To be fair anyone of the DKC series could have made this list, and in fact this game makes my list without ever actually owning it.
There was something magical about going to my friends place and popping in Donkey Kong Country. There was the platforming, which didn’t play to much differently from anything of the era but…this is a big but too…
Donkey Kong Country looked so damn good…I can’t explain it fully but at the time this sticks out in my mind as being one of the most gorgeous looking games I had played. The 3D backdrops were gorgeous and all the character models were spectacular, the enemies varied, as were the locales and stages you played, hurtling through the mines in cart, dodging obstacles was insanely difficult, yet strangely compelling.
To me this felt like a showcase of what the SNES was capable of, it also was one of the first time platformers acknowledged that they are difficult and as such threw extra lives at you, a real god send, in all honesty.
It was a welcome change, but that didn’t change the difficulty there were most certainly controller crushing moments. The afore mentioned cart level was one…essentially you had to have cat like reflexes to succeed, or a good memory (both in actuality) and then time what points your jumps needed to be made.
There were heaps of secrets and additional helps available to you. The use of various animals that were close to invincible was a great addition. They could make the various levels much more of a breeze, and whenever I saw the crate…my heart skipped with joy a little.
Playing in coop was a bit of a frustrating enterprise, it often came with an admission that they couldn’t do this part so take over, then a bit of a shove when both Donkey and Diddy fell into a crevice. Sure it wasn’t a perfect system but it was a hell of a lot of fun trying to clear the game with friends.
I regret not owning this game at the time, although I have since brought the whole trilogy on the Wii’s virtual console…so much nostalgia value, and a game that holds up so well today.