Worst Levels in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Starting off the ranking we have Glimmer's Galleon from Krem Quay. Overall the level selection in DKC2 is much better than the one in DKC1, so much so that none of the levels are downright awful. Glimmer's Galleon, despite being last on my list, in my opinion, a much more bearing level than Mine Cart Carnage in DKC1. Alas, it's still a bad level. The only downright bad one in this game, I'd say. And there's no reason to wonder why. Firstly, it's an Underwater stage. That on itself isn't the issue though, as DKC is the only example where underwater levels are actually fun. No, the real issue, is this thing. If you remember Torchlight Trouble from the original DKC, this is basically it, but worse. The entire level is shrouded in darkness, and Glimmer is your only source of light, and even then, it's just a third of the screen. And unlike Torchlight Trouble where Squawk's always moved consistently with you, Glimmer is constantly moving wherever he feels like, making you unable to see ...more
Next up we have Red-Hot Ride, which I debated on putting lower than Glimmer's Galleon, but in the end, I feel like it doesn't screw you over as much as that level. That being said, it's annoying, and boring. This level is made up of these balloons which you must ride on to traverse pits of lava. The catch is that they're always sinking and need to float over these geysers to make them rise. Sounds original, heck, even promising. So why is it almost last? Well you see..., it's so monotonous. The balloon moves at a snail's pace. It's so slow that it puts Trick Track Trek..., actually that's an exaggeration, Red-Hot Ride is still much more interesting than that level. But still, it is not an enjoyable level.
And would you look at that? We have another underwater stage? Lava Lagoon is basically the slightly more improved version of Loopy Lights, but underwater. Instead of jumping on On/Off barrels to turn on the lights, you need to jump on this Seal who will cool down the water in this entire ship. Don't ask me how he does it. So you can probably expect the stressfulness of this level. I just don't like these types of levels that much. I speedrun if I want to, not because the level forces me to. I forgot to mention this on Glimmer's Galleon, but there's also the fact that quite simply, I don't enjoy these underwater levels taking place inside of a pirate ship. The original DKC had you swimming through soothing coral reefs, while these levels are rather frustrating with their hectic music and ghost passages, like seriously how was I supposed to know you can walk through these crates. Overall, Lava Lagoon, not my cup of tea.
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.
Well would you believe it? Three out of the bottom five levels in DKC2 are the three underwater ship levels. DKC2 improved on so many aspects from the original DKC, from moves, to level design, to nearly everything..., except for the underwater levels. That being said, Lockjaw's Locker on this list also closes off the meh levels of my ranking, and inagurates the ok-tier. This one, unlike Glimmer's Galleon or Lava Lagoon, don't have any annoying gimmicks that bring this level, down, which isn't surprising as it's from the first world, and finding Enguarde the Sword Fish early on in the level makes it fast to breeze through. However, I still don't like the underwater ship levels, so it's in the bottom five. However, from this point on in the ranking, we're already starting to see some more enjoyable levels, much earlier than in DKC1.
So, I've never been the biggest fan of lava levels. You might've guessed that from the placements of Red Hot Ride, and Lava Lagoon. However, I applaud Rare for trying something unique and making the lava world the second world, that way we don't have to slog through a difficult one near the end. Take notes Mario. Actually, Fiery Furnace is the exception, being one of the five levels in the secret Lost World. The Lost World contains some of the more out of the blue levels of the game. For example it has the only two jungle levels, a downwards vertical level, a final test, and then you have Fiery Furnace which is just..., to put it simply, not very special. It's just blasting from barrel to barrel. Sure you can move the barrels around, but come on how many times have we not already seen barrel-based minigames in the series? That combined with the fact that it's lava-based, makes it a sore thumb among the lost world.
The first world in DKC2 is interesting, because Gangplank Galleon was the location where the final boss of DKC1 took place, and it's also the starting point of DKC2, as if the game picked up directly after the first game ended. Obviously we know that's false because of the intro in the GBA remake of this game, but still, it's a nice touch. Speaking of which, the next four levels on this list are all from this world. Gangplank Galleon being the first world, obviously has levels that aren't as difficult, or interesting as many of the other ones. Gangplank Galley perfectly encapsulates that. It's an easy level, set on a pirate deck. Sure there's a sunset, but it's not really unique or anything.
Mainbrace Mayhem is a little more unique as it's the first level in the entire trilogy to be vertically based, as you travel upwards, instead of rightwards. However, it too is very easy, and there's not much to talk about.
Topsail Trouble is a little bit better than the aforementioned ship mast level, as you get hold of Rattly the Rattlesnake, which allows you to jump very high. The added storm effect in the background is also a nice touch.
I think Pirate Panic was the best level from this world. Yeah, the first level. Being the first level, it does a good job at introducing you to the mechanics of DKC2, from the team jump, to animal buddy superpowers, and more.