WARNING: In this post, we spoil the entire game.
After my last impressions, I don't have a lot more to say about Donkey Kong Country Returns. However, I know there are a lot of crazy Donkey Kong Country fanatics out there, and this post is dedicated to you. Let this be your final warning - I will be discussing later levels and end-game content.
First, the music. Donkey Kong Country was well known for its exceptional score by David Wise, which led to Nintendo's first CD and cassette game soundtrack in the US. This game's music is made up mostly of rearrangements of Wise's work, often with several very nice and unconventional variations and good use of dynamic music. Most of the new tracks aren't as catchy, though there aren't too many of them.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is by no means an easy game, but the difficulty really starts to ramp in the World 6: Cliff. World 7 is the Factory and World 8 is the Volcano, home of DK's new nemesis, the Tiki Tak Tribe.
While the factories in previous games were dark and dingy, this game's lighter side shows through. The levels themselves are quite inventive, including a level full of switches that toggle platforms. The silhouette style makes another appearance, and punctuating the designers' attention to detail, in the background you can see a couple neat Easter eggs: the ruins of the original Donkey Kong stage, and Mr. Game & Watch. Capping off the absurdity, it turns out that the factory is being run by a possessed chicken!
The fiery volcanic stages can be pretty brutal, testing your platforming limits. Extra lives can be bought from Cranky for cheap, though. I don't want to spoil the ending completely, so suffice it to say, like much of the game, it's hilariously over-the-top.
Even after the end, the game isn't over yet; there's still a ton of even crazier challenges to complete. The game has unlockable art galleries, music, and dioramas. After beating the game for the first time, the Golden Temple appears. However, to play the stages contained within, you'll have to find all of the collectables in the earlier stages. Other secret stages appear in the other worlds as well. And Cranky keeps talking about a mystical Golden Banana...
And again, if you don't mind spoilers, check out our exclusive footage of the later stages below.
Partial (alliterative) stage list:
1-1 Jungle Hijinxs
2-1 Poppin' Planks
3-1 Wonky Waterway
4-1 Rickety Rails
5-1 Vine Valley
6-1 Sticky Situation
7-1 Foggy Fumes
8-1 Furious Fire
And more trailers!
Special thanks to JC of NOA Treehouse for plowing through those difficult last levels for our video and Nintendo in general for the invitation.