List of Donkey Kong Land III glitches

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This is a list of glitches in Donkey Kong Land III. Unless otherwise noted, all names are conjectural.

All versions

Bonus counter glitch

This is a leftover glitch from the English version of Donkey Kong Land 2. In the "Bash The Baddies!" and "Collect The Stars!" Bonus Areas, the game uses a counter to keep track of the remaining enemies (or stars) in the stage. (For Find The Token bonus stages, as well as warp stages, this counter is always set to 0.) However, when losing to a bonus stage and returning to the main level, the counter does not reset to 0. When defeating enemies in Donkey Kong Land III, the game simply checks whether or not the Kongs are in a Collect The Stars bonus stage; therefore, when in a main level, the counter will decrease when an enemy is defeated, until it reaches 0. Unlike in Donkey Kong Land 2, collecting bananas does not decrease the counter, since, again, Donkey Kong Land III checks whether or not the Kongs are in a Collect The Stars bonus stage when collecting bananas or stars. When the counter reaches zero, the sound effect when a Bonus Coin appears will still be heard, as if the Kongs are still in a bonus stage.

Also, unlike in Donkey Kong Land 2, exiting a level, losing a life, or resetting the game with A Button+B Button+Select Button+Start Button will not freeze the counter. Therefore, the glitch persists until entering a bonus level again, decreasing the counter to zero, or turning the game off.

Boss music tempo glitch

The music in boss stages (i.e. Big Boss Blues) has different tempos depending on whether or not a boss stage is the first stage to be entered since the game has been powered on. If the first stage entered since power-on is a boss stage, Big Boss Blues plays relatively fast. However, if a boss stage is entered after any other stage has been entered (even a boss stage), Big Boss Blues plays relatively slow. This is because when entering any stage, a flag is set which is normally used to determine which variation of a particular song should be played (i.e. the beginning or middle, if applicable). This flag is not reset until the Game Boy is powered off. All stage tracks have two entries internally because most of these have two variations of where the music should begin. However, while Big Boss Blues also has two entries internally, both of them start at the beginning. In addition, like other Rare games for Game Boy and NES, each track is assigned a particular tempo from 0x00 to 0xFF. Nonetheless, Big Boss Blues was accidentally given two different tempos (0xE8 and 0xE2). The faster tempo of 0xE8 (i.e. the one heard when a boss stage is the first to be entered after power-on) is likely the intended one, since it more closely matches Big Boss Blues in DKC3. [1]

Kobble glitch

A bug in Donkey Kong Land III where Kobble can pass through walls.
Kobble passing through a wall in Total Rekoil

In Total Rekoil and Liftshaft Lottery, some Kobbles are capable of walking through walls.

Koin glitch

This glitch works in any game where Koin appears, including this one. If Koin is far off the screen, a steel barrel can pass through it without Koin blocking it. This means that Kiddy or Dixie can throw a steel barrel, stand far away from Koin, wait until the steel barrel passes through him and ricochets off a wall, then get closer to Koin and watch as the steel barrel defeats Koin from the opposite side.

K. Rool's Last Stand reset glitches

When beating K. Rool's Last Stand for the first time, a screen appears where K. Rool rants about being defeated, gives the Kongs six Watches, and tells them to beat the time trial. If the game is turned off, or if A Button+B Button+Select Button+Start Button is pressed on this screen, the current save file will record 78 Bonus Coins and 12 Watches, as normal, but Time Attack will not be unlocked unless K. Rool's Last Stand is beaten again. This is because the Bonus Coin and Watch data is saved before this screen appears, and Time Attack is unlocked after the screen is finished.

Additionally, if A Button+B Button+Select Button+Start Button is pressed here (i.e., not turning the game off and back on), additional glitches occur. On the file select screen, Dixie will be facing to the right, not to the left, and her sprite will appear slightly above the third file, regardless of which file was last used. The actual file selected is the one last used, and pressing +Control Pad up and +Control Pad down will have no effect -- the current file will not change, and Dixie's sprite will not move. (However, it is possible to erase the current file; this causes additional glitches as described below.) When the file is selected, the Northern Kremisphere map will appear, and K. Rool will be seen at Tin Can Valley, and will escape to the Lost World -- as if K. Rool Duel was just beaten. After K. Rool enters the Lost World, the game will start at Miller Instinct. At this point, the file select screen will function normally again if it is accessed again via A Button+B Button+Select Button+Start Button (alternately, turning the game off will make the file select screen function properly as well, regardless if this occurs before the Kongs enter Miller Instinct).

Miller Instinct is completely playable here; the Kongs can enter the bonus levels, exit the level with Start Button+Select Button (as long as the file wasn't deleted on the file select screen), lose a life, or reach the end of the level as usual. If the Kongs leave the level under any method, the Kongs will find themselves in Northern Kremisphere (as opposed to Primate Plains), and they will be by the Lost World.

If the save file was deleted on the file select screen prior to K. Rool entering the Lost World, the Kongs can move about the Northern Kremisphere map despite none of the levels being beaten yet. This makes it possible to play levels out of order without using the +Control Pad up, +Control Pad down, +Control Pad left, +Control Pad left, +Control Pad down, +Control Pad up, +Control Pad right cheat. However, once the Kongs move to Cape Codswallop, they will not be able to go back to the other worlds until it is beaten. The Lost World is also inaccessible since the Kongs do not have enough DK Coins. If the Kongs enter a world, they still need to beat each level in order, as usual. When going to Sheepy Shop, Bear will not offer the Kongs his teleportation device unless Barbos is beaten; therefore, beating a different boss will not unlock the teleport.

K. Rool's Last Stand dialogue glitch

When the player has more than 6 Watches (which occurs when Time Attack is unlocked), and visits K. Rool's Last Stand, the dialogue that K. Rool gives is incorrect: He tells the player to come back with all the Watches and DK Coins, as if the player had less than 6 Watches (or less than 42 DK Coins). This is because when the player visits K. Rool's Last Stand and the game checks for DK Coins and Watches, it checks if the player has exactly 6 Watches. Therefore, the only time when K. Rool tells the player to fight him is when the player has exactly 6 Watches and 42 DK Coins, while the correct behavior would have been to check if the player had 6 or more Watches.

The incorrect dialogue is only cosmetic and does not prevent the player from fighting K. Rool after already beating him, as the Watch count is checked more accurately here.

Load saved game as Dixie Kong glitch

Whenever the player loads a previously saved file, the active Kong will always be Dixie Kong, regardless of which Kongs were present or active when saving a game (the active Kong, and the number of Kongs are saved, but the former data is ignored in Donkey Kong Land III when loading a saved game; it always ends up as Dixie). This happens even if only Kiddy Kong is present when saving. This bug did not occur in Donkey Kong Land 2, where the active Kong upon loading a saved game is the one that was used when saving. This bug likely occurs in this game because Time Attack mode always starts a level as Dixie Kong. However, this bug occurs even if Time Attack is not unlocked in a save file.

Lurchin glitch

If a Lurchin is touching the surface of the water, it is possible to jump on it (and defeat it in the process) without taking damage. This can be seen in Ugly Ducting.

Rainforest Rumble Ellie bypass glitch

A bug in Donkey Kong Land III which allows Dixie Kong to bypass Ellie in Rainforest Rumble.
Dixie must land here and then jump over the barrel to bypass Ellie

It is possible to bypass Ellie in Rainforest Rumble. This can only be done with Dixie Kong. She must avoid entering the first Blast Barrel (which launches the Kongs into the Ellie Barrel) and hover over the long pit to the right of that. When landing, Dixie must stand on the corner of the platform to the right of the pit. Dixie must be careful when landing on the corner; if she's too far to the left, she will fall down the pit, and if she's too far to the right, she will touch the Ellie Barrel and transform into Ellie. Once Dixie has successfully landed on this corner, she must jump over the barrel without touching it. From there, the entire level can be played without Ellie.

Save recovery glitch

To safeguard against corrupted save data, Donkey Kong Land III keeps three copies of every save file (excluding Time Attack data, which is separately stored and only has one copy). To detect save corruption, a 16-bit checksum is stored at the beginning of each copy, which is the sum of all other bytes in the save data. If the checksum is not valid, the game correctly detects this and attempts to use a backup copy with a valid checksum, if there is one. While there is no known software issue that can corrupt save data, this can be an issue for hardware reasons (for example, inserting the cartridge while the Game Boy is powered on, or a dying battery).

The intended behavior was that the game would copy the valid backup copy into the main file. However, the subroutine that is supposed to handle this copying contains a stack-based error, causing the subroutine's return address to be popped off the stack instead of the intended destination address for the main save copy. The result is that the game ends up writing to an invalid location in ROM instead of the intended location in SRAM (which ends up doing nothing), meaning that if the main save is corrupted, it will not be replaced with a backup copy. Depending on what data is corrupted, it is possible to view graphical glitches in the save screen (if the save has invalid values for DK Coins, Bonus Coins, Watches, or total time played), enter invalid worlds and levels, among other oddities. There have even been reports of being able to enter glitched levels with the otherwise unused Rocket Run music.

If all three copies (including the main and two backup copies) of a save file have an invalid checksum, the game correctly handles this situation by erasing all of the copies.

This bug originated in Donkey Kong Land 2 and behaves the same way.

Sheepy Shop inconsistent positioning glitch

A screenshot in Donkey Kong Land III in Sheepy Shop when Bear asks to play a card game. Note where Dixie is positioned compared to where she is after finishing the card game.
Before the player plays Cards, the Kong is relatively farther to the right
A screenshot in Donkey Kong Land III in Sheepy Shop after playing cards. Note where Dixie is positioned compared to where she was before playing Cards -- she is farther to the left.
After finishing Cards, the Kong suddenly is a bit farther to the left

A minor bug occurs in Sheepy Shop when playing Cards. After playing Cards, Dixie or Kiddy is farther to the left than they are at any other point when they are in Sheepy Shop.

Unfinished demos oversight

There are four demos viewable after the title screen (which depend on how many times +Control Pad left, +Control Pad up, +Control Pad down, or Select Button are pressed): Jetty Jitters, Rickety Rapids, Whiplash Dash, and Deep Reef Grief. However, in the latter three of these four demos, the Kongs do not make it to the end, because they get hit and eventually lose a life; this happens in both the GB and GBC versions. This is likely a bug in each of the demos, which appear to be unfinished. It is likely that the levels were changed during development and the demos were not adjusted accordingly. This is evidenced in the fact that all of these demos have button presses that continue after the Kongs go through their death animation, which can be seen in an emulator with a RAM viewer.[2]

Whiplash Dash toboggan bypass glitch

The second toboggan in Whiplash Dash (the one under the Star Barrel) can be bypassed. This is possible to do with either Kong.

As Dixie Kong, she can float over the first two Blast Barrels after the Steel Barrel. When she is next to the third Blast Barrel (just next to a Buzz), she can jump and float over that and the Buzz as well. Once at the Star Barrel, she can simply jump over that and the toboggan.

As Kiddy Kong, he will have to roll under the first two Blast Barrels, then jump, being careful not to touch the second Blast Barrel. Once next to the third Blast Barrel, Kiddy can jump over it, but touching the Buzz is unavoidable (therefore, having two Kongs is required). Next to the Star Barrel, either Kong can jump over that and the toboggan to bypass it.

English v1.0 and v1.1

Enter the Lost World early glitch

This glitch will only work in the English version; it was fixed in the Japanese version. Before attempting this glitch, the following must be done first:

  • The player needs a file that already has access to the Lost World, including the ability to enter it (i.e. K. Rool Duel has been beaten, and at least 35 DK Coins have been collected).
  • On this file, the player needs access to the Lost World from the Northern Kremisphere world map. This can be done by either beating K. Rool Duel, or using the level unlock cheat (by going to the title screen and pressing +Control Pad up, +Control Pad down, +Control Pad left, +Control Pad left, +Control Pad down, +Control Pad up, +Control Pad right). The Lost World doesn't actually need to be able to be entered, however.

Once that is taken care of, here are the steps to perform this glitch:

  1. The player must turn the game on, and choose the file where the Lost World is already unlocked (i.e. K. Rool Duel has been beaten, and at least 35 DK Coins have been collected).
  2. The player has to enter the Lost World.
  3. After that, the player must either press A Button+B Button+Select Button+Start Button to reset the game, or lose all lives, so that the title screen appears. They have to be careful not to turn off the game, or else they will have to go back to step 1.
  4. The player needs to select the file where they wish to use this glitch. (Using the level unlock cheat if necessary.)
  5. Finally, the player must enter the Lost World, and K. Rool will not appear. Due to this, the Lost World can be entered, despite not having enough DK Coins.

This glitch works because in the English version, when successfully entering the Lost World, K. Rool will stop appearing upon subsequent attempts to enter it until the game is turned off. Since the 35 DK Coin check only occurs if K. Rool appears, this means that it is possible to enter the Lost World regardless of how many DK Coins have been collected. In the Japanese version, K. Rool always appears whenever trying to enter the Lost World, so the 35 DK Coin check will always occur as well. This is how the glitch was fixed in the Japanese version.

A similar variation of this glitch also works in K. Rool's Last Stand, but the first file needs 42 DK Coins and exactly 6 Watches. Having more than 6 Watches does not trigger the glitch. This variation was likewise fixed in the Japanese version.

Screen lag glitch

This is a glitch that returns from Donkey Kong Land 2, although it is far less common. When falling down a long drop, the camera has a difficult time keeping up with Dixie or Kiddy. If either Kong is far enough off the bottom of the screen, the game mistakenly thinks they fell down a pit, and so a life will be lost. Unlike in Donkey Kong Land 2, however, instances of this happening are few and far between, but it is known to happen in a few places:

  • Redwood Rampage: When grabbing the steel barrel by the Koin, and then falling down the tree to the right of the O;
  • Clifftop Critters: There are numerous places where this is possible; basically this be done in any long fall with fast enough movement.

In the Game Boy Color version of this game (only released in Japan), lag is almost nonexistent, due to GBC's double speed mode, and there are no known places where this can cause a life to be lost.

English v1.0 only

Tundra Blunda Steel Barrel glitch

About to perform a bug in Donkey Kong Land III in the level Tundra Blunda where a steel keg eventually gets stuck underneath the snow.
Kiddy about to throw a steel keg past the end of the level...
A bug in Donkey Kong Land III in the level Tundra Blunda where a steel keg gets stuck beneath the surface of the snow.
...and it ends up beneath the surface, floating back and forth

In the English v1.0 release of Donkey Kong Land III, at the end of Tundra Blunda, it is possible for a Steel Barrel to be stuck beneath the surface of the snow. To do this, Kiddy must carry the Steel Barrel to the rightmost boundary of the level, face right, and throw the barrel. If done correctly, the Steel Barrel will appear beneath the surface, floating, and rolling back and forth. Dixie cannot do this glitch since her throwing trajectory is different.

This glitch is not possible to perform in English v1.1 or the Japanese version because the level was expanded slightly, adding a pit at the very end.

Japanese version

Jetty Jitters demo oversight

In the Game Boy Color version of Donkey Kong Land III, the Jetty Jitters demo (when waiting during the title screen without pressing any buttons) is glitched; as soon as Kiddy hits Klasp, the demo becomes out of sync and Dixie starts to make seemingly random, unusual movements until she hits a Kobble and dies. This demo does not desync in the original Game Boy version, and the button presses and length in the demo are identical between the GB and GBC versions. The reason for the desync in the GBC version is due to the fact that the GBC has double speed mode (which affects the timing) while the GB does not.