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// article by Jeff

Donkey Kong Country elicits tears of nostalgic joy from those gamers who found solace in their SNES decks back in the mid-1990s. That game offered a revival of a classic character with all-new gameplay, even though it was veiled to many by a fresh coat of paint, a new way to show off the power of the console with 3D-modeled graphics and such. And it sold pretty well, too, being the second top-selling game for the SNES, right behind Super Mario World. Someone going by the name of "Preposterify" took it upon himself to modify Donkey Kong Country to give it a whole new series of more challenging levels and provide a fresh experience, even for veterans of DKC.

Well, he certainly failed that one. This hack is beastly. And not the Care Bears character.

Some parts of the game haven't changed a bit. The introduction is entirely intact, as are the map screens, level names, and the other Kong locations (Funky, Candy, Cranky). It's the level design itself that has changed dramatically, and it is here where the game takes a nosedive into a pool filled with angry croctopi. If you remember the first level, Jungle Hijinxs, you know that when you pop out of DK's house right from the get-go, there's a cave you can enter below showing your lost banana hoard. If you enter this time, you are immediately impaled by a Kremling without warning. Things aren't looking up already. You technically can get past it (with a few reloads of your save state and some lucky timing) and reach a Squawks box, releasing the beloved bird buddy, but he doesn't even follow you outside. No rhyme or reason!

And downhill we go. The first world is relatively tame, but the game becomes rapidly more difficult with jumps and dodges that hardly a single human could realistically perform on a real SNES. Enemy placement is by far the worst and most unfeeling I have seen in a game ever. Many leaps require pixel-perfect precision, something that often required ten, twenty, fifty retries. Swinging levels are set up so that the ropes, when swung upon, send you straight into the path of a Zinger. That hardly qualifies as enjoyable. Why can I ride a mine cart over vines? I also can't explain why the barrels move so quickly in this version, or why elements appear in locations where they ought not to be. Why is there a flaming oil barrel atop a palm tree? Why does Rambi turn golden on occasion? Why is there a clam stuck in a temple wall? These questions would make Nietzsche cry. And getting past these obstacles made me cry.

But the game hit an absolute dead end with me when I arrived in the snow-peaked world of Gorilla Glacier, more specifically the "Ice Age Alley" level. This "Preposterify" thought it would be quite cunning to take icy ropes, which were originally programmed to have the Kongs slide in one particular direction only, either up or down depending on the colour, and force me to climb them the other way. A rope that forces the Kong to slide down is not one that can be easily ascended! In fact, it's damn near impossible! But they expect me to do it. Not just once, but many times over, all the while trying to avoid the poorly-placed enemies floating about. This level is the real definition of Hell, and I was but a millimetre of sanity away from just walking away.

Unfortunately, that's not how I roll, and after I countless retries and cursed howls, I prevailed. I probably left a large sweat stain on the couch, though.

I decided that if he's going to be vicious, then I might as well cheat to get my way through. I popped in a Game Genie code or two just to try and survive, but even that didn't work out particularly well.

Other oddities in this game include the entire level of Barrel Cannon Canyon, named for its actual use of barrel cannons to shoot your way across, replaced with a stage filled with those barrel-tossing Manky Kongs. I suppose that's all for the best, considering how fast the cannons move now. In later stages, the normal Krushas (which can only be defeated with a stomping by Donkey Kong) are substituted with silver ones that can't be killed by anything. Putting a bunch of those on platforms the size of a wafer that I need to pass is asking for trouble. As well, the Stop & Go Station level now has a fake exit... and another real one you have to search for. It doesn't take a Detective Kong to find it, though. It's just strange seeing an exit lead to nowhere.

Lastly, and perhaps this is a plus to some, the underwater levels have been drastically shortened, and can usually be completed in about five seconds. Yes, that's right: laziness rears its ugly head. I wouldn't have wanted to even try my luck underwater with this maniac cracking his knuckles over the level design.

With a little more focus on the fun and spirit of the original game and far less focus on pure sadism, this hack could've been something prideworthy. As it stands now, its terrifyingly rancid design makes this merely a putrid footnote in the annuls of game mods. Avoid this like you would avoid a pack of sneezing dogs.

I went through painstaking efforts to get you these screenshots. Breathe them in and feel the wrath of the Kremling's Revenge:


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