Best Donkey Kong Country 2 Levels in K. Rool's Keep & The Flying Krock
Chainlink Chamber is my favourite castle level in this game. It's the only one of that doesn't have a game-changing gimmick like Toxic Tower or Castle Crush, and is instead, just a nice and simple vertical level you climb on chains. You get to traverse the castle at your own pace, and for this reason, I've always kind of preffered this one to the other two, as you kind of get to immerse yourself more with the enviroment. It feels more natural and it leaves a stronger impression, which is strange coming from the one castle level without a major gimmick. But that's why it's the best one, in my opinion.
Normally, a castle isn't something that comes up in mind when you hear Donkey Kong. In the Mario series, it's the obligatory nest of every world boss, and sometimes with a lot of lava as well. Donkey Kong typically instead just has you fighting bosses in their respective enviroments. So to see actual levels that are castle-based, without boss battles infesting the end of them, is quite a unique experience. Not only that, there's no lava hallelujah! Castle Crush is the first castle level and it goes all out. This is an auto-scroller, where you're standing on a screen-wide platform that slowly goes up, and on the way you need to avoid enemies and getting crushed. As someone who grew up with flash games, this level always reminded me of Level 8 in Super Mario Flash 2, so seeing its original source, that was amazing! You'd think this level is meh, because it's an auto-scroller, and it's long, however, it's got enough things up its sleeze to make it rather one of the best levels! Castle ...more
In second place, we have the real Kaptain K. Rool battle, fought in the Flying Krock and is the final boss of the main game. Good lord did they go all out on this! King K. Rool in the original was a great boss battle! The only good one in the game in fact. But it was a little basic. Kaptain K. Rool on the other hand is the ultimate test. He takes not three, not six, but nine hits to defeat, and has three different phases, and they're all difficult and fun in their own right. The first phase is pretty easy, just avoid him from dashing on you. The second phase he'll be shooting cannonballs at different speeds and it can get hectic. The last phase is of course the hardest, where he'll go invisible and you have to be extra wary. Honestly, there's not a single thing I have to complain about with this battle. It's the perfect final boss. And yet it's not in first place.
Arctic Abyss is the single only good underwater level in DKC2. While the other underwater levels were set inside of ship holds, Arctic Abyss pulls a U-turn and goes back to the ice age. You're swimming inside of an ice cave, while playing as Enguarde the Swordfish, my personal favourite animal buddy. Honestly, this level has always just kind of resonated with me. I mentioned my love for the soundtrack in Clapper's Cavern, and here, it fits. Moreso than most songs do with their levels. Just swimming through these caverns, mauling enemies to defeat, and dashing through corridors..., this level is truly one of a kind.
Toxic Tower is the last level of the last real world, and being so, you might wonder, is it difficult? Here's your answer. Frick yes! This level takes the concept of rising poison from Slime Climb, only this time, it's actually poison! You'll die the second you touch it. And it's fast! Well..., the first half. I should mention this is another level where you transform into the animal buddies. The first half has you controlling Rattly, and that's where the real difficulty is. The second you get Squawks, the difficulty is lost as you can just fly past everything. Not even Squitter makes it any more difficult in the last third. However, for what it is, I'd be lying if I dismissed the stage for that. It's still hecking difficult, and a fun level!
The last real world in this game, K. Rool's Keep, is pretty interesting. You've got the typical castle theme, as you make your way to the top of the island, but then you've also got these ice caves, and when you look at the map, it's kind of unclear exactly what it is. Is it the freeze where the Kremlings keep all their frozen food? Who knows. What I do know is that I love the atmosphere in these levels, with In a Snow-Bound Land being one of my personal favourite songs of all time. And Clapper's Cavern is a decent level. In a nutshell, it's basically Lava Lagoon done right. Instead of forcing him to cool down the boiling water, you need his help to freeze the water, to safely traverse the cavern, as you've got this indestructable killing machine out after you. There are also parts where you have to swim through but you don't have that killing machine after you at those points. It's a really cool level. However, it's pretty short, and there are levels I enjoy a little more than this. ...more
Let's get one thing out of the way. Stickerbrush Symphony is the single greatest piece of music out of any Donkey Kong Country game, and likewise, is the level theme it plays in. The Bramble levels of DKC2 are simply perfect. The idea of exploring an enormous tangly bush is something I never thought would work in a game, but it does. It makes you feel at peace, with vegetation all around you, and bees pollinating the enviroment. There were four levels in total with this theme, and while Screech's Sprint is the weakest, it's still good. The bramble theme is perfect for the last level before the final boss, and the atmosphere speaks it. The reason this Bramble level is the worst one though..., well. First off, the purple sky isn't very beautiful compared to the blue and cyan ones, and secondly, this. The second half is comprised of you as Squawks, racing agianst this evil Squawks, and beating him is a lot easier said than done. He flies super fast and can pass right through enemies, ...more
One of the most improved level themes from the first DKC to the second, would be the mineshaft theme. In the original, the Mineshaft levels were dark, dusty, and just depressing in general. In DKC2 however, it's the blatant opposite. Now it's bright, clear, and rather charming. In fact it's such an improvement that it more resembles the walkway levels than the mineshaft ones. The big improvement is obviously the music. Mining Melancholy is by far one of the most soothing tunes in the entire DKC series. It pays great homage to Life in the Mines, having the same kind of melody, starting off busy and dark, but progressively getting more light. Unfortunately, one of the weakest levels in DKC2 is mine-themed. The gimmick is the wind that makes you hover, and it honestly is more of a hassle than a gift. It just makes the level much slower than you needs to be, when you have to time every "jump" through these Zingers, and then slowly float up. It's not a particularly good level.
Remember what I said about Kleever feeling more like just a part of a boss than a boss battle himself? Well Kerozene sums up what I think Kleever should've been. Kerozene is interesting because he was nowhere near to be seen in the original DKC2 on the SNES, unless you count that hand. In the GBA version however, he was the boss of K. Rool's Keep in the level of Stronghold Showdown, as opposed to in the SNES where it was just an empty room. Kerozene is probably the boss battle with the most diverse attack pattern in this game. On one hand he'll send two Kleevers out to attack you, on another hand, he'll also spit fire on the ground, and his final attack involves setting the entire place on fire. Similarly with Kleever, you attack him with Kannonballs. The difference between the two bosses though is the fact that Kerozene feels much more complete. Kleever just generated some fireballs, Kerozene has an entire attack set. In my opinion, he should've been the boss of Crocodile Cauldron, ...more
It's an empty room. Do I need to say anything? Its only purpose is the twist that the fight won't be fought here, but in the Flying Krock instead.