Top Ten Underground Levels in Donkey Kong Country
Slipside Ride is by far the best cave level in the game, and a pretty unique level, 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. 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 gimmicky yet rewarding. Overall, the best on this list.
Bouncy Bonanza is my favourite traditional underground level in this game (those with Cave Dweller Concert playing in the background). It's not too simplistic like Reptile Rumble, but it's also not too forgettably gimmicky like Manic Mincers of Elevator Antics. There's a lot of reasons as to why. It makes great use of the little bouncy trampolies that are later re-used in Necky's Nuts. They're creativelly spread out all over the level. For example after the halfway point the level splits up and you choose one depending on if you took care of that bouncy trampoline. Aside from that, this level also looks downright GORGEOUS! It's a bit more "night" than the others, as the screen is darker than usual, making for a pretty special experience. In my opinion it's a really good level. Just not so interesting that it makes it any higher.
Mine Cart Madness should've been the only Minecart-themed level in Donkey Kong Country, as it's everything Mine Cart Carnage should've been. While the latter is just a frustrating obstacle course that makes you want to draw your hair out more than Dolores Umbridge, Mine Cart Madness is an actually well-made mine cart level with unique ideas and times to breath. There are more enemies to avoid, but all are much more bearable than the kursed Krash. And while Krash makes an appearence, he doesn't rush towards you. Instead he stays in his minecart and you get to personally beat the heck out of them, which is satisfying after the time they gave me in the former Minecart level. It is, a surprisingly fun level that's way easier than its predecessor despite being played three worlds later.
You might be pretty surprised to find Stop & Go Station this high on the list. If you've made it this far, you're probably aware that I've been extremely harsh on the Mineshaft-themed levels on this list. I've said nothing but bad things about them, and not without reason. And yet, Stop & Go Station, a mineshaft level is in the top fifteen for this ranking. Why? Well simply because of its gimmick. This level is infested with Rock Krocs, kritters that run back and forth and you can't stomp on them. You need to immobolize them by hitting the On-barrels, similarly to how you turned on the light in Loopy Lights. But unlike that level, you can still see what's around you. So instead of unlucky you need to find a needle in a haystack, Stop & Go Station is still perfectly playable even if you choose to not turn off the On-barrels. Already we have a good gimmick, but another thing that makes this one better is that it's actually pretty exciting atmospheric-wise. These barrels give off a red ...more
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.
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.
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.
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. Elevator Antics is simply just another okay-ish underground level, which I really couldn't care less for. Aestethically, it does look a bit more pleasing than Manic Mincers, and it doesn't tacke an annoying gimmick like the former level. But..., the price is that this level barely tackles any gimmick at all. The first half of this level is just about your most average level of all time with Mini-Neckies just ruining your day, and the second half though is what the level was named after. You just from elevator to elevator, and it's fun I guess. However, it's just the second half. The first half isn't bad, I mean it's still a soothing underground level, but it really costs this level a higher spot on my ...more
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.
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.