The original Donkey Kong Country 2 on the SNES is my favourite video game of all time. I’m sure nostalgia plays a big part in that, but I do think it has an excellent soundtrack, lovely visuals and highly enjoyable gameplay. When the Game Boy Advance version came out, I was really excited to have such a wonderful game to play on the go – though there were a few changes, here’s a list of all the differences, breaking them down to the good, the bad and the neutral.
- There’s a nice cutscene at the start of the game which shows you the story – previously, you had to read the instruction manual for this.
- Cranky Kong makes a bit of comedic dialogue after every boss battle.
- You can save the game at any time (and for free) avoiding the need to have you pay Wrinkly Kong for saves whenever you’re able to get to her school. It helps the game overcome any artificial difficulty that the original may have had.
- There are three new mini-games to play – one has you racing ostriches with Cranky, one has you flying a gyrocopter with Funky and the other is a bug catching game you play with Klubba.
- Just like the first remake, there is now a totals screen which makes it much easier to keep up with what you’ve collected.
- Another new feature borrowed from the first remake, is the addition of collectible cameras which you use to unlock official artwork of characters and enemies from the game.
- There’s one completely new boss battle included – a very nice surprise.
- The game now contains a reference to Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen. This makes me very happy.
- A new time trial mode has been added, allowing you to time yourself running through the levels.
- The inferior sound quality of a Game Boy Advance compared to a SNES means that the soundtrack had to be redone. It still sounds good, at least for a Game Boy Advance game, but it’s a definite step down from the original for me.
- Graphically, it’s also inferior. Most of the time, it’s fine and looks pretty much just as good as the original, but a few levels have a very “washed out” look, making the colours less clear.
- You now have to pay in-game money in order to replay any of the boss battles, which is a strange annoyance.
- All the sound affects have been updated, most of them coming from Donkey Kong 64.
- All of the map screens have been completely redesigned.
- Very small changes have been made to a handful of levels.
I do just about prefer the original version, but there’s a lot to love about this remake. It doesn’t have the best reputation, but I don’t think this is fair. I actually wish that there were modern ways to play this game, because it’s a unique experience from the original version and one which I enjoy revisiting from time to time.