Worst Levels in Donkey Kong Country
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
The cart levels can be quite frustrating at times because you move so fast its hard to time most of your jumps in time not to mention that its very easy to get ambushed by an enemy as they can pop up while giving you very little time to react.
Surprise, surprise, another Mineshaft-themed level, Loopy Lights. Similarly to Misty Mine, it's another relatively bland and unappealing level aestethic-wise. The gimmick, as implied by the title has to do with lights. You need to turn on the lights to make sure you can see anything, by walking into the On/Off barrels. This gimmick alone makes it slightly more interesting and fun than Misty Mine, but it's still not very fun, because when they go off, you don't see anything, at all. The worst thing though are the Purple Klaptraps, who jump when you jump, and it has caused me to lose a life a few times. And not to mention just the general fact that it's a Mineshaft-themed level. I don't hate this level as much as the top two, but I wouldn't mind not playing it. In a way it's a slightly better Misty Mine.
The most unappealing level theme of the 12 in the original Donkey Kong Country has always in my opinion been the Mineshafts. Really there isn't much to enjoy about these levels. Misty Mine is the worst song in the game, being all depressing and dusty, and they usually tackle an annoying gimmick. The worst of the three is by far Misty Mine. The title doesn't lie, it really is misty, and it's annoying. The main gimmick of this level though are the spread out enemy drums. They're all over the level, spawning enemies. It might not seem that bad at first, but it's frustrating, and repetitive. So, this level is overall just not fun to play. Better than Mine Cart Carnage but come on that doesn't say much.
Trick Track Treck, the second level of the Kremkroc. Industries is by far the most BORING level of all time. Why is that so, you might ask? Well for one it's a Walkway-themed level, which in my opinion is one of the blander themes this game has got to offer, but the real reason it's this low is because it's an auto-scroller. And unlike Mine Cart Carnage, it is so slow! You're basically waiting on this platform avoiding enemies, and that's it really. It's the only level when I ask myself, where is the exit? It's boredom at its finest. And that's not a very good achievement. It's only better than Mine Cart Carnage and the two Mineshaft levels because it's at least playable and doesn't make me rage-quit.
Our first underground level on the list. The underground levels for the original Donkey Kong Country are some of the most soothing, because they offer a really calming song, Cave Dweller Contest, and are just beautiful in general. Although the dark grey aestethic for this particular underground course makes it kind of unappealing. It's one of the only levels that features Rambi the Rhino, the other being Jungle Hijynx, which alone makes it a pretty memorable level. The main gimmick is obviously those mincers that go up and down and provide a kind of frustrating challenge. It's an ok level, but there are definitely so many better levels than this one.
Elevator Antics is another simply ok underground course. The underground levels for the original Donkey Kong Country are some of the most soothing, because they offer a really calming song, Cave Dweller Contest, and are just beautiful in general. And Elevator Antics is your above-average underground level. Its biggest flaw? Clickbait. This level is called ELEVATOR Antics but the lifts only come in the second half of the stage, which is kind of disappointing. And the level itself is kind of forgettable. Nothing to really write home about, just avoid some enemies and yadda yadda yadda.
From this point on I like all of the levels on the list. To be fair this game has one of the best collections of games in 2D history. Sure there have been six slightly mediocre levels I've just talked about, but now that we're in the good territory, levels take a huge step in quality. Tanked Up Trouble is basically a better version of Trick Track Treck, just like Loopy Lights is a better version of Misty Mine. Similarly to Trick Track Treck, it's another relatively slow auto-scroller, but it's way better in a lot of ways. Instead of just slowly waiting on a platform, you need to make sure the platform doesn't run out of fuel by constantly hitting fuel barrels, or else you will lose. It makes an otherwise dull auto-scroller kind of hectic and interesting. That said, it's still a slow auto-scroller, set in a Walkway-themed level, which is a bit of a bland level theme. So ultimately, it can't be any higher for me.
It's a..., surprisingly ok level. Squawks is easily one of the better animal buddies in the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, but that was only after the second game. In the first installment he has a single level and his only objective is holding onto a flashlight. You know what that means. A dark level where our only source of light is a lantern. It's not a bad level despite that though, but it's easily one of the lesser fun ones, closing in the top ten worst of this game. It's also pretty short so this annoying gimmick doesn't drag. It could've ended up being an even worse level than it is, but as it stands, Torchlight Trouble is ok.
So, the Gameboy Colour remake of Donkey Kong Country added one additional level, titled Necky Nutmare, being the fourth level of Chimp Caverns. I have never played the GBC version of this game, as I don't own a Gameboy Colour, but it would be cool if I could have this on the list anyways, so I checked out this level on YouTube..., and it's not even that good. Why did they add a level that is about as generic as can possibly be? Even the Super Mario Wiki page states it as a generic underground level. Now with that being said, certainly not a bad level. The underground levels in this game are really appealing and soothing, but what the heck was the point of adding a level that doesn't even try anything new? Explain that.
This is not a bad level, by any means. Winky's Walkway is a decent start-off for the second world in the game, introducing us to our third animal buddy, Winky, one of my favourites in a relatively easy level. The biggest offender for this level is just how short it is. It's probably the shortest level in the game, I can complete it no problem before I even hear the main verse of the theme song. But I certainly enjoy this level when I do play it. It's just..., not one of the best, at all.
Reptile Rumble is the first underground level that you play in this game, and it quite does leave a good first impression. The entire level has got a pretty laid back feel to it, with the decent Cave Dweller Concert ambiance in the background, the moderately easy-to-find secrets, snakes, and the nice-looking background. Other than that there's not much else to add, as it's a pretty basic level. But it's good.
A great first level. At first glance it might not seem like a very extra-ordinary first level. It's very short, straight and not much else. However there's actually a lot of interesting things going on. For one you can go inside of DK's house to get a free 1-Up. You can also go to his storage to see his whole banana hoard stolen. And you can traverse the entire first half of this level just by walking on the treetops using Diddy. There's a surprising lot of things to do with this level. But alas it's still just the first level so it would be unfair to rank it any higher than this.
Chimp Caverns has a pretty bad level selection overall, 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.