Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting My Kong On

So about a month ago I had a coupon for Gamestop to buy 2 used get 1 free.  I tried to use it time and time again to pick up some Kinect titles but failed out since people apparently aren't returning them used yet.  Lame!  In a "before this coupon expires" panic, I picked up Halo: Reach (about time!!), Kirby's Epic Yarn (review forthcoming) and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
First off, I have to say that this is NOT the remake of Donkey Kong Country 2, with Diddy and Dee Dee Kong.  I obviously could've known this if I had, say, looked at the cover.  Or paid any attention to detail at all...but I didn't.  And the funny thing is that I have been looking forward to playing this game ever since I heard of its release: thinking it was Donkey Kong Country 2.  So when I plugged it in I was like, "This looks different... Where's the little girl monkey?"  And then the *facepalm* set in.

So I can not compare this to the original, because I didn't play the original.  I played a helluva lot of Donkey Kong Country 2 though, and I can tell you how much fun that game would be remade.  But I'm here to tell you that with the minor history in Donkey Kong that I do have, this game is an awful lot of fun.

It's always interesting to play a game that is a remake of an old title.  You have all those great glory memories of plugging the originals into your SNES or N64 (or PS1, I'm not splitting hairs), and then you put in the new one and, sometimes, it is just as awesome.  Donkey Kong comes through in that way.  The graphics look sensational - just like I remember them looking on the SNES.  Which is hilarious, because obviously the SNES graphics would be pretty bad compared to what we have now with the 720s and the 1080s and the HDs.  The game manages to make the whole world interactive - with events happening and affecting your gameplay from the background into the foreground.

During this segment, you will drive that cart off the track and both die.
And it will cost you 2 lives. And you will be eternally frustrated.
The one thing that has stood out?  This game is brutal.  I forgot how incredibly FRUSTRATING it is to play a game where you have two health, and when you die, you die.  That's that.  Yes, the levels have checkpoints, but sometimes it's darn near impossible to get to them without having to replay the first parts of the level time and time again.  I asked my husband how gaming ever got popular when old-school gaming was so difficult that I can't play for more than half an hour without wanting t  o chuck my Wii-mote through the wall.  The situation gets even worse when you're playing with someone else, because your pool of lives is only 3-4 (until you gain more on your own) and when you have 2 players going, you're using the same pool.  So if you both die, that's 2 lives down the drain.  Let's just say when you're playing with a 4-yr-old, those lives go fast.

Donkey Kong has all the fun of platformers of our youth.  You have X amount of items to find in each level, including tiles that spell K-O-N-G and a  number of puzzle pieces, usually ranging from 5-7.  Having items hidden throughout the levels gives the game a nice amount of replayability.  Not to mention these platformer style games where a level will take just a few minutes of your day to complete always seem easier to go back and replay for kicks when you need to kill time.  All in all, I would say that Donkey Kong Country Returns is definitely a good buy if you're nostalgic for the gaming of yore, or just looking for a good Wii title.


Debbie said...

Here is my question to you: Would this game still be as fun if you didn't have the nostalgia factor? Of all the Nintendo games that I played as a kid (and there were a LOT), Donkey Kong was never one of them.

Linz said...

I think so, because I have very little nostalgia factor when it comes to DK. It's mostly that I like platformers a lot, and this one is difficult enough to be an interesting challenge.