The Definitive 50 SNES Games: #19 Donkey Kong Country 3

Click here to view our list of the Definitive 50 SNES games. Links to each video and write-up are included.

Number 19 on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games goes to Donkey Kong Country 3. This title was developed by Rare and released November 22, 1996. It has since appeared on the GameBoy Advance and Wii Virtual Console.

Donkey Kong Country 3 is the second sequel to Rare’s 1994 breakout Donkey Kong Country, and the final installment in the original Country trilogy. Its design, graphics, music, and gameplay should all be familiar to anyone who played the first two games.

Players take control of either Dixie or Kiddy Kong as they venture through the Northern Kremisphere in search of their missing relatives, Donkey and Diddy Kong. The two had been on a fishing trip when they were kidnapped by King K. Rool’s brother, Baron K. Roolenstein, a mad scientist.

DKC3 is a side-scrolling platformer which adheres strongly to the tenets of that genre. Levels generally progress left to right in a linear fashion, as baddies are jumped on and obstacles navigated. That’s not to say the action is mundane, some levels require the services of uniquely skilled animal buddies, while others force the player to contend with screwed-up physics.

As with the other two games, two Kongs are playable, and each has his or her own unique abilities. Dixie is small and nimble, Kiddy is strong but slow. The two can be switched between as situations call on them if one player is playing. Two-player co-op is also available, with players switching control as they progress through levels. Two-player competitive also makes its return. That’s where players play separately, each trying to make his or her way through the levels first.

I’ve had plenty of fun with DKC3, and fans of the first two entries in the series will surely love it, but it is, quite frankly, not as good as those games in a number of ways. Its challenge is a steep decline from the second game, there’s no real motivation to play as the poorly designed Kiddy Kong, and the classic Donkey Kong graphics are tainted by lazy renders of some environments and side areas.