It’s been a while since we have seen our big furry friend named Donkey Kong on the consoles. Donkey Kong has been a mascot for Nintendo just about as long as Mario, if not longer. The character has been made into some great adventures and is now going on a different type of adventure this time. This time Donkey Kong is ready to get his groove on in Donkey Konga for the Gamecube.
When I first heard about Donkey Konga I really had mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the positive side I was like "that’s cool, we get to play with a drum pad". But then on the negative side I was like "why are we taking the great character of Donkey Kong and putting him in a music game, where is the sense in that?"
A common trend in rhythm games is that they are either really fun and entertaining or they are really bad and boring. The whole point of rhythm games is really to take you away from the typical shooter or sports game and take you to a world that is much simpler world. A world where the name of the game isn’t how many frags did you earn but how good is your rhythm.
The hook behind Donkey Konga is the addition of the bongo controller, which is a much welcomed addition to the game. If you were curious, the bongos are bundled with the game for a very reasonable price of $50. So after the initial wow factor of the peripheral how does the game end up playing?
In Donkey Konga the object of the game is to keep rhythm with whatever song you are going up against. You will have little circle symbols going across the screen telling you what type of hit your going to need to pull off by hitting it into the main circle. The icons are color-coded, yellow being left drum, red icon equals right drum, pink icon is both, and the blue is for claps. At first the task of memorizing these icons while they are flying on the screen can be a tough task, but as you grow more comfortable with the game you will find that they do get the job done.
There are a few different modes to go along with Donkey Konga which include a street performance mode, which allows you to pick any type of song you would like to play up against in order to earn some coins. These coins can become quite useful in the game as they start to help you unlock some mini-games. The mini games are not anything spectacular but they do offer a diversion away from the rest of the game. Then you have the battle mode, which is a special name for a versus mode, which has you go up against a friend trying to get the high score. This is the most fun mode out of them all as it provides plenty of action and competition for friends to play. The mode doesn’t have a whole lot of depth to it, but it does offer enough to give a solid multiplayer experience.
When I sit back and look at Donkey Konga on a whole I don’t see a lot of depth anywhere in the game. To me there really isn’t a main mode to choose from in the game, as there is just a combination of a bunch of different modes. They do provide three different types of difficulty levels, which help to provide plenty of variation and to provide a fun gaming experience for people of all gaming levels.
Overall I think the concept of the game outlives the actually gameplay of the game. Although the game has a great concept and a great peripheral that works really well. I just think the execution of the game is nowhere near as good as it could have been. The potential for this game is endless and I think Nintendo only brought us with an average gaming experience.
To make a rhythm game look good you really don’t have to do a whole lot. Just add some nice little effects, and give the game plenty of color and you have a good-looking music game. Does Nintendo provide us with one?
To be quite blunt about it Donkey Konga does not do a whole lot right in the visual department. To start with Donkey Kong is up in the left side of the screen and I really think they could have made him look a whole lot better. He doesn’t have a whole lot of detail, nor does he have a whole lot of animation. The icons that go around the screen are very bland and just seem to be there to get the job done rather then go the extra mile and look above average. Nintendo is usually quite good at making simple games look great but they didn’t convert with Donkey Konga.
The one place Donkey Konga does convert is in the fun factor section as the game is just a whole lot of fun to play. Especially when played with a group of friends Donkey Konga is at its top. This is somewhat of a party type game as anyone can really pick up this game and get the hang of it pretty quick. The single player is also quite fun as they give you some really interesting song selections as well as some very fun challenges.
Donkey Konga had the potential to really be great, but in the end it ends up not going to its full potential. The game does provide with an entertaining experience that all Nintendo fans will still really enjoy. If you are looking for a rhythm game for your Gamecube, Donkey Konga does get the job done.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.