Top Ten Levels in Donkey Kong Country
And my favourite level in Donkey Kong Country is none other than Blackout Basement. This level..., is just amazing in every corner. I can't find a single complaint about this level, it's that good. It's the other of the two Factory-themed levels in the game, and it's noticeably better than Oil Drum Alley, an already great level. It has the single best gimmick in the entire game, which is the Blackout effect. Every 2 seconds, the screen goes black, so you need to memorize where pieces of the level are. Now I did say a little earlier in the list that I'm not a fan of levels that go dark because it becomes hard to see anything. The difference here is that unlike in say Loopy Lights where you're under pressure, or Torchlight Trouble where you can only see a third of the level, you know when the screen will go dark, so you will have time to memorize where the ground is, and even then the lights go back after a few seconds. If anything it just makes for a more fun challenge, the most fun ...more
We close off the underwater levels now, with the best underwater level in the game, Croctopus Chase. Sure it is the only one where you can't hold on to Enguarde until the very end, but the gimmick is one of the best and most exhilerating in the entire game. For most of the time, you are being chased by these Croctopuses, not Kroctopus, Croctopuses. They will follow you on a strict path until they reach a destination, and it can be really hectic. You need to be fast, and you're always on your toes. This underwater level also has my favourite look, as the walls are a shining blue. There really isn't anything to complain about in this level, well except for the lack of Enguarde mostly, but to be fair that would've made the level a little too easy. As it is, it's one of the most hectic yet soothing levels in the game. The only reason it's not higher is because..., well, it's a bit basic in concept? Like the entire level is pretty straight-forward, nothing new really happens throughout the ...more
If Millstone Mayhem was almost the perfect Temple-themed level, Temple Tempest is THE perfect temple-themed level. It's got all that Millstone Mayhem has, from enemies coming out of nowhere, etc. However, Temple Tempest adds yet another element. Whenever you pass these static Gnawties on Wheels, they will ACTUALLY follow you until they reach a stop. Now it REALLY feels like the temple is out to get you, and this added gimmick makes it even more spine-shivering, as you're actually being followed around in an abandoned temple. Like, this could easily make for my favourite level in-game. It's just that there are actually even better levels in this game that are even better than this one. I guess one problem is that the layout of the level is fairly straightforward, as to pave way for the incoming gnawties, but it works, and it's a good level!
...I think Treetop Town is the slightly better of the two Treetop levels, as it's simply a bit more appealing. Instead of the bright snowy-theme, this one's a bit darker and mysterious, and in my opinion, it's simply a bit more beautiful to look at. In addition to this, instead of being centered around trampolines, this level makes use of blasting barrels. As you might've guessed I've been a bit harsh on these levels that force you to use blasting barrels, but I think Treetop Town does handle it better than any other barrel-blast level. Unlike the other barrel-blasting levels, Treetop Town's barrel segments aren't overly gimmicky or infested with zingers everywhere, and they also don't overstay their welcome, unlike *ahem*, Snow Barrel Blast. Like those 360 degrees is basically just calling for attention. So overall yeah, Treetop Town, not a bad level.
Now we have my favourite levels in the game. My favourite level theme in the original Donkey Kong Country is none other than the Factory-theme. It is legendary! Normally something grey and industrial like a Factory wouldn't even come close to my appeal, but these levels are actually quite amazing. They have a nice look to them, surprisingly, and they contain my favourite tune in the entire game, Fear Factory, one of the catchiest and most memorable tunes in the entire series. There are only two of these levels unfortunately, but the music didn't get wasted. Oil Drum Alley marks the point of no return in-game, as levels become difficult for real. The oil drums are the main gimmick for this course. You need to jump on them to traverse certain gaps, and it can be difficult, but fun. Oil Drum Alley is simply put, amazing.
We say good bye to the last jungle-themed course in Donkey Kong Country now, as Orang-utan Gang, my favourite jungle-level in this game is #5 on this ranking. And to be honest, it's really quite amazing. Most of the jungle levels in this game are pretty basic and easy, as most of them are located in the first world, Kongo Jungle. However, Orang-utan Gang is a World 3-level, which allows itself to take bigger risks and be more creative, without having to worry about being too hard. It is certainly a bit difficult but that's for the better. This level takes place during a gorgeous sunset and introduces three major features to the game. For one, it's the first one you can do the literal barrel roll, basically jumping on a barrel while it rolls. We're also introduced to Espresso the Ostrich, probably the most fun to use of all the animal buddies in the game. And it also introduces Manky Kong, which is a pretty annoying..., but challenging enemy. So as you can see this level does a lot of ...more
The Treetop theme is in my opinion one of the most unique in this game, and it's used in two of the best levels of the game, Rope Bridge Rumble and Treetop Town. It's kind of hard to pin-point exactly what it is that makes the Treetop-theme so appealing to me. Maybe it's the fact that it's its own theme that's distinct? Normally treetops are usually just part of an existing theme in media, like forests or jungles, but in this game it's a theme that can be easily told apart from jungle and forest. It also helps that it has one of the most ambigious ambiances in the game, Treetop Rock. Of the two Treetop levels, I do think Rope Bridge Rumble is slightly weaker, but that's not saying much as they can be interchanged based on preference. This one's a bit brighter and more ice-themed, and makes great use of the bouncy trampolines. However...
From now on we reach the Top Ten of this ranking and I love all levels here. They could be inter-changed, so the fact that this is only the tenth best level in the game does not mean it's not good, because it is. Anyways...
The forest theme of Donkey Kong Country is another really appealing and atmospheric theme in the game. What especially draws me in about these kinds of levels is just how this forest looks like. As it's not quite a jungle, more so, it's a bit taiga-related. Taiga is basically the northern spruce belt where spruces are common, and these levels really does seem to push for that setting, as there are several spruces in the background for these levels. And Vulture Culture is a great level for this theme. It's lively, yet quiet and a bit mysterious, like you're in a walk in the forest. It has some of the most fun barrelling segments in the game, where you aim to get rid of as many Neckies as possible. The biggest flaw I guess is the over-abundance of Mini-Neckies, ...more
Unless you count Boss levels, the worst level in not just Donkey Kong Country, but also one of in the entire series, will always be the frustrating Mine Cart Carnage. This level is everything that can go wrong on making a level. In this level, you ride in a mine cart for the majority of the time, avoiding pits and enemies rushing towards you in their own minecarts. What could possibly go wrong? Well everything, basically. There's barely any interesting platforming to be found here. The entire level is just riding in this minecart, jumping over huge gaps and making sure you don't get hit by anything. And doing all of this is hard, because the minecart is way, WAY too fast. Sure you can slow it down by jumping a lot but then you risk not being able to jump over certain gaps. So you need super high reflexes to not lose. It would be fine if it was just certain bits that used this gimmick, but a whole level? It gets even worse in the second half when Krashes come in your direction, faster ...more
Forest Frenzy in my opinion, kind of fixes a few of the issues I had with Vulture Culture. Gone are the mini-neckies in every corner, and in its place we have jumping Kritters and Zingers, both of which are less annoying enemies to deal with. As opposed to Vulture Culture, this one plays more like an obstacle course than a platformer in a way, as you're for the most part waiting on these ropes, avoiding enemies coming at you. And it's really fun, not gonna lie! You'd think this would be a flaw seeing as I don't like auto-scrollers, but because this one has stuff to keep your eyes on at all times, plus the fact that it's just a forest level does give this one a pass. Overall, another amazing course!
Chimp Caverns has had a pretty rough selection of levels thus far as you can see. Six of its seven levels have been in the bottom ten of this ranking, so it's nice to see that Platform Perils somewhat redeems the world and finishes it off on a decent note. Platform Perils, as opposed to the rest of the levels in Chimp Caverns, is an actually great level. It's fun and unique enough for me to not brush it off as just another cave level. You traverse this level by walking on arrowed platforms in different directions, and sometimes these platforms are owned by un-stompable enemies, so you need to take them out to get on to that platform before the platform you're currently standing on sinks into the abyss. It's a REALLY exhilerating level that keeps you on your toes and it's a bit sad that none of the other Chimp Cavern levels were this unique and fun. But at least there is one great level, better one than none.
The temple level of Donkey Kong Country are some of the most atmospheric in the entire series. They contain one of the single best ambiances in the entire series, Voices of the Temple and really make your spine shiver, even without playing the levels, which makes it shiver even more. And Millstone Mayhem is ALMOST the perfect level for this kind of theme. It introduces you to one of the stronger enemies seen in the game, and it quite comes at you with surprises and dangers. Enemies come out of nowhere, Gnawties are running on wheels and it feels like the entire temple is out to get you. There really isn't much to complain about. Well there is ONE complaint, but we'll get to that eventually, in the meantime...
Slipside Ride is a pretty unique level in Donkey Kong Country, as it is the only level in the entire game whose level theme doesn't re-occur in any other level. In this case, it's the Ice Cave-theme, appearing only in Slipside Ride, which makes it a pretty unique course among its peers. And they couldn't have picked a better level to use the theme on, as Slipside Ride is one of my favourite levels. From now on we reach the Top Ten of this ranking and I love all levels here. They could be inter-changed, so the fact that this is only the tenth best level in the game does not mean it's not good, because it is. It's downright gorgeous and has an amazing Christmassy little tune to accompany it! The gimmick is also one of the uniquest yet fun in the game, as you traverse this chanty ice cave by using these coloured ropes. The blue ones force you to go upwards, and the purple ones do the opposite. So it can be a really hectic ride. It really forces you to pay attention to a level that's ...more