Extra Life Balloon

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An Extra Life Balloon in the Game Boy Color version of Donkey Kong Country.

“Nothin' like classic red for righteous revivals!”
Funky Kong, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Extra Life Balloons[1] (or Extra-Life Balloons) are items in the Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land series that give the Kongs extra lives. In the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy, red balloons are the most common and provide single extra lives, while the much-rarer green and blue ones grant two and three extra lives, respectively. Due to being monochromatic, the Donkey Kong Land games only feature single-life-granting Extra Life Balloons. Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze only have red Extra Life Balloons, here known as Red Balloons[2][3], while the green and blue balloons were repurposed to grant new features. A yellow balloon also appears attached to the roof of Cranky Kong's Shop in Donkey Kong Country Returns along with a red and blue one, but this color never factors into gameplay.

Two Extra Life Balloons in the Game Boy Color version of Donkey Kong Country.

In the original games, Extra Life Balloons have to be found within the levels or earned by successfully completing tasks such as Swanky Kong's quizzes and Bonus Levels. In Donkey Kong Country and the modern games, the Kongs can also get them by jumping on eight enemies in a row, changing the Banana Coins they receive to the balloons. They can also be purchased from Cranky Kong's Shop in groups of one, three and seven, and sometimes, before selecting a file, if the Kongs are low on lives, Cranky gives them extra balloons.

The balloons are shown differently depending on the game. In Donkey Kong Country, they have Donkey Kong's face on them. In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, they have Diddy's, and in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, they have Dixie's. The first two Donkey Kong Land games have the same balloon designs as their DKC counterparts; although Donkey Kong Land III (which mainly recycles sprites from Donkey Kong Land 2) features Diddy's face on the balloons, though he doesn't appear in the game. From Donkey Kong Country Returns onward, they are plain balloons and do not display a character's face.

In all three Donkey Kong Land games, balloons pop upon being collected, but in the Donkey Kong Country games, they just float to the life counter on the upper right of the screen (upper left in Donkey Kong Country Returns).

In Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, whenever Donkey Kong loses a life in single-player mode, he floats back to the start of the level or to a checkpoint by riding on a balloon, which then pops at that point, showing how lives are actually consumed. In two-player mode, Donkey and Diddy share their extra lives. If either one of them dies, he floats back onscreen in a DK Barrel hanging from a balloon after hitting A Button if the remote is held sideways or One Button if the Nunchuk is attached to the remote. This is similar to how characters float around in bubbles in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. If both Kongs die at the same time, or if one dies while the other has been dead, they return to the start or a checkpoint, although this costs the duo two lives.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze also features Extra Life Balloons in the same fashion as in Donkey Kong Country Returns and its remake. However, Funky's Fly 'n' Buy only sells single Extra Life Balloons. Performing a Kong POW with Diddy also turns all on-screen enemies into Extra Life Balloons.

Gallery[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese バルーン
Barūn
Balloon

Trivia[edit]

Life Balloon SuperMarioKun.jpg
  • Dixie Kong's Extra Life Balloons from Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! are the only ones where the eyes are visibly white, as opposed to colored over like Donkey Kong's and Diddy Kong's Extra Life Balloons from Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, respectively.
  • For the icons with the remaining lives on the upper right hand corner of the game screen in each of the first three games, Donkey Kong's in Donkey Kong Country is shaped like an Extra Life Balloon but in his real colors, and animated; although Diddy Kong's and Dixie Kong's icons in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! respectively are just simply heads and are non-animated.
  • The Extra Life Balloons in the the GBA version of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! are in fact based on prototype designs from the original game.
  • An Extra Life Balloon makes a small appearance in Super Mario-Kun as a small drawing at the end of a chapter.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest instruction booklet, page 17.
  2. ^ Donkey Kong Country Returns instruction booklet, page 19 (North American version), page 24 (PAL version)
  3. ^ Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze instruction manual (PDF). Section 17