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Which is the best DKC?

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Which is the best Donkey Kong Country game?

Donkey Kong Country
0
No votes
Donkey Kong Country 2
16
62%
Donkey Kong Country 3
4
15%
Donkey Kong Country Returns
0
No votes
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
3
12%
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
3
12%
 
Total votes: 26

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ano0maly
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Which is the best DKC?

Post by ano0maly »

I was originally going to make this poll back in 2019, the year of the DKC LPs, and ended up skipping it. But since this question regained attention due to the LP of Returns, I thought we should have a poll here.

You can vote for your top pick in the poll (vote can be changed later) and state your other preferences and takes in your post. I expect a minimum 100 word defense of your thesis. OwO

If you have suggestions for other games that should be included in the list post them here (remember that poll is limited to 10 options).
Last edited by ano0maly 2 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

Post by konaa »

I graciously accept this responsibility. Here is my dissertation (for ultimately a really vanilla opinion lol) :geek:

it's a toss up for me between DKC2, 3 and impossible lair. A lot of people say that DKC3 is too gimmicky, but honestly I think there's some really neat ideas there that give a ton of variety. Like, yeah, sometimes it gets in the way of the platforming. This sometimes works in its favour though, because there is NO game like dkc3. I also appreciate the whole vibe of dkc3, with an explorable overworld that you can just chill out in. I really love the whole "lakeside" feel. The industrial stuff... not so much. Their snow levels are very pretty too. In general, I just really like the variety of the world design.

That's me being a dkc3 apologist though. Here's the thing: Kiddie sucks and there's too much stuff to collect. There are too many secrets that have too much bearing on the gameplay. I appreciate what they were going for with the trading sidequest. I made a 2d platformer and I had the same thought - "I wish there was something to DO on my overworld that breaks up the gameplay", but ultimately it did not work for me. It does not work in dkc3 for me either. It's filler. There's an entire world of underwater levels that move at a snail's pace. There's that god awful level where you turn into different animals and it just goes on and on and you have to put up with the bad parrot hitbox. There's a lot of levels that basically come down to endless runner type design; "dodge thing, collect thing" and you get one chance to collect it lest you redo the level.

impossible lair strikes this balance far better. The levels are mostly platform focused with some gimmicks thrown in. The overworld succeeds where dkc3 fails. It's filled with interesting interactions and puzzles. The overworld is almost its own level and I think it's lowkey a HUGE innovation in 2d platformers. The impossible lair itself is also a really neat idea. I think it's more of an experiment than the next step in platformers, but I do think it's a cool and fun experiment. The design in that final level is really amazing too. My main problem with Impossible Lair is that it doesn't have near the sense of place as the dkc games. DKC has always been supremely atmospheric and gives me the feeling of exploring an area. It's not a deal breaker, but I've always loved 2d platformers that feel like more than just a series of obstacles. I love the hills of dkc and mario world, and the stuff that's there simply as set dressing. I love how sometimes you're just walking through an area enjoying the vibes. A lot of more modern 2d platformers have an iron fisted grasp on their game design. Like, don't get me wrong, I love celeste to death, but the levels are very much capital-L-Levels. It's hard to explain. I just don't feel like I'm in a place. That's how I feel in impossible lair. For all the complicated set dressing, the game is ultimately filled with these weird hallways that don't make sense. It feels like levels to be moved through, not explored. Also I really don't like the lock-and-key mechanics.

dkc2, my favourite of the three, ultimately manages to be the platonic ideal of what platform games should be. It's the Mario 3 of the SNES. It is fast, it is simple, it has secrets but they're not overbearing, it has gimmicks, it has platform action levels, it has two characters that both feel great to play (unlike dkc1 and 3). There are bosses in dkc2 but they're neither overlong slogs (dkc3) or boring pushovers (dkc1). The level gimmicks in dkc2 are all focused on how to change up your movement through the level. They don't completely change the gameplay. Did I mention how fast it is? There aren't many water levels, which is good. The pirate theming is interesting and inspired. The music in dkc2 is David Wise at his most powerful - it embellishes the already-thick atmosphere with textured melodies. For all the great tunes in tropical freeze, they are that: great tunes. DKC2's music feels huge and gorgeous. It feels experimental.

I don't like the dkr games very much. They don't have the speed and fluidity of dkc. I hate their art style, and the world design has a lot of the same problems I had with impossible lair. (it's a little better in tropical freeze). They have NONE of the atmosphere that I love so much, and they control so differently. The levels are all so chaotic and hyperactive. I hate the way the rolling works in the dkr games. I hate how there's such an emphasis on climbing. I dunno why, I guess I just don't like climbing in videogames. There's so many levels that are essentially auto scrollers, whether it is a literal autoscroller or just requires you to wait for things to happen. The setpieces remind me of call of duty of all things. In call of duty I often died because I'd rush forward before the game wanted me to. Sometimes in call of duty I die because I'm just ... not where the game wants me to be, period, to experience the game's cinematic wankery. That's how I feel about DKR and, to a lesser degree how I feel about tropical freeze.

Also, I don't like the seal guys in tropical freeze, I think they're weird.
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

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Re: Which is the best DKC?

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KobaBeach wrote: 2 years ago2
still 99 words short
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

Post by EllenHouraisan »

You're making a mistake asking me for my video game opinions in so many words. Anyways, here's why 3 is the best.

DKC2 was my favorite game growing up and I can definitely see why it's thought of so highly: It is a great game! Levels are colorful and memorable, having you go from a pirate ship, to an amusement park, a honeycomb, a hell of brambles, an ancient castle and many more fun settings that are brought together by some of the best graphics the SNES is capable of. There's a lot of personality to everything, from the enmy designs, to the fun animations of the Kongs and even things so inconsequential as the NPC places have a crazy level of care and detail put into them. Not to mention, it greatly improves over DKC1 by having more meaningful collectibles and an actual reason to look for secrets. The music is fantastic, the gameplay feels good, the level design is solid (though a bit too hard at times), and is overall a very strong experience altogether. So, why do I think 3 is better? Well, two reasons.

First, despite all of its shortcomings, it's simply more fun as a game. While I might not recall every specific level in the game like I can with most of the ones of DKC2, what I do recall is the good time I had playing through them. I honestly do not think that structuraly they are any weaker than DKC2's levels, and while people complain about them being more gimmicky... I don't really see how that's bad? I can't recall any time a gimmick got in the way of my enjoyment (unlike with DKC2, fuck Glimmer's Whatever) and they never deviate from the core gameplay loop to be intrusive, unlike with, say, Crash 3. It's also an easier game, thought not without its trickier spots, and that makes it more pleasant to play (fuck Animal Antics, seriously). It's true that the levels are a lot more mundane and unimaginative, and that the graphics are a bit of a downgrade from how beautiful DKC2 looks, but I feel they are brought together by a seriously underrated score that's just as good as 2's in many spots (boss fights not being one of them). The music in this game has such a soothing, serene vibe that I love, and I feel it doesn't get enough credit for that. It hits a good spot between the bombastic score of 2 and the more ambient music of 1. And in the end, you can't argue with fun, and fun was indeed had.

The second point, though, is the more important one, because for me, DKC2 has ONE fatal flaw that brings the entire experience down: it is immensely dickish in the way it hides some of its collectibles. Now, you might argue that the collectibles are optional and thus I shouldn't judge the game by them, to which I would argue that DKC2 gives an importance to collectibles that makes them integral to the experience. Part of the gameplay loop is looking around the levels for secrets. It's intended to be part of the fun even if you're not a completionist, and the bonus coins are needed to unlock the lost world levels, which in turn you have to beat to get to the true final boss. Collectibles in this game are like getting a 1cc in a Touhou game: yes, it's optional, but it's something that simply cannot be separated from the overall experience even if you don't care for it. So, DKC2 does an absolutely terrible job at hiding its secrets, requiring the player to go through random unmarked walls, hiding a DK coin IN A BONUS GAME (why?????), and hiding one specific one behind 2 layers of secrets to the point where it might as well be an easter egg (again, fuck the glimmer level). By doing so, it betrays player trust and makes the whole thing a lot more annoying than it has to be.

DKC3 doesn't have this problem! There's no more going through walls to find secrets, everything is in a place where you can find them by just looking around, and it still manages to have some that are quite sneaky but not dickish, and that made it much more satisfying when I actually managed to find them. Sure, the bonus games themselves are pretty filler, but I'd argue they always were (I'd much rather if they gave me the coin straight away), and the presence of Koin means they pretty much can't hide the DK coin in some silly place, since it integrates them within the actual level design. The one complain I have is that the bear coins do feel extremely pointless compared to how the banana coins were handled in 2, but it doesn't super matter. What matters is that this game has much more respect for the player than DKC2 has, and that makes all the difference in the world for me. Sure, if this stuff doesn't particularly bother you, I'd imagine there's not much reason to prefer 3 over 2, but it's the main reason why I do.

As for 1, it has its charm in its simplicity, but it is what it is. Never played either of the Returns games or Yooka-Layle, so can't speak for them.
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

Post by Bean »

DKC3. It goes back to the more colorful, vibrant look and has a pretty fun soundtrack. It does start the trend of having a ton of different collectibles in Rare games, but it's not as overpowering here as it is in DK64, so I'll let it slide. Besides, the Dixie/Kiddy team is the most varied in how they perform which let them do more things in the game. Also, I enjoy a lot of the gimmick levels since they're executed well while also having some of the best pure platforming stages of the original trilogy.

DKC1 and Returns are both more simplistic games that are executed well, and I'd have them both around this mark. Throw in Yooka-Laylee with them as I enjoyed all three.

Tropical Freeze has a bit more going on for it, but it loses points for some bad levels like Bopopolis. You thought the bouncing was annoying in Returns? Hoo boy. I also don't like how switching characters works in multiplayer in this game.

DKC2's still good, but it's at the bottom. Dark and dreary just didn't click with me, although Squitter is cool. It has its ups and downs all throughout, but it finishes strong.
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

Post by KobaBeach »

i like dkc2 because it's level design, aesthetics and general vibe clicks the most with me.
dkc1 is simply too subdued to the point of feeling like pre-rendered mario world and while i enjoyed dkc3 i cannot argue that its implementation of unique stage mechanics left a lot to be desired (also locking two percent on the completion score behind TUFST is incredibly fucking stupid and dumb and bad).

dkcr is gentrified dkc and by that i mean it takes the dkc vibes and "gentrifies it" into being more bland and generic. something you would see in more common western platformers. i kind of see it as like, a "good sonic 4" but in a "damned by faint praise" way, it's just as bland as sonic 4 is, only it feels nice to play even if not to the same level as the og dkcs to a veteran, while sonic 4 ep1&2 are just... yeah. it's very much a 3/5 snugly below dkc1 (3/5) and far behind dkc3 (4/5) and 2 (5/5).

haven't played tf or yooka yet

now stop bothering me about this anomal0y

anyway i present italian sleep paralysis miku to see us off
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

Post by ano0maly »

I'll give my thoughts on this topic, although I only know the classic DKC games and I'm not familiar with the later three games aside from what I've been watching of the DKCR let's play. I have read the above posts but I'll try to present my take rather than frame it as a response to the above.

At a young age I liked the series and hadn't thought of this matter much other than that both 2 and 3 were a step above the classic first game. But it was two years ago that I formulated concrete reasons why I felt I prefer DKC2 the most.

The second game seems to do best at tapping into its potential, and the team-up throw illustrates this well. The sequel to DKC introduced this mechanic and made very effective use of it - you expect a new mechanics to open up what you can do in the game, and it certainly did, from attacking enemies to reaching barrels and platforms at heights in ways that were not possible in DKC1. And then the third game introduced an asymmetric approach to team throw, but the game seldom does interesting things with it. To get the same flexible mobility you know from DKC2, you need Kiddy throwing Dixie. Throwing the other way is sort of limited to slamming down on a few cracks on the ground and riding a rolling Kiddy, which can be a risky maneuver because Kiddy is not a sturdy steel keg. (I do appreciate that Returns 1) gives you more reasons to use Diddy-riding-Donkey with time trials where you want to go fast, and 2) makes it safer to use with 2 hearts of health for each kong.)

In DKC2 the next upcoming content generally felt fresh all the time. The minigames in DKC3 were more repetitive with star collecting and especially green bananas. And I prefer the creative ways DKC2 hid the DK coin; they could have likewise been clever with Koin in DKC3, but they chose to limit the kinds of setups they had. And that just compounds how the constant chore of tossing steel kegs at Koin was tedious. Swanky's overworld minigame was more satisfying in DKC2 as well. The ball-throwing game is fun, but the quiz tests your knowledge of trivia in unexpected places. The banana bird caves were cool once my young self actually realized how they worked, but perhaps they could have done something other than repeat the same kind of challenge multiple times.

I also want to mention that in DKC2 both kongs feel good to play as. Diddy is extra-agile and can react on reflex more quickly, but Dixie still holds up well in speed, and has the utility of helicopter glide. This made the game feel more exhilarating. But I do think in this area each game has its advantages. DKC1 did have a good balance between Donkey, who's not only stronger but also can hold barrels above above and toss them at a greater distance, and Diddy, the faster character who dances around hazards to make up for being weaker, and can hold barrels in front as a shield. DKC3 lumps both barrel benefits into Kiddy; Dixie's hair toss is slow and cumbersome, leaving her more vulnerable. That's good for Kiddy who otherwise I didn't use very much because of his bulky size. Donkey's hand slap and Kiddy's water bounce are both mostly novelties, though (aside from the hand slap defeating Rockroks in GBA version).

I still appreciate the strengths of DKC3. It's basically taking what I liked about DKC1 and overall making them better. The third game starts by returning to the calm and soothing scenery, much like the home sweet home environment in the first - the second game just thrusts you into a more hostile environment. But DKC3 is also not afraid to explore threatening environments and vibes, with accompanying music, so it encompasses the spectrum from peaceful to unfamiliar. Also, the aforementioned steel kegs return from the first game and they're fun to ride and reuse. They're much easier to reuse here because DKC2 added up-throw, which also makes them roll at medium speed, and DKC3 added on top of that the ability to drop down a barrel from a height, which makes it roll even slower. And I like that DKC3 has red buzzes that you can actually counter (invincibility barrels or TNT, which by the way, this gives it an actual distinct purpose) as opposed to the invincible red zingers in DKC2. And of course, the neat touches in the overworld and more freedom and more things to do there. It's the little things that add up to feeling good in DKC3, even if the level design feels better in DKC2.
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

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KobaBeach wrote: 2 years ago dkcr is gentrified dkc
I love this I'm gonna steal it lol
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

Post by KobaBeach »

konaa wrote: 2 years ago
KobaBeach wrote: 2 years ago dkcr is gentrified dkc
I love this I'm gonna steal it lol
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Re: Which is the best DKC?

Post by 11clock »

I am almost done with DKC3, so here is my best to worst. Note that my reviews exclude the bonus coins in DKC2 and DKC3, since I cheated them in. (I don’t enjoy scavenger hunting for them, let alone playing mundane minigames for them.)

1. Impossible Lair. Doesn’t do much new as far as platformers go, but makes up for it with incredibly tight controls, solid level design, an engaging overworld, and a very challenging yet enjoyable final level. My main critiques are that the tail whip attack sucks and is never worth using, and too many of the tonics are pure cosmetics. As a special note, Impossible Lair is currently my favorite game of all time.
Tier: S

2. Tropical Freeze. If it wasn’t for the godawful swimming physics, this could’ve been hailed as one of the best platformers of all time. Everything outside of World 4 is masterpiece after masterpiece, with some of the most imaginative setpieces in any game ever. If we ever get another DKC game like this, though, PLEASE improve the swimming, and stop placing secret exits at the very end of levels.
Tier: A

3. DKC3. Classic DKC at its best. The creativity of the level gimmicks is great, and kept me guessing to the end. Also, it’s the only classic DKC game that doesn’t have a cumbersome overworld map, with some secrets and sidequests to do as a break between levels. I also enjoyed the boss fights, each one being wildly different in execution. Honestly, not really any negatives to say.
Tier: A
EDIT: The true final boss is terrible.

4. DKC1. As the first game, it’s fairly basic, but even then the levels are tightly designed and enjoyable to play through, and this is probably the most replayable one given how short it is, and lack of things to collect. Just get to the end of each level, simple and to the point. I have numerous gripes with DKC1, but they are fairly mild and don’t get in the way of the experience too much.
Tier: A (I know I gave it a B in another thread, but I replayed the game afterwards and now feel an A.)

5. DKC2. This game has some insane level design, almost as if it was designed by a talented romhacker. Every obstacle is used to its fullest potential with no waste. That said, the banana coins are one of the most terrible additions I have ever seen in any sequel, and made the already dated overworld map even worse than it was in DKC1. Also, there are some levels in the later worlds that I would rather not experience again.
Tier: A

6. Returns. It’s a good game, but I wish that there was a definitive way to play it. With the Wii version, roll being tied to shaking the wiimote discourages you from using it, making levels much slower to go through. With the 3DS version, you have to deal with sub-30 FPS in a tightly designed precision platformer. Other than that, it’s a competent platformer with some dodgy level design here and there.
Tier: B
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