Pros: Gameplay's great as usual, level design is great, and it's fun to play.
Cons: SNES to GBA transition was rough, with bad new world, bad music, etc.
So this review has moved quite a bit. I originally was going to make it a YouTube video, but then hated the idea of editing the whole thing, which is why it sounds a bit like a written script. Point is, I figure that it'll be useful to whoever wants this game, so here it is!
Welcome folks, to my first review! Sorry if it took a while, but here it is! I’m reviewing the Game Boy Advance port of the third game in the SNES classic series, Donkey Kong Country 3. The reason I’m reviewing the Game Boy Advance port is because that’s the version of the game I did a Let’s Play of.
The DKC series is classic. It not only revolutionized graphics with pre-rendered 3D models, but also had strong gameplay. You were able to do whatever you wanted with the controls – that’s the key word… control. You don’t have to be worried about being restricted to certain points. You can control your jump, your roll, and just about any other maneuver. The original game’s only weakness was Donkey Kong himself. See, you always had two Kongs in the DKC games: one that you control, and another that follows, acting as an extra hit. You could switch between the two Kongs whenever you wanted, as the two Kongs always had some differences in control. In the original, however, you were stupid if you didn’t use Diddy most of the time. Donkey was a little bit clunky, a little bit bigger, a little bit slower, and a little bit NOT AS GOOD AS DIDDY. The second game improved this, making Dixie the alternative to Diddy, who controlled in the exact same way as Diddy, however she had the hair twirly thing and Diddy had a longer roll. But the third game perfected it, making both Kongs different enough to want to switch between but also both fun to play as.
The other thing that defined the DKC series is the music. Most gamers can recognize the Gangplank Galleon theme, among some of the other great pieces of music in the series, more notably Stickerbrush Symphony, Tree Top Town, and Minecart Madness. The music in the SNES game matches the quality of the rest, however I still would have to elect the original for the best music. The games are all still very playable to this day and are still a joy to play.
How does the GBA stand against the original Super Nintendo game? How does it fare against the other GBA DKC ports? Find out now, as I rate this game in 6 categories to determine how good it is.
The story was never of importance to DKC games. The original Donkey Kong Country had the simplest of stories: The evil King K. Rool stole your bananas, and you gotta get them back. The second game was also simple: Donkey Kong has been kidnapped, and you gotta rescue him. The third game, on the other hand, was more complicated. The Kremlings (K. Rool’s minions) now seem to have a new leader, KAOS, a robot who plans to develop an industrial revolution of sorts to the Northern Kremisphere (a new setting from the previous games). In addition, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have mysteriously disappeared. You have to stop KAOS and find Donkey and Diddy. The fact that the story was so complicated compared to the first two proves that the story was just a lame excuse to make Dixie and Kiddy the playable characters, and to introduce more mechanical-themed levels to the game. That isn’t bad though.
A lot of plot-heavy platformers exist – take Jak and Daxter. The only difference (story-wise) from this game and Jak is that the story is presented in-game. The only way to find DKC3’s story is in the manual. The thing that really bugs me about this, though, is that the first two GBA ports got cutscenes at the beginning of their games, and they have the simple stories. The third installment has the most complex story and yet it doesn’t get the cutscene. Why? Did they just get lazy? If so, then laziness doesn’t deserve a 5/5. Story gets a 3.5/5, because, while story isn’t important, it’s too complicated for its own good, and doesn’t ever present it to you in-game.
Like I already said, the gameplay was perfect in the DKC games, and the port doesn’t change that. The game controls great. You can walk, run, roll, jump, swim, carry stuff, and throw your partner. In the third DKC game, there’s a greater emphasis on throwing. If you want to find everything in the game, you’ll need to know that when Dixie throws Kiddy, he crashes on the ground, breaking anything below him that is already damaged. But when Kiddy throws Dixie, she can reach high places that Kiddy couldn’t reach on his own. Another thing that you’ll need to know in order to get the 103% completion (yes, it’s 103%) is Kiddy’s water skip technique. This one just p!sses me off. The only reason I knew how to do it is because of a walkthrough I had. Nobody on the face of the Earth would even bother to roll into a body of water with Kiddy and press the jump button right before he enters, let alone multiple times! NOBODY! And you might say “Oh, but MML, it’s in the instruction book”, but EVEN IF WE NEED INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO GET THROUGH THE HOTELS, WE DON’T READ THE ENCLOSED INSTRUCTION BOOK!!! Seriously! Who reads the instruction books? The game needed to find a way to teach us this move early on, similar to how it taught us that Ellie the elephant can shoot water or the Purple Squawks can pick up barrels. Speaking of animal buddies, they got rid of Rambi the rhino in this installment. WHY??? He was freakin’ awesome!!!
Anyways, other than the water skip, the game is pretty easy to figure out. You go through the levels, try to find the two Bonus Barrels hidden throughout the level to get a Bonus Coin, and also try to find an enemy named Koin, who you need to hit from behind with a steel keg in order to get the DK Coin. If you don’t get them, you can still beat the game, however you miss out on additional levels in the Lost World (Krematoa) and a few other secrets.
The GBA version also adds a new world, which is pretty nice, even though it’s my least-favorite. It’s a nice gesture anyway. It’s solid overall, and that’s what matters. I give the gameplay a 4.5/5.
For some reason, people complain about the graphics in this port. They’re nowhere near as great as the ones on the SNES, but that’s because the screen on the Game Boy Advance is nowhere near as big as the TV screen, so there’s less pixels to use. The graphics are still great, and I personally see no problem. No need to elaborate, I give this category a 5/5.
MUSIC & SOUND
In this port, for some reason, they decided to completely redo the soundtrack. Rare chose a man by the name of David Wise, who is known for working on a few of the tracks from the original Donkey Kong Country 1. I personally also like the music in Battletoads, which he also composed. Unfortunately, the new soundtrack doesn’t stand up to the first.
I’ll even let you be the judge. I’ll take two songs from each game (my favorites) and their counterparts. You’ll find that even the great GBA tracks had good SNES equivalents, while not much can be said the other way around. You'll have to find the tracks on your own, however. Sorry about that.
-Jangle Bells (GBA) vs. Jangle Bells (SNES)
-Chase (GBA) vs. Chase (SNES)
-Rockface Rumble (SNES) vs. Rockface Rumble (GBA)
-Frosty Frolics (SNES) vs. Frosty Frolics (GBA)
I also have to mention this. The final battle music from the SNES game is actually really good. It matches the standards set by the previous two games’ phenomenal final battle tracks.
-Big Boss Boogie (SNES)
In the GBA port, however, the final battle gets the same music as every other boss, with two exceptions: Arich and Kroctopus, the latter being a GBA-exclusive boss. These two bosses get their own track for some odd reason. Why do they get their own track and the final boss doesn’t? It’s a mystery we will never figure out.
Overall, the SNES music was better, and although it didn’t match the music of the first two games, and I see what they were trying to do, it just didn’t work. The music in the port sucked overall when compared to that of the original game.
On a complete tangent, what happened to a death theme? In this game, you only get an annoying crying sound.
Overall, Music and Sound gets a 1.5/5. It just isn’t that good.
By playability, I mean whether it’s a game you can always play without worrying about a problem in the game. Luckily, unless the music mentally scars you for some reason (and there’s a volume slider for that), the game has no problems that make the game not fun to play. The only tedious thing is collectibles, which are completely optional. As a result, this category gets a 4.5/5. Enough said.
This game isn’t emotional in the slightest (unless you keep dying and get mad at yourself). It’s all fun and sets the same tone throughout. As a result, no real impact was left except that it was fun to play. It’s like Super Mario World. It’s just a fun game to play. I give this category a 4/5. Even though it’s fun to play, it doesn’t give me that true “fun-to-play” impact than, say, the second game did. Maybe it’s just me.
3.5 4.5 5 1.5 4.5 4 = 23 / 30
The original game was great, but the port managed to make it not as fun. Mostly for the music, but for a few other reasons as well, for example, the annoying levels in Pacifica. Luckily, the version on the Virtual Console is cheaper, so I’d recommend getting that version. It’s really a great game; however it’s sad that it just wasn’t ported well.