Sequels in the video-games industry have a tendency of disappointing if the original title was well received. With that in mind, did Nintendo and Rare manage to break this curse with the recently released port of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble on the Nintendo 3DS?
The short answer is that it is indeed one of the rare cases where the development team managed to find new ways to keep the franchise interesting. As the last Donkey Kong Country to come out on the SNES, it must have been very important that the team left players with good memories of the corporate gorilla’s family adventures.
In this case, it’s down to the intrepid Dixie Kong and her cousin, Kiddy Kong, to save Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong from the clutches of evil mastermind King K. Rool. It seems that this family had a serious problem with kidnappings back in the nineties.
What makes this such a thrilling sequel is the fact that it successfully makes use of ideas seen in the original. All this whilst also adding a few new ideas of its own with success. One such new idea is the ability of being able to freely move around the map. It’s still somewhat limited and it only applies to certain areas. Yet it’s actually really fun to swim or make use of new sea vehicles to travel to new areas. It’s strange how such a minor detail can make it more enjoyable to play the title.
The sea vehicles also serve as a way of justifying why some bosses are being pummelled by the duo in this new adventure. Some of the bosses hold an item that is then used to upgrade the sea vehicles and make it possible to travel further to other lands to find new areas.
This title also makes use of some of the best level design in the trilogy with levels set in all kind of locations. Even usual levels such as the ones underwater. One such level involves constantly feeding a piranha with enemies in order to avoid getting eaten. It’s also great to see that later levels require actual skill to finish them. The inclusion of gimmicks like waterfalls being used to change between platforms in the background and foreground makes for some exceptional level design.
Even the on-rails levels are interesting to play since they manage to perfectly convey the rush of speeding through the levels without making it frustrating. A level found in an area a few hours into the story stands out in particular. In this level it is required to constantly move around using ropes and avoid being touched by moving exploding barrel creatures. Each area gets progressively harder and yet it just makes it more enjoyable to continue playing.
Perhaps it helps that the areas and the levels within them also feel like they are all part of one big area. It’s nice to see a return to the more realistic approach of the original in terms of the locations used. Yet it’s also easy to see the graphical upgrade that this title has over the original.
Dixie Kong’s helicopter ability to slowly descend is really helpful. Not that her cousin is a detriment since they make a rather good team. The use of animals that characters transform in or follow them works really well. In fact, it’s commendable to see levels such as one where the spider is used to make webs as platforms – all this whilst avoiding incoming projectiles. It’s inspiring to play this title and more so when realising that the original SNES release has been out for almost twenty years and yet it’s still relevant.
Despite the handy Virtual Console restore point system, it’s nice to see the in-game save system return to a simpler one that doesn’t involve using coins to save. In fact, it works in favour of the title that currency isn’t really needed for making use of essential functions.
There is only the original resolution with black side bars and another resolution very similar to it to pick from, but it doesn’t really affect this title in a negative manner. In fact, it works pretty well to the point that it’s difficult to notice it after playing for a few hours. This is also easily the best Nintendo 3DS port out of the trilogy with no apparent issues found in terms of frame-rate and other potential technical issues. However, please keep in mind that SNES titles are only playable on the New Nintendo 3DS hardware.
As usual there are plenty of collectibles to find in each level and there are even secrets scattered all over the land.
The only major apparent issue that this title has when compared to the previous two is to do with the bosses. Some of the boss fights are a bit vague at times and this makes it occasionally frustrating to find their weaknesses.
This is a satisfying conclusion to the SNES trilogy and also as a port given that it’s easily the best out of the three to grace the Virtual Console service on the Nintendo 3DS. As a port Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble is both recommended to veterans who played the original and newcomers who are in for a real treat.