The title of these segments is starting to look a lot like Rambo First Blood Part 2. Oh, well. Today we are going to be taking a look at Donkey Kong Country 3; arguably the last official game in the Country series. So how did Rare decide to advance the series from a story perspective? Remember when they kicked Donkey Kong out and brought Diddy and Dixie in to replace him. Well they did that again. Diddy AND Donkey Kong have both been captured and its up to Dixie to save the day.
|Don’t worry. I’ve got this.|
But as per Donkey Kong Country traditions, Dixie needs a partner. What did Rare do? Well they looked at jobs that younger women may have, and they went with babysitter. This is why a female lead doesn’t get a gender equality nod. Yes, the second lead for the game is a toddler. Not just a toddler, but a giant, hideous man-baby…thing. Is this Rare tapping into its own secret fetishes? No, unless their fetish is to be really irritating and to spit in the faces of fans of the series.
|Then again maybe it is|
That horrible creature follows Rare’s incredibly creative naming process. He is called Kiddy Kong (hahahah, right). Anyway, Dixie is ordered to babysit him by Funky Kong, who now works as a boat mechanic (sure Rare). So what does a reasonable ape do in Dixie’s situation? Your friends are missing, you are babysitting and a big strong mechanic is totally free to help in any way. Well the first solution is to bring the baby into constant mortal danger by taking it on a quest for your friends.
|No, horrible baby-man thing, this is not the time for hugs, we have to kill crocodiles|
What is it with popular movies and, in this case, games that start to target a younger audience even though they were rated R originally. I mean Robocop 3, Conan the Destroyer and Terminator 3 were all ruined because they seemed to be made entirely with children in mind, instead of their real audience, who wanted to see blood guts, and swearing ahoy. Everything is “Kiddy’d” up (I think I should apply for a job a Rare) in this game to a disturbing extent. All of the kremlins have been softened. I can’t find a good image, but the general idea is they look like goofy cartoon characters instead of menacing enemies now. This softening is also seen in the replacement of Rambi (the rhino animal pal) with Ellie the elephant. It has literally gone from Rambo, to an elephant afraid of mice (the weakest enemy in the game). The frustrating thing is that Donkey Kong Country 3 is by far the hardest game in the series (or most tedious).
|This is a screen kids playing the game will see often
And why do they put the adult babysitter in the timeout box with the baby?
So whats new aside from recycling the story and changing the aesthetic to be for children? Well the Kongs are now in bear country, Before you get excited, internet. Yes, they are all men. Yes, Rare seems to be experimenting with fetishes, but this is still Rare, and they tend to be obscenely literal.
|They saw the Country Bear Jamboree before making the game I’d wager.|
These bears serve to give you a series of side quests, that are sometimes useless and sometimes will open up new paths for you. I would be in favour of the concept, if it wasn’t for that fact that there is a whole Kong family that would be better used than freaking bears. I’m sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath to hear who the big baddie is in this one. I hear you saying :”It can’t be Kaptain K Rool, he just did this in the last game!” Well your right, the insane kremlin leader, has decided that he isn’t a kaptain anymore. Now he’s a mad scientist by the name of Baron K Roolenstein. This leads to the question of whether he was actually a king at all in the first game, or if he’s just some crazy man the kremlins keep around for fun and costume parties.
|Kremlins: Hey look, Larry is dressed up like a mad scientist now. I told you not to steal his medication|
Unlike Donkey Kong Country 2, K Rool’s dress-up game does not affect the other kremlins. None of them play along with his delusion, which may be a sign of a brewing civil war within the ranks of the kremlin horde. Possibly led by Krusha or Klump, who despite being mainstays, don’t make it in this game. In reality its just laziness. What, you say, its not lazy to NOT rely on puns and themes! While I agree with you, this is Rare, they aren’t creative. Without puns and themes, they can only create a world so bereft of charm that a starving leprechaun wouldn’t even stop by.
|Now for a brief political announcement from the Giant Monstrous Spider|
Another new addition to the game is a new collectable: banana birds. These are birds that look like…well Rare hasn’t lost their touch when it come to what monkey’s love. If you collect all of the birds you get to go to banana bird heaven and talk to and free the banana bird god (or mother, whatever!), and then see a secret ending. This is mildly entertaining as a game mechanic, but there are deep moral ramifications. Banana birds look exactly like bananas with a beak and legs. With the thousands of bananas collected and, presumably, eaten, a whole bunch of them were likely to have been banana birds. And lets not fool ourselves, that horrible man-baby thing would definitely stuff anything in his mouth (Ew, by the way Rare). Oh, and for some reason Wrinkly Kong is seen as a guru of some kind for them probably since she’s used to dealing with unholy monsters with Cranky Kong.
|Yes, these guys ARE pretty terrifying. Its not just you|
Oh, did I mention Cranky Kong, the worlds greatest monster? Yes I did. He makes it in this game, but instead of just berating you and forcing you to collect all the DK coins just for his approval, he now is a competitor in a circus sideshow run by Swanky Kong (not in the unlovable old bastard exhibit unfortunately). You can go head to head with him at throwing balls to knock out…things. Look my memory on this isn’t great, and I don’t know carnival game names, and like hell am I going to google them like a sucker! Anyway the point is you can finally take your aggression out on him, by beating his ass (Rare, stop it with the fetishes).
|You’ll still never be good enough in his cold dead eyes|
Despite the fact that the gameplay is as solid as it ever was, the tediousness, and insane design choices, really hurt this game. It falls into the pit many three-quels (stupid name) fall into: its not the refinement that the second game was, and everything it tries in order to be new and fresh falls flat on bad and desperate decisions. Oh, what happened to Diddy and Donkey Kong, who this whole segment is supposed to be about? Well they were put inside a machine called Kaos (you sicken me, Rare) by K Roolenstein, which you fight several times. In the end they are released and everybody is happy.
|They were totally shacking up in there weren’t they Rare, you bunch of perverts!?|
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer