List of Donkey Kong 64 pre-release and unused content

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Early logo for Donkey Kong 64
Pre-E3 1999 logo

This is a list of pre-release and unused content for the game Donkey Kong 64.

Development timeline[edit]

  • Late 1996-Early 1997: Development begins.
  • c. Mid-1998: Work on the 2.5D version ends in favor of a 3D free-roaming approach.
  • 1999:
    • January: The game is officially announced with a screenshot in Nintendo Power.
    • May 12: Nintendo announces that the Expansion Pak, now a requirement for running DK64, will come bundled with the game.
    • May 13-15: A custom build is shown off at E3 1999.
    • August: The E3 build makes a reappearance at Space World 99.
    • September: An In-store demo is released.
    • November 22: The final game is released.

Pre-release elements[edit]

Early ideas[edit]

The concept pitch document for Donkey Kong 64.
The internal pitch document for Donkey Kong 64
  • The game was named "Donkey Kong World" in its pitch document[1]. The document mentions the existence of "Cranky coins" used to purchase new moves and skills, a function served by Banana Bunch Coins in the final game.
  • In volume 104 of Nintendo Power, in which Daniel Owsen answered a question from a fan regarding a Donkey Kong Country game for the Nintendo 64, he stated that a listing for "Ultra Donkey Kong" appeared on some unnamed Japanese magazines, albeit without an official announcement.[2] It was even proposed to be for the ill-fated Nintendo 64DD.[3]

Early builds[edit]


  • Early in development, the developers were asked by management to use the Expansion Pak with Donkey Kong 64 and find ways to justify its usage in the game.[4]
  • Early screenshots of Donkey Kong 64 showed that DK's Tree House originally had what appears to be a fridge or locker of some sort in it with a poster of Banjo and Kazooie on it. Also, the boss Mad Jack was originally known as "Junk-in-the-Box" and was also drastically different in appearance. He was also originally a mini-boss fought by Tiny Kong[5] in the R&D Room in Frantic Factory instead of being a full boss fought at the area's end. The Toy Monster is the mini-boss in the final version, and it is fought by Chunky Kong.
  • The weapons the Kongs wielded in earlier builds looked like real-world firearms instead of the wooded, cartoonish ones seen in the final version of the game.[6] Donkey Kong's Coconut Shooter resembled a double-barreled shotgun while Diddy Kong's Peanut Popguns resembled actual pistols, and reportedly shot bullets with realistic sound effects. The stylization to cartoonish weapons was soon suggested by Shigeru Miyamoto during a test build session by creative director George Andreas,[7] who indicated that it was initially a placeholder that he had simply gotten used to in development.[8]
  • The developers came across a game breaking bug late in development which was exclusive to a specific revision of the Nintendo 64 console. This bug was later fixed.[4]
  • Several enemies were dropped from the game, including a Re-Koil, a vulture, an insect, a robotic fish, an armadillo (possibly Army), and two variants of a Jack-in-the-Box like enemy, one as a clown and another with a boxing glove.
  • Cranky's Lab, Candy's Music Shop, Funky's Store and Snide's HQ all looked slightly different in the pre-release version compared to the final version.
  • By using the glitch to obtain the fifth Boss Key in Angry Aztec and then enter Troff and Scoff's room again, the player can see that the boss door has the DK logo with a green checkmark over it, indicating that the boss has been beaten.
  • A golden Banana Bunch appears as the early HUD icon for the Golden Banana in the kiosk demo; it appears if players win Diddy Kong's Mine Cart mini-game. A single frame of the icon appears in the final game, as the emblem on B. Locker's head.

Not For Resale demo cartridge[edit]

The title screen from Donkey Kong 64's kiosk demo.
The title screen of the demo.

A demo cartridge was produced to exhibit the game in retail stores. It contains the second Dogadon fight, the Mine Cart-riding sequence in Jungle Japes and a boss fight with Army Dillo. This demo features a few differences from the final build [9][10].

Text and interface[edit]
  • Squawks dialogue after completing the Mine cart minigame is different and shorter.
  • Dogadon has a different sound effect for his spitting attack. The sound effect is used by the Llama in the final version, when Donkey Kong wakes him up inside his temple to cool the pool of lava.
  • The themes played after defeating the bosses are different from the final build. After defeating Dogadon, the boss theme continues to play after the key spawning jingle instead of playing the Troff 'n' Scoff theme like in the final game. When Army Dillo is defeated, the game stops the boss theme and plays the boss door opening fanfare the instant the final blow is dealt, then plays the theme heard immediately after opening a boss door when the key spawning jingle finishes.
  • Army Dillo has a different voice and several fully acted lines cut from the final version.
  • A counter for a silver Balloon item (which act as an extra life) appears to the left of the life counter. The balloon cannot be collected through the normal course of the demo, but it is present in a debug room left on the cartridge [11].
  • For the Mine cart minigame, the player has to collect 70 coins rather than 50 as in the final version.
  • Though fought in Jungle Japes, Army Dillo has the same attack patterns as the Crystal Caves rematch in the final build.

Box art[edit]

Early version of Donkey Kong 64's boxart
Original box art prior to release.
  • The game's original box art before being released depicted only Donkey Kong in a jungle background before being replaced with a group picture of all five Kongs riding on the minecart with King K. Rool in the background. However, the cartridge artwork still retains the original prototype box art.

Stop 'N' Swop[edit]

As with Banjo-Kazooie and four other unspecified Rareware-developed games[12] Donkey Kong 64 had a planned "Stop 'N' Swop" function that allowed players to unlock exclusive in-game content by quickly swapping two compatible game cartridges while the Nintendo 64 system's power was on. The feature was scrapped after testing done by Nintendo Research & Development 3 in collaboration with Nintendo's Uji production facility revealed that not all revisions of the console would hold the data in the RDRAM long enough for it to be viable, as well as there being a risk of damage done to both the system and the cartridge. Nintendo of America's tech support proposed Chris Stamper an alternative way to implement Stop 'N' Swop unlockables, involving a secret passcode in Donkey Kong 64 that could be used in Banjo-Kazooie to open a locked area, followed by the player answering a question correctly in Donkey Kong 64 in order to produce an Ice Key; however, this idea did not materialize.[13]

In addition to the unused "Ice Key" line of text encountered via cheat codes, there is an unused cutscene in Crystal Caves where the camera zooms in on a corner in the area behind the ice wall in front of the entrance, then fades to DK's Tree House, triggering another unused cutscene where the camera pans over to where the Banjo-Kazooie fridge/locker used to be, then warps the player back to Crystal Caves. This suggests that doing something in Crystal Caves was meant to show the player something happening to the fridge/locker.[14] While the Crystal Caves cutscene can only be seen by hacking the game, the DK's Tree House cutscene can be triggered via a glitch.

Another element connected with Stop 'N' Swop was an object located on a pedestal in a room of Creepy Castle.[15] While this object was removed from the final game, the German strategy guide for Donkey Kong 64 shows that the object was a golden statue of Donkey Kong's bust.[16]

Unused content[edit]

  • Using a GameShark code to give the Kongs infinite health will reveal a fourth melon that will be retained when the code is disabled. This means that at one point, either the Kongs were supposed to get a fourth melon from Candy Kong at some point, or they were supposed to start with two melons instead of just one.
  • In the Mystery Menu, under Bosses, there is an unused "The Main Event" option that can be used to rematch King K. Rool. This was most likely taken out because the player can rematch K. Rool in-game.
  • A "dogpaddling" animation exists for Rambi the Rhino. Since it is impossible for him to get into water in the final game, this goes unused.
  • King Kutout has an unused fourth phase in which the position he appears at "spins" like a wheel.[17]
  • As the result of him only being playable in multiplayer, Krusha has multiple unused animations, most of which appear to be recycled from Chunky.
  • The timer graphic can display numbers higher than 99, but this is only seen in the unused bonus levels below. In the final game, all events with a timer of more than 99 seconds use an alternate timer graphic.

Unused text[edit]

  • An unused line of menu text reads "Ice Key", which can be seen in the pause menu via a Gameshark code. The Ice Key is one of the elusive Stop 'N' Swop items from Rareware's earlier title Banjo-Kazooie that would have been obtainable in Donkey Kong 64 via this feature.[18]
  • An unused piece of dialogue from the Seal mentions paying 100 "skulltilleys" to race him, a portmanteau of Carl Tilley (a Rare developer) and Skulltula (an object found in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). The French translation replaced this with a reference to Objectif Nul, a then-popular comedy.
  • B. Locker has unused lines suggesting a very different personality for him than what he has in the final game. The Golden Bananas were apparently supposed to be a bribe for him, and if the Kongs obtained enough, he'd let them "sneak in" to the level.

Unused graphics[edit]

  • The boot-up sequence of the computer in Frantic Factory that turns on the big machine in the Production Room has an extra image that says "MAKING" with a picture of a robot.
  • The main menu's font has icons for every N64 controller button. However, only the A Button, B Button, and Up C Button buttons are actually used.
  • The HUD also has an icon for the L Button button, which is never used in the game for any reason.
  • Presumably for the sake of completeness, yellow question mark graphics exist for Donkey Kong's spot in the Tag Barrel and Troff 'n' Scoff boss door if he is locked. They go unused because he is unlocked by default.

Unused sounds[edit]

  • Tiny Kong has an unused soundbyte, intended to play whenever she throws a barrel, but she does not interact with any barrels in the final game unless one exploits a glitch to allow her to be used in the Army Dillo and Dogadon boss fights.
  • The soundbyte that plays when Lanky Kong picks up a barrel is technically used, in the final battle against K. Rool; however, it is very hard to hear due to the crowd ambience and the clanging noise made by K. Rool as he fumbles around the boxing ring with a spotlight on his head.
  • An entire verse of the "oil drum" levels in Hideout Helm goes unused due to those bonus levels not lasting any longer than 45 seconds; a whole loop of the song is 65 seconds. The "missing" verse samples Minecart Mayhem!'s music.

Unused bonus levels[edit]

  • An exact copy of the Gloomy Galleon version of Stealthy Snoop!, but without the intro text, exists, possibly suggesting that Stealthy Snoop was one of the bonus levels that could be replayed at Snide's.[19]
  • Two Mad Maze Maul! levels. One has a timer of 120 seconds where a Kong must hit 11 enemies, and the other has a timer of 125 with a hit counter of 10. Most notably, the former one has Zingers, Klobbers, and a Klump in it.[19]
  • Three instances of Stash Snatch!. The first has 16 coins, the second has just four but a 120-second timer and Stealthy Snoop's mechanics (but not the music), and the third has a 120-second timer, 33 coins, and Klobbers. Since the bonus level music doesn't loop, the latter two levels have 60 seconds of dead silence in them.[19]
  • An instance of Splish-Splash Salvage! with 15 coins.[19]
  • An instance of Speedy Swing Sortie! with a 60-second timer and six coins, but heavy use of Zingers.[19]
  • An instance of Peril Path Panic! with 12 Banana Fairies that need to be saved. (For comparison, the version of the game at Snide's, intended to be the hardest, only has 10.)[19]


  1. ^ Makin, Nic (May 7, 2015). Twitter post. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  2. ^ Owsen, Dan (January 1998). Nintendo Power volume 104, "Insider Collector's Edition". Page 16.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Interview with the devs talking about the expansion pak.
  5. ^ Tiny's hint from Wrinkly for Frantic Factory:"Cranky can help Tiny beat the giant springy box."
  6. ^ Promotional footage of the game included in an issue of the Spanish gaming magazine Hobby Consolas. Retrieved November 12, 2014
  7. ^ Retro Gamer #84, pg. 36
  8. ^ Power, Tom (December 6, 2019). As Donkey Kong 64 turns 20, the devs reflect on its design, the infamous DK Rap, and how a shocked Shigeru Miyamoto created the Coconut Shooter. GamesRadar+. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  9. ^ Micro 64 Writeup
  10. ^ Playthrough of the demo
  11. ^ Video of the kiosk's build debug rooms
  12. ^ Paul_Mach1 (January 22, 2021). Photo thread by Paul Machacek. Twitter, Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  13. ^ Paul_Mach1 (January 22, 2021). Tweet by Rare Ltd. software enginner and producer Paul Machacek. Twitter. Retrieved January 23, 2020. (Archived January 23, 2021, 07:02:05 UTC via Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.)
  14. ^ Isotarge. (March 8, 2017). Donkey Kong 64: Treehouse - Caves Link Update (Stop 'n' Swop). YouTube. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  15. ^ The Retro Hour (Retro Gaming Podcast) (September 15, 2023). Banjo-Kazooie’s Stop ‘N’ Swop: The Feature That Never Was - The Retro Hour EP395. YouTube. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  16. ^ Stop ’N’ Swop: An Explanation and Retrospective § Connection to Donkey Kong 64. Rare Gamer. Retrieved October 7, 2023. (Archived September 6, 2023, 22:49:46 UTC via Wayback Machine.)
  17. ^ 'King Kut-Out' Fight Unused 4th Phase on YouTube. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  18. ^ Video of the Ice Key text in the game, along with a theory as to where it could have been used in Donkey Kong 64.
  19. ^ a b c d e f "Donkey Kong 64 - Unused Bonus Games" on YouTube. Uploaded November 10, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2020.