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A Star Barrel (also known as a Continue Barrel) is a barrel with white stars painted on it, and serves as a checkpoint during a level, usually halfway through. They first appear in Donkey Kong Country, and appear in almost every level of the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy, Donkey Kong Land 2 and Donkey Kong Land III.
In Donkey Kong Land, the Star Barrels were replaced with Continue Points. In Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Professor Chops instead marks the checkpoint for the Kongs.
Star Barrels have the same role as a checkpoint in each game they appear in. Every Star Barrel floats in the air, with the stars spiraling around the barrel circumference. If the Kongs jump at a Star Barrel, it breaks, and a shower of colorful sparkles rains upon them, indicating that it has been activated. This way, if the Kongs exit a level or lose an extra life, they can resume from the Star Barrel's location. By doing so, the Star Barrel shakes, and the Kongs burst out of it. However, if the player gets a Game Over or restarts the game, the Kongs must restart from either the level itself or where the player last saved their game. A Star Barrel's effect also wears off when the Kongs complete a level.
In the Game Boy Advance ports of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, if the Kongs exit from a level where they have activated a Star Barrel, and the player saves and restarts their game, the Kongs can resume from the Star Barrel.
In the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System release of Donkey Kong Country, there is a type of Star Barrel known as a save barrel. One of them appears at Candy's Save Point, and has the same appearance as ordinary Star Barrels. Unlike their normal counterpart, when the Kongs jump into a save barrel, the barrel does not break.
Certain levels in the games lack Star Barrels. Rickety Race in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest lacks a Star Barrel; one was added in the GBA version. In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, two of the Krematoa levels, Stampede Sprint and Rocket Rush (in the GBA version only), do not have Star Barrels. Additionally, certain cheat codes can remove Star Barrels in those games. Inputting ,,,,,,, in the hidden Cheat Code option in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest removes all DK and Star Barrels; inputting "ROCKARD" in the Cheat Code menu does the same in the Game Boy Advance version. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble has a cheat menu as well, where inputting "TUFST" (SNES version) / "TUFFER" (GBA version) removes all Star Barrels, though the GBA version's code only works for a new file.
Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (SNES) / Donkey Kong Land 2 / Donkey Kong Land III
Donkey Kong Country (GBC/GBA)
Donkey Kong Country 2 (GBA)
Donkey Kong Country 3 (GBA)