For the “Game a Day Challenge” today on stream I decided to go retro and play Donkey Kong Country (the original SNES version) and I’ve gotta say, I did not expect the game to be half as grueling as it was. To be honest, my prediction of the difficulty level and the time it would take to complete was way off. I had no idea what I was in for.
A little background, I did not own an Super Nintendo as a child and had never played Donkey Kong Country (DKC) before, but I figured it would follow the pattern of most platformers of the time and be difficult but not a problem for a seasoned gamer such as myself…boy was I wrong.
As of writing this article, the game is not complete, but I thought a peek into the frustration and sheer surprise and disbelief would be a more interesting take on the game than an actual review. I will not lie, Donkey Kong Country kicked (and continues to kick) my butt. I realized that most of my problems stemmed from 1 major issue I had with the game, which was later resolved. I couldn’t run.
Running in DKC is done in the same way you would expect, you simply hold down a single button on your game pad and any direction you push will send the ape rushing on all fours. The issue I had is that the “run” is the same button as “roll,” two actions that are used in different situations throughout the game, but not required to be used together. For instance, if you press the button you will roll whichever direction you are facing, however, if you push the button then continue holding it in after the roll has been completed you will run when a direction is pressed. Running gives you the huge advantage of being able to leap further, a skill I had been living without for a world or 2.
The trouble started at the first “temple” level. There is a gap soon after the checkpoint which is barely too large to jump across when not using a run/jump combo. I (in my supposed “gamer savvy” brain) figured that there had to be a way to run and jump to increase the hopping distance. After trying every single button other than jump and roll I gave up on the idea and continued attempting to scale the pit in many different creative ways, all of which failed. After a couple hours (no, sadly this is not an exaggeration) I accidentally ran the proper way and promptly beat the level which had plagued me all morning.
The facepalm that followed was epic enough to shake heaven and Earth. Many thought the rapture was upon us as the metaphorical end of days was brought in on the wings of laughter between me and the viewers.
2 hours. 2 HOURS! I have never felt so ashamed in a game as I had at that moment.
I have continued to press onward, and now that I have a complete understanding of the basic controls I have made great progress. Donkey Kong Country will be defeated tonight and all will be right with the world…until the replay makes its way to YouTube that is.