I started playing Donkey Kong Country over the weekend via the Wii U Virtual Console. I did play this game quite a bit back when it originally came out, but haven't touched it since. Unless you count the Donkey Kong Land version on Game Boy, which I played in the late 2000's. I remember back then thinking that this game (and Killer Instinct) looked so incredible on the SNES back in the day. Now I find that the pseudo-3D looks so much more dated than a sprite based game from the same era. That said, it's still an impressive trick to pull off on SNES hardware. I just don't find it particularly pleasing to look at.
The one thing that has always stayed in my head about Donkey Kong Country is the music. And it still sounds excellent. The music in the first swimming level is phenomenal and I'd put it on par with the "Moon Theme" from Ducktales as the sort of pretty and atmospheric thing that I'd actually listen to outside of a game.
The controls still feel solid, which of course is what's going to make or break a platformer out of the gate. The early levels feel super easy, but by the time I got to the mine cars level I found myself getting annoyed. I pushed through, though. I'm not a big fan of needing to memorize levels to get through, and that's what that level feels like to me. But it wasn't excessive so I'm cool. So far, I'm enjoying replaying this one. When I was a kid I loved DKC. Right now I just like it. But we'll see.
Continuing on with Donkey Kong Country and can now confidently say that I would not put it in the same tier as Super Mario World or other favorite platformers of the era. I still think that the music is great. I think that even if the look can feel somewhat dated, the expressiveness of the characters and enemies is excellent. The controls are tight. But for me... I'm not a fan of some of the level design choices. I feel like there's some really uneven swings in difficulty. The boss battles generally feel like a joke, but the you can get to some part in a level that feels infuriating.
I'm currently in one of the snow levels. The blizzard that comes in looks fantastic by the way. They really nailed the look of the snow coming down with hard wind. That said, the spot I'm stuck at right now involves a lot of those rotating barrels that you have to fire yourself out of and I'm struggling to get the timing down and keep over- or undershooting it and it's pissing me off. To me this part of the level looses the charm of how good the platforming controls are because you're not even platforming here. I don't know. I don't like it. I ended up rage-quitting out of frustration last night.
Hopefully I can push through this level quickly enough and get back to the enjoyable parts of the game. So yeah, it's still a good - but not top tier for me.
Played s'more Donkey Kong Country and it's starting to overstay its welcome with me. The pure platforming (IE: running/jumping) is fine with me, but all the obstacle type stuff like the spinning barrels or the ropes that slide you up and down are just annoying to me. I suppose that's what makes this a Donkey Kong game rather than a Super Mario Bros game. But I certainly can see which I prefer. It's interesting to be replaying so much stuff from my youth lately and seeing what really holds up for me (Super Mario World) and what doesn't (this).