The Donkey Kong Country games are some of the best games on the SNES and they’re also some of the best games on the Game Boy Advance. Some fans aren’t so fond of the GBA versions of the games, but I grew up with the originals and can appreciate the GBA games for what they are: alternative takes on the classic formula which offer a unique and distinctive experience. This is especially true of Donkey Kong Country 3, which has more changes than any of the others. Do read my review of the original version, by the way, as I’m mostly going to be talking about the changes here, rather than the basic components of the game.
One of the best parts of the series, in my opinion, is the fact that it has an exceptional soundtrack. The GBA was inferior to the SNES when it came to sound and with the first two remakes, it was noticeable that the music was primarily watered down versions of the tracks you heard in the original. Not so this time: David Wise actually composed a completely new soundtrack for the whole game. I adore the original soundtrack, but I love that this gave us some new music. It all sounded great to me, on the level that you’d expect from a Donkey Kong Country game, so it’s wonderful to have so much new music.
However, it’s not just the music that’s been changed – all the sound effects are different too and most of then I don’t like. In fact, some of them are quite weird choices. For example, K. Rool’s voice clips are recycled voice clips from Chunky Kong. Some of it just doesn’t work. Some of it, though, is fine. Also, though I like the music, I did sometimes questions the decisions about how and when it’s used – it doesn’t always match the music or the scene it’s in.
The gameplay, meanwhile, is just as good as it ever was – quality 2D platforming and you know what’s even better? There’s now a new boss fight and a whole new world full of levels! They’re really fun and creative levels too, which give you something different to what you’ll find in the original game: my favourite example is that there is a level which features a sunken forest. Very cool stuff indeed.
Outside of that, there are some new mini-games. Funky Kong now hosts a game which is a homage to Rare’s old game, Cobra Triangle. That mini-game even features a cameo from Chunky Kong, making it his second and, so far, final appearance in anything. Swanky Kong now hosts a weird game that has Dixie running down a three dimensional tunnel – it’s not really that fun and, sadly, it replaces the target game Swanky used to host. Cranky Kong also has a comical game where he dresses as a ninja and deflects hedgehog enemies. It’s a fun, if inconsequential, little addition.
All in all, I love it. When it first came out, I was delighted to have the game available to play on the go… now you can play the original on the go, but there’s enough original content in this one that it’s still worth coming back to. I strongly recommend it.