Ahhh, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (conquest, see?). Released 20 years ago, this built on the success of the massively popular Donkey Kong Country (1994). This was no lazy tie-in from British expert developer Rare, who worked with Nintendo to develop its legendary character Donkey Kong into a new series. The result was a glorious advancement on the first outing.
Rare took the first game and shredded it of its flaws and added several dollops of awesomeness. The out-and-out classic we received thanks to these efforts sees a merger of the very best platforming games have to offer, along with a genius soundtrack for dramatic punch.
Donkey Kong Country 2
Now this is one tough game and features thousands of hidden areas to unlock. As Diddy Kong (with sidekick Dixie), you take on many weird and wonderful wildernesses in your pursuit of King K. Rool (the kidnapper) and Donkey Kong.
Rare’s creative brilliance really shines through, and you find levels where you’re scaling giant ships, windy wonderlands, and dank swamps. The thing with 2D platformers is they age well – usually extremely well with talented developers. DKC 2 is no exception. Along with the fast-paced, relentlessly inventive gameplay, what particularly stands out to this day is British composer David Wise’s remarkable soundtrack (more on this below).
To the gameplay! Plots weren’t really much of a factor in the olden days. You’d get some flimsy pretext to go on an adventure, and call us old fuddy-duddies but we much prefer it that way.
These days developers usually stitch on dubious plots which can have you sitting through 10 minutes of tedious cut scenes. DKC 2 cuts straight to the chase – Donkey Kong gets captured, and you go all out to rescue him.
It’s flat-out stuff, too, with imaginative level design and a perfectly well-judged difficulty curve. However, as fantastic as the game is the exceptional soundtrack has done down in history amongst gamers – it really does power the game along.
We’ve included a clip above of the now legendary Stickerbush Symphony, although the whole game is crammed full of extraordinary and beautiful music. David Wise joined Rare in the late 1980s and immediately showed off his talent (he’s still composing to this day).
The whole soundtrack is just remarkable – masterpiece after masterpiece of emotive, funky, poignant, and uplifting short, sharp tunes. Stickerbush Symphony is legendary (and placed on one of the game’s most difficult and annoying levels, Bramble Scramble, to calm players down) but there so many gems in there.
The soundtrack adds so much to the gaming experience it’s made Wise a revered composer amongst gamers. Rightly so.
DKC 2: How to Buy the SNES Classic
You can (if you have a Wii U) pick up this gem of a game for around £4. Do so and enjoy! The legacy for Donkey Kong Country 2: Dixie’s Kong Quest is that it’s one of the finest games on the SNES, which is really saying something considering the sheer quality of titles at the time.
You’ll also be able to find it the likes of the New 3DS and the Wii, so hunt it down and enjoy some retro gaming brilliance.