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Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

 

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Gamecube
Category: n/a
 
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8.25
 
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Features 480p – HDTV Dolby Pro Logic II Memory Card Introduction Nintendo has been known to take some chances with their games lately and show the gaming masses that there is more to just a name attached to a game. This is highly noticeable in their latest release, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Utilizing the bongos that originally debuted with Donkey Konga, one will be surprised how this game actually plays. Controlling the on screen action by hitting the bongos actually makes sense for this game, in weird kinda way. Graphics When this game first arrived at my desk, I was a bit sceptical of what was to lie ahead. When thinking of a niche game, not to many people will associate great looking graphics with something that is niche. However, as seems to be par with Nintendo lately, they make sure to surprise everyone, this writer included. This game is just gorgeous. Our friendly neighbourhood ape, Donkey Kong, is very pleasing to the eye. The developers definitely put some effort into making this latest rendition of the big brown monkey one that is to be remembered. If one looks very closely they will notice what seems to be fur on DK's body. This is very reminiscent of other titles developed by long lost developer Rare. Yep, you heard me right, fur-shading, something that became evident in Star Fox Adventures is evident here. Beyond Donkey Kong himself is the rest of the game, including enemies, bosses and the overall look of the levels. There are great reflections, bright colours, a good use of shading, solid textures, translucent water...I could go on forever, but I think you may get my point, this game is great looking. And, for those nitpickers out there, this game runs at a very solid frame rate without a hiccup to be found. So, with that in mind, I would really like to give you naysayers some shred of evidence to slam the looks of this game, but unfortunately I cannot as this game does everything in the visual department very well. Sound As seems to be the way with Nintendo made games, the sound of this game compliments the on screen action. The game is full of very cartoony sounds to compliment what is going on throughout each level. And yes, for those who wonder you will instantly recognize the grunts and apish growl of the forever loved big ape. The music is quite quirky and matches each level one is faced with. If I was to have to sum it up, I would say that the music is a mix of tropical sounds with a splash of reggae thrown in. And for those audiophiles out there, this game runs in Dolby Pro Logic II and is sounds great. The separation between channels is very evident and helps further an already rewarding audio experience. Gameplay Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is an all new platform game. The levels are 3D but one will notice that they are actually a tribute to the style found in many original 2D platformers from NES and SNES games of old. For those looking for a game where story is prevalent well, it is not to be found in this game as Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is all about the gameplay and having fun. Now, this game seems simple at first and the tasks seem limited. The main goal is to grab as many bananas as possible. These bananas translate into beats which basically are one's score and health. As DK gets hit, health begins to deplete and as the rules of platforms games go, once the health is gone you are dead and have to start over. As each level is completed a ‘score' is calculated and one is awarded with either a bronze, silver or gold crest. It is the quest for the gold crests that makes this game so rewarding. Where this game finds the innovation is in the use of the bongos to control what happens on screen. And, for any of those sceptics out there, the bongos work really well, especially when one looks at the hidden depth of the game. To really make headway, one must link up combos through a well timed series of taps, claps or combination of both. Tapping the left or right bongo makes Donkey Kong go in that specific direction while clapping (or hitting the sides of the bongos) will make DK punch or grab. Where the depth lies is in the challenge of getting more beats via the combo system. It is this ability to link moves and gaining more beats (bananas) that will keep people coming back for more, even after the game is finished. For those without the bongos I have to give fair warning: this game is not meant for the standard GCN controller. Although one can be used, it the controller's set-up that is not intuitive to playing this game. For example, the use of the controller tries to simulate what you would be doing on the bongos, so to move left or right you tap on the analog stick in that specific direction, simulating the way you may tap on the bongo. It kinda gets frustrating to tap the analog stick rather then just move it. Regardless, one can play this game using the controller, but it is not fully recommended. For those that never bought Donkey Konga Nintendo is offering a version of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat with the bongos included for a very cheap price. For my final gripe I ask: where is the multiplayer component? All platformers are supposed to have a multiplayer component but this game does not. Oh well, maybe next time around, if there is one on the GCN, or maybe for the next-gen system (codenamed Revolution) which is slated to have its own Wi-Fi capabilities. Multiplayer, if done right, can only help this game get better. Conclusion It is nice to see a company like Nintendo still trying to break the boundaries of traditional gaming. With great graphics, quirky sound and a very innovative use of the bongos, this game goes to show you that Nintendo still has great minds creating original and great games.





 
 

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