Wii

No Underwater Stages in Donkey Kong Country Returns

by Matthew Blundon - June 25, 2010, 8:02 pm PDT
Total comments: 39 Source: Kotaku

Nintendo and Retro Studios clarify why they omitted underwater stages and the status of the other Kongs.

Retro Studios' new entry into the Donkey Kong Country series won't feature the series staple underwater levels, according to Kensuke Tanabe, the Nintendo manager who has worked with Retro for quite some time.

Tanabe also commented on the possibility of appearances from other Kongs. "There was a direction from Mr. Miyamoto as to what to up point in the series' legacy to draw from," Tanabe said. "But I think it will be the most fun for people to play it themselves and see who pops up along the way."

Tanabe also commented that they are considering as to whether or not to add in any animal buddies into the game, such

as Rambi the Rhino. He also revealed that water stages are nowhere to be found in Donkey Kong's new adventure, stating that they felt too slow, and it wasn't the gameplay they were looking for.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is due out this holiday season.

Talkback

Armak88June 26, 2010

This is truly disappointing. I can understand why it happened, because the water levels are slow and in most cases frustrating as hell, but they were a great change of pace as long as there weren't a bunch of them in a row. Also this means that this will be the first game without the swordfish as one of your animal friends.

GoldenPhoenixJune 26, 2010

THANK YOU NINTENDO AND RETRO! Banish water stages and their horrifying creatures to the depths of hell, never letting them out again.

Dirk TemporoJune 26, 2010

Quote from: NWR_MattB

He also revealed that water stages are nowhere to be found in Donkey Kong's new adventure, stating that they felt too slow

That's the point! They're there to break up the fast-paced flow of the ENTIRE REST OF THE GAME. Still probably gonna buy, but HATE.

PeachylalaJune 26, 2010

There should be no hate for this kind of news. I also found the underwater stages in every (Read: EVERY) DKC game to be boring. Glimmer's Galleon? HATE THAT STAGE. HATE IT SO MUCH.

Mop it upJune 26, 2010

I don't mind this. I've never really been a fan of water stages for several reasons, including that swimming controls are often loose, the aesthetic is generally boring, and there's usually some stupid creature that can eat you.

NemoJune 26, 2010

I won't miss the water stages... I thought they were average stages in a game filled with excellent stages.

I do hope there are at least cameos from other Kongs. And it'd be cool if there was some animal riding action.

KDR_11kJune 26, 2010

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

THANK YOU NINTENDO AND RETRO! Banish water stages and their horrifying creatures to the depths of hell, never letting them out again.

The Dopefish will always be able to find you.

ZapJune 26, 2010

I agree with Dirk Temporo, the water gave the game a little bit more depth

ha, ha

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJune 26, 2010

If there are no ridable animal buddies now there wont be later. The were just working on the last stage by E3, theres no way they are going to add any animals that will actually affect the gameplay. Either that or they can NSMBW it with barely-in-any-stages-yoshi-like animals.

When we get Returns part 2 that's when we can look forward to the animal buddies. Expresso and Winky need another shot! Eli the Elephants or Parry the Parallel birds, yuck! And I love Elephants too, but not Eli! I think those were the names.

ArbokJune 26, 2010

Maybe unlockable animals? Beat the game, get to use one in the stages or something, or play the game again with them. Would add a lot of replay value and at the same time the game can be unbalanced since its something that the player unlocks to play around with.

ThePermJune 26, 2010

i would like some outer space levels :P

StratosJune 26, 2010

I want animal buddies. I'll miss the water stages.

Quote from: ThePerm

i would like some outer space levels :P:

One of the best levels in Mario Land 2 was the space level. All platforming games need a space level.

PabloYJune 26, 2010

I like it, I usually hate underwater levels.

GKJune 26, 2010

Thank you. Though I must admit, water stages weren't as bad when you rode that swordfish.

MaryJaneJune 26, 2010

I dread the water stage in every action and platforming game I play and have since the troublesome waterfalls in SMB 2

ThePermJune 26, 2010

they need to put mario land games on virtual console...iv never played any of them

AdrockJune 26, 2010

As games, Super Mario Land 1 and 2 were neat-o for their time, but they're pretty forgettable. They'll always be remembered for introducing Daisy and Wario.

And 1 million win points for no water levels in DKCR.

YankeeJune 26, 2010

Thank you retro! Although the water levels weren't bad, all of the levels in the three DKC games that are memorable to me are on land. Now if only Retro would make a bramble blast inspired level with remixed music from the original level. That would be amazing.

MaryJaneJune 26, 2010

Quote from: Yankee

Thank you retro! Although the water levels weren't bad, all of the levels in the three DKC games that are memorable to me are on land. Now if only Retro would make a bramble blast inspired level with remixed music from the original level. That would be amazing.

For me the most memorable were under the land... mine carts FTW!

StratosJune 26, 2010

Quote from: Yankee

Thank you retro! Although the water levels weren't bad, all of the levels in the three DKC games that are memorable to me are on land. Now if only Retro would make a bramble blast inspired level with remixed music from the original level. That would be amazing.

I want a Screech's Sprint level. That one always felt epic to me back in the day.

SundoulosJune 26, 2010

The DKC series had some nice music for the underwater stages.  I'll miss them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdUNrVzT97s&feature=PlayList&p=863EA0C3CC7CD5B3&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=3


CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJune 27, 2010

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat did water stages right! Remember that Killer Whale that swam you deep down and jumped high into the sky? I saw what appeared to be an animal buddy in one of my play throughs, it was a sperm whale in the back ground apparently affecting the waves needed to advance. I wouldn't mind Enguard playing a similiar role in the back ground as you run along some swampy or lake like area.

RABicleJune 27, 2010

Quote from: ThePerm

they need to put mario land games on virtual console...iv never played any of them

To reiterate adrock, they were good at the time, essentially proving the GameBoy could handle scrolling and larger sprites but they are truly dreadful compared to every other two dimensional Mario game.

StratosJune 27, 2010

I enjoyed then. They are just as fun as the other Mario games.

They're both in my bottom 3 Mario games.

Mop it upJune 27, 2010

Super Mario Land isn't that good, it's too much like a shrunken version of Super Mario Brothers. Super Mario Land 2 though, is somewhere between Super Mario Brothers 3 and World. It's got the world maps and tight control of World, and level designs akin to SMB3. Really, I don't see what's so wrong with it. Add colour to it and it's a top-tier NES game.

Luigi DudeJune 27, 2010

Mario Land 1 is pretty meh but Mario Land 2 is great.  Seriously, what's with the hate for that game?  Yeah when compared to Bros 3 and World which came out a few years earlier it's not on the same level but it's still a great game on it's own.

Mop it upJune 27, 2010

Not to mention that both SMB3 and especially World were released on superior hardware. For a handheld game, Super Mario Land 2 is amazing. That is a high compliment from someone like me, who openly hates handhelds.

KDR_11kJune 28, 2010

SML 1 and 2 were interesting because they had worlds and enemies not seen in regular console SMB. Much more interesting than just the generic "water world", "fire world", "ice world", etc.

GoldenPhoenixJune 28, 2010

Quote from: KDR_11k

SML 1 and 2 were interesting because they had worlds and enemies not seen in regular console SMB. Much more interesting than just the generic "water world", "fire world", "ice world", etc.

At the time fire, water and ice worlds were still relatively fresh. Not to mention things like Sky World, Giant World, and the Plant worlds of SMB3. Personally I thought the second SML was OK, too short though.

Ian SaneJune 28, 2010

I'm not thrilled about either of these changes.  Are they going to introduce some new elements to take the place of underwater levels and animal buddies?  If this is just DKC with less stuff, what's the point?  They have do something different to make this stand out in comparison to the other DKC games.

I'm surprised the underwater levels are so unpopular here.  I always liked them as a change of pace.  I don't want every level to just be right-to-left platforming.  To me the underwater stages were no different than the minecart levels or the barrel blasting levels.  It's just a different type of level to provide some variety to the game.  Yeah, some underwater levels were hard but that's the point, isn't it?  To provide a challenge?  I never felt ripped off like the levels were poorly designed or the controls were crap.  When I died it felt like I just failed.  I consider that acceptable difficulty.

Hell one of my favourite levels from DKC2 was one where the water level changed throughout the game.  It had platforming AND swimming.

Do you guys all hate swimming levels in 2D Mario games and wish they were gone, too?  Aren't they like the exact same thing?

UltimatePartyBearJune 28, 2010

I think the only problem with the DKC water levels was that the fancy graphics made it hard to tell where the platform edges were.  That was a problem on land, too, but the roll-jump mechanic made it easy to deal with.  Underwater, however, Rare required extra precision from the player without returning the favor.  When trying to figure out whether or not you could squeeze between the wall and a shark, that could be frustrating.  However, I think it's the phobias underwater levels trigger that make some people hate them.  I don't think the DKC ones had that effect on me, but I understand the sentiment.

I liked the DKC underwater levels, but I won't mind if this game lacks them.

Retro DeckadesJune 28, 2010

Even though I am one of those gamers who generally dislikes underwater levels in games, I remember enjoying the water levels when I first played the original Donkey Kong Country, although it may have had something to do with the underwater music, which was awesome. If I recall correctly, water levels in the original were few and far between. They also didn't have proper bonus areas, which was a smart move because it would have probably made the experience overly tedious. I wouldn't mind hearing the aquatic ambience track pop up somewhere in this new Wii iteration.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJune 28, 2010

Replace water levels with fast paced Parrot or Ostrich flying stages and I think no one would care anymore. I fugure Retro has many awesome ideas they want to throw at DK, I'm expecting something more creative and fun to add to the game. Just so it isn't only running on foot and Mine Karts. I think all flying stages would fill that gap nicely.

Edit
I forgot, there will most likely not be animal buddies this time around. Hmmm, well I got nothing!

broodwarsJune 28, 2010

It bothers me that what we've seen of this new Donkey Kong Country game is pretty much stuff we've seen before in previous iterations of the franchise.  If the Underwater Stages (which I always though DKC did better than any other platforming franchise) are gone, what's replacing them?  What new gameplay ideas are stepping in, and why haven't we seen even a hint of them yet?  Is Nintendo even letting Retro be creative with this game?  I know Nintendo is bizarre and paranoid when it comes to releasing footage early for fear of people "stealing" their ideas, but I can't see that coming into play with this game?

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJune 28, 2010

Quote from: broodwars

It bothers me that what we've seen of this new Donkey Kong Country game is pretty much stuff we've seen before in previous iterations of the franchise.  If the Underwater Stages (which I always though DKC did better than any other platforming franchise) are gone, what's replacing them?  What new gameplay ideas are stepping in, and why haven't we seen even a hint of them yet?  Is Nintendo even letting Retro be creative with this game?  I know Nintendo is bizarre and paranoid when it comes to releasing footage early for fear of people "stealing" their ideas, but I can't see that coming into play with this game?

The dude directing this game only wanted to show the bare minimum in the trailers and demos we got. That makes me very happy, again I am reminded of Galaxy 2 when it was first previewed. I remember all of us thinking, unless Yoshi was in a screen shot no one could tell the games apart. That worried me quite a bit, but then the game came out and boom we were all head over heels. I thank it too that first trailer barely showing anything only to later have the shnitzel surprised right out of me.

I'll look for that interview.

If this doesn't give you hope, nothing will.

Quote:

IGN: When you were putting together the demo for E3, I'm sure that you were mulling over what to show and what to hold back. Was there anything that maybe you were ready to show, but because of time constraints you couldn't? Anything you'd want to talk about?

Retro:
Well, it's not time constraints. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There were a half-dozen things that we were asking Mr. Tanabe, "Can we show this? Can we show this?" (laughs) He can tell you more about his thinking on that.

Tanabe: Well, the thing is, if I was to put together an E3 demo that had all of the stuff that I wanted to show people, it would be huge. It would be massive. People wouldn't be able to get through it. And so what I decided to do was really keep things pared down, for two reasons. The first is that I want to make sure that people are surprised and delighted when they play the final version of the game -- when they get that production version in their hands and there's all these great things for them to discover for the first time. Additionally, I felt like as this is sort of the debut of the game, keeping it pared down to elements that people would remember fondly and things that were representative of the series itself. So, a jungle stage. The mine carts that are so iconic for the series. Just a nice beach front to sort of set the scene. And then a boss fight, to show people what to expect and to remind them of what's come in the series before. But rest assured, there is much more.

Retro: One thing I've learned in working with Mr. Tanabe is that he's very, very concerned about the player. I don't want to speak for him, but he wants the player, once they buy the game, to experience surprise and joy. And you don't want to give that away. So he's an advocate for the player, and we'd rather hold back the majority of the good stuff for the audience. And he had that same formula for the Metroid series.

Mop it upJune 28, 2010

Interesting snippet from that interview. I don't like to know much about games before playing them, so I appreciate the minimal amount of stuff shown in the trailer. I know some people like to learn a lot about games before they buy them, but they could probably find a whole bunch about the game once it is released.

Quote from: Ian

Do you guys all hate swimming levels in 2D Mario games and wish they were gone, too?  Aren't they like the exact same thing?

I've never liked them in any game, period. I know it adds variety to games, but it just isn't a theme and concept I find interesting.

GoldenPhoenixJune 29, 2010

DKC water levels were terrible. I much prefer the water levels in Mario games.

Guitar SmasherJune 29, 2010

I found DKC water levels to be very calming.  I don't get that feeling from many games.

I will miss the fantastic music featured in those levels.

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