As you're probably aware by now, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze hits the Wii U on February 21st. To mark this momentous occasion, we're running a month of Kong-related content on Nintendo Life — the first of which is this intriguing look at the famous simian's extended family. Grab some bananas, set your phone to "do not disturb" and enjoy!
We're used to playing the lone hero in many Nintendo titles; the warrior out on their own against overwhelming odds. Link alone carries the burden of saving Hyrule, Samus is constantly thrust into isolation on desolate, totally alien worlds. But when Donkey Kong gets called into action, he brings his whole family along for the ride.
The Kong clan are an eclectic bunch, and we've seen them in action quite a few times before. They're a proud and powerful family that wouldn't really look too out of place in Westeros, and with so many distant cousins or estranged relatives, it can get a little difficult to keep track of them all. But worry not, ape fan, because we here at Nintendo Life have got the definitive guide on this banana-filled family tree.
The Main Family
First of all, we've got the main bunch (pun entirely intended). These guys should look pretty familiar to you, and most will be playable in the upcoming title Tropical Freeze.
Diddy and Donkey Kong – Almost certainly the most active Uncle/Nephew duo in gaming, these two hairy pals are chilled out just as long as their banana hoard is fully-stocked. With a taste in fashion that definitely didn't extend to wearing pants, they kicked off the Donkey Kong Country series together on SNES and never looked back.
DK is the face of the family, and has appeared in pretty much every title out there — even joining Mario for some parties, kart racing and a little competitive sport. He's surprisingly agile for a giant ape, but we can't deny he's got a bit of a temper. Diddy is a little more sprightly, and enjoyed success as the lead character in Donkey Kong Country 2 before taking to the track in Diddy Kong Racing on the N64. Often unfairly labelled as the 'Scrappy Doo' of the Kongs, he's got enough charm to last a while yet....but that might just be the jetpack talking.
Cranky Kong – The wizened old patriarch, always ready to whip those young'uns into shape and finally ready to show us how it's done as a playable character in Tropical Freeze. He's Donkey Kong's grandfather, and is generally believed to be the original barrel-throwing menace from the arcade classic, just a lot older. He's constantly reminiscing about the good old days, but if it's true then it means Donkey Kong is really just some codename title handed down amongst the elite, like a jungle James Bond...
Dixie Kong – One of a pair of sisters, she's Diddy's love interest and a mainstay of the Donkey Kong Country series since the second title. She actually ended up taking the lead in Donkey Kong Country 3, making her the first female character in the (extended) Mario Universe to star in their own game — even before Princess Peach.
Funky Kong – Although not playable in Tropical Freeze — he is visible, however — this ''cool'' Kong is definitely worth mentioning here due to a pretty surprising link. Take off those shades and you've got an uncanny resemblance to DK himself, leading many to believe these two are brothers. All that American surfer stereotyping aside, he's always been an ally, and ready to offer transportation and weaponry. This guy was a real speed demon in Mario Kart Wii as well.
DK Island Crew
Donkey Kong 64 was a real game-changer for the family, opening up a whole 3D world to swing around with a new cast of characters as well. You've heard the rap (we've all heard the rap...), but just who are they?
Tiny Kong – She's Dixie's younger sister and another blonde, able to use her ponytails to fly around as is a nice bonus. She can also shrink in size, just...because.
Chunky Kong – A real gentle giant, this guy is the strongest of them all but wouldn't even hurt a fly. He's Dixie and Tiny's cousin, as well as older brother to the similarly chunky little Kiddy Kong. Hobbies include hurling boulders and playing the triangle, but according to a quiz in Donkey Kong Country 2, he also owns a plane.
Lanky Kong – This is where things get a little weird, as Lanky Kong is so suitably described by Cranky as being ''a twisted twig on a distant branch of the family tree''. We'll chalk him up to being a distant cousin, and he's definitely a memorable one. With long stretching arms, ginger hair and a bright red clown nose, this orangutan must really steal the show at Christmas dinner.
Wrinkly Kong – Being Cranky's wife and DK's Grandmother, this kindly old timer would have taken a spot higher up the list with the rest of the main family, except for one very important fact. She's dead. Before passing away she ran a school named Kong Kollege, where klasses would konvene for some important lessons. Even as a spirit, she's still eager to pass on a few hints.
We've covered most of the main Kongs, but we really weren't lying when we said they're all over the place. Let's tie things up with the last few remarkable members.
Swanky Kong – This Kong has got cash and he isn't afraid to show it. He's a possible cousin but all we know for sure is that he's got a thing for hosting quiz shows and carnival games. With his winning smile and sparkling waistcoat, it's safe to say he probably doesn't settle for living in a treehouse.
Candy Kong – The first female Kong ever seen in the series, and probably the most sought-after on the whole island. She's known for helping our heroes save the game, but is also heavily implied to be dating Donkey Kong, that lucky boy. In the televised animated series she worked for the slimy Bluster Kong at his factory.
Minkeys and Mankys – You don't get to the top without being a little ruthless, and the Kong family are all about solidarity, so when there are a few rotten eggs in the basket they aren't afraid to toss them out. Both the Minkeys and the Mankys appeared as enemies in the Country series, going against their simian brethren to toss barrels and acorns in their path. Described as ''Kong rejects'', they've been exiled completely from the family, and it seems as though they're still a little bitter about it.
So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to some key members of the Kong clan. Do a little research yourself and you're sure to find out even more; they're a surprisingly storied group with enough speculation to compete with the island from the TV show LOST. The only question now is...who's your favourite?