken as a Game Boy "port" of Donkey Kong Country. Although it is true that the two games play the same using the same engine, the storyline is different and Donkey Kong Land has different levels, enemies, and bosses from the ones featured in Donkey Kong Country. The title Donkey Kong Country was later ported for the Game Boy Color, and again for the Game Boy Advance.


According to the game's instruction booklet, the story takes place after the events of Donkey Kong Country, where Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are discussing about their latest adventure to Cranky Kong. Cranky admits that the adventure was more successful than he thought, although claiming that it was only because of the "fancy graphics" and that "Kids'll buy anything nowadays." After Cranky goes on about the games of his time, the two other Kongs try to convince him that it was not only fancy graphics that made Donkey Kong Country great, but that it "was just plain fun." However, this does not convince Cranky, so he challenges Donkey and Diddy to an adventure on an 8-bit black/white system (Game Boy), with King K. Rool stealing the Banana Hoard again. Once the bet is decided, Cranky Kong arranges everything and calls King K. Rool to come and take the hoard overnight. Afterward, the two heroes decide to rest for the adventure ahead of them.


The title screen for Donkey Kong Land, as seen with the Super Game Boy adapter.

Donkey Kong Land is a 2-D platformer, designed for the Game Boy. Because of the Game Boy's limitations, the game offers less than its 16-bit predecessor. Graphics are ripped from Donkey Kong Country and downgraded to 8-bit to fit Game Boy's limitations. On the level select screen, names of the stages are no longer present probably due to smaller resolution, and the levels themselves have very few Bonus Areas, usually only having one or two. Additionally, after the Kongs find all the Bonus Areas in an area, an exclamation point appears above the level's circular marker in the overworld.

The game is divided into four worlds, each with seven normal levels, with the exception of the game's first world, Gangplank Galleon Ahoy!, which contains a total of nine. A boss level also appears in each world and must be completed to progress. Though most levels are unlocked after beating its previous level, some levels can be accessed before later levels. This can be done by finding rare, barrel-shaped bombs inside some levels and blasting away large boulders. With these boulders destroyed, a passageway to a certain level can be found. Unlike in Donkey Kong Country, the Kongs will be able to travel freely to any level without any assistance, as they can simply journey world-to-world on foot.

Donkey Kong near a Continue Point.

Like in most platformer games, the goal is to reach the end of the level, without being defeated by an enemy or falling into a trap. The Kongs must make their way through each level carefully, or else an enemy may attack. When this happens, one of the Kongs in the group will run away. With one hero remaining, the player must be careful, as losing both Kongs can end the level in a loss. Luckily, missing Kongs can be recovered by using Buddy Barrels, common barrels found in every level. Up to three "Continue Points", the checkpoints of the game, appear in levels - if touched, the Kongs will appear back at the last Continue Point obtained upon dying to the level. Each level's goal is a small portal, the end of stage, which the player should jump into to exit the level. Sometimes, levels may have more than one portal.

Playable characters and abilities[edit]

As in the SNES game, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are the only playable characters. The stats of these apes both vary, just as in the previous game. Donkey Kong, the leader of the group, does not have as much speed as his partner, Diddy, nor can he move quite as fast. He is, however, much stronger and is the only character able to beat the powerful foes, Krushas, without using a TNT Barrel. Diddy, on the other hand, is much smaller than Donkey Kong, and can get through tight areas more easily.

The basic ability, jumping, can be done by both Kongs to defeat enemies, cross pits, or to simply jump to access higher areas. Both Kongs also have the ability to roll or cartwheel into foes. This can defeat the enemies much more easily than jumping on them, and it also gives the heroes an extra speed boost. Sometimes, the Kongs will find themselves requiring to cross a wide abyss too large to jump over. With their cartwheel and roll moves, they can perform a super-jump, making them roll over the gap and jumping in mid-air for an extra boost. Bouncing on a tire can give them an extra boost in the air as well.

Diddy Kong climbing.

Though not used as much as jumping and rolling, the Kongs can also climb ropes and swim through water. To climb, the heroes must simply jump up and touch a rope. Climbing can be useful when crossing large gaps, though it can only be done on ropes. Jumping rope-to-rope is common in some levels, but luckily, the Kongs have no trouble in grabbing onto other ropes. During underwater levels, the apes will also use their ability to swim. Tapping the A Button while swimming can make the Kongs move higher as they slowly float downwards. When the Kongs swim, they will not have as much control as on land, and as a result they should be careful.

Animal Friends[edit]

Donkey Kong riding on Expresso.

Unlike Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Land has only two Animal Friends, Rambi the Rhino and Expresso the Ostrich, who appear in only two levels apiece. The Animal Friends here are unable to shoot through barrels, and they will suddenly drop to the ground once these obstacles are approached.

Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
DKLRambiSprite.png Rambi the Rhino The rhino buddy first appears in the level Jungle Jaunt. He is able to charge into enemies to easily defeat them. Also, Rambi is able to break through certain walls to create an opening to a Bonus Area. Because of this, Rambi is needed to complete the game 100%. Jungle Jaunt Mountain Mayhem
Expresso DKL.png Expresso the Ostrich The ostrich buddy is the other Animal Friend in Donkey Kong Land. First appearing in a Bonus Area located in Deck Trek, Expresso is able to help the Kongs cross wide abysses with his useful flying abilities. Strangely, this helpful capability is never used to find any Bonus Areas, but is instead used inside them. Out of his four appearances, three of them take place in a Bonus Area. Expresso is able to defeat enemies in this game by jumping on them, unlike in Donkey Kong Country. Deck Trek Collapsing Clouds


Note: Some musical compositions of the game are 8-bit arrangements of other compositions from Donkey Kong Country, which were created by David Wise. They are listed with their original title in the "Music theme" sectors of the following table. Graeme Norgate also participated with several new tunes, also listed here. Their names are posted on Norgate's website, and according to him, they pertain to the game's soundtrack filenames.

Levels and Bonus Areas
Gangplank Galleon Ahoy!
# Level Bonus Areas Type of level Music theme
1 Jungle Jaunt 2 Jungle DK Island Swing
2 Freezing Fun 1 Snow Northern Hemispheres
3 Simian Swing 2 Jungle DK Island Swing
4 Deck Trek 2 Ship Gang-Plank Galleon
5 Rope Ravine 2 Snow Northern Hemispheres
6 Tyre Trail 3 Jungle DK Island Swing
7 Riggin' Rumble 2 Ship Gang-Plank Galleon
8 Congo Carnage 2 Jungle DK Island Swing
9 Arctic Barrel Arsenal 2 Snow Northern Hemispheres
10 BOSS LEVEL: Wild Sting Fling 0 Ship Boss
# Level Bonus Areas Type of level Music theme
11 Tricky Temple 1 Temple Voices of the Temple
12 Kremlantis 0 Underwater ruins unknown
13 Reef Rampage 0 Coral Aquatic Ambiance
14 Snake Charmer's Challenge 1 Temple Voices of the Temple
15 Chomp's Coliseum 0 Underwater ruins unknown
16 Nautilus Chase 0 Coral Aquatic Ambiance
17 Swirlwind Storm 1 Temple Voices of the Temple
18 BOSS LEVEL: Seabed Showdown 0 Underwater ruins Boss
Monkey Mountains & Chimpanzee Clouds
# Level Bonus Areas Type of level Music theme
19 Pot Hole Panic 2 Cave Cave Dweller Concert
20 Mountain Mayhem 2 Mountain Mountain
21 Track Attack 2 Clouds Sky
22 Spiky Tyre Trail 2 Cave Cave Dweller Concert
23 Sky High Caper 1 Clouds Sky
24 Landslide Leap 2 Mountain Mountain
25 Collapsing Clouds 2 Clouds Sky
26 BOSS LEVEL: Mad Mole Holes 0 Caves Boss
Big Ape City
# Level Bonus Areas Type of level Music theme
27 Balloon Barrage 2 Skyscraper Building Site
28 Kong Krazy 1 Blimp Airship
29 Construction Site Fight 2 Construction site Construction Site
30 Fast Barrel Blast 2 Blimp Airship
31 Skyscraper Caper 1 Skyscraper Building Site
32 Button Barrel Blast 2 Construction site Construction Site
33 Oil Drum Slum 2 Skyscraper Building Site
34 BOSS LEVEL: K. Rool's Kingdom 0 Blimp Boss


Many items can be found around Donkey Kong Land, and each help the duo complete levels or defeat enemies. Each item has a different purpose.

Image Item Effect
Banana DKL.PNG Bananas Bananas are the most abundant items in the game. They appear all over the game's levels. Collecting 100 of these common items can give the heroes an extra life.
Banana Bunch DKL.PNG Banana Bunches Banana Bunches appear often in levels. They are just like normal bananas, though they are worth a total of ten bananas, instead of one.
Barrel DKL.png Barrels These wooden kegs are very rare items, found in only three levels. They can be thrown to defeat even the strongest kinds of enemies, as well as bust open walls.
SteelKegDKL.png Steel Kegs Steel barrels which can be found in only a few locations. Can bounce off a wall without breaking.
Buddy Barrel DKL.PNG Buddy Barrels Buddy Barrels are the game's most common kind of barrel and have a DK logo on them. If one of the Kongs are missing, likely from being hit by an enemy, these barrels will contain the lost hero. Because of this, Buddy Barrels are very valuable during gameplay.
TNT Barrel DKL.png TNT Barrels TNT Barrels are found often in levels and can be thrown at enemies to defeat them. However, these types of barrels are much more explosive, and can blast away strong foes. They can even blast away Oil Drums.
Kong Tokens DKL.PNG Kong Tokens Kong Tokens are another common type of item in the game. They are found all over every level, mainly in Bonus Areas. Once the Kongs collect some of these special coins, they can exchange them for extra lives in certain Bonus Areas.
Extra Life Balloon DKL.png Extra Life Balloons Extra Life Balloons are also important items in Donkey Kong Land. If they are collected, the Kongs will gain an extra life, keeping them away from a Game Over. These balloons fly away fast, so the Kongs must make sure they act fast to get them.
K-O-N-G Letters DKL.PNG K-O-N-G Letters K-O-N-G Letters are one of the game's most vital items. Every level has four of these letters (spelling "KONG") scattered throughout them in order. Each letter must be collected for the Kongs to save their game. Additionally, in the level, Kong Krazy, these items can be used as platforms.
Checkpoint DKL.PNG Continue Point This item replaces the Star Barrel from Donkey Kong Country. When touched, it automatically saves the player's progress at that point into that level. Continue Points appear in every level and can be found more than once in a level.

Enemies and hazards[edit]

Donkey Kong near the enemy, Nemo.

Donkey Kong Land involves twenty different enemies and hazards, although most first appeared in the SNES game Donkey Kong Country. Enemies listed below in bold are those who have appeared in the prior game. The table also lists the first and last level that these enemies and hazards have shown up in. Noticeably, many of these foes have stayed in throughout the whole game, not making a final appearance until the levels of the last world, the Big Ape City. Swirlwinds can also help the Kongs on their quest, other than harming them.

Image Enemy/hazard Description First level appearance Last level appearance
Army DKL.png Army Whenever the Kongs approach an Army - which is a small armadillo enemy -, it starts attacking by retracting into its shell and setting off in a small ball-roll towards the monkeys. This action will harm the heroes whether they stay in the armadillo's way, so it's better to jump and stomp on it before it's too late. However, while the armadillo is rolling, only Donkey Kong can grant its doom with only one stomp; Diddy Kong needs to jump on the animal two times, first while it's rolling, then when it's standing on foot, in order to defeat it. This means that the Army is extremely vulnerable when not rolling. Tyre Trail Button Barrel Blast
Chomps Jr. DKL.png Chomps Chomps is an "ape-eating shark"[4] which swims in the waters of Kremlantis, sometimes aimlessly, other times from side to side. It takes the appearance of Chomps Jr. from the previous game. Chompses pose as obstacles for the Kongs; when the monkeys come in contact with a Chomps, they will get hurt. Because Enguarde the Swordfish, the only mean of underwater combat, is not featured in the game as he was in Donkey Kong Country, there is no way to defeat a Chomps. Chomp's Coliseum Oil Drum Slum (Bonus Area)
Clambo DKL.png Clambo Clambos have changed drastically in this game from their very first appearance, in Donkey Kong Country. They do not not spit dangerous pearls anymore, and have a larger shell. They resemble clams with large shell spans. Given the fact that they open and close their shells repeatedly, and also that Clambos often stand in narrow passages underwater - not to add that they are harmful -, it is obvious that the Kongs may not easily pass them. Clambos cannot be defeated. Nautilus Chase Nautilus Chase
Fangfish DKL.PNG Fangfish A large bass even bigger than Chomps, although it has the same attack pattern. It is invulnerable, as there is nothing that can defeat the big fish. It takes large spaces in water, and the heroes must swim carefully near a Fangfish. Kremlantis Kaos Oil Drum Slum (Bonus Area)
Fangfish2 DKL.png Pucka Jr. Pucka Jr. is another underwater enemy, and swims just like Chomps Jr. and Fangfish. This species is the smallest one out of all the fish encountered in Donkey Kong Land, but nevertheless it still cannot be attacked in any way. Kremlantis Kaos Oil Drum Slum (Bonus Area)
Gnawty DKL.PNG Gnawty Gnawties are beavers who are among the first enemies encountered, mainly in the early levels. Although they can hurt the Kongs just by touching them, Gnawties are the weakest enemies in the game; they can be defeated by any attack from the Kongs. They usually have a set path, but can also be found walking aimlessly, similar to Goombas. Freezing Fun Oil Drum Slum
Hogwash DKL.PNG Hogwash Hogwashes are enemies encountered mostly in the sky and snow levels. They are flying pigs that either have a path to follow, or fly in a straight line. The Hogwashes can be defeated with any attack method. Freezing Fun Skyscraper Caper
Klaptrap DKL.png Klaptrap Very small crocodiles that crawl fast on the ground. Neither Donkey nor Diddy can roll/cartwheel over a Klaptrap, because its teeth are harmful (oddly enough, not even their back is safe). A single stomp on its back or throwing a barrel at it is necessary in order to defeat it. Expresso the Ostrich can simply avoid Klaptraps - the bird's feet are very long and skinny, making it impossible for the crocodile to reach Expresso's body, and hurt him. Riggin' Rumble Skyscraper Caper
Kritter DKL.PNG Kritter A Kritter is a generic Kremling found in most of the levels in the game. Kritters are as vulnerable as Gnawties (meaning that any attack can defeat them), and they also harm the Kongs by simply walking into them. The game also features jumping Kritters; there is no real change between Kritters that went afoot and hopping Kritters, yet the latter ones only stomp on the heroes. Jungle Jaunt Oil Drum Slum
Krusha DKL.PNG Krusha Krushas are among the tougher enemies, being resistant to most of the Kongs' attacks, except for Donkey Kong's stomp or a thrown barrel. When Donkey or Diddy Kong roll into a Krusha, it will push them back and start laughing at them. But this strong Kremling's way to attack monkeys is identical to that of a Kritter's. Tricky Temple Oil Drum Slum
Mincer DKL.png Mincer Indestructible mechanichal obstacles that resemble tires with spikes. They just pivot while floating in the air (or underwater) in a set path (either in circles or straight from one point to another), and make it harder for the heroic apes to pass them. Mincers usually appear in Bonus Areas, guarding several bonuses. Deck Trek Button Barrel Blast (Bonus Area)
Mini-Necky DKL.png Mini-Necky A miniature vulture that spits coconuts at the Kongs. The Kongs can either roll or jump on them, although they must be careful - the birds spit the harmful coconuts periodically. Not only can the coconuts hurt the heroes, but also touching the Mini-Neckies when not attacking it. Deck Trek Fast Barrel Blast
Necky DKL.png Necky In this game, Neckies are not seen very often; they are even rarer than their smaller counterparts, the Mini-Neckies. The only Neckies in the game only stay on the top of small hills and cover themselves with one wing. When they see the Kongs, Neckies start throwing nuts all over the place. These nuts are very easy to dodge, however. The Kongs can defeat the vultures by rolling over them or stomping on them. Congo Carnage Pot Hole Panic
Nemo DKL.PNG Nemo Nemos are enormous nautili that act just like the Croctopuses in Donkey Kong Country. Nevertheless, they are more agile enemies, as they are capable of chasing the monkeys even in very narrow paths underwater. Before pursuing the Kongs, Nemos stay inside their shells, inertly. After sensing the apes, Nemos will burst out of their shells and will start to chase them. They cannot be defeated. Nautilus Chase Nautilus Chase
Oil Drum DKL.png Oil Drum Oil Drums are rare obstacles in the game. Not only that they can hover in the air immobile, serving as platforms; some of them host dangerous flames of fire that burst out of them and retract from time to time. Because of this, the Kongs have to leap from one drum to another platform (or just jump over them if the drums are on the ground) fast in order to escape being burned. An Oil Drum can be destroyed with a TNT Barrel. Landslide Leap (Bonus Area) Oil Drum Slum
Snapper DKL.png Flapper Flappers are invulnerable enemies that live in the waters of Kremlantis. When a Kong approaches a Flapper, the clam-like enemy will start to swim downwards while snapping, hence its name. The members of its species are usually found blocking small paths, and the Kongs may avoid the Flappers while they go down. However, the monkeys must be quick, because the bivalve mollusks will swim back to their initial point. Kremlantis Kaos Chomp's Coliseum
Slippa DKL.PNG Slippa Slippas are coral snake-like reptiles that crawl on the ground. They can be defeated by any attack the Kongs have, only they are harmful if touched on one of their left or right sides. They are mostly encountered in jungles, temples, caves, city slums or on board the Gangplank Galleon. Jungle Jaunt Oil Drum Slum
Slippa Jar DKL.png Basket of snakes An infinite amount of Slippas can come out of a snake basket, an obstacle which replaces the oil drums from Donkey Kong Country. They resemble pots that always tremble and throw Slippas out. The baskets themselves are only dangerous when they roll down the stairs and towards the Kongs. Otherwise, they can even be used as platforms, and when the monkeys stay on them, Slippas won't come out. Baskets of snakes can be broken with TNT Barrels. Snake Charmer's Challenge Snake Charmer's Challenge
Swirlwind DKL.png Swirlwind Very strange enemies called Swirlwind spin in the temple levels. They resemble small tornadoes, and they are harmful to the monkeys when they are touched by the sides, yet also helpful to reach higher areas, as Swirlwinds send the Kongs up high when they bounce on them. When a hero is close to a Swirlwind, the tornado will start to chase him; bouncing on a Swirlwind also makes it move. Swirlwinds cannot be defeated in any way, although they can be lured into pits. Snake Charmer's Challenge Swirlwind Storm
Zinger DKL.PNG Zinger The Zingers are wasp enemies found in almost every level of Donkey Kong Land. They fly just like Mincers (from one point to another, in circles, or just flap their wings in the air while remaining still). None of the Kong's regular attacks can defeat a Zinger. They can only be defeated with a thrown barrel or jumping on it while riding Expresso or Rambi. Freezing Fun Oil Drum Slum


Throughout the Kongs' quest, they not only find the enemies listed above, but also several bosses, who require a little more skill to beat. Each boss appears at the end of all the game's worlds, and must be defeated to allow the heroes to progress.

Image Boss Description Location Level name
Wild Sting DKL.PNG Wild Sting Wild Sting The first boss of the game, encountered on Gangplank Galleon. It is a flying stingray, which must be stomped by the Kongs several times in order to defeat it. The attack pattern of Wild Sting is pretty simple and repetitive - it constantly swoops down at the monkeys, and goes faster each time it takes damage. Gangplank Galleon Ahoy! Wild Sting Fling
DKLColossalClamboSprite.png Giant Clam The Giant Clam is the second boss in the game. It is fought underwater, and continuously shoots pearls at the Kongs. During the combat, the heroes need to stand every time near the large clam found at one of the corners of the screen, wait for the Clambo to spit a pearl, dodge it and let the helping clam do its job by rebounding the pearl back to the boss. The pearl will then hit the Clambo; it needs to be hit several times in order to fall down. Also, it is important to know that the helping clam will change its position every time Giant Clam is hit. Kremlantis Seabed Showdown
Hard Hat DKL.PNG Hard Hat Hard Hat is a mad mole fought in a cavern at the edge of Monkey Mountains. This cavern is small, and consists of an arena whose ground is dug up in three holes, from which the boss comes out. The battle with Hard Hat is similar to a "whack-a-mole" game; the small creature surprises the player by popping out of one of the three holes, looks cautiously at the Kongs, then takes off the mine helmet he wears on the head and hurls the dangerous helmet at them. While the mole's head is discovered, the Kongs need to carefully dodge the mine helmet and then stomp on the boss's head. After being hit, Hard Hat will enter back in his den and burst out of another hole. The process must be repeated until Hard Hat is defeated. Monkey Mountains & Chimpanzee Clouds Mad Mole Holes
DKLKingK.RoolSprite.png King K. Rool The king of the Kremlings is the very last boss of Donkey Kong Land. He appears to be much smaller than in Donkey Kong Country, but nonetheless, he attacks the Kongs just like he did before. First of all, it is clear that Hard Hat had a very similar battle style. King K. Rool throws his crown at the heroes, which inflicts damage to them. While the Kremling does not have his crown on the head, Donkey or Diddy need to stomp him, and repeat this every time until K. Rool falls beaten. Big Ape City K. Rool's Kingdom


Main article: List of Donkey Kong Land staff

Main Programming[edit]

  • Paul Machacek

Support Programming[edit]

  • Steve Patrick
  • Oliver Norton


  • Dean Smith

Sprite Graphics[edit]

Additional Graphics[edit]

  • Neil Crook


Main article: List of Donkey Kong Land glitches

Instant Death[edit]

If Donkey or Diddy fall with no visible ground below, the game will mistake the player for falling into a pit and will count it as an instant death, even if both Kongs are present. This includes being knocked back by enemies, but also can happen if either Kong falls to a platform below that is off screen.

Missing Nuts[edit]

In some levels, particularly jungle levels, there are Neckys that sit on platforms and spit nuts, hoping to hit the Kongs when they're below him. However, if Necky is on the top of the screen, the sound effect of spitting nuts can be heard, but no nuts are actually fired.

Missing Kong[edit]

In some cases the player can obtain the second Kong from a DK barrel, but after getting hit it will still result in a death instead of the other Kong appearing in his place.


On release, Famitsu scored the game a 24 out of 40. Donkey Kong Land received a 71% at GameRankings.

Pre-release and unused content[edit]

Main article: List of Donkey Kong Land pre-release and unused content


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


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Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese スーパードンキーコングGB
Sūpā Donkī Kongu Jībī
Super Donkey Kong GB


  1. ^
  2. ^ ESRB official website
  3. ^ Super Donkey Kong GB page on Nintendo of Japan's website.
  4. ^