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Donkey Kong 64 Discussion (Nintendo 64) [game]
 
7.93/10 from 32 user ratings

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DK64. One of the more divisive games in Nintendo's(/Rare's) catalog. But was it always so? Or has it just become the cool thing to hate? How will historians ultimately look back on Lanky, Funky, and the rest?

Well, we shall soon find out!

My guess is that public opinion will swing back to the positive side when DK64 hits the Virtual Console. Because it really isn't a bad game at all. The presentation is nice, it's mechanically solid, and it's chock full of content (including two awesome classic games). I always felt that the 'collectathon' complaint was rather overblown. It might be a bit bloated, but the bananas exist primarily to route each character through each level in a different way. They're not really hidden away, or anything. I get that talking about FIVE HUNDRED bananas in each level makes for a funny bit, but I don't understand why people so resent having to platform in a platform game. (Go home, content tourists! Donkey Kong 64 isn't for you.)

The multiplayer was SO WEIRD, too. I remember it being fun, but broken. Like, in the FPS mode, if you just jumped in the water, it was almost impossible to be attacked. And wasn't there a Smash Bros.-y type mode? Top-down, maybe?

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how DK64 is received the second time around, especially now that 3D platformers are less ubiquitous (and quite fondly remembered). Honestly, I'm not even sure if my opinion will remain the same. But I think DK64 has a chance to turn things around.

Really, it all depends on how the tastemakers react when they revisit the game. Your move, Jeremy Parish. Your move.

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Posted: 04/16/15, 17:17:54  - Edited by 
 on: 04/16/15, 17:38:07
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@Guillaume

Yea, the humor in those Rare games was definitely an unwanted addition for me and one of several reasons I don't buy into the idea that Banjo Kazooie was an improvement on Mario 64. But can you skip the cutscenes? I'd hope that you could at least ignore that stuff and focus on the gameplay?
Posted: 04/17/15, 04:42:14
@Jargon

As far as I can tell, you need to talk to characters to know where to go next (so far), and all that stuff goes on.
Posted: 04/17/15, 04:51:42
It won't get better. Give up now and join us true DK 64 haters.
Posted: 04/17/15, 05:30:13
Guillaume said:
I've never played Banjo Kazooie, and I've never played this either, and I'm looking forward to.

A mere 10 hours later...

Guillaume said:
Oh my god, this game is shit.


Funniest thing I heard all day. And I just watched a Dave Chappelle special.

Extra funny because, up until I read that, I literally had said to myself that I wasn't going to comment in this thread, just to keep everyone's good spirits up. But, seriously, this game is pretty sucky, guys. It's pretty well known how I feel about the N64, but I have to admit that I can see the other side in most cases. Like, it's not hard to understand what people admire about Ocarina of Time or Mario 64 or even Banjo Kazooie. They're hugely innovative and technical wonders for their time.

But DK64? That game is basically the apotheosis of every problem of the N64/PS1 era, in my opinion. It's dull, confusing, ugly, full of bad characters, one of the most egregious examples of a pointless collectathon ever, and really damages a venerable franchise.

No wonder they were throwing DK into conga-based games after this. It's a disaster.
Posted: 04/17/15, 06:58:19  - Edited by 
 on: 04/17/15, 07:06:29
@kriswright

This is one of the few times Kris has ever said anything that is even remotely sane.
Posted: 04/17/15, 07:15:36
Ah Kris, ever the source of positivity.
Posted: 04/17/15, 07:54:02
Playing through it again, and it's a lot more...boring than I remember. Don't get me wrong, I'm still enjoying it, but it hasn't aged well. At all.

On the plus side, the framerate appears to be improved (at least in the first level it ran really well).
Posted: 04/17/15, 17:45:40
Dang, you guys are actually making me want to bust out the N64 and play some of this. I haven't played through it since its release back in 1999, but I remember liking it for the most part. I also remember the beginning being weirdly slow with way more set-up than a DK game should have. But I enjoyed the rest of the adventuring. I'm really curious what I'd think of it nowadays.

I think it's a much weaker game than its predecessor, Banjo-Kazooie. BK was funnier, faster, and better-balanced all-around.
Posted: 04/17/15, 17:49:36
@TriforceBun

Compared to the newer releases in the the DKC series (or even the original trilogy), it's not as fun. The exploring is fun and there is a lot to see and do, but this is just a series that doesn't work as well in 3D as it did in 2D...I wish Rare would have gotten another crack at it before they left Nintendo. The GameCube probably would have helped it.
Posted: 04/17/15, 17:57:14
kriswright said:
But DK64?

It's dull - The tutorial section, sure. The parts towards the end if you try to actually collect everything, sure. The middle part though was always interesting enough to stay out of "dull" for me.

confusing - I personally never found the game confusing.

ugly - Well, it is an N64 game, so I'll give you that.

full of bad characters - Maybe some of the enemies, but I really liked all of the heroes in the game.

one of the most egregious examples of a pointless collectathon ever - Definitely true.

and really damages a venerable franchise. - I don't really see how; it's no worse than Metroid II, Zelda II, Super Mario Bros 2, and various other examples of classic but still enjoyable games in popular franchises that went in a different directions from past entries and are now easily overlooked.
Posted: 04/17/15, 19:44:18
It's much worse than all of those. Especially SMB 2 which was a pretty awesome game.
Posted: 04/17/15, 21:48:06
Well, I played it again on the ol' N64. And I had a lot more problems with it than I did in 1999...!
Posted: 04/17/15, 21:51:42
@kriswright

Haha, I'm glad at least someone is having fun!

TO BE FAIR, I was excited to dive into a game this divisive. I wasn't excited in a "oh my god I can't wait to discover a hidden gem" way. I knew there was a good chance I'd regret it.
Posted: 04/17/15, 22:32:16
Does anyone know if the VC version still has the two arcade games, Jetpac and Donkey Kong?

I never played this back in the day for various reasons, it wasn't until a few years ago that I played it. I do remember hearing about it being a divisive game due to the collecting, so I wasn't sure what I'd think. The game isn't anything too great, but I still enjoyed it. I agree it went overboard with the collectibles, but I still liked exploring the levels and thought they had generally good design, and I also liked the characters. I think the main problem with the collectibles is that the minimum amount to open levels and complete the game is just too high, requiring way too many just to progress. One nice thing about Super Mario 64 is that the game has 50 stars more than needed to beat the game, giving lots of options on how to progress; I felt like I was being forced to collect a bunch of junk before I could go check out a new level in DK64.

I don't feel as if Rare's platformers are an evolution of Super Mario 64 as much as they are a deviation. They're a lot different from SM64 in design and themes and just about everything, with the biggest difference being that SM64 feels more about platforming and Rare's games feel more like an adventure game. For example, the Bowser levels in SM64 are the kind of design not really found in Rare's games. I still like "adventure/platformers" of course, but I was always kind of sad that there was never a true sequel to SM64 on the N64.

As an aside, this game was also the first time I played the Donkey Kong arcade game.
Posted: 04/17/15, 23:52:23
@Zero

I wasn't talking about quality; I was talking about affect on the franchise.

But as for quality, I prefer DK 64 to SMB 2. But I do like Zelda II more than DK 64. Haven't played Metroid II.
Posted: 04/18/15, 03:18:47  - Edited by 
 on: 04/18/15, 03:19:32
Shit, now I've gotta dig this game out again to reevaluate it?

I actually don't go back and reevaluate my childhood favorites that often. Not that DK64 is a childhood favorite. But I like leaving my memories as is. Rose-colored and beautiful...

For the record, Zelda II > SMB 2 > DK64 > Metroid II

As for the originals, Metroid > SMB > Zelda > DK (although I love them all)

@Mop it up
Yeah, they're still in. I loved that inclusion. Both games held up well, and we finally got the full arcade version of Donkey Kong.

If I developed games, I would pitch Donkey Kong Championship Edition SO HARD. With the exact same controls as the original. None of that backflipping shit.
Posted: 04/18/15, 03:57:20  - Edited by 
 on: 04/18/15, 03:59:18
@Guillaume

Crash games are pretty cartoony and wacky, but they don't have very many cutscenes at all. They're relatively wordless aside from a minute-long conversation or two between each world. Give them another shot! The moment-to-moment platforming itself isn't the most interesting in the world, but the optional objectives are pretty cool.

I looooved Banjo Kazooie but never got into Donkey Kong 64. Was too young to understand why back in the day, but I'm guessing most of the problems people have mentioned here are why. I remember being really intimidated by it.
Posted: 04/18/15, 05:06:18
@Anand

Man, Donkey Kong on the Game Boy is so incredibly good. I love that game! Although I'd be down for the arcade title with more levels, too.
Posted: 04/18/15, 05:43:48
@TriforceBun
Oh, I enjoyed '94 on its own merits. But it ain't no Donkey Kong sequel.

People always describe it as "It's the arcade version of Donkey Kong... except with ninety-six more levels!" But it SO isn't. And the arcade levels are completely trivialized by Mario's moveset!

It was a fun game, though. I should run through it again.
Posted: 04/18/15, 19:58:58  - Edited by 
 on: 04/18/15, 19:59:19
I think with this game they were just trying to make a game as huge as they could at the time, so they probably got a little too ambitious adding in all those characters and collectibles. I recall at that time, they were talking up how much larger it was than Super Mario 64 and how it would take a lot more time for 100% completion or something like that. The sad thing is, I don't think it'd need to be scaled back much to improve it. Switching characters on the fly would go a long way towards it, as well as faster movements, and some tweaking on the amount of required collectibles, and then the game would be a lot more manageable and fun.

I recall the reason I didn't want to buy this game was because I thought the characters looked stupid, which is the same reason I didn't want Banjo-Kazooie. I wonder what I would have thought of these games had I played them during their time... Oh well, I still have fun with them today so no biggie. I was actually still impressed with the detail in DK64, Rare made good use of the N64 hardware. I think the game still looks decent today, though part of that is that it has a widescreen option which always helps for modern TVs.
Posted: 04/18/15, 23:16:12
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