N64 Review: Donkey Kong 64
Review by: TW (tw@sm128c.com)

Game Info

 System: N64
 ESRB: Everyone
 Genre: Adventure
 # of Players: 1-4
 Size: 256 Megabits
 Developer: Rare Ltd.
 Publisher: Nintendo

 Controller Pak: Yes
 Rumble Pak: Yes
 Transfer Pak: No

 Release Date:
 US: Nov 22, 1999
 EU: Dec 6, 1999





Final Score:

Reviewed on: May 22, 2001

Donkey Kong had not had a game since DKC3 on the SNES before the release of DK64, and he wasn't even a playable character in his two previous games, so it's good to see him back in action on the N64. This game comes bundled with an expansion pak, hence the hefty pricetag in both North America and Europe. You need an Expansion pak, or you can't play the game, unlike Perfect Dark's Cut-Down 35% of gameplay version.

When I was going to get this game I was cautious, it looked too much like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64. But, after getting it for Christmas 1999, I realised it isn't just another platformer. The story is that K-Rool is back and this time intends to destroy DK isles with DK and his compatriotes along with it. K-Rool also has taken the golden bananas once again (which work in the same way jiggies do in B-K and Stars do in SM64) which you have to recover.

The graphics in Donkey Kong 64 are nothing short of incredible for the Nintendo 64. DK64 is absolutely full of real-time lighting and weather effects.The scenery is immense, and the worlds are MUCH bigger than Banjo-Kazooie's and even give Tooie a run for his money. There is sheer levels of detail present here, you could almost see this running on a Dreamcast to say the least. The real-time lighting and weather effects are done by using the expansion pak, boosting the N64's RAM to 8Mb (4 times the Playstation's) capacity, allowing more features to be used in graphics and gameplay.

The sounds have that 'Rare Platformer' feel to them, very similar to Banjo-Kazooie. But anyhow, It's everything you would expect from a platform title. DK64 is presented in Dolby Surround sound which adds improvements to the already-great SFX and music, and if you have surround at home you can really experience being in the action! It also utilizes the special 'cartridge-only' effect of changing the music instantly and blending between areas, which is not possible on the Playstation or Dreamcast.

Longevity is not a problem, there are tons of mini-games, including Rare's first game, Jetpac (playable on Cranky's Computer in Fungi Forest) and the Shigsy classic Donkey Kong 1 (playable on an old arcade unit in Frantic Factory) which is a great touch to this game. The main game can keep you going for hours, and it also contains a % meter which tells you how far. To give you a size idea, in each level (to complete it fully) you have to collect 100 coloured bananas, 5 golden bananas, a blueprint and a banana medal. Easy? then do the same for all 4 other characters, then multiply by the number of levels (8) - Astounding! But you must have at least 200 golden to complete the game.

-- TW (tw@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: Slightly better than Banjo-Kazooie, in factors of longevity and size, but also includes an expansion pak, pity I already had one. Excellent game.