Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Rare
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    • US 11/22/1996
    • JP 11/23/1996
    • UK 12/19/1996
Score: 80%

This review was published on 06/23/2012.

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble is the third game in the Donkey Kong Country series, and the last one released for the Super Nintendo. The game actually came out shortly after the Nintendo 64 was released in the United States. As a result of that, the game was vastly overshadowed by the new, 3-D console. The pre-rendered graphics that impressed audiences in the previous games had worn out their novelty and the advent of 3-D gaming made these visuals seem insignificant. This was an uphill battle. Rare couldn't rely on the graphics to wow consumers; the focus had to be on the game play. Unfortunately, this game wasn't able to bring much new to the table. You could tell that Rare was running out of ideas for the series. It's not all bad, though. Donkey Kong Country 3 is still a high quality game, despite being a little uninspired.

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Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, the protagonists of the first and second games, respectively, were on a fishing trip. They never returned from their fishing trip. Apparently, a giant robot named KAOS has kidnapped them, or something. The protagonists of the Donkey Kong Country series have a bad habit of being kidnapped, since Donkey Kong got kidnapped in the previous game, too. King K. Rool is behind it all again, only he decided to dress up as a scientist this time, going under the moniker of Baron K. Roolenstein. I don't get why this giant lizard has to change his persona in each game. Bowser would never resort to such foolishness. It's up to Dixie Kong and Kiddy Kong to save the day. Dixie was Diddy's sidekick in the second game, and Kiddy Kong is new to the series. Kiddy Kong is Dixie's toddler cousin, supposedly. I don't think I've ever seen such a large toddler before. As always, these two Kongs must fight against the Kremling Krew, a bunch of reptiles mostly comprised of crocodiles, using only their wits. Well, they'll be using their feet to stomp on them. Some barrels might be thrown in an offensive manner, as well. The adventure of a life time starts here, in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! The exclamation point is actually part of the subtitle. I find those kinds of titles annoying.

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Game play mechanics are much like they were in the previous two games, with no massive alterations to the formula. The primary means of attack is still stomping on foes and throwing barrels at creatures that deserve it. Control can be switched between Dixie and Kiddy by pressing the select button. If the controlled Kong gets hit, they will run away and control will automatically switch to the Kong in reserve. Like always, losing both Kongs means you lose a life, and losing all lives results in a Game Over. You can save your game at Wrinkly's Save Cave, and you start at your last save point after a Game Over. Dixie is the smaller, more agile, easier to control Kong, complete with her hovering hair spin move from Donkey Kong Country 2. Kiddy Kong is... well, he's not very good. Kiddy is excruciatingly slow, to the point where he's more of a handicap. I wouldn't be surprised if he were handicapped, either. The supposed advantage to Kiddy is his unusual girth, which allows him to break some cracked floors and easily defeat a few of the more brawny crocodiles. Neither of those two things is that useful, though. Kiddy Kong is easily the worst playable character in the entire Donkey Kong Country series. This giant toddler is a big reason why a lot of people hate Donkey Kong Country 3. I don't blame them. The two Kongs can ride each other, piggy back style, if the A button is pressed. Yes, Dixie can actually carry Kiddy on her back. It looks painful. The carried Kong can be thrown at enemies or to spots that can't be reached in any other fashion. Something that has changed is the world map. The map is no longer just a bunch of dots with interconnecting paths; you can freely move about and even ride vehicles to get around. At some point, you even have a choice of which world to tackle first. In order to access more worlds, you need to give Funky Kong an item or two, so he can build you a new vehicle that allows transport to new areas. The parts are gotten by defeating bosses, which show up at the end of each world. Bosses in this game are a little disappointing, to say the least. They're not as bad as the palette swapped bosses in the first Donkey Kong Country, but they are nowhere near as good as the ones seen in the second game. The problem with these bosses is that they're marred in slow paced gimmicks, as opposed to being fast and furious fights with exciting, action packed game play. Oh well, at least the bosses are passable.

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Animals are your buddies. The animal buddies are back, and they're ready to give you a hand or two. Dixie and Kiddy can find and ride animals during a level, which will allow them to do different things depending on the animal. The animal buddies are a frightful bunch, as they will run away when harmed. Fear not, for you can get them back if you catch up to them in time. Unfortunately, Rambi the Rhino, one of the best animal buddies from the last two games, is nowhere to be found here. This is a pretty bad omission. In his place is Ellie the Elephant, perhaps one of the worst animal buddies in the series. Well, maybe not as bad as the ostrich from Donkey Kong Country, but it's a close call. Ellie can pull barrels towards her and carry them using her snout. This is primarily used in a few gimmicky puzzles, but isn't too useful beyond that. The main use for Ellie is to store water into her snout and then fire it as a projectile weapon to defeat enemies. I suppose this is cool, but there aren't many areas in the game where it can be utilized. On top of that, the majority of the animal buddies in this game can already shoot projectile weapons by default, so Ellie's attack isn't impressive in the least. Here's the real kicker: Ellie, being an elephant, is deathly afraid of rats. If a rat is within her eyesight, then she'll run for the hills. The only way to get around this is to remain in the dark, where she is unable to see the rats. It's possible for Ellie to even stomp on rats, provided she doesn't see them. Ellie just isn't very enjoyable to use, and you're forced to use her on a few occasions. The rest of the animal buddies are great, though. Squitter the Spider, Squawks the Parrot, and Enguarde the Swordfish are all back. Squitter can shoot his web as a projectile attack or he can make web platforms in mid-air, Squawks can fly and shoot eggs out of his beak, and Enguarde can attack enemies underwater. These animal buddies are still remarkably useful and fun to use, so don't let Ellie give them a bad name.

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Throughout the world of Donkey Kong Country 3 are friendly bears that may or may not help Dixie and Kiddy on their quest. The bears will want or say a different number of things, depending on which one you talk to. Some will give you an item if you give them silver bear coins, which are the game's currency. These items can usually be traded for other items at another bear's hut, in a trading sequence akin to the Zelda games. Essentially, you need to figure out what every bear wants and give it to them in order to gain access to cool prizes. Among the prizes you get for helping the bears are the banana bird caves. These caves are spread throughout the world map, and entering them enables you to take on a small test to try and win the banana birds themselves. The tests are a basic game of Simon says, in which you merely press the same sequence of buttons the game tells you to. You have an unlimited amount of tries to get this right, so it's never too difficult. Your reward for getting all the banana birds is an extra ending. Of course, the real reward is the satisfaction of having gotten everything in the game, because the extra ending is disappointing. The game is just as enjoyable if you choose to ignore this stuff, so you shouldn't worry about it if this doesn't sound like your cup of tea. In some cases, this game might be even more enjoyable if you totally opt out of the bear and banana bird nonsense.

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Bonus Barrels are back and they're ready for more. The Bonus Barrels will teleport you to a bonus stage when you enter them, and completing the miniature bonus challenge nets you a Bonus Coin. Every bonus stage is unique, though the tasks you are to perform are the same handful: defeat all enemies, collect all stars, grab green bananas, or get to the finish line. These challenges are all timed. There are around two or so Bonus Barrels hidden per level, and they tend to be discretely hidden, although not too discretely. It's worth it to find every Bonus Barrel in the game, because you unlock a challenging level in a secret world for every 15 Bonus Coins you acquire. You can't say no to additional levels. There is also a DK Coin at the end of every stage, but they're not just up for the taking. A crocodile will be using the large, golden coin as a shield, and it's your job to figure out how to get the coin. It's like a small puzzle. The way you go about solving these puzzles is to find a metallic barrel, and throw it in such a way that it'll hit the croc from behind, where he has no defenses. Sometimes this is very simple, and sometimes it's very tricky. It's always satisfying to figure these out, and they're never too complex, so it's worth it to get them all. If you aren't the type of person who enjoys puzzles, then you can simply skip them. There is a prize for getting all the DK Coins this time around, though. Obtaining all the DK Coins in the game earns you the Gyrocopter vehicle, which is a fun prize. It's by no means necessary to beat the game, but cool nonetheless.

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Donkey Kong Country 3 is rather disappointing in comparison to Donkey Kong Country 2. I've used that word to describe a lot of things in this game, haven't I? That's because it sums the game up in a nutshell: a disappointment. You could tell that the well of inspiration was running dry on this one, especially when it came to the boss design. A lot of the new ideas in this game just fall flat; the optional quest with the bear brothers is kind of lame. Kiddy Kong and Ellie the Elephant also drag down the game a bit. Having said all that, Donkey Kong Country 3 is still a solid game, even if it lacks the inspiration of its predecessor.

Word Count: 1,911

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